It’s week 4 and, after my internet-free holiday from last week, I’m back with the nation’s leading X-Factor commentary. Well, that’s arguable, I suppose. I'm blogging live and will update as I go along.
First up is Mary Byrne, complete with ridiculous devil horns for Halloween. She sings up-tempo Barry Manilow. The crowd loved it. Must say, I’m bored with her now. Zzzzzzzz. Anyway, she sings very well, of course. I’ll give her 6 out of 10. Daughter says 9. ‘She’s very good,’ she says. Aw...
Aidan Grimshaw is next – singing Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’, but in the style of Radiohead. A few weird notes – hard to know if it’s deliberate or not! Strange women in big black wigs wriggle around on stage. Just as intense as ever. Brave attempt to do such a song so differently. Cheryl wishes he would smile. Simon wanted him to smile and says it was bizarre. “Too much to the left,” he says. Ha! Can't have that now! Especially as it was as much to the left as..er...Radiohead, which is not really much to the left at all. I’ll give this 8. Daughter says 7.
Third are Belle Amie. They step out of coffins in white costumes and sing ‘I’m Your Venus’. Men in swimming trunks writhe about. The singing is like what you’d expect at a school show. This is so utterly pointless it’s not even worth writing about. Louie says ‘we need a bit of girl power on the X Factor.’ Huh? Danii points out the dodgy singing. I’ll give that 4. Daughter says 6. She is being a bit tougher on everyone this week, you’ll notice.
Ah, Rebecca is next. She has been genuinely terrific in previous weeks. Great enunciation. She’s singing that song, ‘I want to fall in love with you’ or whatever it’s called. Great again, really intense in just the right way. Fantastic key change towards the end. “You stand out from the crowd,” says Louie. Too right. I’ll give it 9. Daughter says 10. She is probably right.
After the break, we have Treyc, who came in the bottom two and had to participate in the sing-off last week. “Re-light the fire,” she sings, or perhaps prays desperately. Sounds like the original version and strangely dated. Energetic performance, fine singing, and a troop of acrobatic dancers leaping around. She really went for it, but doesn’t stand out. “Nothing original,” Simon says. He’s right, but there again, he was going on about Aidan being “too left” earlier on. I’ll say 6. Daughter says 7.
Matt has something to prove in that he really sang well last week. Can he keep up the standard? Well, he’s doing a Leona Lewis song, ‘Bleeding Love’, which is a totally bizarre idea. Pitting yourself against the X Factor's finest vocalist ever is a risky thing to do. It’s not much of a song and the only reason it normally sounds OK is because of the power of Leona’s vocals. Can he do it? Simon rolls his eyes and says, ‘Best of luck.’ Matt starts singing. Hmmmm. He is toiling. His falsetto bit was good, but the rest of it made him sound second-rate compared to Leona. Silly song choice. “An off-week” says Cheryl. More than that, I’d say. He’s not quite good enough. Rebecca could have sung that. I’ll give him 5. Daughter says 10!! She really liked it.
Here comes Wagner! We don’t need to bother about vocal perfection here. Will he be fun? Oh yes, he will. What is it - Ride of the Valkyries? It soon evolves into ‘Bat out of Hell’ in any case. Girls writhe around wearing not much. He goes out of time and out of tune and who cares? He is a performer, a charmer, an entertainer. “What in the hell was that?” says Simon. It was a laugh, that was what it was. I’ll say 7. Daughter says 5.
Now it’s Paige, who is another of those guys who sings OK, but doesn’t stand out. “At the moment I’m more interested in what he wears than in what he’s singing,” says Simon. Well, he’s wearing a red bow tie tonight and a suit and singing Amy Winehouse’s “Back to Black,” which is a fantastic song. He sings it adequately, that’s all I can say. Not a patch on Amy, but good. I’ll give him 7. Daughter says 7 too.
Katie now on stage. Daughter will give this 10, of course, as Katie is her favourite. I quite like her too. Tonight she’s singing from what looks like a Big Brother chair. She sings ‘Bewitched’. She jumps out of the chair. It’s fun, like a Marilyn Monroe up-tempo number. She waves her arms about and smiles. “Quirky,” seems to be the word the judges are using. Danii says her make-up is scary. It’s Halloween, Danii! Remember? I’ll say 7 again – that’s three in a row. Daughter says 10. Of course...
Now we have the boy band, One Direction. Change your name, guys – it’s terrible. Take my advice. Oh no!!! They’re singing Bonnie Tyler/Meatloaf – 'Total Eclipse of the Heart'. I hate the song. They have red make-up round their eyes – will Danii say it’s scary? Bet she doesn’t. The song suddenly speeds up and goes disco, then slows down again. Weird idea. Lots of screaming from the girls. Danii likes the scary make-up. OK for boys, you see (ironic cough). They have loads of energy and sing well. Not my thing though. Not that much in the X Factor really is, but some much less than others. I’ll give it 6. Daughter says 5.
Last song now – Cher Lloyd. She is a bit different. She is going to sing a ‘beautiful song’ tonight, rather than the usual rappy thing, apparently. It will go well, or she’ll fall flat on her face, says Simon. “Stay with Me” is the song. She sings it with quite a fragile voice, but with plenty of emotion, and in tune. Has she proved she can sing? Yes, she has, but we knew she could sing anyway surely? The song was a risk, but she pulled it off really well. Louie loves it – Cher is almost in tears. “The performance of the entire season,” says Simon. I’ll give that 9 as well. Daughter says 9.
So at the end of all that, who should go? Belle Amie or Paige, I reckon. Wagner has to go one of those weeks, of course, but I hope not yet. Plenty of voters won't like what Aidan did to 'Thriller', but I hope not enough to boot him out. Matt stumbled for the first time, but is probably safe. Best performances of the night were from Rebecca (again) and from Cher.