Saturday, 30 November 2013

Put Another Dime In the Jukebox Baby!

A few people on Twitter and Digital Spy are calling this the best episode of the series, which is high praise indeed from the cynical dwellers of the internet. You know what? I'm inclined to agree. The jukebox idea is genius and the public got it right for almost everyone with their choices. Some real knockout performances tonight and I lost count of how many times the judges said "You have to be in that final!" They do realise there's only 4 places, don't they?

Here's my verdict:

Nicholas McDonald -
Just The Way You Are: Interesting how Little Nicky has been given the death slot 2 weeks in a row. Perhaps Simon fears another Leon Jackson-style winner and is pulling out all the stops to sabotage that ultra-powerful Scottish vote? As much as I like Little Nicky and as much as his personality cracks me up, this song was a bit "meh". Sharon said he needed to become a lion in the first of many animal analogies this week, meaning he needed to come alive and move around the stage more. I know what she means. Last week Gary kept banging on about how Nicky needs to find his own identity, and suggested he does that by watching other performers. Anyone else see how completely contradictory that is?
Greatest Day: I hate this song, it's my least favourite Take That number, and we were warned multiple times what a difficult song it is to sing, flipping between falsetto and regular vocals. For the first time we saw a weakness in Prince Nicky - his high notes are a little weak. Can the Scottish/Granny vote take him through at this stage in the competition??

Sam Bailey -
How Will I Know: Hooray for uptempo Sam! I really think this gal could sell records you know, she's a lot more than a Mothers Day one trick pony. I won't dwell on Sam for too long because she's so many leagues above everybody else that I just don't know what else I can say.
Clown: She took the judges from dancing to crying this week. The styling here was a little 'Stars In Their Eyes Adele' but it was a beautiful performance. Just in case our heart strings weren't jerked enough, we were treated to a lovely VT of Sam talking to her daughter on Skype, while the tinkly John Lewis advert music played in the background. Ooh, those manipulative producers pulling out all the stops to get the Mum vote! I really don't think she needs it though, she's so gotta win this.

Tamera Foster -
We Found Love: Stars In Their Eyes Rhianna - she even dressed exactly like her, just with an extra colourful jacket, which reminded me of something out the film The Fifth Element. She remembered all the words! All 7 of them! Hooray for Tamera! A good performance plus mild/lukewarm praise from the judges may lull Tamera fans into a false sense of security, but who knows?
First Time Ever I Saw Your Face - This was actually quite good. Tamera's apparently been having hypnotherapy sessions this week to control her nerves. One thing it has done is put a smile on her face during her performances, which makes her look a lot less bitchy. I can't really criticise her this week. The only thing I do know is she definitely won't win as there's already too much hate and the British public don't forgive and forget that easily.

Luke Friend -
Skinny Love: Luke in his comfort zone is a beautiful thing to watch and both his songs this week were exactly that. How on earth can Alan Sugar say this lad can't sing? (For those who haven't noticed, Alan irrationally slags Luke off every single week on Twitter). The judges are loving him this week too. If he's bottom 2 I definitely think Sharon is saving him, and possibly Gary unless it's against Rough Copy or Tamera.
I Will Wait: The crowd pleaser of the night, and some are saying the performance of the series! (They are, honest, I saw some tweets!). This is such a feel good song, I loved it. He's such a confident, individual, edgy performer, I just love him.

Rough Copy -
She's Got That Vibe/Every Little Step: The first mash up of the series! And it's two of my favourite songs! And at last Rough Copy are doing exactly the kind of material I wanted them to do! I was literally up on my feet busting out some Bobby Brown dance moves to this. They have the energy, the moves and the personality for sure, but it's just such a shame that their individual vocals are so weak. Joey really carries this group vocally. It's nothing a bit of studio production can't fix if they get a record deal, however.
I Believe I Can Fly - Ugh. This is the one public song choice that I didn't agree with this week, it's been done to death and is so cheesy. BUT. When Rough Copy aren't dancing, they can actually SING! Who knew? This was actually really good.

So overall: I would love to see a Sam/Luke/Rough Copy final but I really can't see it happening. This is such a tough week to call because of so many factors: Tamera remembered her words, Rough Copy are getting a bounceback from bottom gut tells me Luke is bottom 2 this week because his teenage fan base will assume he's safe. He's certainly the bookies favourite to go. Possibly Tamera and Luke bottom 2? With the first deadlock of the series because Sharon and Louis will vote Luke and Nicole and Gary will vote Tamera.

Nevertheless, stunning performances all round (mostly). This was true X Factor glory days fodder. Good job Simon (assuming he was involved), looking forward to having you back next year!

Sunday, 24 November 2013


If there's one thing guaranteed to wind me up about the X Factor judges, it's when they directly address the British public and tell us off for 'making the wrong decision'. However, in this case I'm willing to make an exception, because it's very sad that Tamera 'Excruciating Car Crash' Foster went through at the expense of two great acts. Lord knows how she'll cope in next week's Jukebox theme, where each act has to learn 3 songs without knowing which one the public will pick.

Rough Copy finally showed their urban side last night. Perhaps it was a case of too little, too late? They had a chance to show that R n B flava again in the sing off, but what did they pick? O-flippin'-Asis! Dreadful performance in the sing off compared to Hannah's gorgeous rendition of  'I'd Rather Go Blind'. I'd just like to say at this point - can you imagine Paul Akister and Hannah duetting? I would almost wee myself with excitement to get hold of some of that.

However, saving Hannah for a third time was always going to be a tall order, so it was farewell Hannah, and now it's only Little Nicky and Sam Bailey who have never experienced the bottom two.

Can't wait to hear the choices for Jukebox week - what a great idea! Will Tamera remember her words? Will Rough Copy get the bounceback vote, leaving Tamera vulnerable? The public are really turning against her now, with the crowd booing as she got through tonight (apparently Dermot came out in the ad break and told the audience off according to show insiders!).  It's all getting very unpredictable, and I'm loving it!

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Happy 10th Birthday X Factor!

So it was the big birthday celebration special this week on X Factor. I'm not quite sure why they picked this week in particular, but the cynic in me thinks it may have been an attempt to go head to head with the Doctor Who Anniversary Special. Incidentally, I incurred the wrath of a Whovian on Twitter for stating which of the two shows I preferred...who knew they were such a passionately aggressive bunch? So the question is, which of the final six acts do we want to "Exterminate!...Exterminate!" this week?

Nicholas McDonald -
It's not just X Factor celebrating a birthday tonight. Never again will Sharon be able to do her "Sexteen!" Scottish accent, because Little Nicky turned 17 today, leaving Tamera the Shoplifter as the youngest act in the competition. This was a technically great, but slightly bland performance from Little Nicky. I hate the song, it's like the epitomy of bland X Factor winner, Leon Jackson-style cheesiness. He did the best he could with it. And wasn't it nice to see Joe McElderry on telly again?

Hannah Barrett -
Notice how Hannah and Luke both keep getting early slots, it's almost as if the producers are trying to manipulate the votes! The very idea! Anyway, sorry to sound like a Negative Nelly tonight, but I hate this song too. Hallelujah should only be sung by Leonard Cohen (it's only fair, since he wrote it) and the late great Jeff Buckley. I don't think Hannah or Alexandra Burke have a clue what the lyrics actually mean, so that VT of Alex giving Hannah a pep talk about connecting to the lyrics was just cringeworthy.
I had one of my stand up rants at the TV thanks to Nicole's comments, declaring that "No one could ever do what Hannah did with that song", because I highly doubt that Nicole has ever even heard of Jeff Buckley, which makes her opinion completely invalid.
To be fair to Hannah, she did an ok job with a song that was totally never meant to be sung by a woman.

Luke Friend -
I'm trying to be subjective, honestly I am, but this was another spine-tingling, world class performance from Luke. Who would have thought he could take a One Direction slice of cheese and turn it into a U2-tinged, gorgeous rock number? To be fair, The 1975 performed this version on Radio 1's Live Lounge recently, so Luke didn't come up with this arrangement himself, but I don't care because it suited his voice brilliantly. So good to see him with the guitar again!

Rough Copy -
Finally! It's only taken to the halfway point of the lives, but at last Rough Copy perform an urban/soul number instead of the boyband tosh they've been choosing week in, week out! Don't Let Go is a great song. I thought it might expose their slightly weak vocals, and yes, one or two of them can be a bit shaky on their own, but it actually gave them a chance to showcase some pretty impressive soul harmonies, which they haven't been able to do until now. Great performance tonight.

Tamera Foster -
Can't help but snigger a little as I write this. Oh Dear. Oh Dear, Oh Dear, Tamera you are not ready for this competition. Go away and come back in a couple of years. You will probably still be a bully and a shoplifter but at least then you will have enough emotional maturity to deal with the pressure of live shows. This was a car crash performance, as Gary quite rightly said. Tamera forgot the lyrics THREE TIMES during this performance. By the third time I was hiding behind a cushion and praying for it to be over. Can her fans really save her now that this has happened for a third time?

Sam Bailey -
I'm getting a bit repetitive with comments about Sam 'Can Do No Wrong' Bailey now. There really is nothing left to say because she's vocally in a league above all the other contestants. I'm no vocal expert, but Bleeding Love sounds like it would be a really tricky song to sing, and she just batted it out the park like she does every week. Surely nothing and no one can stop her from getting a guaranteed win this series? But more importantly, will she sell records or will she produce a Tesco-Mary style album that you can pick up at the tills at BHS?

I have no idea what could happen at this point in the show. My sensible prediction for bottom two this week is Hannah v Tamera. Of course, Nicole will boringly abstain but the other three judges could go either way.

As a parting note, I found it interesting how Olly Murs came along to mentor Tamera instead of James Arthur, whose song she was singing! If you've been reading anything in the press/on Twitter about 'The Fall of James Arthur' in the last couple of weeks, you'll know it's either a) X Factor want to distance themselves from him because he's being an arse or b) They don't want people to associate Tamera with James Arthur, because he's being an arse. Either way, I think we can safely conclude: James Arthur is an arse.

Join me tomorrow for what is bound to be a fraught results show, with a few shocks and broken hearts!

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Great British Songbook Week: The Results

My hands are shaking and my heart is hammering as I type this. Remember how I said my favourite always goes home during my birthday weekend? Well, the birthday curse came a little too close for comfort just now. What an incredible sing off performance by Luke Friend! I only wish you could download sing off performances - his voice is world class. Did I mention how good his 'On T'Sofa' EP is? And how you should check it out on iTunes?

Thank God the judges made sensible decisions, that's all I can say. I was worried there could be a Jedward v. Lucie Jones moment there, with the judges keeping Sam Callahan in just to create media buzz. Luke should get a bounce back vote next week, so I'm confident he'll be safe a bit longer.

Aside from the actual contestants, I'd just like to add how much I enjoyed Gary Barlow's Mumford and Sons-esque performance. It took a lot of restraint not to start leaping around my living room like a Morris Dancer wielding an imaginary banjo.

And now I must bid you farewell, because I'm A Celeb is starting, hooray! Next week's X Factor theme is 'previous X Factor contestants' memorable performances'. Quite sad we're not going to see Sam C. take on 'Loaf Shack' now.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

A 'Brit' of Alright

Great British Songbook week. A nice, broad theme which allows contestants to be themselves. And as the VT is beginning to reveal as the weeks go by, it seems that the finalists are mostly choosing their own songs, rather than reluctantly going along with what they're given. Interesting then that this series has been criticised for dated songs and too many ballads. Whatever happened to the creative mash-ups of series 7 (Matt Cardle's year)? Come back Wagner's 'Loaf Shack', all is forgiven.

Anyway, I enjoyed tonight because apart from Sam Callahan, we are getting down to the real talent of the series now that all the deadwood has been rooted out. Here's my verdict on tonight's performances:

Hannah 'Banana' Barrett -
I've been harsh on Hannah up until now, but this was a really solid performance from her. No growling, no oversinging, just a good Tina Turner-esque spin on 'Satisfaction', with a nice bit of audience participation thrown in. She gets a lot of stick on various forums for looking miserable all the time, but because this was a light-hearted, upbeat number, she seemed to relax and enjoy herself. I hope she gets through, I much prefer her over Tamera 'Dead Eyes' Foster.

Luke Friend -
After a shaky performance last week, Lukey really redeemed himself this week, despite what Sir Alan Sugar thinks:
But this is a man who picks a young female bit of totty to be his apprentice winner every year, so he's hardly the best person to judge someone on their actual merits. This was a beautiful performance from Luke, I might actually download this one.

Sam Bailey -
Not my favourite performance of Sam's so far. I agree with Nicole - this is not something I'd like to see on Sam's album, we don't really need to hear George Harrison belting out a power ballad and vice versa. 'Something' should be all about tone and restraint, so it couldn't really showcase what Sam can do. I can't criticise her technical ability though. According to voting leaks in The Sun today, Sam is leading the votes by 35%. I can well believe this.

Rough Copy -
Every week the judges heap praise on these guys and I just don't get it. They were my favourites going through to the final 12 because I was expecting some kind of urban, Blackstreet type of act, but they're just boyband-lite. This was Coldplay boyband-ified. Bonus points for their energy and funky dance moves, but I absolutely loathe their song choices every week (except for Hit The Road Jack).

Sam Callahan -
Do I really have to write about this performance? I don't want to be mean. He's trying, bless him. He needs to take guitar lessons from Luke. He really can't concentrate on playing the guitar and singing at the same time. Surely the Callafans can't save him again this week?

Tamera Foster -
She chose this song herself? Really? Even actual Tamera fans are criticising her for singing too many outdated ballads, and now we find out she is picking them herself! I was pleased when the beat dropped and the urban dancers came out, but even they couldn't save Tamera when she messed up her lyrics halfway through. The mask dropped for a moment when that happened, and we saw the kind of face she probably pulled when she made that poor girl at school lick her shoes. I predict bottom 2 this week, as even her fans don't seem to care enough any more.

Nicholas McDonald -
Everyone's favourite Adele tearjerker teamed with the 'pimp slot' that is the final performance of the evening - this was bound to be good. Little Nicky did a beautiful job of this, I love the way his wee Scottish accent slips out a bit when he's singing. My only criticism is that he didn't seem to be connecting with the lyrics very much (how could he if he's never been in love or had his heart broken?) He compensated for this with some very cliched fist clenching and a pained expression, but nevertheless it was still a first class vocal performance.

I'm predicting a bottom 2 of Tamera and Sam C. this week, but of course the judges will save Tamera. Don't take my word for it though - I was way off last week. Previous X Factor history dictates that my favourite always goes on the weekend closest to my birthday as a particularly cruel twist of fate, but I have no worries about Luke this week. Tune in tomorrow and we shall see! I might have to switch off for Miley Cyrus though, I've seen enough of that tongue to last me a lifetime.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Big Band Week: The Results

Well, the public certainly don't seem to be taking to Hannah do they? Second time in the bottom two, and second time saved by the judges. I have no idea why -  I mean, I personally hated her performance last night, but I can recognise that she has a lovely tone and genuine vocal talent. James Arthur is championing her to win - maybe because he's such an unpleasant person Hannah is getting tarnished with the same brush? I have no idea.

Regardless, it was Abi for the chop this week, and we got a montage of her X Factor journey which reminded us all what a lovely, folksy, unique singer/songwriter she was at the start before themes like disco week made it impossible for her to showcase her true self. Gary told her off for not showing enough passion until it came to the sing off, but how is a folksy singer/songwriter supposed to show passion when lumbered with Kylie and disco numbers? Abi was well and truly stitched up a la Janet Devlin if you ask me.

My predictions were way off this week. I promise to do better next week, when we'll be sampling the delights of the Great British Songbook. A nice, broad theme which should allow the acts to be themselves a bit more. Join me again next week, and in the meantime follow my random X Factor observations on Twitter @marmalade_cat.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Start Spreading the News! An Over Might Win!

I've been hyped for X Factor Big Band Week all day. I love the genre and love the atmosphere of the big 30 piece orchestra. As a further treat this week, we had an appearance from the Almighty Simon Cowell himself! Admittedly, it was watching a video of some people watching him on a video, but it was nice to see he still cares about little old UK.

Highlights of the show tonight:

  • Nicole Sherzinger looking like a beautiful Hawaiian Goddess with her hair flowers and lovely yellow frock.
  • Rough Copy introducing a whole new audience to the excellent Sweet Brown meme "Ain't Nobody Got Time Fo Dat!" (if you didn't get the reference, see the original here:
  • The John Lewis Christmas advert taking up an entire ad break, and leaving me bawling like a baby. I'm serious, I'll have to leave the room whenever it comes on from now on.

Here's tonight's verdict from yours truly:

Abi Alton -
Hmmm. A performance of extremes I think. When she sings, she sounds nervous and shaky, and don't tell me that's just her style. When she hits choruses and big notes she sounds ok. At one point I closed my eyes and almost felt like I was watching an advert for Lidl. But Big Band week is not a week for standing rooted to the spot, Abi. Do you think this was because she had ditched her glasses and was nervous about getting off the podium? Props to her for seeming a lot happier this week though.

Sam Bailey -
New York New York conjures memories of drunken New Years Eve parties with lines of relatives doing the can can in a line, but by the halfway point of this performance I felt like I was watching an international megastar headline at Las Vegas. Wowsers, Sam! She can somehow turn cheese into a sheer "Bloody hell, that's some pair of pipes on her!" moment. Amazing.

Nicholas -
Quite the little crooner this week with his slicked back hair (hashtag glistening, according to Nicole). No doubt some people will be bored by this because it was laidback, but that certainly hasn't done Michael Buble any harm (according to Gary, he's a "lazy singer"). Incidentally, why do they keep calling Little Nicky "a Baby Buble"? Until now, he's not sung anything remotely Buble-like and I have no idea where this comparison has come from. But if this is how they intend to market Nicky after the X Factor, I certainly have no complaints because I think it suits him really well. Shades of Leon Jackson, but let's not go there.

Luke -
Oh dear. You know how I feel about Luke. But this performance made me uncomfortable and I couldn't put my finger on why. Then  Gary summed it up in a perfect little nutshell: "The key to big band is to always sing behind the beat. You sang ahead of the beat". He seemed constantly needing to slow himself down - he's got too much energy for this style of singing. I really worry for Luke this week. I don't think the Friendie army is strong enough to withstand a bad week, which is really unfair because this isn't his style at all. Everybody will have a style nemesis on X Factor and big band is evidently Luke's.

Hannah - Ugh, I hated this. I really wanted to like Hannah because I love soul singers and I'm a big fan of the likes of Gladys Knight. But Hannah is let down by sloppy diction, bum low notes and oversinging. This was one big bellowfest and it hurt my ears. Although I have to admit I was still reeling from the shock of Luke getting bad comments at the time, and half my attention was on Twitter.

Rough Copy -
Hit The Road Jack was the song choice I was most looking forward to this week! The twirling canes! The finger popping! Hell yeah! But I will say this again: Rough Copy's vocals are weak and breathy, and they struggled to sing over the 30 piece orchestra. The one in the skirt is out of tune. I was pleasantly surprised by the chap on the right though, I don't think he's had his own solo part before, but he deserves it, they should use him more.

Tamera -
I admit I wanted to hate this because she's so unlikeable, but it was actually ok. I would still like to see more (read that as SOME) eye contact during her performances. She also loses points for saying on Twitter the song is by Michael Buble - it's not, Tamera! It's by Julie London, grrr! But hey, I'm clutching at straws for something bad to say now. Forgive me, I'm still upset about Luke.

Sam Callahan - Looks like the judges have cottoned on to the fact that negative comments = pity votes, so they reigned in their criticisms through gritted teeth this week. Gary was hilarious, he might as well have said "Well, at least you tried". Sam performed it well but that, baby, no! Did you see his nifty mic flip at one point? Risky, risky Sam, what if you had dropped it? That's the kind of thing I would have done. He can have half a point for the mic flip and half a point for the stage skids. I don't know what the points are out of, I only just made them up.

Sooo. A tough week to call this week. I was thinking of planning a trip to the bookies last week because I was feeling super confident in my predictions, but this week I'm really unsure. Luke could be in trouble. Sam C. could be in trouble because the judges have adopted the tactic of being nice to him (this is how they got rid of Rylan and Jedward when they became too popular for it to be funny any more). Then Louis will have to choose between two of his boys, and he might cry! Who will he save??

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Disco Week: The Results

I'll keep these results show posts short and to the point - which is more than can be said for the results show itself, with its guest performers, endless ad breaks and recap upon recap.

Can I just say I was right about another bottom two shocker this week? Tamera has been falling out of favour with the public lately and I still hold to my prediction of fourth place for her - Misha B and Cher Lloyd syndrome. And did you see her face when she found out Abi was through instead of her? Ooh, if looks could kill.

Poor Kingsland Road clearly knew they couldn't face off against the mighty Tamera, as evidenced by their emotional lip wobbling throughout their sing-off performance. 3 out of 4 judges chose to save Tamera - with Gary giving us all a stern telling off for "getting it wrong". (Isn't it up to us who we like and who we don't?)

So - bye bye Kingsland Road. They won't make the tour now which will no doubt lose Syco a good few ticket sales.

Tune in next week for the return of a long term favourite of mine...Big Band Week, hooray! Song suggestions anyone?

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Shake Your Glitterballs! It's Disco Week

Shocking news this week as minutes before the live show it was reported that the flash vote has been axed! Well, okay, apparently just "resting" for this week so that Nile Rodgers and Chic could perform their medley of disco hits. And what a medley it was! I love me a bit of disco and hopefully this helped to introduce the genre to the younger viewers (Are you listening little Nicky? That's D.I.S.C.O. because of course, you're ONLY SIXTEEN!!)

Gah, I'm watching Xtra Factor as I type this and Nicole, stop fiddling with those goddamn hair extensions! I don't know what she was on this week but I think a finger in a plug socket before the show might explain a lot. Anyway, on with the review of tonight's performances:

Luke Friend -
You know how I feel about Luke. 100% #friendie all the way. I was worried about this song choice but he aced it, perfect song choice for him. I hate to sound like Louis but he's like a little Lenny Kravitz. Thank goodness for the axe of the flash vote because the extra 24 hours mean he won't be penalised for going on first (especially on a night like tonight when the young folks are out at Halloween and bonfire parties and maybe some other people are - shock horror - watching Strictly before switching over).

Kingsland Road -
When one of these chaps said they were nervous about the dance moves, it made me feel a bit sorry for this group as I don't think they really wanted to be lumbered with the Take That Mark 2 label. I have a feeling there's a bit of talent and credibility hidden away here. Anyway, I enjoyed the performance. It's hard to diss anyone tonight because Disco is so fun.

Tamera Foster -
She couldn't go wrong with Wishing On A Star, it's a beautiful song and she delivered it faultlessly. But does anyone else think this girl is dead behind the eyes? There's no connection with the audience - even on the VT she doesn't make proper eye contact, as if there's a mask there that could slip at any moment. It puts me right off.

Sam Callahan -
Poor Sam. What was with the boxing motif for a start? Did anyone else notice he fluffed his words? It wasn't mentioned by the judges but instead of "the world would be wild for the dream, so baby don't turn away listen to what I gotta saaaaay" he started repeating the first verse, so it came out "I've gotta say I only dream of you, so baby don't turn away..." MASSIVE CRINGE. He seems like a nice guy but I have a feeling he's in trouble tomorrow night.

Abi Alton -
Pleasantly surprised here. Obviously her interpretation of I Will Survive will be compared to that of The Voice's Leah McFall, but I thought it was a cute little piano ditty and suited her down to the ground. A shame it kind of ruined the disco vibe, but I think this will see her safe through to next week.

Nicholas McDonald -
Little Nicky looked uncomfortable at first on that podium with dancers gyrating around him, and the song started off in quite a low register which only exposed his nerves more. But once the beat picked up he sounded amazing. He's my second favourite in the competition, really cute and likeable aswell.

Rough Copy -
These guys seem to go down really well tonight on the Twittersphere. Personally, I thought their vocals were a little weak and too reliant on backing vocals (was that even them at all in the falsetto chorus??) But it was nice to see them doing uptempo for a change, more of this in future please gentlemen!

Hannah Barrett -
She has a beautiful jazzy voice but a few really annoying habits she needs to watch out for. The first is her cockney tendency to round off the "L" sound at the end of words (last week it was "Skyfawwwww", this week it was "Make me feewww so reawwww". I also don't like it when she goes into a super-low register, it sounds forced and uncomfortable.

Sam Bailey -
Faultless as always. And doesn't she look amazing with all that weightloss and glitzy jumpsuitedness? She is a pro and I can't criticise a thing about her.

Bottom 2 predictions? Before the show I was confident in either Abi, Kingsland Road or Sam C. but some surprising performances have blown this somewhat open. I'm going with Sam C. and some kind of nasty shock. I know who I've got on my speed dial (*cough* Luke Friend *cough* 090 20 50 51 01)

Tune in tomorrow for my verdict! And as always cannot wait for the pure cheese that is the group performance.

Friday, 1 November 2013

X Factor 2013 in 'Not The Worst Series Ever' Shocker

It's the tenth anniversary of X Factor this year and some are saying the show is stale. Viewer ratings are lower than ever, armchair critics are saying the UK has run out of talent and we've been reduced to scraping the barrel. So it might seem like a really odd time to start a brand new blog about TV talent shows.

But you know what? I don't care. I've lived and breathed X Factor ever since G4 blew me away with their first audition (they were robbed, curse you Steve Brookstein!) X Factor is all I ever talk about when it's on, and ditto The Voice and Britain's Got Talent. So I figured it's about time I put my knowledge and passion for  these shows into a blog - not least to give my friends and colleagues' ears a rest.

Despite popular opinion, X Factor for me has been shamazing this year! It's been a rollercoaster - I was gutted Paul Akister didn't get through Judges Houses and was disappointed that I had no real standout favourites going into the lives. But as is often the way, some HUGE talent is creeping out the woodwork as the finalists grow in confidence and find their niche.

Firstly, what can I say about Luke Friend? That boy is talent with a capital T. I loved his first audition but forgot about him for a while because it was shown in the first episode. First couple of shows I was a bit "meh" and then week 3 - bam! He plays the guitar, sings my favourite song Kiss From A Rose and gives it a totally new rocky edge and I'm hooked. He has written some great original material too - check this out for starters:

I predict Luke Friend will be this year's Little Mix - the one nobody really notices at the start but he grows and improves massively as the weeks go on. The dark horse of the competition if you ask me.

Sam Bailey is another star. On paper she could come across as cheesy or cruise ship, but in reality she is just note-perfect, and can hit the big notes like nobody's business.

Nicholas McDonald (in my head I call him Little Nicky, I just can't help myself) is another amazing voice. It just seems so effortless with him - and did you know he's ONLY SIXTEEN?!

Tamera lacks likeability. I predict a shock exit netting her 4th place, just like Cher Lloyd and Misha B, who had a similar problem. Sam C. doesn't deserve the flack he's getting for his voice - he's an ok singer. Kingsland Road - cheesy, annoying haircuts, Gary isn't showcasing them to the best of their ability. Rough Copy could have been amazing with an RnB/New Jack Swing vibe but their song choices are abysmal. And Abi - well, put it this way - I cringe behind the sofa with embarrassment for her when she comes on. Oops I almost forgot Hannah - she's getting overshadowed by Tamera but I like her tone and her big, jazzy voice.

Disco week coming up tomorrow and the song list is as follows *spoiler alert*

Hannah Barrett - Somebody Elses Guy
Abi Alton - I Will Survive
Kingsland Road - Blame It On The Boogie
Luke Friend - Play That Funky Music
Sam Callahan - Relight My Fire
Rough Copy - September
Tamera Foster - Wishing On A Star
Sam Bailey - No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)
Nicholas McDonald - Rock With You

I'm excited/intrigued/nervous about some of the song choices here - especially for my Lukey. What do you think? Predictions for bottom 2? Please comment below!