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!