X Factor 2013 Big Band Night: The Chart – Rough Copy act of the night?

by Gerard McGarry

Rough Copy on X Factor's Big Band night

If you’ve been following my X Factor tweets on Twitter tonight, you’ll know that I’ve been bemoaning the Big Band theme week. To be fair, I’ve been bemoaning this for at least the last three years, so it’s nothing new. The reason? X Factor aims to find a popstar, and no popstar (with the notable exception of Mickey Buble) has succeeded in the charts with an offering of swing music.

All that X Factor’s Big Band week serves to do is cater to the older demographic while totally turning off the younger viewers. Worse yet, because most of the contestants are teenagers and don’t know or care about big band music, they can’t sing the tunes or connect to them in any meaningful way. Which effectively handicaps most of your favourite acts. Let’s see who managed to work within this week’s them and who stumbled along the way with our latest X Factor chart!

  1. Rough Copy – Hit The Road Jack: Three judges tipped Rough Copy for the X Factor finals following their incredible performance of Hit The Road. And no wonder. The threesome were vocally on point. They chose an excellent song, arranged by Gary Barlow himself, and gave a stage performance that showcased their abilities brilliantly.
  2. Tamera Forster – Cry Me A River: A surprisingly mature and soulful performance from Tamera this week. Every time she performs Twitter helpfully reminds us that she’s only 16, but her vocals are powerful and rich. A confident return to form for Tamera after a little ‘blip’ last week. Good to see her back.
  3. Hannah Barrett – It’s A Man’s, Man’s Man’s World: Hannah had a lame start with this James Brown classic, but she eventually found her sweet spot, which was a throaty growl that made me stop and look up from my Twitter stream. She was sassy and strong this week. I loved her styling – more sharp suits for Hannah please, wardrobe department!
  4. Sam Bailey – New York, New York: Ah, Sam. Week after week she delivers perfect performances and her stage presence is always remarkable. She wasn’t at her best vocally this week, which surprised me because I expected her to connect well with big band tunes. Still, like Hannah, when she found her comfort zone the song improved a lot, but not her best week.
  5. Abi Alton – That’s Life: Abi, like Luke Friend, is being poorly served by The X Factor’s theme weeks. As a genre performer, having to perform songs frequently outside her comfort zone has been hit and miss. She did an admirable job with That’s Life tonight – her father’s favourite song – but I can’t help feeling that she needs to be performing original material to connect properly with the voting public.
  6. Luke Friend – Moondance: Poor Luke. He did his darndest this week to carry a croonfest of a tune, and it almost worked. Apart from the dodgy vocals and stilted stage appearance. This is not the kind of music Luke should be performing and every week he does something that’s outside of his niche he disconnects from the audience a little bit more. It’s honestly only a matter of time before he wastes this opportunity completely. Just his luck to be stuck in Louis Walsh’s category.
  7. Nicholas McDonald – Dream A Little Dream: Without prejudice to Nicholas – he seems like a nice kid – but the twin ghosts of Leon Jackson and Eoghan Quigg hover over his shoulders every time he performs. He’s got the cute factor that the mums and grannies like, but as a singer I can’t imagine his name being called out in a Top 40 chart any time in the near future.
  8. Sam Callahan – Ain’t That A Kick In The Head: Oh, let’s be honest readers. We’ve known each other for long enough now. I can’t lie to you. Sam is the ironic contestant this year, but he doesn’t look cheesy like Wagner or Chico. That’s what’s confusing people. He looks the part, but he simply can’t sing. He’d be great in a karaoke sing-off with a drunken vagrant, but on the X Factor stage it’s a storm of awfulness. Sure, he put on the glitz, but he’s completely out of his depth in this competition. Time to go home, Sam.

Aw, I feel like I was too harsh about Sam Callahan. He genuinely was trying his best. But those bottom three – Sam, Luke and Nicholas – are completely outclassed by the three at the top. There’s still good news for them though – the British public are known to toss out the best singers in favour of a couple of pretty faces. So, long after the ‘shock’ eliminations that see Tamera and Rough Copy go home, we could still be listening to amateur hour with Sam, Nicholas and Luke. Hooray.

Hopefully though, things won’t get to that point. We’re at the point in the competition where the backstage agenda really comes into play – the ones they want to leave will start to get negative comments, while others will suddenly receive rave reviews. Tamera will be compared to the new Rihanna or Beyonce and Rough Copy will earn their New JLS plaudits. I hope.

Anyway, enough about my take on tonight’s X Factor – who topped YOUR big band week chart?

Gerard McGarry is a jet-setting, world-renowned Reality TV critic. In real life, Gerard works with web and social media strategy. His personal blog is at GerardMcGarry.com or follow him on Twitter @gerrybot


  1. Nick Barnes
    Nick Barnes on November 9, 2013 at 10:36 pm

    Rough Copy never fail to impress, as does Tamera. I felt Tamera, unfortunately, wasn’t as strong this week but she still delivered a stunning performance. I have far too much work to be getting on with or I’d get onto the topic of a certain Mr. Callaghan. He’s become this year’s novelty act – admittedly nothing like Rylan or Jedward, but he’s still the joke act this year. He’s out of his depth and I think he knows that and Gary’s comments … or lack of… shows that he shouldn’t really be in the competition at this stage. However, stranger things have happened.

    Sam Bailey on the other hand could sing the phone book and still impress me. This week she was a tad off up until the latter half of the song, in which she really came into her own. And, after Louis Walsh’s comments about what type of songs he’d put on Nicholas’ album, I’m glad he’ll never get the chance to manage him. Nicholas is very talented, but I feel that up until now, his performances have been very samey and dare I say it, a bit safe.

    I’m afraid Abi, Sam C and Luke wouldn’t be missed if they were to leave tomorrow night. Yes, all three at once. Let’s just get it done with.

  2. Notafan on November 10, 2013 at 1:22 am

    I’d swap Sam Bailey for Tamera, not because I hate the latter but because she is technically talented but completely fail to move me. IMO she’s gone into the contest too young and needed a few years to really fully realise what she wants as a singer. Sure she’s good, but it’s all without passion and I wonder if she knows what kind of music she really loves. Without that she’ll end up another pop puppet.

  3. Lauren on November 10, 2013 at 9:47 am

    Police warden Sam is great – no-one denies this- but where exactly is her niche? For me she hovers around the Jonathan & Charlotte/Jane Mcdonald demographic – undoubtedly an initial hit album but then? And ok – Rough Copy equals the defunct JLS in little skirts and Tamera is a Beyonce/Leona hybrid, and both work their socks off, but where is the “sit up and take notice” element this year? Luke Friend could have made it with that face – (& hair) but he seems to have lost his way a bit – the girls will probably give him another chance though which he’d better just grab and go for it. I agree that the big band theme is a miscalculation all round – no-one cares and the contestants all seem bewildered and struggle to adapt. If X-Factor survives another year, it needs a serious re-think to retrieve its glory days. Even poor Dermot seems a but desperate in his attempts to keep it all going.

  4. Nanzone on November 12, 2013 at 9:35 pm

    I am very proud of ROUGH COPY for putting effort in all of their performances they do and as you can see it is paying them of. I’d love for rough copy to win but i’v got to admit that you can barely see the X FACTOR winners these days. Are the winners not suppose to be famous?If so where are they?Not including LITTLE MIX. Something has to be done about this.

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