Dreadful. The X Factor gave their contestants a fairly open remit this week when they announced the theme of The Great British Songbook. Pretty much any classic British song under the sun was there for the taking. But so many of our finalists chose badly, either boring us with their monotonous drudgery or completely messing up by forgetting words or…forgetting to actually start singing.
There was only one clear winner on tonight’s show, and that was prison officer turned power balladeer Sam Bailey. Sam’s just sailing through the competition at this point on the perfect mix of song choice, personality and incredible frocks. Somebody in the ITV wardrobe department is working overtime this year. Have a look at our chart for British Songbook week and tell me what you thought of the performances in the comments!
- Sam Bailey – Something: Sam took a Beatles song tonight and gave it the power ballad treatment. I almost didn’t recognise the song to begin with, but she blasted out the track with authority, despite a fundamental change-up to a classic track. I hesitate to say she owned it. But she did. The question is, can Sam make herself a viable chart act instead of a top drawer cover singer?
- Rough Copy – Viva La Vida: A terrible song choice, making this one of a string of bad song choices Rough Copy have been lumbered with throughout this competition. You’d almost think Gary Barlow didn’t want them to win. Still, even with a beige Coldplay song and questionable harmonies, RC were slick and gave their usual high standard of performance. But as the judges noted – it’s time for them to start carving out their niche if they want to solidify their fanbase.
- Tamera Foster – Diamonds Are Forever: Oh Tamera. It’s the mid-run crisis of confidence that we’ve seen in X Factor stars for years. After a little bit of backlash from the judges, Tamera’s floundering to satisfy their whims and remain relevant. And tonight she tried to ‘reinterpret’ Diamonds Are Forever, not only failing, but forgetting her words. Thing is, when she hit her stride, Tamera reminded us why she deserves to be in these live shows. Like Rough Copy, it’s time for her to break away and put her stamp on the competition rather than try to satisfy the judges.
- Nicholas McDonald – Someone Like You: Oh no. He tackled an Adele song, breaking the Eleventh Commandment, “Thou shall only sing Adele songs if you are Adele herself”. But you know what? Nicholas covered it pretty well. Sure, he’s not scoring high on the “individuality knob” or whatever knob Gary Barlow was talking about, but he gave a solid performance.
- Hannah Barrett – Satisfaction: Ah, Hannah. I love you, but your days are numbered. At this moment on the show there are the haves (Tamera, Rough Copy and Sam Bailey) and the have nots (Hannah, Luke, Sam Callaghan). There’s a fairly clear dividing line between them and it’s in terms of what the show’s about: The X Factor. Genuinely. The top three have star quality while the rest are vanilla performers. Hannah’s falling into this category.
- Luke Friend – Your Song: This has become one of the most covered songs on Reality TV since Ellie Goulding dusted it off a couple of years back. Sadly, it’s the musical equivalent of watching paint dry, the type of dreary rubbish Abi Alton’s no longer here to sing. And as adorable as Lukey is, he’s just not winning my admiration with this type of song. Like a number of the young contestants this week, he’s in the middle of an identity crisis – he’s trying to sing crowd pleasers instead of songs – and performances – that will establish him as a credible artist.
- Sam Callahan – Faith: Well I guess it would be nice…if Sam had got his cues right and not messed up the beginning of the song. We’ve been saying it for weeks, Sam is out of his depth in this competition and it’s only that torso that’s keeping the hoards of easily-pleased girlies voting every week. It’s most certainly not his outstanding singing ability, because he has none. If you walked out of the studio and handed a microphone to any random guy in the street, chances are he’d be a better singer than Sam.
So, if everything was right in the world, Luke and Sam C would be in the bottom two and young Mr Callahan would find himself packing his suitcase at X Factor towers on Monday morning. However, in a world where teenage girls are holding aloft the pretty-but-woeful singers on a cloud of hormones, we’ll probably be subjected to these two for weeks on end while Hannah or Tamera get booted. Prepare yourself for a shock result on Sunday night folks. I can feel it in my bones.