The first live show unsurprisingly saw a lot of movement in the outright market. Misunderstood went backwards as traders were not impressed with their performance of an original song ‘Chewing Gum’. It was exactly from the Rak-Su mould and would’ve been praised to the rooftops had it been performed by them last year. I thought it was fine, but in no way was it a 4.0 shot to win X Factor, so they had to drift. This evening they have a somewhat obscure song choice in ‘Close To You’, and I’m honestly questioning whether they’re the alpha group. It is a bit of a shocker on paper. As a value layer I found it highly amusing when Simon pretended to be surprised; “Are they?!?!” at learning they were the bookies’ favourite, as he would have known this in advance.
In contrast to Misunderstood, Shan cemented herself as the strong outright favourite and shortened after an excellent performance of ‘Imagine’. She seems the most likely winner for now, but it’s still very early and we have to question whether or not the show will run with her as Plan A. The Elton John song tonight is also in her comfort zone so I’m expecting another impressive performance.
I was delighted to see Dalton Harris receive the alpha boy treatment in last week’s show, after backing him several times during the auditions. The niggling doubt that I have is the red and black staging and lasers that cut through his face. Whitney’s ‘I Have Nothing’ has been done to death, but at least you know Dalton will perform it to the best of his ability.
Anthony and Brendan have songs very fitting with this week’s Guilty Pleasures theme. However, they are both marmite vocally and the Foreigner song in particular is very difficult to sing. The former found himself as being “from Bootle”, rather than Liverpool and so it wasn’t ideal to be receiving the shrinking home town treatment in week one. Brendan has been pictured with a guitar, so it seems like he’ll be Janet Devlin-ing the anthemic 90s classic.
In the Girls, Bella Penfold could well be on a Tamera Foster trajectory, having performed two of the songs she did in 2013. Does this mean she’s destined for fifth? Simon seems to like her a lot, but I question how well she did in the vote last week and she has drifted like a barge each time she has performed. Molly has an inspired choice in taking on a song by an X Factor USA winner. It seems very much like she is being put in a contemporary pop star lane, but I have to wonder how far she can realistically go in the same competition as Shan. She is a stronger prospect than Sam Lavery from the same region two years ago but is also competing in a stronger category.
Scarlett has drifted in the outright this week, but I think she will have done very well in the week one vote, despite Simon calling her “pub singer-ish”. I believe it is her, not Danny, who has the potential to ‘Chris Maloney it’ in the oldie vote this series. I therefore expect producers to keep a lid on her vote and it might take some effort to dispatch of her. However, she was first to be called safe last week so I don’t think they’ll be out to get her this week.
LMA Choir were a huge positive surprise in the Groups category, with ‘Circle of Life’ being lauded as one of the best performances of the night. Speaking of surprises, there has been one big surprise making it to the final in each of the last few years. Kevin Davy White last year followed Saara Aalto and Reggie N Bollie in making it all the way to Wembley Arena. Could LMA Choir end up making it that far? It would certainly be something fresh for the show and I don’t think Top Group is out of the question. It was them and not Anthony who got the ‘from Liverpool’ treatment.
United Vibe did less well last week. Their performance was fine but totally anodyne and they found themselves getting criticised by the judges. They were left as last to be called safe which suggests the bus is coming sooner rather than later. Acacia and Aaliyah didn’t fare much better, but I saw a huge production for them as a positive. Still, I don’t think they will have done well in the vote and so could easily find themselves in trouble soon as well.
Janice unsurprisingly found herself in the sing off last Sunday night. They had her stuck on a plinth for a dance song that should’ve seen her working the stage, or at least moving a little. ‘Show Me Love’ is firmly in her 90s dance niche and could see her experiencing some kind of bounce. I was amazed Giovanni escaped the Bottom Three last week, but in hindsight and watching the show back, there was a lot of competition for that. He can’t have been that far off and is deservedly one of the favourites to be in the Bottom Three in week two. Danny’s choice of a Madonna track is a massive WTF and doesn’t seem to be suited to his voice. It could well be in the script for him to be criticised for it this evening.
Week one saw the contestants being treated relatively fairly, so I’ll be watching very closely tonight to see if they are upping the manipulation levels. It’s highly likely that how the acts faired in the first vote will influence how they are treated tonight, so at least producers will now have a better idea of how the show will pan out across the remaining six weeks.
Most of the song choices can be found below.
Bella Penfold – Diamonds Are Forever – Shirley Bassey (w/ Kanye West rap)
Molly Scott – Little Do You Know – Alex and Sierra
Scarlett Lee – Always On My Mind – Elvis
Shan Ako – Sorry Seems To Be The hardest Word – Elton John
Acacia and Aaliyah – unknown
LMA Choir – Proud Mary – Tina Turner
Misunderstood – Close To You – Maxi Priest (w/ original rap)
United Vibe – Party In The USA – Miley Cyrus
Danny Tetley – Crazy For You – Madonna
Giovanni Spano – unknown
Janice Robinson – Show Me Love
Anthony Russell – I Want To Know What Love Is – Foreigner
Brendan Murray – Believe – Cher
Dalton Harris – I Have Nothing – Whitney Houston