Warning: article will contain spoilers
Unusually for The X Factor, plenty of this year’s genuine outright contenders seemed to appear in the third weekend of auditions. The show six pimp slot went to Shan (4.3), a 25-year-old session singer from Croydon. It was the second Sunday night pimp slot of the series to feature someone performing ‘Never Enough’ from The Greatest Showman, after Scarlett in week two. From the way that the judges gushed over Shan’s ultra-professional rendition of the song, she could be this year’s Chosen One, should such a thing exist. While it was strong, I’m not sure it was worthy of making her 4.0 to win the whole series. She doesn’t seem to have much of a backstory yet from what I can tell, though that didn’t seem to stop Louisa Johnson winning in 2016. And if the producers are looking to push her for the win, why hold her back until audition show six? The jury’s out on the Shan plan.
Someone who really impressed me in the auditions was Jamaican-born Dalton Harris (19.5). He seems to be by far the best vocally in the Boys category and gave a very emotive rendition of ‘Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word’.
As well as hitting some very impressive high notes, the edit for Dalton was also favourable. With an emotional backstory and a difficult upbringing, it seems there will be plenty of VT material should the producers wish to go down that route. I’ve thrown a few quid at him in the hope that he continues to impress vocally, but the concern has to be whether or not Anthony or Brendan might be the alpha(s) in that category.
Occupying second place in the outright market is Bella Penfold (8.0), who sang a karaoke version of Joss Stone’s ‘Fell In Love With A Boy’. She looks great but has a brash, outspoken personality that won’t be for everyone. Bella featured much earlier in the episode where Shan was heavily pimped, so might not be the preferred choice in the Girls category. She struggled to hit the high notes in her audition but has a distinctive enough voice and apparently impresses in later rounds. Regardless, single figures is too short for me right now.
Georgia on my mind
What’s going on with Georgia Burgess (10.0)? The Betfair market had her firmly out just a few days ago, but she has since contracted to single figures and is challenging for second favouritism. This is despite not being introduced with a VT in her audition segment, even though she is likeable and vocally very impressive. Has one of the other girls (Shan, Bella, Molly, Scarlett) had to pull out for some unknown reason? Answers on a postcard please, before I continue laying her to dangerous levels at current prices.
Another act strongly fancied by the market is the Middle England-friendly Ricky John (12.0) in the Overs category. He has a great backstory having been homeless in the past and then turning his life around. He’s a father and sings in a husky Ben Haenow sort of way, though he wasn’t anywhere near as impressive to my ears. Still, there’s no reason why the alpha male this year couldn’t come from the Overs category and the competition there isn’t exactly setting the market alight.
The only act of interest whatsoever from the last weekend was J-Sol (36.0) from East London, who performed an original song. It had everyone in tears and Louis up on stage as he dedicated the song to his late mother. Overall, his audition had an ‘emotional pimp slot’ vibe to it, rather than someone with commercial potential or someone in whom the producers are particularly invested. If you want someone to win The X Factor or Britain’s Got Talent, you don’t place them in the last weekend of auditions. Ever.
Where are all the groups?
We haven’t seen many decent groups being featured on the show this year, apart from Misunderstood (17.0) who may well be the alphas there. It looks like there will be some manufactured groups at the next round, as per tradition, quite possibly featuring some twink-y boys we saw in the last episode, and/or some girls we saw in the very first show.
In case you are unaware, rumour has it there will be four acts through to the live shows in each category this year. Boot Camp has thankfully been axed in favour of more Six Chair Challenge episodes, which I will be covering from this time next week.
Is Shan this year’s most likely winner, or do you fancy someone else? And what the hell is going on with Georgia? Feel free to leave a comment below.