The X Factor Column – week eight

The X FactorThe remaining contestants left in The X Factor saw their workload double this weekend as they had to deliver two songs instead of the usual single performance.

This involved each act choosing a song by their musical hero while another was selected by the viewers from an X Factor jukebox. We should be thankful for the public’s erratic voting on this series, as it’s made predicting the bottom two very hard to call. In fact the Sunday night sing-off has turned out to be the highlight, providing some much needed drama with many contestants delivering their best performances while singing for survival.

Despite forgetting her lyrics for two weeks in a row, 16-year-old Tamera Foster had been spared the drop zone recently. The furore surrounding her memory loss sought her to get on-screen help from a hypnotherapist and it certainly seemed to work. She delivered highly praised versions of the Rihanna/Calvin Harris banger We Found Love and the Ewan MacColl penned The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.

However, the public weren’t as impressed and Tamera found herself in the dreaded sing-off this week with fellow teenager Luke Friend. The Devon busker had wowed the judges with his version of Bon Iver’s Skinny Love and the Mumford & Sons hit I Will Wait. The panel got rather heated when it came to the vote-off which ended with Gary Barlow taking it to deadlock. This resulted in the contestant with the lowest number of viewer votes being named and it was Tamera who left the show just one week short of next week’s semi-final.

Gary didn’t think it was the end for Tamera though, predicting that in five years time she would be the most successful contestant from this year’s show.


Luke Friend

For the rest of the acts it was business as usual though trio Rough Copy seemed to think it was R. Kelly week! They received good reviews for a version of I Believe I Can Fly which followed a mash-up featuring another of the R&B star’s hits, She’s Got That Vibe and Bobby Brown’s Every Little Step.

Meanwhile, hot favourite Sam Bailey was named by Louis Walsh as the vocal performance of the night by a mile for her rendition of Emeli Sande’s Clown.  However, Nicole Scherzinger was booed by the studio audience when she commented that Sam’s cover of Whitney Houston’s eighties classic How Will I Know looked like a cruise ship performance.

Finally, Scottish teenager Nicholas McDonald is looking like a dead cert to join Ms. Bailey in the final though Gary felt his performances this week, including Take That’s Greatest Day, hadn’t been his best. However, he has delivered strong vocals consistently and the regional vote should never be underestimated.  After all, West Lothian lad Leon Jackson memorably won the 2007 series over expected victor Rhydian. It just goes to show when it comes to X Factor voting anything can happen!

Russell Iliffe