The X Factor column: Week Six

The X FactorThe X Factor went all patriotic this week by opening the Great British Songbook. It seemed to suit the remaining seven acts much more than last week’s big band extravaganza. 

While it would have been good to see a few riskier song choices considering the limitless options – perhaps Arctic Monkeys’ I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor or La Roux’s Bulletproof – the contestants seemed much more at ease with this week’s theme.

The Great British Songbook wouldn’t be complete without something from The Beatles and this year it was the George Harrison composition Something. The track, which appeared on the Fab Four’s Abbey Road album, has also been covered by a wide range of artists including Frank Sinatra, Shirley Bassey and the cast of Glee.

The song worked its magic for current bookies’ favourite Sam Bailey although Nicole Scherzinger became the first judge to voice an even slightly negative opinion about the prison warden, declaring she should not put it on her debut album. Gary Barlow, one of Sam’s biggest supporters, was annoyed at public cynicism that the former cruise ship singer will not sell records, citing Celine Dion and Cher as mature female artists currently shifting albums.

Shirley Bassey was also the inspiration for Tamera Foster this week, who delivered an updated rendition of the Welsh diva’s John Barry/Don Black penned Bond theme Diamonds Are Forever. Despite a hiccup which saw Tamera forget the words mid-song, it was actually one of her best performances, displaying a real identity which has been missing in previous weeks.

Elsewhere, lone group Rough Copy performed Coldplay’s anthem Viva la Vida though Nicole found it ‘a bit vanilla’. Hannah Barrett got universal love from the panel for belting out The Rolling Stones’ (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction while 16-year-old Nicholas McDonald gave a surprisingly mature rendition of Adele’s global super-hit Someone like You.

However, it was a bad week for Louis Walsh’s other acts Sam Callahan and Luke Friend who were named this week’s bottom two and had to sing for survivalSam Callahan

The much derided Callahan had landed in trouble after a wobbly version of George Michael’s 1987 smash Faith. Deciding to play guitar and sing at the same time turned out to be a bad idea for the Essex boy as he promptly fell out of sync with the backing track. Meanwhile, one of Elton John’s most iconic hits, Your Song, proved unlucky for Devon busker Luke.

Ultimately, the Sunday night sing-off saw Sam finally booted off the show after his version of Goo Goo Dolls’ recurrent airplay favourite Iris failed to trump Luke’s cover of U2’s I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For. However, the judges praised Sam’s work ethic and were adamant that his attitude and ambition would see him launching a future pop career.

Russell Iliffe