X Factor played musical ‘lucky dip’ this week, offering up a Michael Jackson versus Queen theme that seemed as though it had been decided by drawing names from a hat.
As always, the evening was a bit of a lucky dip in itself, but high levels of mediocrity were to be expected after Dermot O’Leary stole the show in the first five minutes with a sassy dance routine.
Surprisingly though, it was all a little less we will rock you and a little more we will shock you because for the first time in weeks, there were standout offerings.
White van man turned raspy rapscallion Ben Haenow may have flown under the radar for weeks but his acapella take on Man In The Mirror proved that he may just be the fairest of them all.
From Fleur East to Andrea Faustini and even Stevi Ritchie (the lady’s not for turning on that one lads, sorry), there were memorable performances that didn’t need a pot of gold paint to stand out from the crowd.
On the subject of memorable performances, Louis Walsh’s reaction to the unwelcome 9th member of his Stereo Kicks (Lee Nelson, pulling a fast one) was priceless.
Wonder if he reminded him of a young Calvin Harris?
Who nailed it?
Dermot O’Leary. Without a shadow of a doubt.
Tonight, for the first time, I paid attention to Ben Haenow. I’d written off the white van man as another Danyl Johnson but his Man In The Mirror was quite the thriller.
Say what you will about his singing ability, Stevi Ritchie delivered on the performance front. His Bohemian Rhapsody was quite the ‘trip’, but I’d go back again tomorrow.
Seems Simon’s Overs are far from over the hill this week: Fleur East offered up a musical feast.
And last but by no means least, Andrea Faustini. He won’t have trouble finding Somebody To Love him after that stellar performance.
Who sailed it?
Poor Paul Akister was dubbed the dementor of the competition by surly Simon but he managed to take a decent stab at Don’t Stop Me Now. Pity about the God awful arrangement.
Jay James just about scraped through with a shaky rendition of The Show Must Go On. There’s still something of a young Steve Brookstein about him though.
It’s been a while since Lauren Platt seemed comfortable in her own skin on stage so it was nice to see her back in better form with I’ll Be There. She wobbled on those top notes though.
You’ve got to hand it to the producers, it takes some determination to keep trying to make Stereo Kicks happen but they handled themselves well this evening when Lee Nelson joined them on stage, ruining that beloved “leave the stools on the key change” moment that made Westlife’s career.
You Are Not Alone was an apt choice, it seems.
Who failed it?
No matter how much I want to love Only The Young, I can’t forget the disaster that was their ABBA cover. They’ve been shouting their way through the competition and there’s no point trying to Blame It On The Boogie.