So after all the hue and cry and the threats of viewer backlash Katie Waissel has survived the first round of X-Factor Live and the judges managed to steer carefully round the elephant in the room of Gamu’s deportation. The 16 acts teamed up to kick off the show with a performance of Rhythm of the Night.
FYD, the only band not shaped by the manicured hand of Simon Cowell, and Nicolo Festa were the first acts to be ditched from the show in a double cut. According to the strange whims of the viewing public the opportunity to trim the dead (and hugely bizarre) wood that is Wagner or the unmemorable John Adeleye was not taken up. In honesty, as much as FYD were enjoyable, they are the kind of band that’s 10 a penny and Wagner, well not only would they have broken the mould after him, but likely burned the factory.
Nicolo received the lowest number of viewer voters after his version of Lady Gaga’s Just Dance and was automatically removed from the show. The Italian looked utterly shocked by the decision, apparently certain that his perfectly coiffured hair and diva title were a buy in to at least the second round. Nicolo spoke of his rejection on Daybreak this morning saying ‘No one was expecting it, even me’. Reportedly Jedward rang to offer their condolences, an experience I would imagine more pejorative than the voting.
FYD and Katie Waissel were the next lowest in the viewer’s votes and had to submit themselves to the judge’s decision after a last ditch sing off. Both hoped to send a message to the judges with the titles of their song choices, FYD choosing Rhiannon’s Don’t Stop the Music and Katie opting for Don’t Let Me Down by the Beatles. The judges chose to keep Katie with Simon Cowell being the only judge to back FYD. Danni and Cheryl both chose Katie, leaving the decision up to Louis who decided to make a U-turn on his previous statement that Katie was more style than substance and reward ‘passion and ambition’ over singing ability. In case you hadn’t noticed this was the primary criteria for a talent show, welcome to the X-Factor. FYD have made assurances that they will remain as a group despite their early departure from the show.
Katie chose We Are the Champions for her first performance of the evening, perhaps hoping to do the song justice after forgetting its lyrics in her first audition. Louis said that Katie hadn’t managed to convince him that she had substance as a singer and Danni said that the negative point for Katie’s performance was that ‘I don’t get the whole look’, you and I both Ms Minogue. Katie took to the stage in what appeared to be a stack of multiple day-glo golf visors, falsh eyelashes, purple tights and a silver and black striped dress/overcoat that defies description.
Judge Danni seems to be onto a winner after Matt Cardle and Aiden Grimshaw topped the bookmaker’s list with the shortest odds of all the competitors. Aiden wowed with his intense performance of Mad World by Garry Joules. Louis called his performance one of the best of the night and said they had found someone special. Danni raved about her mentee saying ‘that performance has legs and such substance, but there’s also this incredible vulnerability. Blackpool; turn the lights on Aiden is here!’ Matt Cardle also delivered a fantastic performance with his rendition of David Guetta’s When Love Takes Over still wearing his trademark hat, something that even the stylist team’s forcefully tasteless grip hasn’t managed to remove. Simon told him: ‘This was a genius choice of record. If you put this record out now, in a week’s time you’d have a monster hit.’
Mary Byrne was another to wow the audience and the judges with her performance of Its a Man’s Man’s world. Danni called it ‘the best vocal performance on the show’ and said ‘it would be an absolute crime if you went back to your day job’. X-Factor has since been called out for their repeated plugging of Tesco who are reportedly lapping up the attention their Irish checkout worker has garnered them. The supermarket heavyweights have reportedly lined up a £175,000 deal for Mary to promote their business and have urged staff for vote for Mary who has been given time off to perform. Mary Byrne received a standing ovation for her note-perfect performance of the James Brown classic and has seriously shortened her odds to win the show.
Cher Lloyd was determined to silence her critics after the furore over Cheryl putting her through to the Live stages and commanded the stage during her performance of Just be Good to Me. Whilst not vocally perfect, the tiny 17 year old has immense stage presence and had Cheryl dancing throughout her act. Simon commended her performance with the statement ‘any doubts anyone had about why this one picked you a couple of weeks ago have been blown away… you are exactly what we are looking for, which is a new little star.’
Rebecca Fergusson appears to have found her confidence and looked beautiful whilst delivering a dazzling performance of Teardrops by Womack and Womack. Cheryl said ‘I can’t heap enough praise on you’ and Rebecca remains one of the top five favourites to win. One Direction performed Coldplay’s Viva La Vida and were told by Louis that they had made it their own. Cowell commended the band saying ‘What was so impressive was that when one of you screwed up at the end, Liam jumped in and brought it together, that’s what bands do’
Storm Lee, another victim of misguided styling, gave a wildly energetic rendition of We Built This City by Starships whilst sporting a kaleidoscope band of coloured eye shadow and his new red hairdo. The singing was, as ever, wonderful but I remain convinced of the need to cover your eyes or face the wall whilst he’s on stage. Cowell summed it up with the statement ‘Louis has turned you into something out of batman and the performance is very 70’d glam rock- but I don’t think you had much choice.’
Things got ever more bizarre when wildcard act Diva Fever returned to the stage with their cabaret performance of Sunny, capering across the stage in neon cycling shorts. Only one of the duo actually appeared to do any singing but the performance was certainly entertaining in a wildly camp and cringe-worthy way. Louis wildcard, Wagner, contributed to the absurd and bizarre with his medley of She Bangs by Ricky Martin and Love Shack by the B52’s to the accompaniment of bongo drums. Simon encouraged us to ‘embrace the madness’ as X-factor tests just how far they can push their audience.
Paije Richardson, Danni’s wildcard entry gave a soulful performance of Killing me softly and Belle Amie, Simon’s handpicked girl group, performed Airplanes by B.O.B. Simon stated the need for a bit more ‘girl power’ in the completion. Really Simon? I think we said goodbye to that with the 90’s despite any attempts by Mel B to bring it back.
Treyc, Cheryl’s wildcard entry, gave a superb performance of One by U2, making Cheryl feel as if she was ‘the luckiest judge’ to be able to bring her back. However, Treyc contributed yet more controversy to the X-Factor media circus when it was revealed by The News of the World that the singer has a management deal and has already released a single, entitled A Time to Be Heard. Reportedly the X-Factor Lawyers have waded in to get her out of the deal as they did with Katie’s US contract under the pretence of ‘looking into this’ breach of the rules.
Joe McElderry donned a leather jacket, quiff and jeans in imitation of James Dean and performed his new single Ambitions on the show. Usher also made a guest appearance, perfroming a medley of DJ Got us Falling in Love and OMG before throwing his sweaty towel into the audience.
Gamu has spoken out after a lengthy silence over her visa and X-Factor ordeal stating that ‘the show has ruined [her] life’. Entering The X-Factor has meant that Gamu’s departure from Zimbabwe has been highly publicised and now that deportation looms Gamu risks being punished for leaving and publicly criticising Mugabe’s regime.She said: ‘People there know I’ve fled Mugabe’s regime. Theres a firing squad waiting for us there and they’re putting me in front of it’. Gamu feels hugely guilty for the problems that now face her family saying ‘if I hadn’t applied for the X-Factor none of this would have happened.’ Ed Miliband has commented saying he feels extremely sorry for the teenager but her immigration status must be treated like anyone else.