The shake-up continues in the start of the live shows with news that each week one of the bottom two will be revealed after a flash vote at the end of each episode. In an entirely and unfortunately predictable event we saw one of the overs, Shelley Smith, receive the illustrious title of ‘first to be flash voted into the bottom two’. No votes to get back contestants past, just the twelve acts we expected and lots of fillers, put it this way if each act sings for two minutes and there are twelve of them, ITV sure did stretch that twenty-four minutes to fill the two and a quarter hour slot.
So tonight is 80s night, an era that is increasingly out of reach for the majority of contestants making me feel old in the process. So lets start with the overs, a group of women of whom all danced during the eighties. Sam Bailey performed another ballad/belter. Technically very good and all but yawn. My friend calls her ‘Blank Blank’ because she really could be anyone. Lorna Simpson who has more talent than all of the boys put together did Whitney proud (a mean feat) and Shelley Smith sang the 80s and then was criticised for doing so.
The girls, a super category if ever there was one gave a good show. Hannah Barrett, perhaps one of the most likeable of any X Factor contestant ever gave a reserved performance of Tina Turner. She sings like she has a sore throat all of the time, which is probably what’s so good about it. Meanwhile Tamera Foster encapsulated a pop star in her performance and Abi Alton did that John Lewis song translation thing she does so well. I can’t help but think about how what we hear at home is not what they hear in the studio because the Abi I heard did not earn the reviews that the judges gave. I wonder how many gigs we’ve seen would be totally different if we were watching a steam at home with all of the atmosphere sucked out. Or vice versa – if anyone wants to send me down to the studio, as Sam Bailey sang tonight I’m your lady…
In the boys category (yawn) Tiny Tim Nicholas McDonald sang Spandau Ballet (yawn) in a performance that seemed 99% Louis Walsh and 1% Nicholas McDonald. Sam Callahan did the kind of performance that made you wonder where the rest of his fellow boyband singers were, and there was Luke Friend friend singing The Police. I don’t know. I am conflicted because I disliked him so much and now all I see is a really young kid.
The groups? Well, something amazing is brewing in the groups category with news that Miss Dynamix member SeSe is pregnant. As a feminist media critic this is an incredible opportunity (at the cost of SeSe for sure), for the mediation of a pregnant woman in live time. Perhaps now we will see that that pregnant people are people with lives rather than vessels for babies to come into the world. As for the task at hand? Poor song choice and a way too saccharine performance for my liking. Lets hope they make it to next week. Kingsland Road? Blah blah, good/fine. Rough Copy? Very nice.
And what of the flash vote? Well, it’s about as thrilling and welcome as a flash flood and now Shelley’s left to battle it out against some other poor blighter. My money’s on Lorna Simpson, I sincerely hope I’m wrong.