Last week on The X Factor Celebrity was miles better than the first week. Over the course of the auditions at Simon’s house, we saw at least three acts that I could potentially get excited about. Now, just like that, it’s time for the live shows – my favorite part of the season! Each of our 13 finalists (including wildcard, Jenny Ryan) will be singing for the British public’s votes.
After the opening titles, we see an all new set. It looks a lot simpler – it honestly reminds me a bit of the BGT stage – and I like it a lot. Then Dermot says our Saturday night starts right here! The judges are introduced, and then the celebrities are, with special attention paid to Jenny Ryan (she’s in and out of the show more than Louis Walsh, jokes Dermot) and Vinny Jones. Simon attempts to announce a new twist for tonight – seats! Each judge can put one of their acts in a safe seat and save them from facing the public vote.
Dermot introduces the first act of the night – Kevin McHale. He talks with Matthew Morrison from Glee in his intro VT. Then, Peter Dickson announces his name (yay, would be pissed if it didn’t happen) and Kevin performs performs Good As Hell by Lizzo. It’s a bit of a mess, if I’m honest. There are random women on stage spreading their legs open and closed. Kevin hits a few good notes and a lot more bad ones. Yet our judges all stand for it. Ok. Setting the bar low here.
Ricki Lake is up next. She hopes she doesn’t get nervous if she forgets the words. She sings Landslide by Fleetwood Mac. I’ve heard Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon sing this live. Ricki is no Jeremiah. This is so clearly bad karaoke. I kinda wish they turned her into a Wagner-type act and made it fun at least. Having her try to sing with just a piano is pitiful. Thankfully the judges remain seated, if they stood for that, I’d be p.o’d. Louis thinks she needs to work on the vocals – holy shit. Louis didn’t like something. Simon didn’t like the song choice, said it felt like rehearsal. Nicole loved the song choice and knows how much the lyrics meant to her, loved the honesty and sincerity. Good for Nicole for trying to defend this mediocrity, but it wasn’t good. Dermot reminds everyone it’s only her second performance. Assuming that two go home tonight, she’s a goner.
The Love Islanders changed their name to No Love Lost. They perform an original song and it sounds ok, I guess. The rap is the best part by far – other than those 20 seconds, it’s pure mediocrity. One of the girls almost hits a good note but she kinda screws it up. Nicole says they’re like a whole new group up there, is happy they made it off that island. Simon says big progression, didn’t like the first half, but after the rap, it was great. There’s a lot of work they need to do. Louis sees a massive gap for a mixed boy-girl group, says it was nice to see them sing with their clothes on. Simon didn’t get that joke, and I don’t like that kind of joke from a guy who grabbed Mel’s butt without her permission and still has a job.
Wildcard Jenny Ryan sings Rise Like A Phoenix. I think it was the best performance so far tonight. Still not perfect, and will be polarizing. Three judge standing ovation for Jenny. I think a safe seat is coming. Nicole says she blew the roof off the place, her pipes just soared. And Nicole totally just gave her the safe seat. Called it.
Jonny Labey performs a jazzified version of Show Me Love by Robyn. Another big rearrangement. He has limited vocal ability but he knows how to use it. He’s growing on me. After a fakeout, Simon says it was brilliant, says if you want to do that type of song you have to own it. Nicole says he can dance, he can sing, he’s got a great set of teeth, he’s got it all. Louis says he’s got something and after a bit of teasing, he gets Louis’s safe seat.
V5 are up next. They lost one member and got a new one. Already losing members? That’s FAST for a group. They perform a mashup of Bad Guy by Billie Eilish / Taki Taki by DJ Snake. This is pretty great actually. I mean, most of the good parts are because of the backing track. But still. I see star quality here. One of the girls hits a decent note. Three judge standing ovation. I think a safe seat is coming. Louis says it was incredible, they’re about to be a new big girl group, hypes them up big time. Nicole wants to Taki Taki all over the place, loved that performance, “muy caliente.” Simon says they’re the underdogs, a very special first live performance. No safe seat yet. Simon’s saving it.
Martin Bashir asks Nicole if she’s ever getting married in the intro VT, talks about his proudest interviews. He performs Danke Schoen by Wayne Newton. It’s a wedding performance at best. Lots of Vegasey looking woman in feathers around him as he talks the song. Louis and Nicole stand up halfway through. They all stand after the performance – that was not standing o worthy. Simon just loves him, his naive enthusiasm for what he does. Louis loved it, points out he’s not the best singer in the competition. Nicole thanks him.
Sean and Conor Price Max & Harvey are up next. They perform When Will I Be Famous? by Bros. And honestly, this is the first act of the night that I could see having actual chart success. Good harmonies, great presence on stage. They could go all the way. Nicole wouldn’t have picked that song for them, but they sold it, says they’ll be famous right now. Simon didn’t like the version of the song, says it is his fault, but they have so much potential as artists. Louis says the song could have been better, but they are going to go all the way. I’m shocked they didn’t like it – I thought it was in a different league to everything else tonight.
Olivia Olson is up next. She’s super nervous, was looking up hypnotherapists to snap her out of it. She had no reason to be, her performance of Anyone Who Had A Heart by Dionne Warwick is clearly in the top tier for the episode. It starts off shaky, but as it keeps building, she gets better and better. Simon says she made the most of a bad song choice, very good at the end, with more effort from her mentor she could do pretty well in this competition. Nicole thinks she looked beautiful, her vocals stood out, she might be the dark horse. Louis says she’s a dream to work with, she’s got so much more potential, didn’t hear Simon’s comment.
Back with the overs and Vinnie Jones. He was a football player (soccer for us Americans). He was in movies. His late wife wanted him to do X Factor. He performs Everybody Needs Somebody. And if anyone thought he’d be good, I hate to disappoint them. This is bad. And not in a funny way. His voice is super strained. I mean, this is awful. And yet, three judge standing ovation. So they criticize Max & Harvey and loved this garbage? Simon thinks he could win – what’s he smoking? Kudos, he says. Nicole has so much respect for him for being here, thanks him. Louis thanks him too, says he’s a popstar now.
After going to the tanning salon with Louis Walsh, Megan McKenna is taking a risk and singing an original song called This. For me, this is the best performance of the episode so far by a clear mile. Simon and Louis stand, Nicole sits. I’m confused. Nicole is crying, it was a real heartfelt performance, real lyrics, says Megan is in a league of her own, wants the song. Simon loved the song, hated the outfit. Louis says she’s an incredible person, a true artist, it’s unfair to her to say that. Louis says she’s going to be a star.
Victoria Ekanoye‘s mom cries when she watches her performance from last week. She sings Never Tear Us Apart by INXS. This is the performance of the night. Perfect song choice, great vocal, great delivery. Louis says “wow” – she knows how to sell a song. Nicole says she’s a vision up there, poise and class, compelling and captivating, stunning. Simon thinks there’s more to come from her, great performance full stop.
Try Star are last up. And with one safe seat left open, I know there’s clearly one way this can go. They perform in front of what looks like a strip club on stage. They perform a mashup of Pony by Ginuwine and Old Town Road by NAS X. One of the three can kind of sing (Levi is his name I think). The other two are eye candy. This is karaoke, and after the last two great performances, it’s disappointing to end the show on this. Simon didn’t like the creative and song choice. Nicole could watch it all night. Louis says Nicole wants to watch it in slow mo, says it was fun. Simon gives them the safe seat, seemingly begrudgingly.
The vote is now open for six minutes! Double elimination after the break.
My top 3 of the episode were Victoria, Megan and Max & Harvey. The judges didn’t agree, but they’re wrong about lots of things.
Dermot talks with the acts and judges while the votes are verified. It’s time for the results. Dermot reveals the 3 acts in the bottom 3 are:
- Olivia Olson
- Martin Bashir
- Ricki Lake
Two out of three ain’t bad.
The act with the lowest number of votes is Ricki Lake. Correct decision. Now it’s time for a good singer to lose out to Martin. Bleh. No deadlock with only 3 judges.
Louis sends home Martin.
Nicole sends home Olivia.
Simon says song choices put them both in this place, sends home Olivia Olson. A smattering of boos erupt from the audience, correctly I must say. Olivia is crying. That was painful to watch.
Jenny Ryan – Safe Seat
Jonny Labey – Safe Seat
Try Star – Safe Seat
Max & Harvey
No Love Lost