X Factor UK S11E29 – Week 8 – Jukebox

We are only two weeks away from the final.


Tonight’s episode starts at 8pm GMT, 9pm CET, 3pm EDT, 12pm PDT.


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We are only two weeks away from the final at the Wembley Arena and we are left with 5 acts. There is only room for 3 acts in the grand finale, so who are the producers trying to send home this and next weekend?

Let’s go back to last Sunday’s sing off. Italian diva Andrea Faustini ended up in the bottom 2 with Stevi Ritchie after a sub-par performance of Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing”. Andrea obviously survived the sing off as it was the time to say goodbye to this season’s joke act. All season long until now Andrea seemed invincible with his colorful personality, strong vocals and cute Italian family, even though Simon started giving him less than glowing critiques in week 2 of the live shows. To be honest, since the beginning I had a bad feeling about Andrea. Yes, he can sing. But at the same time he is presented as a joke act. He has a wacky personality, acts a bit camp and dresses terribly. He can sing, but I struggle to see him relevant in today’s music market with his penchant for big diva songs and oversinging. So yeah, I really don’t think SYCO wants to sign Andrea Faustini. That’s why they started de-ramping him slowly and rather subtly. The results showed last week, when Andrea landed in the bottom 2. Now, the question is: Is Andrea destined to leave the show this or next week or was his bottom 2 appearance a wake up call for his previously complacent fans? Can he still make the final or even pull a James Arthur and win the whole thing despite the efforts of the production team?

Lauren Platt started the live shows with a buzzworthy performance of “Happy”, but by week 3 she started losing momentum due to questionable song and production choices and illness. I expected her to be in the bottom 2 with Stevi last week when she was standing on stage with Andrea and Stevi, but it didn’t happen. She did have a good performance last week, but I don’t think that’s enough to save her momentum long-term. This week, she is sick again (flu). She couldn’t sing yesterday and only mimed through the rehearsal. She did rehearse today and is expected to sing tonight. She is doing two recent mainstream EDM hits and that’s less than ideal, IMO. My general impression of Lauren from the start is that she is a talented girl next door, but not really a popstar material. Maybe in a few years. In my eyes, Lauren fails to measure up to Ella Henderson or Tamera Foster and neither of those two made it to the final.

Ben Haenow was saddled with songs out of his comfort zone in recent weeks. He did do fairly well with “Cry Me a River” and “I Will Always Love You”, but there was it was still glaringly obvious that the songs were out of his comfort zone. In a way I’m glad that the rocker isn’t allowed to sleepwalk into the final and to the inevitable win by serving the voters rock songs. Ben is the kind of contestant that can easily get in the final and win as long as he continues to give solid performances. He is a good looking guy with solid soft rock voice and that’s what the voters like on these shows. Also, Ben could struggle at SYCO if he wins the recording contract with that label.

Fleur East seems to be the current PLAN A. The producers and the judges are doing everything they can to convince the voters she is the best thing since sliced bread. She definitely knows how to perform, but she is nothing special as a vocalist. She tried to prove to everyone that she can sing too with Michael Jackson’s “Will You Be There” a few weeks ago and while she pulled off the performance with the usual help of a backing track, I didn’t hear anything special from her. I don’t think her voice is that recognizable (kinda a must for recording artists) and she just isn’t in the same league as Alexandra Burke (season 5 winner), who could perform and was a vocal powerhouse at the same time. I also wonder if SYCO really wants this type of a singer. Just last year they signed Tamera Foster, who is 10 years younger, prettier and a better singer. They will be releasing Tamera’s album next year. I give Fleur props for performing, singing and rapping rather well, but at the same time I’m just underwhelmed with her.

Our final act is the octo-boyband, Stereo Kicks. The producers are pulling all the stops to keep them around and get them to the final and I wonder, can they pull this off? I think the ultimate goal for them is to get to the final. Finishing 3rd would equal One Direction’s X Factor finish. I’m under the impression One Direction’s 5th studio album won’t be released in 2015 and a Stereo Kicks album could fill that void.

Tonight each act will sing 2 songs – one chosen by a pop artist and one by the public.

We see Louis, Cheryl and Mel B encouraging their acts but no Simon.

The phone lines open as soon as the judges take their seats. Ben, Lauren, Stereo Kicks, Fleur, Andrea is the order.

Ben Haenow – Come Together (The Beatles) – Chosen by One Direction

Simon chose One Direction who picked a song for Ben. The boys spent the week in Australia, so Ben gets a Skype call. Ben visits his grandma. He doesn’t want to leave the competition.
The arrangement reminds me of Matt Cardle’s version. Oh, he gets sexy dancers, too. I think the first part really lacked some oomph. Yeah, Ben definitely got Matt Cardle’s version of the song and similar production.
Louis: Really good song, You are getting better week after week, I think you have to make the final.
Mel B: You have everything going on right now.
Cheryl: This is exactly how I see you.
Simon: Maybe I should just have One Direction pick the songs. You represent everyday working man … The final wouldn’t be the same without you.

Lauren Platt – Clarity (Zedd feat. Foxes) – Chosen by Little Mix

Her parents split up when she was 10 and they got together last year again. Before that they lived in Spain.
Her vocal seems okay. She has dancers on stage and the most awkward thing is that Lauren is just walking around the stage, looking almost dead and passive, while everyone else is dancing.
Louis: What an amazing song choice by Little Mix. I love the staging. I know you struggled all week, so for me that was faultless.
Mel B: The dancers were distracting and it looked like you weren’t enjoying it.
Simon: I could tell you were straining a bit because you are sick. The dancers weren’t distracting and that is the kind of record you would make in a real world.
Cheryl: We didn’t speak about her illness in her VT…

Stereo Kicks – Just The Way You Are (Bruno Mars) – Chosen by Tulisa Contostavlos

Stereo Kicks got this song from Tulisa, who also mentored them. In the VT, the producers continue pimping the boys with their nicknames. Their room and bathroom in the house look like a bomb.
The performance is a bit rough. Their track is just too loud and the vocals could be more on point.
Mel B: Okay guys, you know that you are an incredible group. I think the track was overpowering, the vocals weren’t as good as they should be.
Cheryl: I think Tulisa did a great job choosing the song. I think standing like that on stage is getting a little old.
Simon: To be fair, their routine was changed last minute. I think this wasn’t a good song choice for you.
Louis: It’s true, they took the girls out at the last minute. Vote for Stereo Kicks!

Fleur East – A Fool In Love (Tina Turner) – Chosen by Emeli Sande

She went home to East London. We see Fleur and Emeli talk after last week’s results show.
Fleur struts on stage with dancers. She has great stage presence. Vocally, she pulls it off without a hitch. But I admit, I’m still waiting for something more from her. Overall, solid performance.
Louis: Everytime you come on stage I get excited. Emeli Sande chose well. You have to make the final!
Mel B: That wasn’t my favorite, but you made that song cool, hip and current.
Cheryl: It wasn’t my favorite either, but you made it current.
Simon: Once again you just came out and smashed it. Somebody is going tomorrow night and it can’t be you, Fleur.

Andrea Faustini – Chandelier (Sia) – Chosen by Sam Smith

Last week’s bottom 2 was a shock for Andrea. Mel B, Andrea and his family watch his performances. Andrea gets a Skype call from Sam Smith.
The beginning of the song is slowed down. 4 huge chandeliers hang above the stage and Andrea has dancers on stage. Stunning production. The second part is uptempo and more current. We get some nice vocals from Andrea and this was different from what he did before.
Louis: The perfect song Andrea. I’m so glad we saved you.
Cheryl: That was absolutely stunning production. You are incredible vocalist and deserve your place in the competition.
Simon: I think you pushed the song too much in the end, but you have a killer song to come. I think round one, Ben did the best so far.
Mel B: You made the song your own.

Watching the recap, I think Lauren is in trouble. She just looked so passive standing on stage with dancers dancing behind her.

Lauren Platt – Don’t You Worry Child (Swedish House Mafia)

Lauren is happy with the song choice. She visited her school this week.
The song is slowed down, with piano and strings on stage and beautiful white theme. Beautiful performance, but a bit sleepy. I don’t think this will make the voters vote crazily for Lauren.
Louis: That was the perfect song for you. You are the perfect little pop star.
Mel B: The public definitely got it right. I can see you enjoyed singing it, the vocals were spot on, you smashed it!
Simon: There’s only 5 people left. I was worried for you after the first round, but that song might have saved you.
Cheryl: It happens to everyone professionally … I hope the public remembers everything we did before.

Ben Haenow – Thinking Out Loud (Ed Sheeran)

Simon says this song is a modern classic. Ben is also happy with the choice.
Ben sits on a pile of boxes and the performance seems a bit uneventful, but I do think he upgrades the song somewhat simply because his vocal is better than Ed Sheeran’s. Not one of Ben’s best performances ever.
Louis: I loved your first song this is even better. For me, you are the one to beat!
Mel B: I simply loved your first song. You don’t have the quality of pulling it back. Your voice is amazing, but this is not your song.
Cheryl: Ed sings it so soulfully, so maybe it’s hard to listen to a different vocal.
Simon: You were given the song and you had to sing it the way you sang it. I hope people vote for you.

Stereo Kicks – Run (Snow Patrol/Leona Lewis)

The first time they sang this song they knew each other for 24 hours. (Yeah, right.)
They get great lightening and staging. Overall, this was a great performance, but it felt too calculated.
Mel B: Okay, so there’s a few things I need to say: My daughter absolutely loves you. You did everything perfect. I say to Louis every week, let me hear those boys sing and you did it.
Cheryl: That was a risky song choice, but you did a good job.
Simon: I really could see in your eyes how much you want this. The performance started a bit shaky, but then you pulled it together. I hope people vote for you.
Louis: Wee need these boys in the semifinal!

Fleur East – If I Ain’t Got You (Alicia Keys)

Fleur visited her high school this week. She is excited about this song choice.
Fleur gets piano and strings for this performance. She struggles with some high notes in the beginning and you can see it plainly on her face. Like Ben, she brings nothing new to this song.
Louis: I know how hard you worked over the last 10 years, I know this is your dream… I want you in the semifinal.
Mel B: I think this was a big song for you and you did a good job, but I heard you struggle with the higher register.
Cheryl: I felt every moment of it.
Simon: There are some people on this show who come on this show just because of fame, but not you. You want to be a great singer.

Andrea Faustini – Hero (Mariah Carey)

Mel B tells us Andrea came over to her house for dinner last night and that he is the most beautiful person inside.
He wants to give this song a twist to be less predictable. Well, let’s hear it.
He sings the first verse acappella, in Italian. WHAT A TWIST. I don’t remember anyone ever singing a song partly in another language or starting acappella! All this artistry and originality from Andrea, I just can’t handle it anymore! [/sarcasm] He gets a platform and reflectors. The performance ends with Andrea’s standard diva ballad delivery. But seriously, his first performance was way better than this.
Louis: You nailed, you are everybody’s favorite teddy bear …
Cheryl: I absolutely love that you sang that bit in Italian.
Simon: I think that twist was really great, you showed emotion, it was the perfect song choice for you.
Mel B: I just want everybody to vote for you. You are the most amazing person inside and out …

We are ending the show with a recap of the second round. Oh, now Dermot is interviewing the TOP 5 on stage.

Tomorrow night: Queen & Adam Lambert, plus Ella Henderson and Union J return to the stage where it all began for them.

Poorly Platt! Cheryl Fernandez-Versini defends X Factor hopeful Lauren as she struggles with high notes after suffering a bout of strep throat
Another X Factor live show another tale of a sick contestant.

This week it was 17-year-old Lauren Platt who was struggling as a result of illness.

Despite previous weeks in which hopefuls were told not to moan about being unwell, it seems Lauren’s bout of strep throat was worth a mention.
Read more: Daily Mail

Hey now X Factor! Ben Haenow steals the show with Beatles song chosen by One Direction… despite splitting the judges over his efforts to cover Ed Sheeran
It was a tough night for the X Factor contestants as they had their first week of singing two songs each.

While some needed their second to bring them back in the running Ben Haenow opened the show with a bang, singing Come Together by The Beatles.

The 29-year-old had the song chosen by X Factor royalty One Direction and Louis Tomlinson told him,’Work hard, good luck!’
Read more: Daily Mail

Floor-less fashion! Cheryl Fernandez-Versini stuns in sparkly strapless dress while Mel B picks orange and black mesh as they both rock long gowns on X Factor
Cheryl Fernandez-Versini went for classic glamour on Saturday night’s X Factor.

The 31-year-old went for a sparkling floor-length strapless gown, as she kept things sophisticated for the latest round of live shows.

Meanwhile Mel B also wore a long dress, picking a patterned orange and black mesh number.
Read more: Daily Mail

About Mateja Praznik 1060 Articles
I recently graduated from the Faculty of Law in Ljubljana, Slovenia. In my free time I like to read books, watch TV and listen to music. I'm also a huge cat lover. I cover X Factor UK for MJsBigBlog.com.