X Factor: Judges’ Houses (Saturday)

Saturday nights to become completely about the X Factor and its dramatic live shows. However, before we finally get there, we need to ensure the judges pick the right contestants for the job. Louisa Davies gives up her low down on the final hurdle before the live shows.

Tulisa, Louis, Nicole and Gary have whisked away their final contestants to various fabulous places in the world. Tulisa takes the girls to St. Lucia, with her guest judge being Tinie Tempah. They arrived in a modest way – on a speedboat… modest. Louis, cementing his campness, takes the groups to Las Vegas with his best friend Sharon Osbourne, Nicole whisked away the boys to Dubai with a little help from her friend Neyo. Last but certainly not least, Gary Barlow kept the Over’s category in the UK due to wanting to stay near to his family following the tragic death of their baby. Despite this, they were kept in style in a beautiful country manor, and his guest judge definitely had the most hype – Miss. Cheryl Cole herself!

The groups were the first to be featured, and this year there seems to be a definite boost in boy-bands – presumably through the success of One Direction. He was spoilt for choice, with bands such as GMD3 and Union J giving some solid performances with strong harmonies . MK1 were another band who have stood out since their first audition, when Tulisa told them to lose their awkward third member. They were different, but I’m not too sure they have what it takes to continue being exciting. The only girl group in Louis’ category are the ‘Poisonous Twins’, and it’s safe to say Little Mix don’t have anything to worry about.

After the boys had gotten over the excitement of being in the millionaire playground of Dubai, it got down to the serious stuff. One of the first boys to perform is the impressive James Arthur, who has been consistent throughout the competition so far with his amazingly emotional performances and raw talent. He sang ‘I Can’t Make You Love Me’, and it was an moving performance  which must have gained him a place in the live shows. Another impressive performance came from Jahmene Douglas, who didn’t let his nerves get the better of him this time and delivered a fantastic performance – although the sheer number of vocal gymnastics that he exercised could be toned down. Essex boy Rhylan Clark wore a questionable outfit of some sort of cloak/hood and very short shorts, and tried to portray a more serious side with a stripped down version of ‘We Found Love’. Although he clearly can sing, I think he will remain a novelty in the public’s eyes. Other performances from the boys were all good, however I have failed to be as impressed with any of them as much as I was with James Arthur.


Next up was the girls, who between sunning themselves and frolicking in the sea found time to perform for Tulisa and Tinie Tempah. First up was 16 year old Amy Mottram, whose big voice is to her credit, however personally I feel is a little too close to Adele. 25 year old mum Jade Ellis also gave a fantastic performance, although she has stated that she is worried about what the public may think of her as she recently admitted she was a lesbian – which doesn’t affect the fact she is a fantastic singer. Lucy Spraggan made a bold choice in choosing to perform a chilled out version of ‘I Will Always Love You’, however Tinie Tempah wasn’t convinced, and neither was I. She’s already got a fantastic niche, and I feel playing karaoke every week on the X Factor wouldn’t suit her… She’s been given the platform, and now she should use it. Public favourite Ella Henderson sang ‘I Won’t Give Up’, and blew the competition away. I will be seriously surprised if she isn’t a part of Tulisa’s final 3.

Lastly was Gary Barlow and the Overs. He was joined by Cheryl Cole, who seemed genuinely excited to be there – however a bit more relaxed as she knows she can just walk away from the X Factor drama these days. Janis Joplin Sound-A-Like Melanie Masson was fantastic as usual, her powerful vocals surely giving her the edge. Carolynne Poole gave an emotional performance, however had some tuning issues which the judges put down the nerves that she still held after being sent home last year by Louis, with Cheryl Cole saying she’d have been gutted as well if Louis was her judge. Cheeky. Kye Sones is also sure to progress, despite his performance not being the best. Likeable Christopher Maloney was up next, and despite a fantastic performance, left me wondering what genre he would really fall into.

So, now we wait painfully to see who will make it to the dramatic and epic live shows, who will make the cut?

Louisa Davies 

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