X Factor UK: Live Shows Week Three

Cancel my three o’clock and bring me that damn rule book because I think Tulisa, Louis and I gon’ have a talk.

For the second time this year I’ve seen some backstage behavioural issues superfluously dragged into a performance critique and I’m through with it. It don’t matter how critical you think it is to address a contestant’s rudeness or mean attitude, you can always find five minutes or so backstage when you’re waiting for the caterers to wheel in them chicken sandwiches to have a word with them – privately.

This week, the show’s outstanding urban princess Misha B came under fire from Tulisa and Louis Walsh for apparently giving fever to some contestants with her “mean comments”. The girl had just stepped off delivering a show stealing performance and all anybody could hear after it was this shit storm. A similar situation had happened in our Australian series almost three weeks ago when judge Guy Sebastian called out Mitchell Callaway for bullying another contestant.

Basically, I stand by my opinion that the judges’ verdict should just stick to a performance review and steer clear of backstage antics. It is simply not the right time and place to be airing out dirty laundry. If some kind of behavioural issue needs to be highlighted to the public, chuck it in the pre-performance reel. Make a clear distinction between what’s going down off stage and what’s happening on stage – and during the live show verdicts, baby, we’re gonna focus on what’s on stage. Do you think Tulisa and Louis Walsh did the right thing?

Tulisa also copped a side eye this week for apparently misunderstanding the “rock week” brief. The N-Dubz diva seem to think that she could simply pick whatever song she liked for her two groups and as long as she threw in a rock guitar riff into the arrangement, it was rock enough for everyone. The fact that every other contestant in the competition had come on stage to perform rock songs did nothing to clue her in. Tulisa still assigned Gnarls Barkley‘s ‘Crazy’ to The Risk and, astonishingly, some mash-up of Salt N Pepa‘s ‘Push It’ and Ke$ha‘s ‘TiK ToK’ to Rhythmix. After watching both groups own their respective faux rawk performances, doth I feel like I’m protesting too much. I will let it slide.

This week saw some sub-par performers step up and shine in ways they never have before. Nods of approval for our key improvers: Marcus Collins, who completely raised his game this week with an electrifying cover of Lenny Kravitz, and Janet Devlin, who injected some much needed energy into her stage performance – all without betraying her natural, ethereal vibe.

Check out the highlight performances, show stopping drama and this week’s Power Bottom two:

1) Kitty Brucknell: she already copying and pasting stylistically referencing like your faves.

Does this look familiar, y’all? Love her, hate her, say what you want about her – all of the boys and all of the girls are gagging to see more of Kitty Brucknell. The self-styled “controversial pop performer” continues to take a leaf out of the Gospel of Gaga, Britney and Madonna this week with a dramatic performance of Sir Paul McCartney‘s ‘Live and Let Die’.

She went for the classic 90s Madonna blonde ponytail, brought out the crucifix and took to the piano as if she were Born This Way. I cannot see this girl winning the X Factor or selling that many records, to be honest. She is fucking entertaining, though, and if anything – this new found fame will afford her to raise her booking fee and do properly grand covers gigs. Surely there’s a place in the market for something Andrew Lloyd Webber meets Gaga.

Watch Kitty deliver another bombastic performance this week. As Kelendria said, “Gurl, you a bad chick. I can’t even front!”


 
2) Janet Devlin: as Paula Abdul once said, “I’m just here for the music”.

This ethereal-voiced girl from the country is snatching wigs this week – both on stage with her hair-raising appearance that literally cancels whatever weave Bjork‘s rocking for Biophilia and also off stage, countering the critics. In the pre-performance reel, we saw Kelendria‘s X Factor girls facing four journalists for what I can assume was a mock press conference to help get them ready for the shark bait media world.

The journos launched into Janet unreservedly for being boring and for not having the “full package X Factor personality” to which the girl retorts, “It doesn’t bother me. I’m here for the music.” Shut down.

Watch Janet continue this slayfest with her appropriately organic remake of Guns N’ Roses‘ ‘Sweet Child O Mine’. I hope producers like Paul Epworth (think: Florence + The Machine) and Swedish indie rocker Bjorn Yttling (co-writer behind Lykke Li‘s latest album) are enlisted to work on Janet‘s eventual album.


 
3) Excuse me, how dare you swear at Gary Barlow?

Do you really wanna further agitate Gazza bear? Nobody at home heard what was sort of profanity was shouted at by one audience member to Gary Barlow, but he certainly did, and it did not sit well with his soul. There was a frown, a quick look around before he quipped, “somebody’s swearing at me down here”. Um, crowd control, anyone?

The Take That singer, who resides on the “power seat” of the panel, is known for coming down a little harsh on contestants who don’t display what his definition of recording superstar potential. His prime targets have typically been Louis Walsh‘s acts Johnny Robinson and Sami Brookes – who he reckons are losing credibility thanks to their mentor’s questionable song choices.

You can’t win all the time with Gary but by now we have a sense of where he won’t budge. So even before he dropped his verdict this week on Sami‘s “cruise ship” cover of Cher, the old bear was already getting groans and growls from the audience.

4) Marcus Collins: show me what you’re werkin’ with.

Look at him go. For the first two live shows, I shrugged off Marcus‘ performances as predictable and pedestrian at best. I’ve long expressed my reservations with how far a solo male R&B singer can go on and off The X Factor because, let’s face it, traditionally they’ve never amounted to anything. Could Marcus change all that?

Well, this week the charming Liverpool hairdresser turned it out for me with an energetic and soulful cover of Lenny Kravitz‘s ‘Are You Gonna Go My Way?’ [Editor’s note: it helped that the last cover I saw of this song was by Mel B for the Spice Girls reunion tour. Say no more.] This is the first time I’ve seen Marcus stage a performance that feels like something he’d do in the real world as a recording artist. Gary needs to keep working on convincing the public of what kind of artist Marcus can be and inspire some kind of support that past R&B males like Danyl Johnson and Paige Richardson couldn’t.

Watch Marcus rocking out in a pair of leather pants. Yes, we’re pandering a little this week – aren’t we?


 
5) Commander Kelly is on a warpath.

All you lesser beings better seek out protection under Simon Cowell‘s man-tittays because the sassy popstar – and her stylish new weave – are not one to be played with. I’m feeling a lot of tension on the panel this week with Kelendria arking up more than usual when provoked by Louis Walsh. It escalated to a full blown screaming match after the geriatric judge called out Misha B for being “mean” to one of his contestants.

Basically, both Louis and Tulisa need to watch their asses now because it sure looked like Kelendria was gonna rip them a new a-hole for not only shading Misha‘s moment but also for bringing up a personal complaint without presenting both sides of the argument.

Kelendria said on Xtra Factor after the fateful live show:

“The real Misha is very humble and excited to be here. But I think it is important to realise, there is always one person’s side, the other person’s side, and the truth. I think that bringing that forward, I personally don’t agree with it. And if Tulisa felt like expressing herself – that’s fine – but I don’t think that it’s fair to bring it forward because we don’t know all of what happened.”

Watch Misha B‘s killer performance of Prince‘s ‘Purple Rain’ and the intense judges’ row:


 
6) Johnny Robinson: I’m a believer.

I don’t know a contestant in this year’s series that is more universally loved than Johnny Robinson. It really speaks volumes about what we’re looking for in X Factor entertainment, doesn’t it? The old queen obviously doesn’t have the strongest vocals or most promising prospects as a multi-platinum selling star but he sure as hell is likable and entertaining.

I feel like in the history of so-called X Factor novelty acts, Johnny is most likely to match the success of Jedward. He probably won’t be repping for England at Eurovision but I sense that he’ll go on to do something fabulous. Perhaps some of Dannii Minogue‘s old team – like songwriter Terry Ronald, producer Ian Masterson and smash hitmaker Biffco – might wanna tailor a Club Disco-esque album for him?

Watch Johnny take over “rock week” with an on-point cover of The Darkness‘ ‘I Believe In A Thing Called Love’. Positively the loudest applause ever heard for any contestant in this series so far:


 
7) Would you tap that? Go on, you know you wanna play.

Look, I know I might’ve briefly dropped a few lascivious comments here and there around the Facebook corridors but have we actually decided who’s the finest man on this series of X Factor?

Let’s keep it strictly on a contestants level because I know y’all are a bunch of shameless DILF-mongers and Gary Barlow would just win this poll hands down. So which male contestant would get your vote in the sack, ladies and gents?

Picture top to bottom (not in that way, you filth heads): Marcus Collins, Andrew Merry (The Risk), Charlie Healy (The Risk) and Frankie Cocozza. Go on then.

This week’s power bottom two: Sami Brookes and Kitty Brucknell.

Two of Louis‘ vocal powerhouse divas have wound up with the least public votes this week and that can only mean one thing: y’all are in for one muhfuggin’ sing-off.

No one’s questioning the singing abilities of both Kitty and Sami but in a singing competition that’s looking for more than that – for the “complete package” if you will – you’re now faced with two female entertainers of two completely different classes. And the decision could not be more clear cut.

Kitty – annoying and petulant as she appears – is a well capable world class performer who absolutely invests in her performance, image and sound. Frankly speaking, she is also a show producer’s dream: a dynamite female presence on screen who is also controversial enough to keep the program mentioned in the tabloids. Where the media’s focus has been very much on the female judges in the past – see: Dannii Minogue and Cheryl Cole – I feel like with this new series, Kitty‘s actually grabbing headlines more than the established divas behind the panel.

Sami – on the other hand – is generally more well-loved by the public than Kitty. However, her classic and albeit dated appeal really does feel rather old format in this younger, more contemporary pop climate. I am still gagging for this girl to reinvent herself as a massive house diva, like I said in the Live Shows Week One. Ideally, I’d like to see the girl abandon her home town and try her luck in the European dance music scene. Somebody’s gotta make some calls for her. I’m thinking something sensible like a collaboration with the Freemasons or Shapeshifters? We need respecters of dance music with grand vocals.

I do feel like Sami was robbed of the opportunity to really realise herself as an artist but y’know, they’re all given the same amount of time and space to grow. Some grab it by the balls and start pushing their artistic vision – ie. Misha B and Kitty – while others simply coast by and wait to do as they’re told.

At the end of the day, what the judges are looking for is a top-notch entertainer who is capable of going further than your average talent show puppet. And with that, it’s no surprise that GaryKelly and amazingly Louis chose to keep Kitty over Sami.

Watch Sami Brookes‘ final warble with the classic ‘Natural Woman’:

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6 Comments

  1. Awesome recap again Limmy.

    Interesting lot of performers this year. Hate to say but Kitty is fast becoming my fave. Just by sheer entertainment value. Janet, Sophie, and that ummm bigger guy that Gary mentors (i seriously can’t remember his name) need to go for me.
    You’re right about Sami, she needs a disco boost and she’ll be awesome. But we said the same about Becky Ferguson and even though the album is out I’m not sure there’ll be some thumping disco athens on there.

    and to play your game of ‘would i tap that’. It goes yes, Yes, YES and HELL NO.

    • I don’t know what I was thinking when I put Frankie Cocozza in the mix. But I thought I’d see what would come of it anyway.

      Kitty is going to be a show stopper every week and I hope as weeks go by, her performances will speak volumes for her! Why would you get rid of Janet?!

      • I find her bait middle of the road. Not very ‘exciting’ for me. She has fantastic talent, as does Sophie and a few of the others but i feel nothing unique about her.

      • Speaking of Rebecca before. Oh my god. That acoustic performance of ‘NRBL’! I can’t tell how many times I’ve played it in the last few days. I could actually feel tears coming to my eyes the first time I watched it. I am just so proud of her. I really believe that voice is legendary stuff – let’s hope she has a long career ahead of her.

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