Boom, boom, boom, boom, the semi-final was in my living room. And yours, and yours and, yes, even yours. Those remaining, we were told, were the cream of the crop. There are no better singers in the UK, if we are to believe Sir Tom Jones.
Up first was Ruth Brown and I was suddenly reminded of Little Mix’s opening slot in week 8 of X factor 2011. Leanne poses very little threat to Ruth’s popular vote and thus sending her out this early definitely allows for a bit more pimping later on. The song choice, VT and general ‘struggle’ theme were definitely engineered to favour the belting baby diva. Another standing ovation and emotional outpour did well to bolster the party line that Ruth’s is a journey were are supposed to care about. As Holly said, “you didn’t just sing that; you lived it.” The talk about Ruth previously feeling “invisible” was a good way of reminding the voting public that they need to take note of her, even if it seems like she already has support – she doesn’t, she needs your vote.
Up next was Vince Kidd. Are producers confident enough in his abilities or does this mean that Becky could be pimped a bit later on? In Vince’s VT there was mention of the Marcus Collins classic, Agadoo. I wish this had happened. Vince sang Back to Black which looked terrible on paper but strangely worked on stage. However, removing Vince’s signature style wasn’t necessarily the best sign of producer faith in his journey.
Max suffered another poor slot. To be fair, 3 of 8 was probably the best-proportioned placement he has received thus far but the theme was the same as ever – Max, meh, at some point, possibly, here he is. There was no passion. There was no producer love. For once, we did get to see just how nice Max’s voice sounds and I think it will be a crying shame if Bo sails through over him to the final. It will be interesting to see if the crush vote finally takes shape. Max is really the only ‘ladies’ choice’ contestant left. The song choice was strong but the arrangement was fleeting and underwhelming so it still looks like Bo for the progression. The coaches’ comments were confusing and distracting. Max was flushed down the toilet. Unless there’s a sympathy vote. Damn Team Danny.
Jaz was up next which meant that Tyler would get the pimp slot. Will that work? A particualry bland VT and arrangement didnd’t do Jaz any favours but perhaps he is as safe as Ruth. With Tyler in the pimp slot that does seem somewhat doubtful, but then last week’s final slot went to Toni who went straight home. Even as Jaz’s number finished, I struggled to remember how it began. Jessie J went for the jugular and criticised Jaz’s USP – his flawless voice. Jaz derailed? The coaches weren’t impressed. All in all, though, it felt more like the Ruth treatment – slowing down an unstoppable speedwagon in order to deter accusations of bias.
Ruth’s hair was ‘ten pound from Brixton’ and she should win purely for that.
Holiday camp entertainer, Leanne Mitchell, went up next like a beef joint to the grinder. Is there any doubt in anyone’s mind regarding Ruth’s triumph over Leanne? It feels almost like a waste of time. Leanne’s vocal was probably her best so far – undeniably powerful stuff but within an arrangement and styling that still underlined it as distinctly cabaret. Danny thought she did enough to surpass Ruth. I didn’t.
Next up was Becky Hill, whose performance last week was sensational yet jarring. I was reminded somewhat of Cher Lloyd’s VT before her week 4 performance of Stay, emphasising a toning down in favour of vocal emphasis. Her vocal was absolutely lovely and the idea that she could progress over Vince Kidd became that little bit more tangible. The reception was lukewarm which didn’t make things look good but Becky remains one of the more interesting contestants thus far.
Then came Little Bo Steep, ranting about the hardship of being posh. A Coldplay favourite couldn’t have done her any harm. Bo looked increasingly like a cast member of the cult film Warriors but she got her euphoric moment in the ticker tape and she doesn’t look like she’s going to struggle to progress. The most individually shit artist in the whole show, as Danny opined.
So it was Tyler in the pimp slot, singing Bohemian Rhapsody of all things. It was clear in the comments section today that the Queen number would be a make or break for Tyler but the pimp slot seemed to suggest there was something special in it. Tyler was wearing Marcus Collins’ famous Reverend Sunshine suit from X factor 2011. And as the sad section moved into the gallileo section with an army of Tylers it became clear that this performance was going to be a shambles. Bye bye Tyler. No? Yes. Rhydian? Probably.
So that was a strange evening. How should we feel about the likely progressors? The early expectation was that Jaz, Vince, Bo and Ruth would make it through. After tonight, Ruth seems as safe as ever. Both Jaz and Tyler seem weakened but the former still feels like the likely finalist. Bo shouldn’t struggle to beat out Max. The only possible upset could come from Becky having achieved a more memorable performance than Vince but the latter has built up a good head of steam so it still feels very much like the public saves from the last two weeks will be the finalists.
What do you reckon? Did Max do enough to rock the boat? Did Becky outshine Vince? Was Tyler’s Bohemian Rhapsody Wagneresque enough to see him sail past the effortless Soft Jaz Ellington? Or should we sit back and wait for the expected final 4? GET COMMENTING.