The Sun’s crowning of Sam Bailey as this year’s X Factor winner four weeks too early added extra spice to tonight’s show. Was this hype that her fans should welcome, or the start of a deramp? Tonight’s live show promised to give us some more clues.
In general, there wasn’t much that was great about the Great British Songbook show. Instead, we had a series of poorly staged and performed numbers – with the exception of the two “reliable” market leaders – though the judges managed to throw some shade at them too. All in all, it was a pretty awful programme.
First off, it initially seemed as if the show was doing their best to throw Hannah under the bus. She got the death slot and her VT wasn’t an emotional one at all. As AnnaC mentioned, her staging involved a plinth, busy backdrop, frenetic dancers – not to mention unflattering styling.
Yet her performance was one of her better ones, and there seemed much positivity from the judges, who talked about casting their own vote for her. However, I wonder if the positivity was a way of not motivating people to vote for Hannah, who’s had difficulty making it happen at the best of times.
Luke’s VT was equally anodyne, including a skating skit accompanied by the other two boys in Louis’ category during which it was made clear that “Sam [Callahan] is winning!” As for his performance, I was too distracted by the home video of Luke flirting with a woman who seemed considerably older than his tender years.
The judges had some catty things to say, but disguised them with a smile on their faces. Sharon said, “If Keith Richards could sing, he’d sing just like you.” Nicole said his performance reminded her of his hair (cue households around the country making their own pun). Luke also had the misfortune to be sent down the memory hole by Sam Bailey.
It started promisingly for the current favourite in the pre-credits montage with mentor Sharon Osborne explaining, “If anyone can represent Great Britain, it’s Sam Bailey.” Sam was given the “everywoman” VT at home with her kids, which wasn’t a bad thing given the hype that now surrounds her.
She was stuck on a big staircase, but the purple lighting and candles backdrop were helpful. Whilst Nicole was rather distracting in her comments, Louis called her “world class”. The panel’s debate was all about how many records she would sell and what would go on her album. That’s not a deramp.
Rough Copy were given a good VT and decent staging with silver prominent for the second week running. It still doesn’t feel like that’s enough. When not helped enough by the backing track, their vocals were on the rough side, especially at the end of the song. Nicole dampened the mood by suggesting that they didn’t bring enough soul, though this does give them a narrative for next week.
The producers did their best to keep the Gary Barlow / Sam Callahan feud going in the latter’s VT, referencing the former’s comments beyond last week’s refusal to critique the Essex lad. But Sam didn’t fare so well on stage. There was plenty of red lighting, static or poor camerawork, stony-faced looks from the judges, and a poor ending.
Judges comments were a mixed bag: Gary wasn’t harsh enough, concluding that he “respected” him; Sharon used the same line she had used for Kingsland Road about him looking defeated; at least Louis pleaded for votes. To be fair, Sam always does himself a favour by coming across sympathetically in his post-song interview.
Tamera’s VT highlighted what has been her main problem – her lack of connection with the audience or the songs she has performed. There was also some fear about her forgetting her lyrics again.
The Kent lass looked amazing but started off stuck in a cube from which she soon emerged. There were some cutaways of stony faced judges even before the stumble over the lyrics. Curtis wondered just how genuine this was. Certainly it was a coincidence to happen in the same week as referenced in the VT. Overall, the whole thing didn’t come off despite some good moments vocally.
Nick’s VT showed him laughing at some of his fan mail, which may not have been terribly helpful, but the staging was generally very kind for his pimp slot performance of ‘Someone Like You’, with the exception of an overly long panning shot just when you wanted a close-up for the big note. Judges were positive apart from Gary’s wish for more “personality”.
Overall, it’s hard to see how neutrals would’ve been won over by anything we saw from those in the elimination mix tonight. We recommended a bet on Hannah to go, and a Hannah / Tamera bottom two beforehand. Despite it not being a good night for Sam C nor Luke, we know that the two girls have struggled even more for votes, and tonight wasn’t encouraging for either.
Did you think the show was as disappointing as I did? The in-running reaction found in the comments section of the previous post suggested so. Do let us know below, and whether it’s changed your opinion of tomorrow’s bottom two.