X Factor 2017: Live Show 1

Our commenters have until 8.20pm tonight to enter the traditional prediction competition (in the previous thread for ease of compilation, if you could). That’s when the first live show kicks off. We’ll witness half this year’s acts performing, including two wildcard winners, a guaranteed elimination, and a singoff between the top two for a special prize. But an injured Simon Cowell will probably be absent.

That’s a lot of changes to take in. Apart from Simon, another casualty has been the first elimination market, which has barely taken off – yet. The late category switch – from the groups and overs, to boys and girls – probably hasn’t helped, alongside lack of official confirmation about the wildcard results.

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We are taking a watching brief on tonight’s show, and like the rest of you will be glued to our sofas to see how it all pans out. We look forward to your comments below on how well the format changes are working, not to mention your critique of each performance. We’ll post a summary tomorrow, before the usual midweek deep diving. Enjoy the evening’s viewing and possible punting ahead.

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193 comments to X Factor 2017: Live Show 1

  • Anglia Chu

    The wildcards’ songs seem to point that Alisah and Leon will get a one-week grace period.

  • David Cook

    I’m going to start the season on a positive note – the song list actually looks quite promising. A couple of originals. Songs are generally recent, and ones that haven’t been done before on the live shows before. Let’s hope it continues.

    • Martin

      I’ve thought this. I never thought I’d live to see the day London grammar got a song performed on the X Factor (although Sean and Connor are bound to make a hash of it).

      I’ll be watching with a keen eye tonight, eager to see how it all pans out.

      • David Cook

        Must admit I’ ve had a quick look on YouTube. I’ve seen Hannah Wilds ( from the Voice) version before and she does it well, but she’s got a decent voice. Other than that I can’t find anything that does the sing justice. Still l wait to be lroven wrong. I can remember saying something similar about Jay James a couple of years ago and we were wrong.

        • Martin

          There was a man on The Voice who did Strong a few years back, I don’t remember his name but he was in Kylie’s team and he was excruciating – such a hard song to do justice.

          The choice is most baffled by is Sam Black’s – a rather surprising and niche choice. Is it a popular song?! I only know it because I stan4Ari.

          • Sagand

            I know it as it was nominated for a Golden Globe for original song (as was City of Stars and the song from Moana that was performed at judges houses.)

  • tpfkar

    If all the songs have already been released, any early clues?

    I remember hearing whoever had slowed down a classic which never came up to tempo was a good early warning system for an act.

  • still not sure of the elimination rules, but I like the look of Sam Black to go

  • Piresistable

    Phone lines not open yet?

  • Edie M

    Rai-Elle first- bad news for her! I had her leaving tonight in my list but changed to Spencer because I like her so much.

  • Sagand

    They usually open the first show with someone they think is strong. But the styling/fences isn’t the best.

  • Piresistable

    Great start for her. “Recording star.”

  • Piresistable

    Now the staging for Spencer is distracting.

    Nicole makes it sound like he’s achieved all he needs to by making the live shows.

    • tpfkar

      I loved the arrows pointing off stage at the end of Spencer’s act! I thought they set him up to struggle with no support on a key change. And was the parents coming to London a bit end of journey already?

  • Martin

    Rae Elle’s mash up was whiplash inducing. I rather liked the look of the staging but I appreciate that it may not by have the best connotations. I think it’s best to look at things like that in context, and it suited the song. The comments were nice and enthusiastic if not motivational, I don’t think she’s in trouble.

  • @Danyal589

    This set is a lot better

  • Nicole isn’t playing the American card with Spencer – she’s just played the whole deck.

  • Sagand

    Spencer kind of lost it after the first big note, the singing was off after that. Judges were nice but not motivating. Nicole laying it on thick that he’s American. Singing second; probably in trouble.

  • Spencer is foreign – he thought the whole of Britain was like Thorpe Park.

    Think everyone’s got the message. Especially as Holly got a ‘Barnsley’ shout out before the break too!

  • Martin

    Luke warm on Spencer – they could have done more for him if they wanted to, or they could have gone in harder. It wasn’t a kill attempt – Sharon’s boyband comments didn’t feel too unfair. May end up forgetting about him after all the other performances.

    I thought he was better than expected actually – I’d like to see Leon and Sam before writing him off entirely.

  • Cath

    A big eye projected onto the stage for Spencer – get your illuminati conspiracy theories going now! 😉

  • Alan

    I’d say Spencer is the target. Couldn’t have made more of him being an American, end of journey-ish comments and a distracting argument to boot about the boyband criticism. Not good.

  • Edie M

    I reckon Holly will go far, but probably a bit too Louisa-esque to win. Terrible song choice though, and I find her v boring.

  • Mech

    @Danyal589 There are a couple of issues with your prediction – you have Sam Black twice and no Kevin Davy White. As the rest of the entry was there I’ll take any corrections entered before either of them perform…

  • Martin

    Oh, Holly is utterly adorable. Her VT had a few nice family moments and northern shout outs – she’s very relatable, her Sharon impression is my favourite moment of the night.

    Performance was bizarre but attractive – some kind of strawberry milkshake interpretive fever dream. I liked the song but does it delight a demo?! What is her demo?! Not sure in the context of this years show!

    Nice to see Louis appealing for a northern vote and praise elsewhere. HOW OLD IS SHE?!

    • Wizbit

      Good evening. I’ve been observing on the sidelines for several years and kept meaning to chip in, and I’ve finally got round to it! Perhaps it’s just me and the family here but we all find Holly rather annoying. She is indeed just 16 but acts and appears much older and I’m not sure she’s going to endear herself to the masses with her confidence. Dermot’s ‘not cocky’ comment would have been better suited to the Barnsley lass IMHO

  • Piresistable

    A shout for Great Yarmouth rather than Norfolk.

    • He doesn’t even live there – he just works there. Population wise Norwich would have been a better shout out for him; especially as it sounds like he lives closer to Norwich than Great Yarmouth.

  • Sagand

    First red dominated set of series goes to Leon. It was a very positive VT. I really like the song. Getting the wildcard shows some public support, so I think he’ll be alright tonight.

  • Another pointer – Holly got a segment on her own whilst the others have had to share theirs with someone else so far.

    Leon: red and blacked (albeit with white) and had the song title behind him on the screens but he got an explicit call from Louis to vote for him… particualrly Great Yarmouth but not only there.

    • Chatterbox5200

      I was at the technical rehearsal last night and the staging/set for Holly took 10 guys and a long time to assemble and take apart. I knew then that she’d need an ad break before and after she performed. They even had Dermot filling for a while with a chat to Cheryl.

  • Martin

    The camera lost Leon several times there. I missed his VT but the closing shot of him playing football to his brother saying “you’ll have to work hard for my vote” was questionable, although it came across as banter rather than anything too damning.

    I lovedddd seeing our first red and blacking of the year. Dermot to Leon after the performance – “the standard of the boys is so high this year…” sure hun.

  • Alan

    Not sure Leon’s VT was wholly positive. Showing Leon singing to the old folks made me think that was TPTBs way of saying that was his level, hardly pop star material.

    Feels like TPTB are keeping a lid on a few acts vote without throwing them under a bus.

    Dermots ‘not cocky’ comment to Rai Elle made me smile too. Planting the thought.

    • Sagand

      Maybe it wasn’t the VT you want if you’ve looking to win, but my biggest concern for Leon was that he seems harsh/ kind of chavy. Singing to old people in a suit / chatting with his brother reassured me that wouldn’t be much of an issue this week.

  • Sam is definitely from the Isle of Man rather than Liverpool then! And Grace is amazing…

    Lloyd and Talia will be closing the show.

  • Edie M

    Weird show so far. Very flat without Simon and only half the acts. Alisah and Holly probably safe (although I don’t really like either), they’ll please middle eng. Leon’s voice so thin! How did he make it back in??

  • Martin

    Loved Alisah’s VT, casually reminding everybody that she’s been sent home at practically every round so far. I’ve found her rather irritating so far but she was hilarious tonight.

    Her staging was well boring. Was waiting on a golden shower and a choir, damn you X Factor for changing your ways.

  • Martin

    There’s people on the Isle of Mann!! Oh Louis.

  • Phil

    Christ, Liam Payne is so dull.

  • Martin

    Singing a song from 2016, still stuck in 1961.

  • Chatterbox5200

    Louis having to look at his notes for the name of his act!

  • “Just send a Boy home please. We don’t particularly care which one, just send a Boy home…”

  • @Danyal589

    lots of wide camera shots there

  • Sagand

    Sam’s the worst vocalist by far.

    It says something about how pointless the panel is when the harshest criticism comes from the act himself.

  • Dermot now openly talking about Louis alienating the core base of his own act. Love it.

  • Martin

    Felt like they went in the most on Sam there, Dermot and Louis at the end!

    Performance was flat, staging was boring and Sharon calling him shit without actually saying anything about him was particularly skilful.

    It does feel a bit empty without Simon though.

    • Then there was the distracting argument about his legs when Louis threw it back to Sharon with the claim that he is ‘good’ which makes everyone forget about Louis’ previous comment.

  • Piresistable

    Red rose of Lancashire!

  • Wizbit

    I knew there was a reason Sharon was dressed all in black tonight but with emerald coloured earrings. Now what colour is Grace’s dress in her VT?

  • Hammo

    Yeah Sam looks like the target to me as well and here’s ‘Amazing Grace’

  • Interesting comments from Nicole… criticism of the staging so it doesn’t sound like they’re going overboard with her a la Louisa from the off but nothing that’d hurt Grace long term.

  • Martin

    A big Hmmmmm at Grace there. The song is her usual shtick, personally I hated her staging – it felt unnatural and inappropariate given what she was performing and the fact that Nicole picked up on it without attacking Grace seemed to puncture what needed to be a resoundingly positive moment for an original song to do well.

  • Grace really is boring… you can’t actually remember the words of any of her songs, there’s no hook

  • Sagand

    Will we get to know who tonight’s winner tonight? Cos I don’t think it’s Grace.

  • David Cook

    I know DS is full of ‘haters’ but not a single positive post about Grace. She can’t win doing this for six weeks.

  • Martin

    Star crazy for Lloyd!

    Had a sense of getting a pimp slot out of the way early. He was the most typical of all the performances tonight, wouldn’t be surprised to see him top the votes with it.

  • Lloyd being given the Andrea Faustini treatment IMO – first show peak then get dragged down from there.

    Though I didn’t expect Louis to hit ‘recording deal’ in his comments.

  • Phil

    Lloyd is a bit of alright like.

    Totally changed my opinion of him tonight. Potential finalist.

  • Martin

    Oh and me. More Rugby Lloyd Vt’s please.

    I mean, the performance was Joe McElderry by numbers but you take the good where you can get it.

    I’d go with Lloyd topping the vote, and well… any of the other boys at the bottom – let’s be honest, they were all atrocious. There’s something to be said for all of them finishing last but I’m gonna lump on Sam for his sheer incompetence.

    • I think Spencer will finish bottom – running second, destroyed his song, had his nationality hit again and again (they may as well have shoved an American flag and photo of Donald Trump on stage with him).

      Vote stat: Only 1.5% between the bottom two.

      • Martin

        The US/tourist buttons were pressed rather a lot, I am a little worried about that but he’s cute and I didn’t actually think his performance was that bad. Leon and Sam were worse. I’m sure I’ll live to regret it but I’m only dipping my toe tonight.

  • Edie M

    Eurgh Lloyd was tedious. But he’ll definitely delight the demo.

  • Phil

    Ugh. This pillock on right now needs to be sent home tonight.

  • Piresistable

    Liam Payne showing why he was put in a boy band seven years ago.

  • Sagand

    Prediction:
    Leaving: Spencer
    Winning tonight: Lloyd
    Grace to never return to favourite.

  • David Cook

    This is Louis’ poorest act so far. Why have they given him the pimp slot? At least they’ve red andblacked him.

  • Martin

    Boy band member a solo artist does not make.

  • Martin

    Oh well, excuse me whilst I peel the egg off my face. Should have stuck with my 1-16 prediction!

  • No surprises there. Of all the acts tonight, Spencer was the only one the audience was given no reason to vote for.

  • Grace won the first public vote. That’s a headline considering they didn’t really give her a push this evening.

    Sharon and Nicole said Alisah won the night; Louis said Lloyd.

  • Martin

    And there we are, Grace topped the vote without scorching the earth.

    What on earth is she wearing tonight?!

  • Edie M

    Not sold on this new format at all. No drama about the elimination at all, very functional.

  • Uzair

    I’m quite shocked by this result Lloyd and alisah one the night for me i even enjoyed rai Elle but grace still won. Spencer wasnt a surprise and the boys don’t look too promising after that. Holly had a bad song choice. Looking forward to who wins tomorrow based off the pill ive seen the cutkelvins were behind grace in 2nd so maybe them or sean and connor raksu wont win without a pimp slot.

  • 360

    Not watching so, did they actually say for sure she topped the vote, or did the judges just choose their ‘winner of the night’?

    EDIT: Huh. Thanks for the responses. Well, she has had the most coverage going in so to top week 1 when the vote was split so many ways isn’t maybe that surprising.

  • Grace was on the rebound from having such an unhappy JH last week. I would have never thought of that but it was the reason those watching it with me voted for her.

    I’m not saying that’s why she won but it might have been enough to take her past a couple of the others.

    • David Cook

      Was Alisah on the bounce from already having been booted off three times before?

      • I felt really sorry for Grace at the time. Alisah was longer ago and not so unfair as the way Grace was treated.

        • David Cook

          Was it unfair? The way it was edited may have portrayed it as being a bit harsh, and it certainly wasn’t what Grace wanted or expected to hear. However I think what she got was some perfectly valid and valuble advice. Whatever singing techniques or affected vocals singers use it’s generally better to use them with moderation. They need to be used for effect. If it’s done throughout it becomes distracting or annoying for the listener. She was given good advice about something she could easily correct. In the long run it will help her.

          • It just seemed odd to tell the writer of a song how to sing it. But it must have been a shock for her that after months of being TCO something had changed.

            And that would have been confirmed when she saw which of her two songs they used for the edit, and which of Sharon’s comments were left in.

            Anyway the public just saw her very unhappy in tears and unable to sing.

          • David Cook

            That’s the key thing about JH stage. We only see one performance. Was the other performance better or worse – we never know.

    • Martin

      Sort of like a pre-lives sympathy bounce? I didn’t think of that. something to consider. Her treatment tonight certainly wasn’t a vote topper – that honour went to Lloyd. Lots to think over this evening!

    • India Marie

      No bounce, I think her base is just robust

  • Piresistable

    I wonder when the new format was agreed? If it was a late change, that could explain the change in Grace’s treatment. If she tops the vote each week, it could be final nail in the show’s coffin.

    • R

      If Grace tops the vote and wins the prize every week voters may decide to give someone else a chance.

    • Edie M

      On X factor USA the year they revealed the order of the public vote each week the same two people topped the vote every week and went on to come 1st/2nd. Will be interesting to see if it affects voting behaviour in UK.

      • R

        Thanks for the info Edie. Was there a weekly prize in the US version?

        • India Marie

          Not Edie but no there wasn’t. They just showed the rankings every week. The lack of volatility suggested very few were really voting

          • Edie M

            I imagine voting volumes will be low on UK x factor this year as well, especially on saturday nights. It was Halloween weekend tonight and voting only open for 10-15mins.

          • India Marie

            Woah I thought the vote was open since the start or just after the two WCs are shown. Surely this short window will favour the acts that draw in hardcore supporters.

            Also for Sunday contestants, acts with older supporters

          • Edie M

            Yep, it opened after last act, just before 10pm. Liam ‘performed’ & then it closed. Maybe they’re using it as a way to control vote even without sing-off?

        • Edie M

          No I don’t think so.

    • Roxie

      Lol. Why would it be the final nail in the show’s coffin? The public are voting for a winner and this time there’s NO judge interference with a Bottom 2 and a Sing Off. I would think the public would quite like that? Finally there’s no more manipulation right? (Well we all know there are more ways the show can manipulate voting but the casual viewer doesn’t really pay attention to those). In terms of public opinion, if they vote a contestant first then surely they’ll be pleased if that contestant comes first? There’s not going to be a huge public outcry about a contestant coming first when they were the ones who voted for her coming first in the first place.

  • Roxie

    I actually find it absolutely hilarious that Grace won the vote tonight haha. I was completely expecting that – the public really appreciate original songs (like Lucy and Abi did). Obviously both of them were told to dub it down because it’s a vote grabber. Whereas Grace is chosen one, they are encouraging it as much as possible. She’s so down-to-earth and in my opinion super likeable. So happy for her despite the comments online; people can’t appreciate the maturity and subtlety of her songs. She’s stunning. 🙂

    It’s just hilarious how everyone’s going into meltdown on DS and here about her doing so well. Personally thank god. I don’t see the appeal of some super generic ballad singer like Alisah who literally sounds like every Whitney Houston impersonator ever. I don’t get people who worship that kind of genericness. I also think Holly is another super average boring ballad singer as well but she has the added bonus of seeming a bit bratty and unlikeable. Absolutely no surprise Grace did so well – she’s super talented.

    Sam too – he’s way more interesting and relatable than any of the others in his category. Love how fun and upbeat his performances are. He’s great and to me he’s actually a good singer for someone who’s had no training. Lloyd surprised me too – I do musicals too so it’s nice to see someone singing in that style without sounding too cabaret like Maloney.

    Fingers crossed for Matt Linnen. He’s my favourite besides Grace. Both actual artists with incredible voices. Think both of them will get far. Can’t wait to read more of DS’s meltdown. Such a negative vile site so I’m actually really enjoying this. 🙂

  • Sagand

    I guess Grace topping isn’t that surprising, it’s the first time the public have had a chance to vote so they can mark on everything before the live shows where she has been shown more prominently than everyone else. In an eight way vote 25% is probably enough to win. And everyone thought her main competition is from the groups who are tomorrow.

    There is risk of backlash towards Grace if she keeps winning. You need transfers from other acts to win. I think the show was quite clear she isn’t their preferred winner. I strongly feel that without help she can’t win, tonight just proved she won’t lose to one of the boys category.

  • Martin

    I’m not surprised that she won based on what she’s been doing so far, more so that she managed to top the vote with an original song and without the show having to do too much for her.

    Do we think it could be part of the reason the show went all Spotify Suggestions with its song choices tonight? The only one who had a typical X Factor choice was Spencer. They could just have wanted to shake things up of course, but there’s a fair chance that tonight will be the first time that a lot of viewers will have heard most of those songs tonight.

  • India Marie

    Did I hear correctly that Week 1’s prize is a meeting with Pink? What are The Cutkelvins singing again?

  • James Martin

    On a production note, is this New set a Florian Weider design (the last set and several Eurovision sets including Kyiv)

  • I just watched the performance videos.

    Did Louis really say that Alisah’s song was like a winner’s song?

    Spoiler: It was. Jordan Sparks’ American Idol coronation song!

  • India Marie

    Sifting through the Internet and I saw people not liking Alisah’s return, citing all the other times she was sent off and that she comes off desperate. The last Filipino act (Fourth Impact) didn’t have this baggage so this must be ominous.

  • David Cook

    Martin – It was Lee Glasson who did Strong. Standing in a scrap heap. It’s just the opposite of the original. The way Hannah sings everything’s just so beautifully measured. She’s a sort of Mies van der Rohe of singing where less is more.

  • @Danyal589

    Grace already charting top 30 of itunes

    • Sagand

      I wouldn’t read too much into iTunes. Downloading music is all but dead as a method of consuming music. To get to 30 on iTunes you only need to sell 200 copies whereas last year around 250,000 people voted on X Factor weekly.

  • The Juan

    Watching tonight, they really hammered the ‘song writer’ line with grace, yet gave her the fake pimp slot.

    I don’t know if it’s a case of trying to convince myself, but, I really can’t see her winning this. Especially in the later stages when the vote transfer really kicks in, who is going to vote for that dirge? Can anyone actually sing that ‘song’ back?

    Looking ahead, you’ll probably be able to sing back Rak-Su (who I’m not backing).

    Makes me wonder which sort of versus the show is trying to set up?

    Lloyd can deliver week after week.

    Without seeing tomorrow, I can see a final 3 out of Lloyd, grace, Matt, raksu/cutkelvins.

    Wonder how the vote transfer would see that play out?

    • Cath

      The Juan – what do you mean by ”fake pump slot”?

      • The Juan

        Hi cath

        The last performer of the evening is the pimp slot.

        The one before the final break is the fake pimp slot.

        Some people may not wait until ‘after the break’ or take the opportunity to have a flick through channels before coming back for results if the act they want to watch… grace…. has already performed

    • Tim B

      “Fake pimp slot” ?

      That is not a thing imo. Second from last is a very favourable running order slot, no matter what.

  • India Marie

    I decided to look through the profiles of the losing Wild Card contestants and apparently, the New Girl Group will continue on (outside the show) as a quartet.

  • Alan

    I quite enjoyed Grace’s performance last night. I thought it was a strong song and she sung it well. Miles better than the one she sang at 6CC. It would be funny if the show went cold on her after building such a head of steam up for her.

    Aside from the format change it was the same old show. There wasn’t a lot of genuine enthusiasm from the judges and it felt to me like they poured cold water on a few acts, trying to keep a lid on their votes. Sam and Leon will no doubt be picked off in due course.

    Stick by my comments about knowing who won the vote. Grace now looks head and shoulders above the girls and boys and if she tops the next two weeks votes it’ll look like a terrible idea with the series win a foregone conclusion. Just don’t really see what is to be gained.

    • Anglia Chu

      I think they will mix it up so the Girls will probably be on Sunday (since dear Grace has a gig on Saturday, how will that fit with rehearsals and the Pink meet and greet?) with either the Groups or the Overs.

  • Cath

    So far so good for me against my top 16 predictions of Spencer 16th and Grace 1st.

    The surprise of the night for me was Lloyd, sounding particularly good. I think he’ll go far. The rest of the boys were ‘meh’ – take it or leave it.

    They’ve actually managed to change things up this year with the format (as opposed to saying they will and then showing the same old same old). I’m really seeing a conscious effort to be more positive, which I think came through in the judges’ comments too. Where there were de-ramps, they weren’t ever in a nasty way e.g. Isle of Man not having anyone live on it, USA USA.

    I also think the shorter number of lives will help those doing original songs. Good to see some more unusual sing choices thrown in there too. Not sure we’ll see the red flag betting gift that is My Way this year!

  • Anglia Chu

    A few notes

    1. Are the Sunday contestants’ outfits later the ones they wore yesterday? If so, bye bye Traceyleanne.
    2. Staging is a lot more dynamic than previous years.
    3. Grace winning the Saturday leg makes me feel like I have an egg on my face, predicting that Holly will do better.

    Rai-Elle. Young, portrayed to be her age (rather than beyond her years like Holly). Got a lot of help vocally but visually it’s all a mess. At this rate she’s not going deep.

    Spencer. Did they have to vote? The whole montage + performance + comments scream “he’s done send him home”.

    Holly. Louisa edit (supporting Barnsley while Louisa supported West Ham) and motif without the effort to drag her all the way; order suggests they’re testing her power.

    Leon. Dead dad and brother, old folks home. “Stay” flashing at the background to remind everyone that they shouldn’t let the nuking of Spencer go to waste. Rap OK but it’s so flat he should start packing next week.

    Alisah. Same “happy to be here” as Spencer but without the cynical undertones suggesting she can go now; that said, giving her an Idol winners’ song suggests that maybe she can go next week? Pigeonholing her as the ballad singer is a double-edged sword; maybe people will bore of her, maybe people will think she’s so good.

    Sam. Isle of Man. Family man. Confidence. Karaoke. This is older than 1961, if not older than Stevie Wonder. His story has mileage but his whole shtick doesn’t.

    Grace. This wasn’t much of a pimping, which makes her win all the more impressive. She was allowed room to do her thing, without pushing too hard and with a song that’s meh, and she got the most votes.

    Lloyd. Is there a Welsh vote? Is a boy that’s close with his nan a good thing, vote-wise? This is so lame and overdone, compared to how non-singers Emma and Ryan did it in La La Land, but it’s so MOR that he could pick up steam moving forward. Expecting the nukes to come.

  • 360

    Let’s not forget Janet Devlin topped the vote no matter how her performance was for the first five weeks running. Be wary of judging Grace by that as indicative of where sge will end up – Janet came 5th.

  • Anglia Chu

    I wonder how Sunday will go. Does the show *really* want to pit their chosen ones against each other in Week 1? If Rak-Su or The Cutkelvins top Sunday’s vote, we can possibly decipher the show’s preferences at the top level.

    • 360

      Actually on that point, one advantage of this new format is that no one act is able to top the vote every night for all ten shows.

      So they will still be able to have drama and tension for the final even if it ends up being, say, between two acts that have topped the vote for five ‘weeks’ respectively.

  • fused

    I thought nobody was terrible, but nobody really stood out either.

    My favourite performance was Rai-Elle’s, though I doubt she got many votes. My least favourite was Spencer’s. While the way they clearly were casting him as an American tourist wouldn’t have helped, I’d say his performance was the least engaging, so in that sense it wasn’t a completely unfair result that he went.

    I actually thought Leon’s was one of the better ones too, it had a bit of energy at least. Sam wasn’t great vocally, but he is very likeable, and I’ll be honest I think he is very good looking, so I can see why he stayed.

    As for Grace, well I think my highlight of the whole show was her having to correct Dermot that she hadn’t won the prize yet! Her song was OK, and I think she sang it well. She has “something” I suppose. She is getting a bit of hype backlash, but there’s a chance that itself is going to start looking a bit nasty, in fact it already is in some ways.

  • I have no idea how this prize thing works…

    So the most popular contestant tonight takes on Grace tomorrow night…

    But takes here on at what? Surely not enough time for a sing off, judges deciding seems a bit pfft, what happens if that’s deadlock?

    Is there another public app vote in the week?

    Do they play darts and closets to the bull?

  • Phil

    There is a definite attempt at positivity and credibility this year. One thing that impressed me was that it felt like songs were allowed more time to breathe, it wasn’t the usual conveyor belt of 90 second bursts of frantic singing with bridges or verses being cut out. Also 2 different acts had instruments on stage, which is novel.

    Anyway, the top 2 thing. I think one thing it will lead to is complacency in voters. I’d be surprised if the same act topped the vote every week now we know who won the previous week.

  • R

    Grace currently at 17 on iTunes with Liam Payne at 19.
    Lloyd is at 57 and none of the others have made an impact so far.

  • Martin

    Yeah I’m not sold on the whole prize thing either. The whole set up is bit underwhelming really – I was expecting the winner to get studio time with some big names or something similar, not the sort of prize that the audience can win on Saturday Night Takeaway.

  • jimortz1980

    anyone seen a DS post regarding Grace getting help from professional songwriters with her ‘Too Young’ song? nothing wrong with co-writing music, but she’s making it appear like it’s purely her own effort. one of her pro co-writers works with Mika too.

    for now, they may have advised her not to mention it, but may use media later on to expose her if they needed to deramp her.

  • @Danyal589

    Grace instagram post suggesting that the winner of sing off will be determined by public vote not by judges as I had thought

    • Anglia Chu

      Makes sense given that Dermot said judges’ vote will be scrapped, but I wonder if there will be a systemic thing where a certain day’s winner keeps winning

  • Dean Fiori

    Made me laugh on the Spencer VT the final words of the backing music was Ed Sheeran’s where he says”I’m going home” or something like that.

  • James Martin

    Much better staging and production this year but oh boy did it have this year’s ESC writ large over it. Florian Wieder also showing great imagination with a stage that totally doesn’t look like the ones he designed for XF previously or ESC in Dusseldorf, Vienna or Kyiv. Not.

    Spencer going no surprise. Death slot and the American VT was as others have said basically missing Donald Trump telling us he would win bigly.

    Holly reminds me of Lucie Jones back in 2009. Girl next door who can sing well. Lucie, if you remember, was horrifically nuked in movie week then lost a singoff to Jedward. The bus is warming up.

    What was with the large TOO YOUNG letters on France’s number?

  • Tim B

    In some ways it’s really impressive that Grace won the vote last night with an original song. I can’t be alone in expecting it to have been Lloyd. I wonder how close it was, but I imagine those two were miles ahead of the rest.

    The market (wrongly) hated her last night as well, so I can only imagine how well she does when it likes her.

    • Well you could say, as clear fave, the market loves her. Lloyd’s price suggests people think XF are going to try to nuke him.

      I’m loving the new style of XF and the absence of Brian Friedman.

      • Anglia Chu

        Brian’s gone? I remember there was a few years without him (when we was in the US version) and they weren’t very good, visual-wise

      • Tim B

        The market doesn’t love her yet, she is the same price as she was this time yesterday despite making it through to next week and topping the vote.

        • Nick

          Plenty of 5/2 for Grace yesterday, certainly until lunchtime when I checked and I mentioned the price on here. No 5/2 now, understandably.

        • Oh it looks like sufficient love to me. Last night we had some surprise great performances by others, an odd stage for her and criticism from Nichole, continuing the JH de-ramp, and although a decent composition – meandering with no hook and too similar to her others.

    • Anglia Chu

      I thought it would be Lloyd too, despite my aversion to his overdone version of the song in La La Land. In XF’s heyday, it would easily have been that case.

      • Ryan Gosling is such an abysmal singer than any cover by a real singer will sound completely different to what people are used to. I thought it was fantastic but I don’t begrudge the win for Grace last night, I thought it was deserved for everything she’s done and gone through thus far.

        Now the question is which contestants from the decent ones last night can maintain their standards?

        • Anglia Chu

          The spirit of the song carries a tinge of melancholy, it is not a song you belt. Non-singers Ryan and Emma got that, most good YouTube covers of that song got that. It’s less Lloyd on Express Yourself and more Grace if they forced her to sing a cover.

          • Subjective. Ryan Gosling got nothing. It was popular from its strength despite him, not because of him. I thought that was generally agreed among music critics too.

            The audience in the hall last night loved it.

          • Anglia Chu

            This isn’t The Voice. I *know* Ryan Gosling has a weak voice but that his version interprets the song, considering the CONTEXT and the LYRICS, better. Lloyd was just hitting big notes for brownie points (and that’s okay, he’s in a competition). This is corroborated by the fact that YouTube covers of the song maintain the non-belt-y structure.

            I know the audience loved it because they like big voices, not because they thought the song is best done by making the original’s soft moments into loud ones. Lloyd’s version screams Craig Colton without the cringe faces. That delights the demo but doesn’t take away from my point: the interpretation is crap.

  • 360

    Thoughts on last night having now seen the performances: who WASN’T nobbled a little?

    Only Holly and Lloyd were ringfenced with outright positive performances and sets.

    Grace red-and-blacked and given an original song with the song title on the stage rather than her name. On the plus side, a more relaxed and conservative outfit than her pink hair, belly top and clown pants from judges houses, and she performed decently.

    Leon red-and-blacked, and, although the song was called ‘Stay’ for a positive subliminal, it didn’t demand much singing. Rai-Elle given a colour vomit stage, put in a cage, and singing a mash-up of not two, but three songs, also while having to walk and sing at the same time, negotiating a stage walk, choreo, and a staircase. Oh, and the main thrust of the song was called ‘My name is no, my sign is no, my number is no.’ Great subliminals to voters there. It also struck me with such a complicated first performance on that stage, how much potential there was for something to go wrong, how much she had to keep up with and under control for it to go off successfully.

    Alisah and Sam both put in a box, musical-sounding-songs and dated, retro-sounding songs respectively. Sam’s song also was an odd arrangement and he appeared to be, on rewatch this morning, a little not in time with the backing track too. Good staging though, and again on the other hand, old classic songs didn’t do Ryan Lawrie any harm last year. Alisah allowed to shine but not dressed flatteringly and not given a lot of reason for floating voters to be drawn to her.

    And then Spencer, as was said above, no reason given really to vote for him, plus the American card played to the hilt.

    Back to Grace, having seen the performance, I personally liked it alright, but her vocals were a little ropey on some notes and I’m confused by the mixed message of red-and-blacking her and putting her song name in lights rather than her name. That would suggest she isn’t favoured as Plan A, or something along those lines.

  • Nick

    As a backer of Grace, I don’t think I like this “win vote/ sing off /prize “at all.
    Keeping the vote secret and having a bottom two controlled by judges means a talent like Grace will certainly be there or thereabouts.
    The prize is too much as well…..
    Can’t see this format staying.

    • Anglia Chu

      At most, it will only happen this year. Promising X and Y, meh-ish prizes that will probably distract from actual rehearsals, doesn’t have the edge that the classic sing-off had. At best, maybe there should be both. Everything feels so nicey-nicey now

  • Dazzle

    This format would work better if the judges picked the performance of the night instead who is topping the votes

  • Alan

    Isn’t it about time we disregarded red and black staging? It’s a complete nonsense. I’ve not seen it applied as a negative once.

    Richard Betsfactor was before my time and may have had some amazing insights. He was barking up the wrong tree with this one though.

    • Phil

      I think there’s something in it, but it isn’t *always* a negative. It could be more down to what type of song gets sung whilst it is used – I always think of Sophie Habibis singing Bang Bang. A slow, dull song with dingy-looking red and black staging – it would have been the same result with a different colour though.

      • Alan

        Yes totally, it’s the context in which it is used, not just the fact it is red and black colours.

        I felt that Leon suffered more from having no dancers with him on that big stage rather than the colour scheme.

        • Martin

          Red and black by itself is an utterly useless concept yes, but I think it works as part of a package which is meant to be negative. The classic example is the Sophie Habibis Bang Bang one, but there are also a few others which back it up. Mason Noise, in 2015, the week he left had an awful time of it. A VT making him look arrogant, sexy half naked dancers, his backing track left him exposed and a lovely red and black stage to add to it. I think it’s a subliminal which contributes to a negative vibe, rather than an out and out show of intent. Louisa Johnson got red and blacked a few times!

    • R

      Red and black has a place but I’m more convinced by arrows pointing to the exit while the contestant sings ” go walk out the door, just turn around now, ’cause you’re not welcome anymore”.

  • Everyone on Tracy going tonight?

    Don’t think Kevin is a MEM vote magnet as some have suggested, he’s actually pretty dull, so expect him to be easily removed next week.

    Tracy looks such an obvious target and also not very voter friendly

  • Uzair

    So far talia got a lukewarm welcome back. A great performance from the cutkelvins and plenty of refernce to their Scottish vote i could see them topping the vote but raksu have got the pimp slot so interesting to see how they do. Kevin was good but I cant see him getting far.

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