Sunday, October 21, 2007

X Factor First Live Show Recap

The first X Factor Live Studio Show of the series was a bumper edition filled with tears, trauma, and of course, fabulous entertainment.

He’d been looking forward to bounding onto the big stage for ages, and once Dermot was out in the spotlight, he looked right at home. It was hard to tell who’d been more nervous beforehand – him or the acts. Well, Dermot’s OK… but what about our ten fearless performers…?

It’s never easy being the first act on stage but Kimberley made it look easy as reclined atop a grand piano resplendent in fancy scarlet frock and matching red talons! Taking a deep breath before belting out her track and boogieing good-style, it was a moment to savour – and a dream come true for the Tamworth lass.

And boy did Kimberly start the show with a bang! The pyrotechnics lit up the room and as she delivered a fabulously choreographed version of The Weather Girls’ It’s Raining Men she had all of the audience – as well as her six hunky cowboy-clad dancers – transfixed!

While Louis Walsh said he “loved her” and Dannii Minogue said she’d “a fabulous voice”, Simon Cowell wasn’t quite so kind, however. “Shrieky karaoke on a big budget indeed!” The cheek! ”….And to think she was worried about falling of those high heels or being dropped by those handsome men!

More handsome still, of course, is Andy. Named by Dannii Minogue as “the best birthday present ever”, the second act on stage chose to slow things down completely with the Rod Stewart classic, I Don’t Want To Talk About It… but he certainly got the judges tongues wagging after he’d sung for their approval.

With Louis predicting Andy “would go a long way” and Sharon calling his performance “divine”, Simon likened him to “a singing puppy, loveable but a bit wet”. Dannii, meanwhile, promised more from her charge – “all this, and there’s so much more to come from you” – she promised.

The first of our bootcamp-made bands came next. Futureproof, our ladband, delivered the Robbie Williams ballad, She’s The One. With well-planned harmonies (not to mention futuristic silver-but-street clothes), their reception was top notch – but would the judges’ comments keep them smiling?

While Louis said there were "two or three really good voices within the band – you have potential", Sharon said they’d "already come far", and Simon mused that indeed they were “a really good group”. Meanwhile Dannii pointed out “a few tuning problems” – but we reckon she fancies Sean and she’s worried they may challenge for the top spot in the comp!

Well, if it’s big –indeed huge! - voices they’re after they should be certainly be knocked out by the amazingly glamorous Beverley – her high octane Gloria Gaynor classic I Will Survive brought disco back to town! As our Saturday night entertainment hit fever pitch, a cloud of silver glitter rained down on the stage – and the judges didn’t dampen the mood either!

Sharon said Bev’s performance was “fantastic – it looks like you’ve been performing your whole life!” while Dannii talked her up “amazing transformation” and played down a couple of “bum notes”. Simon tood his classic comment book out and pencilled in a newie – saying “it was very Stars In Their Eyes, but fun and popular. But what you can’t do week after week is sing Louis Walsh’s record collection!” But Louis stood by his diva, and told them, “it doesn’t matter, Beverley has The Voice”.

The last act of the first hour, all eyes were on the stage when 15 year old Emily started to sing the George Michael and Aretha Frankin hit I Knew You Were Waiting for Me. It didn’t matter that – as demonstrated by her funked-up school blazer she’s way too young to remember the original, because she made it entirely her own. The judges remain impressed by Emily’s talents, but views were mixed on her performance on the night

“I know you’ve got it but I don’t think the song really suited you”, explained Louis, while Dannii voiced a view held by all the judges; “the song is quite playful but I want to see you do a ballad”. Simon wasn’t going to keep his critique mild because of Emily’s age; “You’re fifteen years old. But I’ve going to say the vocals were not good enough. But Emily’s mentor Sharon rose to Em’s defence. “Believe me, we have all heard a lot worse tonight. You are typically a ballad singer and it’s hard for you to come on with the dancing. I think you did just fine”. So it wasn’t down to the singer at all.. but the choice of song…!

If you thought the judges were fierce during the first part of the competition read on to see how serious their comments got in the second half! Ouch! Why doncta just stab me with a knife??

Leon is certainly one of the most nervous contestants in the competition. And if Leon’s nerves were bothering him beforehand, he didn’t let it show. Maybe it was the four leggy dancers who diverted his attention – the Beatles certainly didn’t have that type of accompaniment when they sang Can’t Buy My Love – but then they didn’t deliver a jazz/swing mixed tempo version of it either!

The judges’ comments were not good, Louis started well; “When I first saw you at the auditions I thought you were great, and you have a good voice”, but it went downhill from there. “You lost all the melody, it was a dreadful arrangement…. but you were great”.

Sharon laid in too…“You do have a real real good voice a a likeable personality, but the song was all a bit frantic and it wasn’t good”. While Simon just let it all go!

I know everyone’s nervous, but that was a complete and utter nightmare The arrangement was terrible. I think you’ve taken the place of somebody else who should have been in the show, and Dannii you choice of song and arrangement was literally insane!”

Danni bristles, and explained the choice of song. “It’s music that you’re passionate about and that’s why we chose the song. And I know that everyone from home will get behind you and support you, and we’ll see you back here next week”!

Leon remained stoic. “I will try to take your comments on board”, he said.

Grinning from ear to ear as– as we’ve come to expect – they stepped on stage were Same Difference (despite Louis’ obvious frowns!). 50’s styled Sean and Sarah went for the Bee Gees-penned (but we’re guessing Steps-inspired) Tragedy. It was a proper dance-fest of cheesiness, and they were loved for it, earning a huge whoop of a cheer at the end. Now, who wouldn’t want to get up to dance along? Well….

Never has Louis Walsh looked quite so grumpy as he watched the duo. “Sean and Sarah, you are nice people and I know your family love you. But the song is called Tragedy and it should have been called Disaster” He goes in for the kill “You make the McDonald Brothers look like Lennon and McCartney” Ouch”!

Sharon tries to calm things down, telling the pair, ”It’s getting hot in here! You are cheesy. You are double cheeseburger and bacon. And I love cheese!” Dannii too is fairy impressed; “I think there is probably a huge market who would buy your albums there. There was a bit of screeching on the vocals – but I think that was from too much skipping!”

Sean and Sarah’s smileyness seems to be rubbing off on Simon! “I would like to be you two for an hour a day so I can be happy. The biggest music in the world is High School Musical and you appeal to the same audience” After bigging up the band, he turned on Louis, and an argument ensured. “Louis, There are young people who watch theis show and you came across as a miserable man and then they start to proper argue.

Changing the mood once more was Niki Evans. Making the most of her magnificent voice, the mum-of-two tackled the Sinead O’Connor arrangement of Prince’s Nothing Compares 2 U. Sinead, of course, is a hard act to follow, but as the auditorium grew silent the clearest of notes chimed through. Niki more than managed with a real storng emotion showing through. But would the judges be impressed? You bet!

Dannii said she loved the performance. Sharon told Niki she was “in a class of her own” pointing out that when Louis was given the Over 25’s category, Simon said there was a winner in it. “Niki, I think it might be you”.

Simon used the moment to snipe and Louis, after telling Niki her performance was
“more than good, it was fantastic. Now you have to believe you can win, you must want to win”.

To Louis he said, “The way you were unbelievably disrespectful to this category when you got it knowing there was someone like Niki in there was unbelievable”.

Louis wasn’t bothered, having made his peace with his stars, “that was the performance of the night, you made it your own.”

Waiting patiently in the wings was 23-year-old receptionist Alisha. In an incredibly apt song choice, she stood on the big stage and began to sing the Gabrielle hit Dreams, And Alisha gave an accomplished rendition in homage to the '90’s hit.

Louis kept things simple, I’m not sure about the song but I love you. Dannii suggested Alisha should try to connect with the camera more, and the rehearsal was better. Simon wasn’t sure “I think you may be vulnerable tonight, after that performance, because we don’t know enough about you.”

Sharon held her hands up to the criticism on the song choice. “I chose it, I made you sing it. Crap song, Get rid of me not her. Alisha’s voice is great.

If Alisha’s problem is that we don’t know enough about her, here’s a contestant who worries we think we know too much. While all of our singers may be household names soon, Rhydian was well on the way to fame – or infamy – before tonight’s show. Rhyd was anxious to let his rich – and very loud! - baritone voice to do the talking (in song, of course) and he certainly succeeded. With the mock opera Jim Steinman hit I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That) The Rhydler raced from side to side, owning the whole stage. In doing so, he blew the cobwebs and the audience – away.

“That was by far the best performance we’ve had tonight” said Simon. “every good classical singer has to be pompous and confident and you’re the one person I’d look forward to seeing week on week it was absolutely outstanding”.

Louis told Rhyd, “You’re arrogant pompous ambition and you remind me of someone, I love the Billy Idol haircut and the mad eye” ( which was high praise… we think!), Sharon said he was a sweet boy, mad boy, strange boy – but mama doesn’t know what to make of you… can I see your chest? (speaking of Rhyd’s legendary Pecs).

Dannii was on her feet along with the rest of the audience and it was the tip of the iceberg. And before the comments were done, Simon chipped in concerning Rhydian’s bad press: “I’ve met you backstage and you are a very nice polite person”. The official website can second that! And when “pompous, arrogant” Rhydian had the chance to answer back – he used it to wish Dannii a happy birthday. Bless!

The penultimate act this evening was Daniel De Bourg. The London dance teacher toned things down but upped the ante with the chilled-out Bryan Adams hit Heaven ( the ballad version, of course! Would he be in Heaven by the end of the night? The judges thought so…

Sharon decided his performance was “a bit touchy feely but very nice”, while Dannii said his vocals had improved since rehearsals”.

Simon wasn’t so impressed. “I thought it was ok, but it was a bit boring really. I’m used to hearing the Bryan Adams version with a rock production. It was a bit like have water for dinner it - it doesn’t leave you anything.”.

Louis half-agreed. It wasn’t the best performance of the night but I know you can do better… I think he’s good, but I want him to be great”

If Kimberly was happy to open the show while it was ...Raining Men, the girl group Hope were making best use of Rhianna’s Umbrella (ella-ella-eh-eh). The outfits! The singing! The sexiness! There’s nothing to say but “Wow!”

All of the judges were very impressed. Louis went first, saying “You look like you’ve been doing this for years and years and you put a lot of estab lished girl groups to shame.”

Sharon did her famous bluff: “I have a problem. You’re good looking, sexy, you can sing… I hate you! And Dannii thanked Louis for the idea of putting the two bootcamp bands, Futureproof and hope, together. Simon, mentoring the groups, was happy with his lot. “Your performance was as good as anyone in the charts today and especially I’d like you to say thank you to Phoebe for the great vocal.”

And so the first all-live show of season is over, and battle lines are drawn between the best of friends who all hope to eventually walk away with pop’s shiniest crown. By now, you may know your favourite. But by the time the results show airs, we will know which of the ten hopeful acts has got the thumbs down. Whose X Factor journey ends here? We’ll find out later tonight….

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