Can you feel the excitement? The X Factor final – the only final so big that it takes a full two nights to complete.
The contestants get overblown video in which they make the most obvious of statements. For instance, One Direction claim “We’re just a bunch of young lads…” No doubt these shocking revelations will keep coming as the show progresses!
Sadly, the final gets off to a flat start with a group performance from this year’s final 16 – it’s a version of What A Feeling, but the non-finalists look like they’re miming, while the finalists themselves are pitchy all over the place. It’s hard to listen to. On a positive note, at least it’s gonna get better after this….here’s Matt!
It’s the return of the shabby green hat. Well, for his intro video at least. On stage, Matt’s actually looking quite dapper in a grey waistcoat and white shirt. His chosen song is Dido’s Here With Me. Another girlie one, eh Matt? And why not.
You can hear that his voice isn’t quite 100% tonight. But he still manages to push through the emotion of the song, building to an impressive climax, even as his voice is cracking. I loved the stripped-back staging, with Matt front and centre with his guitar. The judges’ comments are typically complementary as you’d expect from an X Factor final, but most of them are hoping he’ll get through to tomorrow night’s final. Me too.
It’s the final, so Rebecca gets to stand on a pedestal that’s THREE TIMES the normal height. If you were hoping for an unusually animated performance from Rebecca, well…not tonight luvvies. She’s behind her mic-stand as usual, in a fantastic, sumptuous gown. Petals rain from the sky as she sings a smoky version of Corrine Bailey Rae’s Like A Star.
The vocals are flawless, as we’ve come to expect from this girl. Again, the performance was elegant, controlled and fantastic. Louis Walsh calls her a class, class act. Simon calls her ‘magical’ and compliments her recording voice. She definitely deserves her moment in tomorrow night’s final.
Yes, everybody, we get to see this generation’s version of Beatlemania as One Direction travel the country visiting their hometowns. We watch Harry Styles being forced at camera-point to tell his mother he loves her. Simon dishes out his trademark one-hand hugs to the boys as they perform for a screaming crowd. And finally, the performance…
They’re singing Your Song – topical because Elton John hates X Factor, but also in the charts with Ellie Goulding at the moment. Oh lord. I hate to be the one who says it, but this lacked just about everything. Five guys standing stock still in front of their mic-stands, droning out the lyrics of that song. We all know that One Direction don’t have to try hard with their unfussy teen fanbase, but this was just boring.
What’s to say about this? Cher does a mashup of Get Ur Freak On and something else. Her voice is as weak as ever, sounding particularly bad this week as she sing/raps her way through the song. Unlike the acts before her, Cher’s in the middle of a ridiculous amount of dancers. It’s just a mess.
Nothing more to note, other than Dannii Minogue’s comments seemed to imply that it was the end of the road for Cher.
Matt Cardle and Rihanna
Matt gets to duet with Rihanna on an old hit of hers, Unfaithful. You can hear how badly his voice is compromised on this song – it cuts out whenever he hits the high notes. But here’s what I like, he turns it around and remains in tune. It certainly makes the performance more interesting.
Rihanna, despite the plummy red perm, looks sensational in a slinky black dress with a slit right up to her ass. As Dermot O’Leary quips at the end of the song “Are we disturbing something?” There’s a fair bit of chemistry on stage tonight! Great performance. Really memorable.
Rebecca Ferguson and Christina Aguilera
Rebecca’s back and on a big staircase. Uh-oh. We know Simon Cowell has a thing about stairs, doesn’t he?
Anyway, Rebecca’s performing with Christina Aguilera on Christina’s Beautiful. It’s an awkward performance, especially the transition where Rebecca introduces her guest. There’s nothing to dislike, per se, but Christina looks like she’d rather be anywhere else than mangling one of her greatest hits with a Scouser on a British TV show. The whole thing kind of lacks chemistry.
One Direction and Robbie Williams.
Fresh from performing on Strictly Come Dancing with Take That, Robbie Williams joins the One Direction lads for a duet. Does he promise to remember the lyrics? Of course not.
The song is She’s The One, and it’s a vast improvement on One Direction’s previous effort tonight. Robbie brings a much needed touch of charisma to the group. A much better song choice, but you know that these guys are thriving on teenage fans who don’t really care about the music. Still, let’s not take that away from them, it was a good performance.
Cher duets with Will.I.Am
Cher opens this performance with a brilliant rendition of Where Is The Love, then enters a mashup with I Gotta Feeling when Will.I.Am hits the stage. She has a shaky moment with the woo-hoos, but gets over it quickly. There’s a confidence in the performance that’s really engaging.
The usual dodgy staging (I know Brian Friedman hates us for saying this, but group dance routines do nothing for the songs) is in effect here, but for the most part, Cher and Will carry the song brilliantly.