The X Factor tour kicked off in Birmingham and is playing to sell-out audiences now in Ireland. Some things seem to have changed. Shortly before the first show, Matt Cardle tweeted that Wagner was hilarious – those who followed the series will recall that there was a certain amount of ill feeling between the two, so much so that they reportedly nearly came to blows. Watching the live show at the LG Arena in Birmingham it was pretty apparent that most of the tensions of the contest had been replaced by excitement and confidence which combined to make for electric performances from almost all the acts.
Matt seems to be growing into his role at the top of the bill and shows an assurance and real connection with his audience. In Dublin he changed the way he sang Knights in White Satin to add a few more ‘twiddly bits’ and in Birmingham, his rendition of Just the Way You are was a lot more tender than the contest version. Audiences are singing along to the more famous tunes and this is really apparent during performances of When We collide. That must feel good. Matt commented that he’s accustomed to performing in a pub with five other people, usually half cut and not listening.’ Well they’re listening now and the hubbub of a bar has been replaced by audience screams and roars of approval.
When he sang ‘The First Time’ in the Boot Camp audition and later during the contest, he had tears to wipe away. At the LG Arena he performed on a rotating podium. Sections of the crowd cheered and screamed as he slowly turned to face them. How could he not grin back?
(Photo by Marianne Phillips 2011).