Yesterday I was one of the lucky audience members for the first live show of this year's X Factor! We had originally applied for these special rehearsal/front of stage tickets but after queuing for over 5 hours on the day it turns out the producers were ageist AND sexist, only allowing a handful of girls between 16-21 to go in! The rest of us got lumbered with "priority" entry into the live show instead which equated to seats near the back but at that point I was just glad to be inside.
We've been to see the live shows twice before, both times being to support Kingsland last year. This time we were sat behind the friends and family of the contestants and it was nice to be able to watch without having a particular favourite!
Around 7:15, Roycey (the warm up man for all the big ITV audience shows) came and gave us some practice for the 2 and a half hour clap-a-thon ahead of us, and told us we'd need to stand during all the performances etc. At 7:30 we went live to approximately 11 million people, and what an experience it was! Seeing the judges walk in was amazing, I felt a bit starstruck to be sat in the same room as Simon Cowell to be honest!!!
Then it was time for the contestants! There are 16 in total this year, the 12 original contestants plus 4 wildcards chosen for the judges by another judge. Simon has the overs this year, Cheryl with the girls, Mel B with the boys and Louis with the groups.
Paul opened the show with a brilliant performance of Ella Henderson's Ghost. He got a no from Louis at judges houses last year and the judges most definitely played on this element this year. He definitely deserves his place in the competition and his confidence has grown - it was a big deal to open the show last night, I just hope people won't forget about him following the other 15 performances.
Lola was a wildcard for Cheryl's category as chosen by Louis. She did a good performance of Sam Smith's Stay With Me and only really received criticism for her outfit!
Formally Overload, these boys were Louis' wildcard as chosen by Mel B. Unfortunately their performance of Katy Perry's I Kissed A Girl fell a bit flat, no doubt down to nerves and the pressure of being the wildcard, considering that they have direct competition in their category with the eight piece boyband. However they were spurred on by a great crowd reaction, lots of screaming fangirls were sat around me and having seen them at events such as Soccer Six in the past, I know how popular they are. They also have a brilliant social media presence and I have no doubt that their fanbase will carry them through to next week where they'll need to prove themselves.
Simon's first over to perform was Welshman Jay James who delivered a brilliant performance of Sigma's Changing, completely different to the songs he's done in previous rounds. I thought he was brilliant and took a risk by performing something out of his comfort zone.
Stephanie, of former Luminites fame, delivered an alternative performance of the old Bread song 'Everything I Own'. Whilst she has a distinctive voice, she lacked a certain something, and I agree with the judges comments that she would probably be happier in a group of some sort - having spent a lot of time in a group previously, it must be so strange for her to be a solo artist.
Jack was chosen as Mel's wildcard by Simon, of which she was thrilled about as he is a local lad therefore has a close bond to him. He performed a version of Rihanna's Only Girl In The World. I don't really remember much of him from previous shows but he delivered a great performance, I just worry that he's not as well known as some of the other contestants which could have an effect on voting.
Chloe performed a jazz version of Toxic by Britney Spears which is exactly what I expected to be honest. She is not everyone's cup of tea, and is most certainly not mine however she may appeal to some people.
The newly named eight piece boyband were the second to perform a Katy Perry song, this time Roar. I think they delivered a fantastic performance and as expected, they trod all over Overload unfortunately!! I think they'll be in it for the long run, a few of the boys already have massive fanbases and together with the other members I think they'll most definitely prove to be popular and stay in until the finals!
The final wildcard, as chosen by Cheryl for Simon, added some light relief during the show. His performance of Living La Vida Loca got the crowd moving and possibly gasping in horror as he stripped his shirt open in the end haha. Definitely not a serious contender but he's a nice man and is entertaining, the crowd went mad for him!
Lauren delivered a slowed down version of Pharrell's Happy which was good - I think she was the best in the girl category and is sure to be in the competition for a while.
These madcap sisters covered Kids in America and I can only describe it as somebody throwing up rainbows in terms of being the most colourful set of the evening. The long haired sister has a decent voice but they really shouldn't be in the show in my opinion (definitely took the place of an act far more deserving *cough Concept*)
Ben delivered one of the most standout performances of the night, singing Bridge Over Troubled Water. He has such a gravelly voice, it's so nice. He comes across as a genuine person too and I hope he'll stay in for a long time!
Another former contestant that returned following rejection at judges houses two years ago, Jake did a solid performance of Robbie Williams' She's The One. He is good but I wasn't particularly impressed by the performance, I know he can give more. Hopefully he'll be in next week to give the emotional performance I know he can deliver. He's such a nice guy, having met him a few times before, he deserves to go far.
Fleur's been pretty quiet on the show until her judges houses performance last week, although I remember when she reached the lives years ago with her band Addictiv Ladies. She performed All About The Bass which received rave reviews from the judges however she received the least reaction from the audience - most people were just sat still during her performance. I'm not sure how she will fare during the public vote if I'm honest!
Only The Young
OTY performed a mashup of Jailhouse Rock and Twist and Shout. I didn't think much of them, having seen them perform in Wembley Stadium at Summertime Ball I already had a formed opinion as I didn't like them there and unfortunately they didn't prove me wrong last night either. However, they are another act that I'm sure will be in it for the long run. They have a very supportive fanbase and will be very popular, unfortunately just not my cup of tea!
The final act was Italian man bear/pug man Andrea and quite frankly he blew everyone else out of the water with an epic performance of Michael Jackson's Earth Song. He received rave reviews and by far the best audience reaction. I 100% believe he will be in the final and I'd even put money on him being the winner!
It was a long but great night, I'm sure all the acts felt a sigh of relief getting the first show out of the way however they now have to face a double elimination tonight! I would say that the ones in trouble could be Blonde Electra and Stephanie however this is the X Factor, literally ANYTHING could happen!!
Hwyl am y tro ✌️
(Pictures courtesy of @TheXFactor twitter)