There always seems to be an element of controversy swirling around “The X Factor” U.K. by the time the live episodes start. In the hours leading up to the episode that ITV1 televised on October 27, 2012, British tabloids (including The Sun ) were screaming headlines about how outrageous it was that an ailing Lucy Spraggan (who is out sick with “severe flu”) was excused from performing on the show this week and will automatically get a pass into next week’s show.
Viewers seem to have mixed feelings about this “X Factor” decision, since there have been many contestants over the years who have performed while sick with the flu, and they were not excused from performing. On the other hand, Spraggan hasn’t been in the bottom two so far, so is it really fair to eliminate someone who so far not has not been eligible for elimination based on viewer votes?
And speaking of contestant elimination, the Daily Mirror and other tabloids in the U.K. also were reporting that “The X Factor” executive producer Simon Cowell is gunning for Christopher Maloney to be eliminated because Cowell allegedly thinks that 34-year-old Maloney is too old, too dated and too corny. Maloney was initially eliminated by judge Gary Barlow (Maloney’s “X Factor” mentor) at the “judges’ houses” phase of the competition, and then Maloney was re-instated in the competition as the “wild card” contestant who got the most votes from the public. Maloney was one of four “wild card” candidates who were all previously eliminated and who all competed for a chance to be voted back on the show.
According to multiple tabloids, Cowell is trying to manipulate viewer votes by ordering all of the judges except Barlow to keep criticizing Maloney. The other judges on the panel are Louis Walsh, Tulisa Contostavlos and Nicole Scherzinger. An “X Factor” spokesperson denies this allegation.
But with all the publicity that Maloney has been getting about supposedly being targeted for elimination, it seems like it will just make his supporters vote for him even more. Tabloids reported that “X Factor” producers were upset with Maloney because he skipped the contestants’ master class with Robbie Williams this week to visit an ailing friend, but those stories just once again cement Maloney’s status as the underdog fighting against corporate “X Factor” bullies. It will be surprising if Maloney is in the bottom two this week or next. He has reportedly been among the Top 5 vote getters all along, if the tabloids are to be believed.
In the meantime, here’s a recap of the performances from the Halloween-themed October 26 episode.
Kye Sones (whose “X Factor” mentor is Barlow) did a version of Williams’ “Let Me Entertain You” that got very good reviews from the judges, except Walsh seemed skeptical that the performance would be enough to keep him in the bottom two this week. Sones’ Halloween fashion consisted of him wearing a lot of eyeliner and wearing an outfit that looked like something a Nine Inch Nails band member an all-black outfit with ripped jeans would have worn in 1994.
(Click here to watch Kye Sones’ performance.)
Union J (whose “X Factor” mentor is Walsh) did a pleasant version of Beyoncé’s “Sweet Dreams” that didn’t really fit the Halloween vibe, but the group gets the biggest screams from girls in the audience, so it’s a good sign. Contostavlos, Barlow, Walsh said it was a good performance but Union J played it to safe. Scherzinger disagreed and said the performance was “absolute perfection.”
(Click here to watch Union J’s performance.)
Campy and controversial contestant Rylan Clark (whose “X Factor” mentor is Scherzinger) wore a stage outfit that would’ve made Freddie Mercury proud. (The ensemble included a glittery face ornament.) Clark did a medley of Britney Spears’ “Toxic,” Scherzinger’s “Poison” and Mousse T’s “Horny.” During the over-the-top performance (which at one point included Clark lying face up on levitating glass table), Clark jumped up to dance on the judges’ table and began playfully flirting with his nemesis Barlow, who couldn’t help but laugh in amusement. If you’ve been watching “The X Factor” U.K. for the past several weeks, then you know by now how the judges are going to give their feedback about Clark’s performance. Walsh and Scherzinger love it, Contostavlos says that Clark isn’t the best singer but he makes up for it with enthusiasm and being entertaining, and Barlow is the least impressed with Clark. This week, Barlow was a little easier on his criticism because he said the music was so loud that he couldn’t really hear Clark sing.
(Click here to watch Rylan Clark’s performance.)
For the first time since she’s been on “The X Factor,” Ella Henderson (whose “X Factor” mentor is Contostvalos) didn’t get unanimous praise from the judges. She did Evanescence’s “Bring Me to Life” in a lower key and slightly slower tempo than the original song. Barlow, Walsh and Contostavlos loved the performance, but Scherzinger felt Henderson sang the song in the “wrong key” and that the performance could have had “more depth.” Scherzinger said it was her least-favorite performance from Henderson so far.
(Click here to watch Ella Henderson’s performance.)
Christopher Maloney once again divided the judges. This time, it was with his version of Cutting Crew’s “(I Just) Died In Your Arms Tonight.” Walsh and Scherzinger thought it was a good performance. But then Barlow (Maloney’s “X Factor” mentor) got into a verbal spat with Contostavlos when she said, “Gary, how many of these ’80s hits are you going to let him keep destroying, honestly? He is getting the same critique every week. Why not change it up for him? It’s not working!” Barlow snapped back, “Tulisa I don’t know what’s offended me more, what you said or the fag [British slang for cigarette] ash breath! Christopher, you have delivered again tonight. Great performance. You’ve sung really well.” Tulisa then hissed at Barlow: “Lay off the red wine, because I can smell that as well!” Barlow later made a public apology on “The Xtra Factor” for his “fag ash breath” comment.
District3 (whose “X Factor” mentor is Walsh) wore “A Clockwork Orange” Droog-inspired outfits, eye makeup and canes, but this boy band looked about as dangerous as Justin Bieber. The judges didn’t love District3’s mash-up of The Police’s “Every Breath You Take” and Ne-Yo’s “Beautiful Monster.” Contostavlos said the performance started off strong but then went downhill. Barlow said the performance was “an absolute mess.” Scherzinger agreed with Barlow. Walsh admitted that District3’s performance could have been better, but he asked that voters give District3 another chance to improve next week.
(Click here to watch District3’s performance.)
Jahmene Douglas (whose “X Factor” mentor is Scherzinger) did a simple but powerful version of Robert Flack’s “Killing Me Softly.” All of the judges loved the performance. Walsh gushed that Douglas is the best singer in the competition this year and is “world-class.”
(Click here to watch Jahmene Douglas’ performance.)
Jade Ellis (whose “X Factor” mentor is Contostavlos) went all sci-fi/spiderweb Black Widow with her Halloween stage outfit. Her performance of Adina Howard’s “Freak Like Me” (a song also made famous by Sugababes) was clearly trying to imitate something that Rihanna would do, and all of the judges except for Contostavlos criticized Ellis for it. Barlow said he loved Ellis’ image makeover but thought her vocals were “slightly weaker” than usual. Scherzinger didn’t like the performance and makeover at all and told Ellis: “I’m so sorry, but I didn’t get it.” Scherzinger also commented that she wished Ellis would go back to the India.Arie style that Ellis had in her “X Factor” audition. Walsh agreed with Scherzinger and said “Freak Like Me” was a “really bad song choice” for Ellis and that she seemed “uncomfortable” and her performance was “more style than substance.” Contostavlos defended Ellis by saying that Ellis was taking risks and did “very, very well,” considering that Ellis lost her voice in the previous week.
(Click here to watch Jade Ellis’ performance.)
James Arthur (whose “X Factor” mentor is Scherzinger) did a dark and slow version of Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” that was closer to Marilyn Manson’s remake than the original version by Eurythmics. Someone in the show’s makeup department must have decided that all the male contestants had to wear heavy eye makeup in this Halloween episode, and Arthur was no exception, as he was dressed like a modern-day Igor. All of the judges highly praised his performance. All of them said that Arthur deserved go far in the competition, and Walsh predicted that Arthur will get a record deal.
(Click here to watch James Arthur’s performance.)