X Factor front-runner James Arthur wowed the judges on Saturday night’s guilty pleasures-themed edition of the show – so much so that Gary Barlow said he wanted to see him crowned series winner.
The 24-year-old – one of the six remaining acts in the competition – impressed both panel and audiences with his acoustic rendition of the 60s classic Can’t Take My Eyes Off You.
And the performance led Gary to tell him, “Putting my category aside – and I probably shouldn’t say this – I want you to win this competition.
“I just think you’re brilliant,” he added. “I love your music, your interpretation, I love how you get embarrassed. I love everything about you, well done.”
Tulisa was also keen on the performance, telling James, “Even though it’s guilty pleasures week that was one of your coolest performance. You’ve done it again.”
Favourites Ella Henderson and Jahmene Douglas also proved popular – the former delivering a stripped-down ballad version of You’re The One That I Want from Grease while the latter offered a more conventional version of disco classic Don’t Leave Me This Way.
“You are only four weeks from the final and it’s a good time for me to be saying to you that that was your best performance so far,” Gary Barlow told Ella, while Tulisa told Jahmene, “I am running out of ways to kiss your butt every week.”
However Union J divided the judges with their version of Carly Rae Jepsen’s Call me Maybe, with Gary telling them, “You have bounced back from last week,” but Tulisa saying, “I am not a big fan of that song…it was too cheesy for me.”
And once again the judges also couldn’t agree on either Christopher Maloney or Rylan Clark – the former singing the Bonnie Tyler chart-topper Total Eclipse Of The Heart, the latter offering a mash-up of Duran Duran’s Girls On Film and Bros’s When Will I Be Famous.
Nicole Scherzinger told Christopher, “It was a little creepy but you sounded really nice,” while Tulisa finally gave in and said, “We’ve established I won’t be buying the album but putting that aside you are always consistent.”
Rylan, meanwhile, won a mixed response, with Louis saying, “It’s week seven, you’re still here and you’re already a household name.”
However the Essex boy got his own back on Gary Barlow after the Take That singer had once again criticised his performance, saying, “The good news is you are famous, the bad news is give it a couple of months.”
After pointing out that he had “never said I am the best singer in the competition,” Rylan added, “People in the pop industry now that do exactly what I do on stage mime” – only for Gary to tell him, “Mime them.”
Rylan quickly hit back after Dermot O’Leary produced an old clip of Rylan in a Take That tribute band – and when Gary asked which member he had impersonated.
The 24-year-old replied, “Definitely not you, I’m too skinny for that!” – much to the amusement of everybody except for Gary.
The results will be revealed on Sunday evening’s show, with one more act leaving the competition.