After weeks of auditions, boot camps, judges’ houses and faffing about with chairs, The X Factor finally went live with the final 13 acts battling to stay in the competition.
As Strictly Come Dancing got into the Halloween spirit over on BBC1, the ITV show chose to completely ignore the fact that it was the spookiest night of the year by giving the first live show the distinctly unfestive theme of ’This Is Me’. It also saw the return of announcer Peter Dickson, who had changed his mind about leaving the show, and it was the first time viewers saw Olly Murs and Caroline Flack present live since taking over from the ousted former host Dermot O’Leary.
But it was Che Chesterman, a 19-year-old shelf-stacker from London, who stole the show with an amazing mash-up of Amy Winehouse’s Tears Dry On Their Own and the Motown classic Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.
Che, who’s being mentored by Nick Grimshaw, was praised for his performance by all the judges.
Cheryl Fernandez-Versini said: ‘That vocal is the best we’ve had. That was absolutely incredible.’
Despite the praise, Simon Cowell did make one negative comment.
“The only thing is, you can’t dance,” he said. “You shouldn’t be dancing.”
Another performer that proved to be a hit with the judges was Lauren Murray who was the first to sing and her rendition of Whitney’s Houston’s I’m Every Woman certainly got the show off to a rousing start. Simon praised the 26 year old from Essex for her “amazing vocal” while Nick said she had “nailed it”.
And Anton Stephans, 45, received similar praise for his version of the Luther Vandross weepie Dance With My Father, as did 17-year-old Louisa from Essex who performed God Only Knows by The Beach Boys.
Wildcard Monica Michael, 26, was also a hit with the panel when her version of Ed Sheeran’s Make It Rain got a standing ovation from the judges.
Not all the performances were well-received by the judges, however. Bupsi Brown, from Leeds, was criticised for her performance of Marvin Gaye’s You’re A Wonderful One.
Rita Ora told the 38 year old: “You have great presence and energy but I did not like the song. It felt like I was at a wedding.”
Bupsi’s mentor Simon agreed, and said: “I don’t think I chose the right song for you. It drowned you out.”
Meanwhile, 27-year-old Max Stone’s gave a surprising performance of Adele’s Someone Like You – with a REGGAE TWIST. Although Nick and Rita gave some positive comments, Cheryl admitted that wasn’t keen on the rendition. She said, “I’ve always been a massive fan of your vocal, your voice is stunning [but] I didn’t like the reggae. it took away the sentiment of the song.”
And it seems a few viewers weren’t impressed either with one person on Twitter saying, “Adele must be sobbing.” Ouch.
The judges were also divided by Kiera Weathers’ version of Katy B’s Crying For No Reason.
While Cheryl told the 18-year-old that it was “a fantastic song choice”, Simon and Nick were less enthusiastic.
“I think you’ve got to be a better performer,” said Simon. “You’re going to get slaughtered tonight. You’ve got to completely re-think who you are in this competition.”
“I’ve always been rooting for you,” added Nick. “But you could have done more.”
Providing the fun element were: Reggie n Bollie, originally from Ghana, who sang Shaggy’s It Wasn’t Me; Filipino four-piece 4th Impact, who performed Ariana Grande’s Problem; and girlband Alien Uncovered, who performed Jessie J’s Do It Like A Dude.
But just when we were thinking that we had seen it all before, the closing act was like nothing we have ever seen on The X Factor. Australian gender-bending contestant Sean Miley Moore performed Life On Mars by David Bowie.
“You’re the most individual character we’ve seen on this show,” said Cheryl. “That was outstanding.”