It was another good week for X Factor favourites Jahmene Douglas and James Arthur as the live shows took on a spooky theme for Halloween.
With the top ten now remaining in the competition – and Robbie Williams on hand to mentor the acts – it was another good week for Jahmene, who revealed that he had a new fan in the shape of Hollywood actor Samuel L Jackson, before delivering his own take on the classic hit Killing Me Softly.
And once again the judges gave his performance their seal of approval. “It was just so simple and effortless tonight,” Gary Barlow told him while Louis Walsh added, “For me you are the best singer, you are in a different league.”
James Arthur, meanwhile, still riding high on the success of last weekend’s performance, rounded off the show with a moody rendition of the Eurythmics hit Sweet Dreams – and once again won rave reviews.
“You are an international recording artist and that is the difference,” Nicole Scherzinger said – and Tulisa told him, “That is how you take an old school classic and make it modern.”
However it wasn’t such a good night for all of the favourites, with even Ella Henderson coming in for some criticism for her rendition of the Evanescence hit Bring Me To Life.
While Gary called the performance “wonderful,” Nicole wasn’t so sure. “That was my least favourite performance of yours,” she said, “it was the wrong key all the way…I feel like you have a bigger range and it could have had more depth.”
With Lucy Spraggan forced to pull out of the show due to illness, it was left to Ella and Jade Ellis to represent the girls – and Jade also found herself on the wrong side of the judges after she had performed the Sugababes chart-topper Freak Like Me.
“Thank God it’s Halloween, because that was frightening,” Nicole said, while Louis added, “You’re not the girl we saw at the auditions…this was a bad song choice for you and you looked uncomfortable up there.”
Remaining groups Union J and District 3 also won a mixed response from the judges, with the former being dubbed “safe” by both Tulisa and Gary after their performance of Beyonce’s Sweet Dreams – although Nicole told them, “I thought that was absolute perfection.”
District 3, meanwhile, found themselves on rocky ground after their mash-up of The Police’s Every Breath You Take and Ne-Yo’s Beautiful Monster.
“Last week it was a massive step forward, this week it was a massive step back,” Gary Barlow told the trio, while Nicole agreed. “Monster was in the wrong key…don’t like the mash-up,” she admitted.
However there was better news for last week’s sing-off survivor Kye Sones, who kicked off the show with his version of the Robbie Williams hit Let Me Entertain You.
“You gave it everything,” Tulisa said, while Nicole added, “You came out strong and swinging and you won me over with the whole dance thing.”
Meanwhile Christopher Maloney’s performance of Cutting Crew’s I Just Died In Your Arms prompted bickering among the judges after Tulisa hit out at Gary, saying, “How many of these 80s hits are you going to let him keep destroying?”
Gary responded by telling her, “I don’t know what’s offended me more, what you said or the fag ash breath” – but Tulisa hit back with, “Lay off the red wine, because I can smell that as well.”
The Take That singer was also in spiky form when it came to Rylan Clark, who performed a medley of Britney Spears’ Toxic and Mousse T’s Horny, saying, “Let me try and think of some good things – it wasn’t any worse than last week. It was so loud I couldn’t hear you sing, that’s a good thing.”
One more act will leave the competition on Sunday night’s results show, which will also feature performances from indie-rockers Fun as well as Robbie Williams.