X Factor finalist Rylan Clark used his appearance on Saturday’s X Factor to make a joke at Gary Barlow’s expense, as he took to the stage on the love and heartbreak themed night.
The 23-year-old Essex boy – whose controversial saving on last Sunday’s show led Gary to storm off set – burst into a rendition of Back For Good as he kicked off his routine – only to tell the singer he was “only joking” before launching into a medley of uptempo songs including Groove is In The Heart, Pump Up The Jam and recent chart-topper Gangnam Style.
But while Gary appeared to see the funny side, it made no difference to his opinion of Rylan.
“If this was a competition for how many songs you could murder in two minutes you’d win,” he told him, only for Rylan to retort, “I booked you a cab just in case.”
Gary, however, immediately hit back with, “That’s funny because I’ve had yours on hold for two weeks.”
The catty exchange followed a moment earlier in the show which saw Gary and Louis shake hands and settle their differences over last week’s feud.
However it was a different story for other acts in Rylan’s category who won rave reviews from the judges as the evening progressed.
Jahmene wowed the panel by kicking off the show with his version of Amy Winehouse’s Tears Dry On Their Own – with Tulisa calling the 21-year-old “amazing” and Louis telling him, “You are one of my favourite ever contestants,” – while James Arthur also made a good impression, singing Mary J Blige’s No More Drama.
Louis told the 24-year-old, “You have to get a record deal after this,” while Tulisa added, “You are my favourite boy by far.”
Meanwhile favourite Ella Henderson had another good week after wowing both judges and audience with a note-perfect rendition of Minnie Riperton’s Loving You.
“The difference between you and so many other artists is you are timeless and classic,” Nicole Scherzinger told her, while Louis added, “You are a worldwide recording artist.”
The girls category also saw Lucy Spraggan fare well, covering Kanye West’s Golddigger in her own style, while Jade Ellis’ performance of Amy Winehouse’s Love Is A Losing Game was described as “amazing” by Gary.
He also made reference to Lucy’s sad loss of her grandmother this week, saying, “I’ve experienced loss and sometimes the best thing is to go out and perform. Brave girl.”
Meanwhile the groups once again scored mixed results – with Union J’s cover of Leona Lewis’ Bleeding Love scoring good reviews from the judges, but MK1 and District 3 finding themselves on rockier ground.
“I don’t understand why Louis picked that song,” Tulisa said after District 3 had performed All 4 One’s I Swear, while Gary complained about the quality of the singing.
“The harmonies were off,” he said, “The song was in the wrong key…I’m disappointed tonight.”
In the over-28s category, Melanie Masson triumphed with her version of INXS’ Never Tear Us Apart, but the judges weren’t so sure about Kye Sones and Christopher Maloney.
“You’re a great singer but there’s something missing,” Louis told Kye, risking Gary’s wrath as he said he was “bored” by the chimney sweep’s performance,while Nicole agreed, saying, “It didn’t grab me.”
Christopher, meanwhile, picked up a mixed response for his version of the 80s Heart hit Alone, with Louis Walsh calling the performance “very cruise ship…very cabaret.” However Nicole came to his defence, saying, “It was a brilliant song choice and the note at the end was effortless.”
The results will be revealed on Sunday evening’s show, which will also feature performances from Rebecca Ferguson and Taylor Swift.