Boy bands once again dominated The X Factor on Sunday night, with a trio of strongly fancied hopefuls making it through to boot camp.
Sibling trio Next Of Kin – who previously hit the charts as teenagers in 1999 – East London quintet Kingsland and 2012 semi-finalists Rough Copy all won places in the next stage as the hopefuls took to the stage at Wembley Arena.
Next Of Kin sailed through to bootcamp with their performance of Lonestar’s Amazing – which Gary Barlow described as ‘seamless’ – while Kingsland wowed both judges and audience with their performance of Bruno Mars’s Treasure despite the panel being divided over their actual singing.
“We need to work on some of those vocals, but it was good and I liked it because I saw the work that you all put into it and that’s what it takes,” Nicole Scherzinger told the quintet.
Louis, meanwhile, quipped: “Reminds me of the first time I saw Take That.”
Elsewhere, 20-year-old Stephanie Wood – who was returning to the show after narrowly missing out on the live finals in 2007 – almost missed out on a second chance at X Factor stardom after the judges gave her song choice the thumbs down.
After she performed Celine Dion’s I Drove All Night, Gary remarked: “You’re a really good singer, why sing something so old-fashioned for such a young girl? It just doesn’t seem right.”
Louis also admitted: “I think you picked the wrong song” – and it was only after the audience voiced their disapproval that Gary gave her a chance to sing something else.
“That was really lovely, very sincere,” Nicole told her, while Sharon added: “You know I’m biased anyway,” before voting her through.
Ultimately Stephanie made it to the next stage – although Gary warned her to ‘modernise’ her song selections before casting his own vote.
Afterwards he admitted it had been “close”, while Nicole confessed: “The audience saved her…I was going to say no.”
Also making it through on Sunday night were spirited reggae singer Souli Roots – who wowed the crowd with her performance – and Essex girl Lydia Lucy, who proved herself as a soloist after being told on Saturday she would be ‘good in a girl band’.
South African Jeanette Akua, who was not seen on Saturday but made her mark on Sunday, also won a place in boot camp.
However there was disappointment for singing bus driver James McDonald, who failed to make it through to the next stage despite having the support of family, friends, and passengers from his bus backstage.
The 25-year-old wept on stage as Gary Barlow described his performance as “generic”, while Sharon gently added: ‘We as judges are looking for somebody to win this contest and I don’t think you’re up to the level.
The X Factor continues with more auditions next Saturday and Sunday night.