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Shan-tastic

Oct 24, 2018 by

Shan-tastic

X Factor’s 15th series kicked off its live shows on the weekend and more than anything it was nice to see it revert to the Sunday night sing-off format of old; just a shame Betfair wasn’t ready for the moment as it decided to suspend the 2nd elimination market prematurely, spoiling the fun for those looking to have a punt on the outcome.

It seemed highly likely they would save Janice to prevent Ayda losing 2 acts in the first week, and lo and behold she was given a 3-1 verdict among the judges, which was bad luck for Armstrong and suggests she was second from last on the public vote. ‘Clarity’, however, was a vocal shocker for Janice. There was a hint she had been on voice rest in the lead up to the show so she may have been under the weather.

The question now becomes, whether or not TPTB try and give Janice a concerted push to help her out of the bottom 3 this coming weekend, or cut her free. It is easy to imagine at least 7 acts scrabbling around at the bottom of the vote and small margins between them all.

It seemed highly likely they would save Janice to prevent Ayda losing 2 acts in the first week

Cowell possibly teed up a triumphant return for her this week by suggesting we have lost sight of the old Janice. If they give her a big disco/dance anthem, it will indicate this narrative being on the cards.

If the show does go into Save Janice mode, the other two Overs, Danny (‘the belter from Benidorm’, as Dermot belittlingly called him) and Gio, will look highly susceptible of falling into the bottom 3. Back in the day, Danny fits the classic Chris Maloney underdog mould, an old school crooner with potential big voting power, but in the free app era they can switch off his vote in an instant if they so choose.

Gio’s performance felt like an awful rock parody but in X Factor land they are able to sell this sort of thing as entertaining. How long they want him on the show remains to be seen. Whoever they run with among the Overs you sense is going to have a very limited shelf life.

Misunderstood were suggested here as looking like false favourites ahead of the first live show. On the back of an underwhelming opening performance by them they have drifted from 3-1 to 7-1. Placing them first on, during the Strictly overlap, wasn’t especially helpful, their track ‘Chewing Gum’ was hardly hit material, and vocally they were not the best, as pointed out by Cowell. There remain plenty of red flags with them.

Whoever they run with among the Overs you sense is going to have a very limited shelf life

Shan was the big success story of the night performing ‘Imagine’ a cappella and now resides as 2-1 favourite. She did lose it slightly towards the end. The danger for her in the coming weeks is if she sings a succession of slowed down tracks as she will risk becoming an Ella Henderson mark II.

Dalton enjoyed the week 1 pimp slot but it was a slightly underwhelming effort by him, and not the most controlled vocal performance attempting ‘Life On Mars’. Dalton currently resides as joint-second favourite with Misunderstood highlighting the threadbare nature of this year’s competition.

Brendan has ingeniously deleted his failed Eurovision appearance for Ireland in 2017 from his music CV. Cowell painted him as boring and forgettable which does not bode well for his long-term chances in the competition. If 80s pop band Scritti Politti ever decide to reform, Brendan would be an ideal stand-in as their lead singer.

Vocally, Anthony is very inconsistent and outside of the rehab/comeback narrative he looks a limited performer. Scarlett sang well but was damned by Cowell who called her a pub singer. Molly sang well but it was startling how they styled a 16 year old girl and to witness the suggestive hand movements she was presumably advised to include.

Whether Bella can fly with viewers will hinge a lot on song choices because stuff that is too rap heavy risks being alienating

The start of ‘Beneath Your Beautiful’ revealed the lovely timbre of Bella’s voice, when given the chance to straight up sing. If you are keen on X Factor subliminals, lyrics of ‘Would you let me see beneath your beautiful’ were no coincidence and an invitation for viewers to warm to her as an edgy music artist who is not the most easily accessible in the first instance.

’I think we have found a real star here,’ was a big endorsement from her mentor, Cowell. Whether she can fly with viewers will hinge a lot on song choices because stuff that is too rap heavy risks being alienating.

United Vibe’s harmonies were ok but they came across as insipid performing ’Slow Hands’. Acacia & Aaliyah fell flatter and were even less convincing performing ‘Finesse’.

LMA Choir performed ‘Circle Of Life’ well enough and as the first ever X Factor choir they have a certain USP which was heavily sold during post-song discussions, with Robbie requesting Liverpool to get behind them. Granted rousing, anthemic productions they are no forlorn hope to end up Top Group given the weakness of the competition in that category and look decent value at 8-1.

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