Looking Tough For Rough

Nov 22, 2013 by

Looking Tough For Rough

This is the week when Syco cranks up the shameless promotion mode to warp speed, wheeling out past winners’ hits, and a One Direction song, to get this year’s contestants to put their spin on.

‘The Climb’, originally performed by Miley Cyrus, has to be up there as one of the most anodyne X Factor winner songs alongside Shayne Ward’s ‘That’s My Goal’. Joe McElderry was, of course, the most anodyne of X Factor winners, and this selection reiterates that Nicholas is going to have to take the anodyne route if he is to win this year’s X Factor.

Not Impossible, which brings us neatly on to ‘Impossible’, arguably the most convincing and impressive cover version by an X Factor winner, last year’s James Arthur. This song was James’s crowning glory last year, putting the final nail in Jahmene’s coffin. When you listen to the original recording artist Shontelle’s version of this, it really should be an ideal fit for Tamera, as long as she can remember the words.

The subtle nuance of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’ does not look like it will play to Hannah’s strengths so much, and it is a very low key song choice which could well struggle to stand out on the night anyway. Alex Burke pulled it off reasonably well but her voice has a far more velvety texture compared to Hannah’s deep, rasping tones.

Don’t Let Go is a very tricky song to pull off convincingly, especially during the solo part. Given Rough Copy’s struggles vocally series-long this should expose them again.

It was Little Mix’s superb Perrie Edwards who was able to successfully carry this off in 2011. She held things together brilliantly, marshalling the group through the song; sort of the vocal equivalent of Franco Baresi in his pomp organising the catenaccio during Italia 90.

Much like Pavarotti’s Nessun Dorma that year, Perrie’s performance is still recalled fondly here, even more so come the final, of course, when Little Mix went on to win, landing us a 66-1 winner and one of this site’s finest hours.

This is what happened when boyband Citizen attempted ‘Don’t Let Go’ on US X Factor:

Luke has the feel-good One Direction hit ‘What Makes You Beautiful’. This has successful bounce written all over it, given the group’s massive following. Syco will likely be hoping he sucks up the One Direction fan vote via osmosis and it would come as no surprise to see Luke awarded his first pimp slot – he is the only contestant left in not to have been on last during this series.

Sam B is asked to perform ‘Bleeding Love’ which will be a big ask for the ‘big belter’, as Nicole indelicately described Sam B last week. We have heard the ringing endorsement of Sam B by the judges week after week. It will be interesting to hear if they continue with their eulogising or apply more of a handbrake after she has attempted this.

The thinking here is, it will more likely be the latter because if nothing else Syco will surely want to tee up a close and exciting final, not a complete procession which is how it is shaping up at the moment.

Running order is going to give us a bigger clue than ever as to who TPTB are angling for the sing-off spots but taking these songs at face value, it looks like Hannah and Rough Copy is the bottom 2 combo to invest in pre-live show at 9-2 with Skybet, and 7-4 Rough Copy to be bottom 2 is worth taking too.

Projecting further ahead, TPTB may be thinking, Hannah goes this week, Luke, coming down off a bounce, will go next week when Rough Copy, if bottom 2 this week, will be bouncing, leaving their preferred final 4 of Sam B, Nick, Tamera and Rough Copy, with Rough Copy then looking destined for 4th place, as Tamera, potentially back in the bottom 2 at the last 5 stage, should see her public vote spike back up at the final 4 stage.

Here are this week’s songs:

Hannah Barrett – Hallelujah
Luke Friend – What Makes You Beautiful
Nicholas McDonald – The Climb
Rough Copy – Don’t Let Go
Sam Bailey – Bleeding Love
Tamera Foster – Impossible


  1. We’re on the same hymn sheet here Rob in terms of how the next few weeks play out. I can’t see past a Hannah/Rough Copy bottom two just now, but given the 1D boost for Luke, I’d like to play outsider Nick for bttm two value.

    While I argued last week that Nick was showcased as the preferred host for SamC’s support, I think Luke might absorb much of that with his temporary 1D affiliation. Happy to play small stakes at 13.0 available at Stan James and 51.0 combo with RC at Sky.

  2. Rob

    Dr Who on the Beeb 19.50 to 21.05 will keep a decent audience away from XF for longer potentially. May well be only the last 2 singers perform on XF after Dr Who has finished. Could have some impact on vote.

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