The X Factor UK 2015: Top 9 Movie Night – Tears, Risks and Last-Minute Changes FTW! (VIDEO)
It’s movie night on The X Factor UK 2015! This was among the best nights of the entire competition so far, and all the more so because it felt like many of the contestants were taking risks, with the real contenders stepping up by exceeding their own personal best. And it makes sense that everyone is stepping up their game, because last week’s results made it clear no one is safe, as Seann Miley Moore was eliminated in one of the most shocking results in X Factor history!
In my opinion, Simon, Cheryl, Rita and Nick were on-point with the song choices, although I was extremely skeptical when I saw the initial list, considering how straight-up weird some of these picks were (“Who Let the Dogs Out?” and “Men In Black”? Really?!). That said, I thought tonight’s performances were generally strong, although I admit I’m curious about what Lauren Murray and Monica Michael’s song choices were prior to the tragedy in Paris. Basically, Caroline Flack and Olly Murs announced at the top of the show — following Simon’s touching well-wishes to the victims — that both Lauren and Monica chose to change their songs in lieu of what happened. Granted, you’d never know they had their songs changed on the morning of the show, from how strong their performances ended up being. This was a thrilling night, with Reggie n Bollie delivering one of their best performances, Louisa Johnson moving Rita Ora to tears, and Mason Noise looking to take Will Smith’s spot as the latest member of the Men In Black. Just awesome stuff, all-around.
You can read our recap and watch the videos from tonight’s show below:
MASON NOISE, “MEN IN BLACK” BY WILL SMITH (FROM MEN IN BLACK)
Thoughts: This was easily my favorite Mason Noise performance, and I say that as someone who didn’t think the vocal was particularly great. Mason has been a controversial figure on the show, between his outburst at the Six-Chair Challenge to his survival against Seann Miley Moore in last week’s sing-off. But I think he’s one of the most purely entertaining acts in the competition. He’s a true performer, and it’s never been better exemplified than it was here. The rapping was on-point, the dancing was terrific, and the swagger was back. I enjoyed the hell out of this.
MAX STONE, “SECRET GARDEN” BY BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN (FROM JERRY MAGUIRE)
Thoughts: At first, I was pretty bored by this. For all his talk of helping Max find a personality, Simon doesn’t really give him much to work with in the way of song choices. But by the midpoint of this performance, this just began to soar. Seriously, I thought this was one of Max’s best vocals, and definitely one of his most passionate. Simon attributed this to Max singing the song to his girlfriend, and if that’s true, then he should sing to her every week, because he communicated the emotion behind the song better than any song he’s performed yet. Loved this.
LOUISA JOHNSON, “EVERYBODY’S FREE (TO FEEL GOOD)” BY ROZALLA (FROM ROMEO + JULIET)
Thoughts: Much like with Max, this was a performance that needed time to build, since this isn’t a song that will give you everything you want from it from the very first chorus. It’s all about the buildup and the emotion, and Louisa delivered that here in spades. As the performance built and built, Louisa’s vocal grew more ambitious, until she was suddenly belting out with all the power and passion of someone who’s experienced a freaking lifetime of struggle. Rita was in absolute tears by the end, and I don’t blame her. Simon is right: you can tell Louisa doesn’t just want exposure, she wants to WIN this thing. And performances like this could get her there.
MONICA MICHAEL, “WHAT IS LOVE?” BY V. BOZEMAN (FROM EMPIRE)
Thoughts: If she didn’t end up having to change her song at the last minute (by her own choice, out of respect to the people of Paris, since her original song choice was “Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)” from Kill Bill), I would imagine a lot of people would b annoyed by Monica stretching the theme a bit by doing a song from a TV show rather than a movie. But I actually loved this song choice. This was a brilliant pick, and she sang it incredibly well. This was easily my favorite Monica performance of the competition, and it speaks volumes of what a consummate artist and performer she is that she could change her pick on the morning of the show, and still deliver as if she’d had weeks to rehearse it. I’m a big, big fan.
REGGIE N BOLLIE, “WHO LET THE DOGS OUT?” BY BAHA MEN (FROM RUGRATS IN PARIS: THE MOVIE)
Thoughts: I LOVE THESE GUYS! Do they have the best voices in the competition? No. But this competition would be SO boring without them. They’re a two-man party posse, and they keep finding new, fun angles to approach each song. In this case, that meant opening up the song by making the audience think they were singing, “My Heart Will Go On”. And Bollie sounded good! So much so that I almost kind of hope Cheryl explores having them sing something with a slower tempo in the future, provided the guys stick around, which I certainly hope they do, if for no other reason than to continue confusing Simon, who’s apparently never heard of the Rugrats, much less the Rugrats movie. (Come on, Simon! They’re one of only a handful of animated characters to have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame!)
ANTON STEPHANS, “I HAVE NOTHING” BY WHITNEY HOUSTON (FROM THE BODYGUARD)
Thoughts: I didn’t love the song choice, but I do think Anton sang it well. And he needed a strong vocal like this after last week’s disastrous performance. Anton has a beautiful, rich voice that recalls Luther Vandross. It’s so rare to hear a guy tackle Whitney with this level of confidence, particularly a song as daunting as this one, but I thought Anton delivered here. It wasn’t his best vocal of the competition overall, but I would argue it was his best of the live shows so far.
4TH IMPACT, “WORK IT OUT” (FROM AUSTIN POWERS IN GOLDMEMBER)
Thoughts: This was INSANE! 4TH IMPACT IS BACK! This was easily their best performance of the live shows, and it might have been their best in the entire season. Granted, it was a very tense, anxiety-inducing performance, since Cheryl announced that Celina had passed out backstage earlier in the night. She’d given the group the option of just airing the dress rehearsal version of their performance, but Celina and her sisters wanted to go through with it live. The standing ovation they received afterwards was well-earned, although I’m STILL worried about Celina, who needed to be helped into a chair after the performance due to exhaustion. Hopefully, they don’t work themselves too hard. But either way, these girls NEED to make it through to next week.
LAUREN MURRAY, “ONE LAST TIME” BY ARIANA GRANDE (FROM ????)
Thoughts: I adore Lauren Murray, and thought this was a pretty strong vocal under the circumstances, since she changed her song at the absolute last minute due to the Paris tragedy (she had been due to sing “License to Kill” from the James Bond movie of the same name). While the vocal and the pitch were off for at least half the song, I actually prefer Lauren’s version to Ariana’s, because it’s a simpler, slowed-down arrangement with just a piano and minimal backing instrumentation, and that rich, full tone that makes Lauren such a joy to listen to, whether it’s a perfect vocal or not. I have no idea what movie this is supposed to be from, and the show never tells us, but I’m sure there’s some recent movie that threw this song on the soundtrack.
CHE CHESTERMAN, “WHEN A MAN LOVES A WOMAN” BY PERCY SLEDGE (FROM WHEN A MAN LOVES A WOMAN)
Thoughts: THAT RUN AT THE END THOUGH! This was amazing, and I say that as someone who feels Che is DESPERATELY in need of a more modern song choice, since he’s sung almost nothing but old R&B standards since the lives started (why Nick didn’t just let him sing “Tears Dry On Their Own” without the “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” inclusion is beyond me). On the one hand, you could make the argument that the older song choices run the risk of making Che seem boring and irrelevant in the modern music scene; on the other hand, when you sing like THAT, who the hell cares if it’s a current song or not? Che is an incredible singer, and one of the best this season. I adored this performance and this vocal. Che remains one of the contestants to beat, if not THE contestant to beat.
Final Thoughts: It’s another double elimination this week, and I have absolutely no idea whom to predict for the Bottom 2. I think Reggie N Bollie might be at risk, simply because we’re getting down to the wire with some really good singers, and they stick out like a sore thumb. Then again, they’re just so much fun and joyful that it’s hard to be mad at them for not being as good at singing as the other six acts. I’m going to go with my gut and say Mason Noise and Monica Michael will be in trouble, not for any particular reason other than a simple hunch, although seeing Max land in the bottom also wouldn’t shock me. Seriously though, I’m just throwing out names at this point. It could be anyone going home tomorrow, especially after the Seann Miley Moore debacle last week.
What did you think of the Top 9 Movie Night show? Sound off in the comments!