The X Factor UK 2015: Top 11 Tackle Reinvention Theme for Week Two (VIDEO)
The X Factor UK 2015 live shows continued tonight, with the Top 11 tackling a Reinvention theme. Every act remaining in the competition either had to show a different side of themselves, or take a well-known song and alter it to fit their style. It’s one of the more wide-open themes of any talent competition, and so it’s no surprise that it resulted in a performance show that had its highs and lows.
Judges Simon Cowell, Cheryl Fernandez-Versini, Rita Ora and Nick Grimshaw handed out some genuinely puzzling song choices, and some mash-ups that worked better than others. But the real tale of tonight was the notion that these judges are genuinely nervous following the results of last week’s show: Bupsi was eliminated with the fewest votes, and then judges’ favorite Alien Uncovered was sent home when their sing-off performance against Kiera Weathers wasn’t up to snuff. Basically, the results proved that nothing in this competition is guaranteed, and so some of the judges took risks while others played it safe.
It may not have been as good overall as last week’s show, but this was a pretty fun show regardless. You can read our recap below, and watch the full videos with judges’ comments:
4TH IMPACT, “SOUND OF THE UNDERGROUND” / “THE CLAPPING SONG”
Thoughts: This was a lot better than last week’s performance, but I still didn’t love it. I have no idea what it is, but 4th Impact just haven’t connected with me on the live shows yet. Honestly, if they really wanted to reinvent themselves, they should have done a ballad. I’d love to see them move away from the uptempo, high-energy tracks for one week, just to see a different side of the group. Because I don’t think they can keep up this pace for the entire competition. They’ll have to do something different eventually.
MASON NOISE, “TEARDROPS”
Thoughts: Mason did a fine job here, even though I absolutely hated the song choice. He’s a complete performer, delivering solid vocals and genuine stage presence. Say what you will about his attitude earlier in the competition, but Mason feels like a real star in the making. At least more so than some of the other acts getting heaps of praise in the competition. Which isn’t to say that Mason is necessarily my favorite act in the competition or anything, but I would say that the show would be less exciting without him.
ANTON STEPHANS, “ALL ABOUT THAT BASS” / “BANG BANG”
Thoughts: What the hell was this?! Seriously, Simon is an absolute moron. I get that he doesn’t want Anton doing ballads every week, and that’s a smart observation. But that doesn’t mean he should be turning Anton into the male Fleur East. Or the male Bupsi. Speaking of which, where the hell was this song choice for Bupsi last week? This would have fit her LEAGUES better than it fit Anton here, who sounded awkward as all get-out on this song. This was just such a strange performance, and I absolutely hate that I hated this. I don’t think Anton will be in trouble since he’s so popular, but I sincerely hope Simon never tries a stunt like this again.
KIERA WEATHERS, “RETURN OF THE MACK”
Thoughts: I…actually really loved this. Sure, she was out of tune at the start, but this was a very literal reinvention of the Kiera we’ve come to know throughout the competition. Gone was the balladeer, and in her place was a performer who actually somewhat resembled her mentor up on that stage, since this was something I could easily see Rita doing. The dance moves were slick as hell, and the vocal remained on-point despite all the physicality. I don’t know if it’ll be enough to save Kiera, because I feel as though there’s still a disconnect between her and the audience, but I think this was easily her best performance of the competition so far.
CHE CHESTERMAN, “YOU CAN’T HURRY LOVE”
Thoughts: This was MAGICAL. When I heard this would be the song he’d sing, I audibly groaned, because it was too much of a mirror of what he did last week with “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”. But the slowed-down arrangement was downright majestic, and Che’s vocal was so impeccable, you’d never know he’d been suffering from a throat infection earlier in the week. This was miles ahead of most performances we’ve seen this season, and I could easily see Che having a hit with this, since this felt very much like the sort of rearrangement Sam Smith would do. I adored this. He EARNED that standing ovation.
LOUISA JOHNSON, “BILLIE JEAN”
Thoughts: Those opening moments to this performance were out of this WORLD. The rest? Not so much. It wasn’t bad, and I don’t think Louisa with the dance moves as Cheryl claimed, but this simply wasn’t up to her usual standard. And that’s okay, honestly. You can’t be perfect every single week. Louisa is an amazing singer, and an engaging performer even when she isn’t moving, so I don’t think she really needs to dance, even though the theme this week was all about reinvention. This could have been just as good without the dancing, honestly. All in all, this was still streets ahead of most performances we got tonight.
SEANN MILEY MOORE, “CALIFORNIA DREAMIN'”
Thoughts: I loved the vocal and loved the song choice, but hated the arrangement. It just felt like a really tacky, melodramatic, dated arrangement. I agree with Simon when he called the performance “lazy”, since Seann has the chance to really set himself apart from the rest of the pack, and become the breakout star of this season. Seann is way, way better than that arrangement, and I hope he gets to show more as the competition goes on, because I’d love to hear him get his hands on a modern pop song with full orchestral backing. This guy is the real deal, and he’s got the potential to be so much more than an X Factor finalist.
MONICA MICHAEL, “CRAZY IN LOVE”
Thoughts: I’m not really sure how I felt about this. On the one hand, I liked the cool, almost Bond theme-like approach to the arrangement. And I agree with Cheryl when she says “the sexy thing” totally works for Monica. On the other hand, I also agree with Simon, who said it felt inauthentic. Monica herself admitted that she’s not the type to be wearing dresses and heels, and that discomfort came across at parts of the performance. It also distracted from her vocal, which was a bit pitchy in places. I still love Monica (no, seriously. I LOVE Monica), but I hope Rita doesn’t try to transform her into some kind of chanteuse/lounge singer. She’s way more modern and cool than that.
MAX STONE, “SOMEWHERE OVER THE RAINBOW” / “WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD”
Thoughts: I still think Max is a painfully awkward performer to watch, but there’s absolutely no doubting his vocal talent. Nick insisted he felt Max was cooler than this performance, but honestly, I’m not sure he is. And that’s part of his charm — he’s just a guy. A guy with an amazing voice. Max is the type of guy whose raw talent sneaks up on you. Maybe you won’t remember him in the lineup at the top of the night, but odds are, you’ll sure as hell remember him by the end of it. In that sense, he reminds me a lot of American Idol Season 8 winner Kris Allen. Kris was a dark horse in his season, and I think Max is a real underdog contender in this one too.
REGGIE N BOLLIE, “WHAT MAKES YOU BEAUTIFUL” / “CHEERLEADER”
Thoughts: Out of all the acts in the competition, Reggie n Bollie are the ones who always get the perfect song choice every week. This was right in their wheelhouse, and I couldn’t help but be impressed by how much better they’ve gotten as singers as well. Was it a great vocal? No. But it was better than last week, I thought. Couple that with the usual amount of fun they infuse into each performance, and this was a slam dunk, in my opinion.
LAUREN MURRAY, “HOLD BACK THE RIVER”
Thoughts: Great song, although I’m honestly kind of sick to death of it already on talent shows. With that said, Lauren’s version just might be my favorite version of anyone not named James Bay. Her voice is freaking extraordinary, and while the verses were pitched a bit too low, I think the choruses were sensational. She really connected with the emotion behind the song, and delivered a terrific performance overall. She’s just so, so good. And so cute and likable, to boot. I just love Lauren.
Final Thoughts: I have no idea who’s going to land in the Bottom 2 this week, but if I had to guess, I’d say it’ll be Mason vs. Kiera in the sing-off. But really, it’s anyone’s guess. Hell, I think 4th Impact is far more at risk than they probably realize. Should be an interesting results show tomorrow night.
What did you think of tonight’s Top 11 show? Sound off in the comments!
And for more on The X Factor UK 2015, read up on the “sex ban” Simon Cowell has placed on the contestants’ house!