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This was not a memorable show by any stretch of the imagination. Club Classics? Hardly. I can't imagine anyone in a club feeling like getting up and being classic if any of these acts had been on the stage. That doesn't mean there weren't some good performances, just nothing that we'll look back on and think Wow! or rush to YouTube to add to our sites.

For X Factor USA and even last year I was including videos for the best each week but I'm really not bothered at the moment.

Christopher

Quite glad that we get old Baloney out of the way at the start. Strong enough voice but he's just so tedious and who on earth will want to buy his album? As LA Reid would have put it across The Pond, Would you give this old Baloney $5 million? No. Of course we wouldn't. and nor is anyone on this side of the ocean either. He started the show at odds of nearly 4 and finished at 3.2, clear favourite to be at the bottom of the voting pile. But then he was last week and must have done better than at least two others. Damn the Liverpudlian Granny Vote. Can someone go round the old folks homes and remove all the ear plugs.

MK1

The idea of this being their week is a bit ridiculous but I suppose it was more suitable than Abba week will be. They have a strong, faithful fan base from what I can make out and actually put on a good show. If Will.i.am could get over here and give them the sort of treatment he's been dishing out to several other acts (including a remarkably good job for Jessica Sanchez, American Idol runner-up) then they'd get some more fans but, as it stands, they'll be lucky to survive each week from here.

They didn't do themselves any harm, though, with a professional and confident performance, especially from Charlie the girl lead who is quite a star in her own right. They started at 6 and ended 7. Going up is good, but that's still likely to be bottom 3 range.

Jahmene

Once we get past the emotional back story stuff (I wonder whether each act will be getting this extended sympathy vote treatment?) the guy does his bit looking very smart with a nice blue bow tie and matching highlights on his black shiny suit. Not bad. The guy can sing but he can sing a lot better than he did tonight. He didn't look comfortable with the faster track and seemed a beat behind most of the time. That won't have increased his fan base but the back story stuff might so he'll end up safe and sound.

He started at 90 and finished at 85 which is as close to no change as you'll get at those odds which would make someone an absolute fortune if he did go home. Hence it's not going to happen this week.

Jade

Another sympathy vote plea as she's lost her voice. I've always thought her a strange selection for the live shows. She's OK and has a certain different style in her voice, when she has a voice, and has certainly been made to look pretty spectacular by the make-over people, but there were better in this category during auditions. She seems to have really impressed the judges, though, so they must have seen something I missed. This performance was just average. She ought to be safe enough but for how much longer I'm not sure, unless she can really discover some character that makes us want to get behind her.

She was quite well fancied at 20 at the start but dropped heavily to 12.5, probably still safe but now in the land of the here today, gone tomorrow or the next days.

James

At last someone who actually seems to know what he's doing and looks comfortable doing it. Protected by a guitar, James sings well and really puts a lot into the track. He's quite impressive and is someone you can imagine getting an album contract. Not a No 1 at Christmas but a steady No 8 maybe.

He went out from 80, below Jahmene, to 130, well above. people liked that performance. Two in a row for this guy. Good job.

Union J

This is the band that really got themselves together last week and probably were the best act of that week. they've got a huge fan base already and it's only Week 3 which is remarkable for a manufactured affair. They do look good and this week sang well again, making their position nicely safe and a guaranteed run through to Week 4.

With odds moving from 90 to 200 they're going to be a force to be reckoned with. Already being talked about as the next 1 Direction, I see them in the final if not winning the whole thing. These are very early days, though, and it may only take a few dodgy performances for votes to drift.

Rylan

I still find this chap's height amazing. He towers over anyone else nearby and Dermot tends to keep well away. My children spotted the two together last week and reckoned that Dermot was going up on his tip toes and Rylan was making himself sag to be a bit shorter while the camera was on them. See for yourself, too, the extraordinary difference between him and the two boys on Xtra Factor!

He was looking forward to Club Classics. That seems to be his bag. You wouldn't really have known, though, other than from his outfit and a whole pile of dancers everywhere. You hope that he'll at least be a bit entertaining. Last week he actually sang well too but he didn't manage either the entertainment or the singing this time.

We're just hoping the crazy fans that he's accumulated in Wagner-Jedward-Chico style will, at least, carry him through and send Christopher home, whether that be by judges' votes or the public vote if someone else backs Gary in a deadlock.

It's not looking good at the end of the show, down to 4.9 from 6.6 at the start.

Lucy

Well, Lucy does what Lucy does and this was pretty much indistinguishable from all that has gone before. Good, but how long can she last with that style? She's sure some odd ball in this rack. Definitely heading for an album and that will sell too. I can see her occupying a sort of slot of her own in the charts for a while and she should make it through for a week or two more.

The bookies think so too, stretching from 11 to 19.5.

Kye

It was nice to see Gary giving it to Kye straight after last night's show, pointing out, even if it was a little pedantically, Kye's thirty two bum notes in that performance. Whilst this was better, it still wasn't good and Kye's going to need every vote he can lay his hands on and another bum lecture from Gary if he's going to get his act truly together to justify his selection. Disappointing as I think everyone expected much more than we've been getting so far.

Kye dropped from 9.6 to 8.2, and into a danger zone.

District 3

They'd been lucky to survive last week with a very lacklustre performance and that seemed to ahve had the desired effect as tonight they may well have been the one of the best acts or, at least, the most improved. they sounded together, relaxed and seemed to know what they were doing and with a desire to entertain and do well. Much more confident, in tune, looking good and more mature than Union J but still probably feeling in their competitor's shadow.

They moved from a low 4.5 to 9, which ought to have lifted them out of the danger zone but we've seen groups go at this point even when they've put in a really good performance. Last year is still fresh in their minds no doubt.

Ella

Closing this less than inspiring show was the ever-reliable Ella. She did the Florence number really well and looked a lot better and moved around more. She said that she wanted to feel sixteen again and I guess she made it back to somewhere in her mid twenties.Yes, she's good and seemingly miles ahead of everyone else in the competition but I still have a doubt about how things will pan out. She is just a little cool still on stage and lacking that something that would make her the real star as opposed to someone who'll have a decent album or two and then not do a great deal more. We don't actually want another Adele.

She'll surely make it through to the final, where my guess is that she'll be up against Union J and James. By then I do hope she'll have got back to sixteen and also something a little original.

She started at a massive 200 and finished at 360. She ain't goin' nowhere, as The Byrds would have sung.

The Xtra Factor was actually far more entertaining a programme and you learned more about some of the acts in that programme's hour, with Caroline Flack and Olly Murs up to mischief and getting all kinds of admissions from everyone. There it was fairly clear that people are fed up with Christopher and also see Ella as the likely winner.

So maybe ITV could swap with ITV2 and put X Factor USA mainstream at weekends where there looks like being some stunning talent coming through and some really interesting rounds. The USA show is a week or two behind ours so no particular problem with finals clashing either.

At least it's now even - with three in each category after Carolynne failed to impress voters sufficiently and found herself at the bottom of the pile last week. Louis got all the blame and Gary walked out but it's time to move on now.

I like the way Dermot's taking charge of the show. And there's a change of seating 'after nine years'.

Dermot lists the numbers. Cue the screams. On that basis, Union J win and Melanie doesn't. But let's see how they all do tonight.

Jahmene


Spot-on singing but no connection between the amazing voice and the lyrics. Great performance but lacking real emotion. One of Louis' 'favourite ever ever contestants'. What? Out of all nine years?

Nicole calls Jahmene 'Baby Cakes'. No-one quite likes to ask.

Dermot said he wouldn't but, yes, he does the heady patting eventually, despite Jahmene ducking out at his first try!

Christopher

Big ears looks like a football ref. Sings like one after a few beers. dreadful start. Oh, it's the Heart number again. Typical karaoke stuff. Solid voice but who'd going to buy this sort of stuff? He separates each word. Sounds odd. looks odd. He gets only modest applause. He needs to go.

Dermot doesn't heady pat Christopher.

Union J

Hope they get the song together better than they did their attempt at 'Team Louis' in unison. My God, it's bleedin' Bleeding Love. That works really well actually. An excellent arrangement. Brilliant. That'll go down well with the fans - and the voting fans too.

No heady patting though.

Ella

Can someone please leave her hair alone? She looks so good naturally. Are the 40s coming back? If so then release her album now and get it over with. This, though, is one of the most difficult songs ever. Loving You Is So Beautiful. OK, she hit the notes, amazing notes at that, but... but there was no emotion or connection at all. It was a bit clinical and, talented as she may be, that's not going to get her the most votes this week. Minnie Ripperton had the feeling and the notes and, whilst she didn't have any more success than that to my knowledge, if you dig out her version you'll see what was missing from Ella's. That might change the odds a little, especially with such a strong Union J performance. Doubt I'll get 25-1 on them again for a while.

So, will she get some heady patting from Dermot. With that hair? Perhaps not.

James

Nicole says 'This is my first time in a pub' during the preview bit.
James gets a call from Mary Blige and, unless he's acting really well, he handles that extremely well - he's looking and sounding very mature, not at all as I'd expected him to be coming across.

Now this guy can do feeling. No More Pain was delivered as if he meant every word. This guy's good. That was a 'moment'. Well done, James.

Nicole likes his trousers. No heady patting.

Lucy

After all the bad news she'd had in the week, and in 'Love and Heartbreak' week, she does a cheery song. Gold Digger. Remarkably well done as if she'd written it herself. Nice performance, totally natural and relaxed. That should be popular.

No heady patting for Lucy either.

District 3

They didn't like the song. I Swear. Heavy production. These guys have good voices and harmony and pull off this tricky number. Not bad but Union J get the boy band votes this week.

Nicole wants them like tabasco on apple pie. And baby oil, with all the actions. Well, not all of them but enough to make you wonder.

It'll be interesting to see how the votes total up - will there be enough for both to be safe? If so then when one does eventually go that could well seal the deal for the other. If not, they'll be out soon.

Jade

Forgettable song last week, despite an excellent makeover. Love Is A Losing Game. Accentuating the tone of her voice that distinguishes her but that also showed the notes that she didn't make which was a shame. I'm not a big fan and I'm not sure how many voters are. She seems very much on her own in this competition - that might help her but she needs to make her own space somehow, like Rebecca did.

Louis says she's in a tough category. That's right, for sure, and I think she knows it but there's nothing to stop two girls being in the final four. Unfortunately, I don't see her being one of them.

She gets a shoulder pat from Dermot instead of heady patting which sends her off before he's had a chance to read out the voting number so he has to call her back. Still no heady patting, though.

MK1

The bloke in the group puts on some sort of comedy act this week. Charlie's great but even her style makes this version of I Want You Back weird. That didn't work and even the dancers were totally irrelevant and mostly off screen. It was a bit like Jedward had returned in places. They may be in trouble.
they did make a good point themselves that they are aware that the people that like their style of music are not the type who normally watch X Factor, let alone vote! Fair comment and all credit to this pair for that.
They get hugs from Dermot. No heady patting.

Kye

This guy could easily be a future producer. Reminds me of Chris De Burgh. Great voice and production - I just wish he'd hit the high notes better in the first half. He may have rescued himself near the end when he was right in his best range and sounded good. He's a talented chap but may struggle. Christopher's and MK1's unpopular-sounding performances may just save him, as should the judges if it comes to it.

Rylan

Clear favourite to go at the start of the show but now looking safe with the bookies, at least! He doesn't wind up the show but he does wind up Gary by starting sing one of the Barlow numbers. Lovely. Starts then stops and is very relaxed in swapping from number to number in this weird mash-up and way OTT production. The budget's gone to hell. Groove Is In The Heart was never in tune in the 70s so he could get away with some dodgy bits but actually was not at all bad. It was weird but interesting and even included reference to Gangham Style and loads of references to the new wave of Korean stuff coming our way in there too. An informed production for which Brian gets all the deserved credit. I've no idea what to make of it and nor will many voters but it was bizarre enough to keep him in.

No heady patting as he towers over Dermot like a giraffe.

Melanie

White trouser suit. Flares. That says 1970 to me. Bond-style silhouette behind her is more interesting than Melanie. Two Worlds Collide was over sung but oversung pretty well. Not sure how that'll go down. I'd have given her a Righteous Brothers track.

Louis says the old school is now new school. OK? Whatever that means.
Tulisa, in an attempt to catch up with the million points already scored by Nicole this week, says Melanie was in MILF mode. No baby oil, though.

Nor heady patting.

So that's Week 2 done - apart from the results. It should be Christopher going home but might be District 3 or MK1 getting the close shave. Jade, Melanie and Kye should thank their lucky stars for another week.

Look at Betfair's odds at the time of writing (Tuesday evening, 9 October). The odds are greater for someone not actually in the final 12 to be the 2nd elimination than they are for Ella to go!


Her position as favourite, not just to survive this weekend, but actually to win have been cut even further and are now under 2.0 (which means you win less than $1 for each $1 bet).


This chart shows how the odds have dropped - they can't go much lower  now - and you can also see that nearly half of all the bets placed have been on her.

Remarkable. If you think that someone else really stands a chance then now is a good time to place a bet. I'm not encouraging this and always hedge my bets so that (almost) whatever happens I break even at worst. It should be said that the bookies have been proven wrong in the past too although, apart from Little Mix last year which totally caught us all by surprise and must have made someone a fortune, they usually get the top 3 about right, just the wrong way round. Leona Lewis was the last early favourite to win and even she was at 3s and 4s.

25 for UnionJ is attractive. If their fan base grows - Louis may be frustrating but he knows how to build support for boy bands - and they manage to do lively covers, stay in tune and please the fans then who knows. There's a long time to go between now and the final.




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