The revamped X Factor has had its critics, midst reports of dwindling viewing figures, but the first live show proved that Britain really has got talent, as one aspiring singer after the other belted out their tracks like pro's for This Is Me week. The performances had the judges gushing over each other's acts as well as their own, and with each show-stopping rendition, even the show's Mr Nasty Simon Cowell barely had a bad word to say about anyone.
The auditionees have certainly earned their place in the final 13, having been put through their paces after enduring the rigourous auditions, Bootcamp, the Six-Chair Challenge and the Judges' Houses, to make it to the live shows. Opening the show and setting the standard with a powerhouse performance was 26-year-old Lauren Murphy, who took on Whitney Houston's I'm Every Woman. Before taking to the stage, she said: "It's such a big song which I'm really happy about, taking me back to my audition performance."
After being described as looking "a mess" by stylist Aaron Carlo, the singer who hails from Essex, took to the stage in a glamourous incarnation, oozing sophistication and style. Judge Cheryl Fernandez-Versini, 32, told her she looked 'energetic and pumped' on stage while Simon Cowell, 56, added that she did an 'amazing vocal.'
Nick Grimshaw, 31, said she 'nailed it' it with her vocal, though he didn't care for the stage set. Speaking to Caroline and Olly after the performance, Lauren said: "It's this is me week... and this is me. I'm so happy. I thought I was going to be sick a minute ago" she added.
Max Stone also gave a flawless vocal for his reggae style version of Adele's Someone Like You and while Nick and Rita praised his performance, the reggae influence was lost on Cheryl. She told him: "I've always been a massive fan of your vocal, your voice is stunning [but] I didn't like the reggae. it took away the sentiment of the song."
Alien Uncovered had Simon in raptures as he dubbed them the future of British music following their performance of Jessie J's Do It Like A Dude. "This is so annoying because that was so good, everything about that was great. The next big band could be you," he said. Hailing a new generation of girl band, their mentor Cheryl said she 'couldn't be prouder' of her 'little aliens."
Che Chesterman too wowed the judges and the audience with an 'incredible' vocal performance of Ain't No Mountain High Enough, though Simon advised him to steer clear of dancing. Backing singer Anton Stephans, 45, also didn't disappoint with his rendition of Luther Vandross' Dance With My Father. Nick said: "That was incredible, I'm so happy that you're no longer a backing singer." Commenting on his enviable position as an audience favourite, Rita said: "You have this place in my heart, what makes you special is you've created this bond with the public." Simon agreed, saying: "What's fantastic about you is that you take a song and you shape it like it's your own. The public have fallen in love with you," he added.
The live show saw Mason Noise redeem himself after his sensational showdown with Simon Cowell, in which he threw a diva strop over his lack of air time. It seems now all is forgiven as he won praise for his perfomance of Justin Bieber's Sorry.
"What an amazing song choice," said Rita. Comparing him to Kanye West she added: "I kind of feel like we should move on from Six-Chair Challenge, we all still love Kanye West and we all still love you." Cheryl added: "It's never easy to come out with nerves, I think you're potentially a superstar." Simon had clearly resolved any issues he might have had with Mason saying: "I could not be happier to see you in this show. You lost it, we made up, you came back as a man, you've got guts. You deserve to have a spot here and I hope the public get behind you."
Hot favourites to win the show Filipino girl band 4th Impact gave a characteristically slick perfomance of Ariana Grande's Problem. "That was fantastic. You are great singers and you've got attitude. You've done an outstanding job mentoring them Cheryl, the vocals were fantastic."Cheryl said: "I couldn't be more proud, this competition wouldn't be the same without you."
The first live show also saw Wildcard act Monica Michael, 26, make her return to the competition and with a soul-stirring version of Ed Sheeran's Make It Rain she proved why the judges wanted her back. Cheryl told her: "I want to get rid of the word wildcard, you're a complete competitor." After the performance, Monica said: "I feel like this is my home and I'm being welcomed back home."
The most innovative singer on the show Sean Miley Moore gave a typically impassioned performance. Praised for his vocal ability Simon said that his unique style might however, be lost on some people. "People watching this while drinking a cup of tea are going to think what the bloody heck is that," he said. "You're like Marmite.They are either going to love you or hate you."
While most of the acts hit the right notes with the judges, it all seemed just a bit overwhelming for Kiera Weathers. The 18-year-old's version of Katy B's Crying For No Reason was lacklustre compared with the other acts. Simon told it to her straight. "I'm going to need you to do something better than that because you can't compete with some of the bigger singers. I think you've got to be a better performer. You're going to get slaughtered tonight. You've got to completely re-think who you are in this competition." Nick agreed, telling her: "I've always been rooting for you, but you could have done more."
Bupsi too didn't deliver on the night with the judges wanting her to bring a bit more of her trademark 'nasty' to her performance.
Social media was abuzz with excitment with fans praising the collective high standard of this year's acts. But with one act facing the first public vote tomorrow, after so many strong performances and with such unique talents, who will leave the show, is anyone's guess.
The X Factor continues on ITV on Sunday 1 November.
— TT III 2015 (@JuLe_TT) October 31, 2015