It was not a good night for "X Factor" U.K. judge Gary Barlow, who is mentoring the Groups category this year, as one of his acts was at risk of being eliminated, while another one of the groups was temporarily derailed by a member being hospitalized. In "The X Factor" U.K. episode that ITV televised on Oct. 19, 2013, it was revealed that boy band Kingsland Road was in the bottom two of the flash vote, which is a new format that began in the previous week. That means in the episode airing on Oct. 20 2013, Kingsland Road will have to be in the "save me" sing-off with the other contestant who ended up in the bottom two of getting votes. That contestant will be revealed on Oct. 20, 2013.
Meanwhile, the female trio Miss Dynamix was excused from performing in this episode, because Miss Dynamix's SeSe Foster (who is six months pregnant) was hospitalized earlier that day after saying that she did not feel well. She should be back to performing with Miss Dynamix next week. "The X Factor" U.K. host Dermot O'Leary announced on the show that Foster is "'doing well and resting at home."
Before the episode aired, an "X Factor" U.K. spokesperson issued this statement: "SeSe felt unwell prior to the dress rehearsal and so as a precaution and because she is pregnant, she was taken to hospital this evening. As SeSe took the lead vocal in tonight's number, it was too late to re-work the performance as a duo, and therefore Miss Dynamix will not perform in tonight's show and will be given a bye through to next week."
Barlow commented on the show, “It’s devastating news for the girls, we are all devastated. SeSe is nearly six months pregnant so we couldn’t take any risks at all tonight. The best place for her is the hospital. They’ll see if she’s all right."
Miss Dynamix's Jeanette Aku added, "The thing is, all three of us had lead verses this week and an hour is not enough time to learn her part. We are a three piece band it doesn’t make sense to continue without her. We are extremely disappointed, we have never worked as hard as we have this week but SeSe’s health comes first, we want to make sure she is fine and we are so blessed that we can continue next week.”
The Daily Mail reported that solo contestants Shelley Smith and Abi Alton also felt sick during the week, reportedly because of a virus, but Shelley and Alton were able to perform on in the Oct. 19 episode.
There has been much speculation that James Arthur's Twitter rant against Kingsland Road may have affected the group's placement in the bottom two. Arthur (the winner of "The X Factor" U.K. in 2012) has been known for making outspoken comments and getting into feuds on Twitter. (He currently has more than 2 million Twitter followers.)
On Oct. 17, 2013, Arthur tweeted: "Im sorry but this Kingsland Road have me cringing to the max, they aren’t good enough. There time must come to an end this Sunday #xfactor. UNION J ALL DAY!! Now this is what I’m talking about we have @UnionJworld @onedirection and dare I say @LawsonOfficial (boyband? Not boyband?) Kingsland no. Love rough copy I met them last year, top top boys and can actually sing.”
Union J came in fourth place on "The X Factor" U.K. in 2012. One Direction came in third place on "The X Factor" U.K. in 2010. Rough Copy is one of the Top 12 acts on "The X Factor" U.K. in 2013.
Kingsland Road has not commented on Arthur's Twitter tirade against the group.
Arthur (who is 25) also apparently upset contestant Hannah Barrett because he flirted with rival contestant Tamera Foster (who is 16) by asking her to marry him, even though Foster reportedly has a boyfriend. Barrett (who is 17) said on "The Xtra Factor" that she wasn't pleased that Arthur paid more attention to Foster than he did to her: "James Arthur…. I am speechless. He went and said to Tamera ‘I want to marry you.’ I am telling you, this has to be a Jeremy Kyle thing because I am not having this. I am not having this.”
On Twitter, Arthur has said that Barrett is one of his top picks to win on "The X Factor" U.K. this year.
Here are the Top 11 "X Factor" U.K. contestant acts of 2013:
Girls (female solo singers ages 16 to 24), mentored by Nicole Scherzinger
- Abi Alton
- Hannah Barrett
- Tamera Foster
Boys (male solo singers ages 16 to 24), mentored by Louis Walsh
- Sam Callahan
- Luke Friend
- Nicholas McDonald
Overs (solo singers ages 25 and over), mentored by Sharon Osbourne
- Sam Bailey
- Shelley Smith
Groups, mentored by Gary Barlow
- Kingsland Road
- Miss Dynamix
- Rough Copy
The theme of this episode was "love songs." Here is a summary of the performances:
Sam Bailey, who is widely considered the frontrunner in the Overs category this year, performed Bob Dylan's "Make You Feel My Love," a song that was famously covered by Adele. Bailey got rave reviews from all of the judges except Scherzinger, who said that Bailey's performance left her "lukewarm." Barlow said to Bailey, "You are raising the level of expectation but somehow every week you bring the bar up another level. It was a really fantastic performance. Well done." Osbourne said, "It was beautifully confident, very well controlled and you had some lovely tender moments in there. I loved it." Walsh commented, "You made the song your own."
Kingsland Road did a harmonious version of Bruno Mars' "Marry You" earned high praise from all of the judges, except for Scherzinger had some reservations about the performance. She said, "I thought you sounded good on your harmonies but mostly I sounded good as a choral group. Gary, why weren’t there any leads?" Barlow said, "We have 11 vocal leads, the guys wanted to sing together this week. It’s a vocal harmony group. Their work ethic is unbelievable, your work ethic is what is going to pay off for you guys in this competition." Walsh said to Kingsland Road, "I loved the staging, the styling and the energy. Gary and I know more about boy bands than anyone else on this panel, and we think you have something special, we really do." Osbourne noted, "You have great energy you really do connect with each other. A great song choice too."
Sam Callahan has been singled out by many "X Factor" viewers as being the least talented vocalists of these remaining contestants. However, he somewhat redeemed himself with the judges, who all thought he did a pretty good but somewhat flawed version of Jason Mraz's "I Won't Give Up." Barlow commented, "Last week you took a bit of a battering. The first minute or so was too low for you but once you got in your comfort zone we saw a great voice coming from you. Massive improvement on last week." Osbourne told Callahan: "Great song choice. It suited your voice. Don’t look so terrified, you are good at what you do." Walsh said to Callahan, "You are a dream to work with."
Tamera Foster got rave reviews from the judges for her version of Emeli Sandé's "Beneath Your Beautiful." Walsh commented: "I loved the song choice and every time I see you I think Whitney, Leona Lewis. Keep your feet on the ground, work really hard and do what Nicole tells you." Osbourne added, "That song was perfect for you." Barlow gushed, "Tamera, since the first audition I have been telling people about you, but for the first time tonight the public are going to see what we have all seen — and that is a superstar on the stage!" Scherzinger concluded, "That was just beautiful. I loved that it was so controlled and less was more. It was gorgeous!"
Abi Alton did an awkward rendition of Kylie Minogue's "Can't Get You Out of My Head." Her performance got mixed reviews from the judges. Walsh said, "I think I prefer you behind the piano doing the singer/songwriter stuff. I don’t think you were comfortable. For me, it didn’t really work." Barlow added, "Very brave, musically. It was a little bit sleepy for me tonight. Not the best song choice for your voice." Osbourne commented: "I think it was a brave move. You handled it well but we do need more confidence, more stage presence." Scherzinger said tp Alton: "I much preferred your version than the original. And Lou Lou has gone loony. You didn’t play it safe, you stepped out and showed us another side of you."
Shelley Smith is this year's token campy karaoke performer in the Overs category. Her version of Beyoncé's "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" also divided the judges. Walsh raved, "I am glad we saved you this week, I could see you having a great future in 'Priscilla' or 'Hairspray' on the West End. You are a born performer." Barlow commented, "You proved last weekend that you’re a good singer, I’m not sure I’d have chosen this for you." Scherzinger added, "I love your energy. You come out guns blazing. However, it was a little 'schweird.' I don’t know if I loved this song for you." Osbourne naturally praised Smith and wished her a happy birthday.
Luke Friend has gotten some criticism for being somewhat of a bland performer. However, he got mostly positive feedback from the judges for his rendition of Passenger's "Let Her Go," which he performed in a boat propped on stage. Barlow commented, "Let me just say one thing. I love your edge but you didn’t have an edge tonight. I like your rock edge and you should get back to that this week." Scherzinger disagreed with Barlow: "I felt the edge and some balls creeping up. I felt a little bit of dreadlocks going into the performance." Osbourne said, "Luke you know I have an awful soft spot for you. I think you’re quite fabulous. I loved your little moves. But why the boat?" Walsh replied, "The boat …You know why? Because he’s sailing through to next week! It is all about your voice; you didn’t just copy the original. You are Cool Hand Luke!"
Rough Copy earned high praise from the judges for doing a more soulful version of Backstreet Boys' "I Want It That Way." Walsh raved, "Another faultless performance! There has to be a place in the charts for you guys!" Osbourne added, "Your performances are effortless. Fantastic!" Scherzinger commented, "You took a Backstreet Boys song and turned it to a Boyz II Men song. You look sharp, your moves were smooth, but watch your pitch." Barlowsaid to Rough Copy, "Everywhere I have been this week, everyone is asking about you. I think you are the surprise act this year."
Nicholas McDonald, who is widely considered the frontrunner in the Boys category this year, got rave reviews for his performance of Robbie Williams' "She's the One." Osbourne said, "You handled that song superbly." Barlow added, 'You have a beautiful voice, you really do, and a great song choice for you." Scherzinger gushed, "Whenever you sing, it just melts my heart, you are such a natural. It was so understated and beautiful." Walsh said to McDonald with pride, "You have got what so many people don’t: likeability and you’re a natural performer. You are my Baby Bublé of the show!"
Hannah Barrett sang an emotionally powerful but sometimes pitchy version of Christina Aguilera's "Beautiful." Barrett shouted the words during some parts of the song, but the judges gave her excellent feedback anyway. Walsh raved, "Hannah, I love the makeover. You look amazing. I love the song choice. It suits you. It was powerful." Osbourne added, "That was magnificent!" Barlow gushed, "Hannah, this is you at your best, I am on the edge of my seat when I am watching you. You can’t teach that. You have it or you don’t. Your voice is so soulful. Absolutely excellent!" Scherzinger exclaimed, "Hashtag face goosebumps! It feels so good. I am so proud because this week has been so difficult for you, but you have been a beacon!"