On Nov. 2, 2013, "The X Factor" U.K. kicked off a disco-themed episode with a performance from Nile Rodgers and Chic, who did a medley of hits co-written by Rodgers: "He's the Greatest Dancer" (originally recorded by Sister Sledge) and Chic's “Le Freak” and “Good Times.” And, according to the judges and many viewers commenting on the Internet, the contestants who gave the most outstanding performances in this episode were R&B trio Rough Copy and powerhouse singer Sam Bailey. Viewers were so impressed with Rough Copy that the group's name became a Top 10 trending topic worldwide on Twitter during and after Rough Copy's performance.
This episode also marked the end of the "The X Factor" U.K.'s failed Flash Vote experiment, which had been taking place over the previous three weeks. In the Flash Vote, it was revealed at the end of the Saturday "X Factor" episode which of one of two contestants were in the bottom two at the end of the episode, based on voting that took place during that episode.
In the next night's episode (Sunday), the contestant would then do a sing-off with the other contestant in the bottom two, who would be revealed on the Sunday episode. The purpose of the Flash Vote was to let viewers know before the Sunday episode which one of the contestants was at risk of being eliminated so that fans of the other contestants could adjust their votes in support of the other remaining acts.
This flash voting did not help "The X Factor" ratings, since the show continues to trail behind BBC rival "Strictly Come Dancing." And frankly, the Flash Vote was just too unfair because it would single out one contestant as being in the bottom two before Sunday's voting even started. The Flash Vote also removed some element of surprise because by Sunday's episode, viewers already knew which one of two contestants was in the bottom two.
An "X Factor" U.K.. source told the Mirror Online: “The Flash Vote isn’t quite working as expected, it is a new thing that the producers wanted to try but now they’re thinking of moving a live act to fill the time slot and go back to the one act on the Sunday as well as the reveal of who the bottom two contestants are."
An X Factor U.K. spokesperson added, “As tonight’s show featured an opening performance by Niles Rodgers and Chic there wasn’t time in the show’s current length to feature the Flash Vote as well. The flash vote is currently being rested, the live show has always had a number of innovations and changes from wildcards and double eliminations to keep things interesting for viewers.”
Here are the remaining Top 9 "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
Groups, mentored by Gary Barlow
- Kingsland Road
- Rough Copy
Here is a summary of the performances:
Luke Friend, unencumbered by his usual acoustic guitar, let loose when performing Wild Cherry's "Play That Funky Music." The judges gave his performance rave reviews. Osbourne said, "Luke, who knew that you had all of this inside of you"? You are the dark horse in this contest. Everybody has got to watch out for you. You showed us how adaptable you are .. That was amazing." Scherzinger commented, "Who knew this was the week you would come alive? We always knew how funky your hair was but now we know how funky you are." Barlow added, "When you first stepped out tonight I thought I would hate it but within five seconds I thought it was incredible. A guy with a rock voice, how do you do disco week? That’s how you do it!" Walsh concluded, That was a brilliant opening to the show. You are the one to watch. You are the dark horse. You’re a little star, You’re a little Johnny Depp!"
Kingsland Road did a version of the Jackson's "Blame It on the Boogie" that often had flat, off-key vocals, and the group seemed to be focusing more in the choreography than on hitting the right notes. The performance got mixed reviews from the judges. Walsh said, "You are working really hard. You did fantastic. I still think you have to work on your vocals but I hope you’re here for a few more weeks." Osbourne gave Kingsland Road with these words of advice: "Do take that look ‘we don’t want to be in the bottom two again’ off your face because it shows." Walsh was a little kinder when he said, "You are working really hard, you did fantastic. I still think you have to work on your vocals but I hope you’re here for a few more weeks." Barlow added, "They are so serious, so ambitious and I am so proud of what you’ve done this week. You don’t just do a song' you put on a show for everyone."
Tamera Foster continued to channel Beyoncé as she did a somewhat restrainer performance of Rose Royce's "Wishing on a Star." It was a departure from the high-energy dance tunes that most of the other contestants performed in this episode. Barlow said, "Well done. I think you have really grown up this week. That was truly elegant, it was supreme. Your vocal is so beautiful when you sing high. Very classy." Osbourne added, "Tamera, that was a lovely performance, so controlled, so smooth." Walsh raved, "Every time I see you, I think 'star.' You look like a little diva. I loved the song choice.I think you are going to go far." Scherzinger commented, "Last week, you threw it down. And this week, less was more, and you got to show everybody another side. It was so pretty and dreamy; it was like velvet. It just shows you can do anything and everything."
Abi Alton has been getting some flak from viewers and the "X Factor" judges for being too boring. But she stepped up in this episode with a piano-based ballad version of Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive" that had an arrangement that was completely different from the original song. Barlow praised Alton by saying, "This is why I have been so hard on you, because I knew you could do that. You played live piano; you accompanied yourself. There is no one knows better who you are than you." Osbourne commented, "You are like a little music box. That was a very brave choice, it was a brave arrangement, and I bow down to you for that. You have your own sense of direction. It is very brave of you as an artist to come on this show." Walsh added, "The theme this week, you were definitely out of your comfort zone, but you picked a great song and I loved the arrangement. That was your best performance." Scherzinger gushed, "You grabbed this week by the disco balls, honey, and you showed it! you Abi-fied it! You were authentic. You forgot all the glitter and the cameras and got back to you, to that raw truth. It was gorgeous!"
Rough Copy did a stellar version of Earth, Wind & Fire's "September." Unlike many of the contestants who often look terrified when they perform, Rough Copy genuinely looked like they were having fun. Rough Copy also deftly handled their choreography while singing. The judges were very impressed. Walsh gushed, "You know how to put on a show. It was incredible. We need this band on 'X Factor.' It wouldn’t be the same without you. Loved it!" Osbourne said, "It’s all so effortless, natural and joyous." Scherzinger commented, "You did disco, but you did it your own way. I love it. You Rough Copied it! Thank you!" Barlow added, "I love this! We got it completely right this week. I love you guys, I love spending time with you. The performance of the night by far!"
Sam Callahan has been called the weakest vocalist in this year's "X Factor" U.K. Top 12. He did a mediocre version of Take That's "Relight My Fire." It's always risky when an "X Factor" contestant performs a song originally performed or written by an "X Factor" judge who is going to evaluate the contestant. And the risk did not pay off for Callahan, as his performance got the worst reviews of the night, especially from Take That leader Barlow. Scherzinger said to Callahan: "You have so much charisma and energy. I see how much you want it. But that song exposed your weaknesses and you sounded more nasal than before this week. I want you to perform in a different way." Osbourne added, "Sam, you know you always put so much into your show, I can see you really want it bad. It comes out of you, you love doing what you do and that was a great performance." Barlow had this to say about Callahan's performance: "I agree with Mrs O. You are a lovely lad, you are keen to learn, but I hated that performance. The vocals were really exposed. You are not the best singer in this competition, and the problem for you is that everyone else is so much better than you." Walsh defended Callahan by saying, "You came out fighting, you gave 100 percent. I wish other people would work as hard as you. Gary, that was a little bit harsh!"
Nicholas McDonald is widely considered the frontrunner in the Boys category, but he seemed more than a bit uncomfortable singing Michael Jackson's "Rock With You" with all the choreography he had to do while singing. The judges still thought it was a great performance. Barlow praised McDonald by saying, "What a great singer you are! You can take anything on and sing the heart out of it. I was really impressed tonight." Osbourne said to McDonald: " I love you so much, I want to put you in my pocket. That was fantastic! it was great to hear you sing uptempo. I would have liked to see something a bit more naughty. It’s there, so bring it out!" Scherzinger added, "We are going to go to the disco together and rock all night, but not in that way, because you’re, like, 12. The only thing is that it’s not always just about the singing; it’s about the grooving and getting lost in it, but other than that I loved it." Walsh exclaimed, "You have got it! I believe in you, and you are going to go all the way!"
Hannah Barrett belted out/shouted/sang Jocelyn Brown's "Somebody Else's Guy." It was a pretty good song choice for this deep-voiced diva, and she always sings with plenty of emotion and gusto. Barrett was in the bottom two in the previous week, but the judges felt that she redeemed herself with this performance. Walsh raved, "You came back fighting. I don’t know why you were in the bottom two last week. You have an amazing, strong, powerful voice." Barlow added, "Hannah, that is how to come back fighting for your life. I think you are the most soulful singer left. What a great platform that was to show us your amazing voice." Osbourne said, "Hannah, finally you are smiling! You always look like you’ve smelled something nasty, and now you’re happy and vibrant and energetic. I am so glad you’re here this week. Sensational performance this week." Scherzinger said to Barrett: "It was so funky! I am so proud of you. You showed us how to do Disco Week right there!"
Sam Bailey arguably gave the best performance of the episode with her tour-de-force rendition of Donna Summer and Barbra Streisand's "No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)," which was a great song choice for Bailey. Walsh exclaimed, "That was the vocal performance of the night, by a mile!" Scherzinger commented, "Sam, enough is enough! You were on fire. You are so soulful. That was amazing." Barlow said, "I was sure tonight you would struggle. How wrong was I. What a performance that was! Flawless vocals. You are a great performer. You look incredible, you really do." Osbourne raved, "The presentation, the delivery, everything was 110 percent performance. I am so proud of you! I love you!"