The X Factor (Series 14)

So The X Factor continues to… well, continue.

The show had the same judges line-up as last year, but a later start, only six weeks of live shows, and The Xtra Factor was relegated to online only status, all together that gives an impression of a show slowly but surely dying out.

The judges line-up staying the same seems less about this line-up being regarded as a particularly great one, more that they just can’t be bothered to change it. Nicole Scherzinger is the least awful of them, in that she’s entertaining… in small doses. It doesn’t take long for her “ScherSLAYziinnnggg!” schtick or her constant hamming up to get very, very, very, VERY annoying. There are probably people working in the South Pole live streaming Strictly Come Dancing who have more of a clue of and more of an interest in what’s going on in this years X Factor than Sharon Osbourne. Simon Cowell looks like he’s just here to oil the wheels, make sure his moneyspinner keeps going on. As for Louis Walsh, he seems such a producer puppet. He might even be a literal puppet behind the desk, Edd The Duck/Gordon The Gopher style, he has about the same variety of speech as they did.

I liked Alesha Dixon when she came on to fill in for Nicole Scherzinger on an audition stage, and for Simon Cowell on the first live show. She bought some brightness and fun. I think Alesha Dixon should replace one of the judges permanently. Actually, make that ALL of the judges.

As for contestants, Anthony Russell had auditioned for the show ten years ago, this time he auditioned with a black eye. Then he got kicked off. A couple of much hyped girlgroups didn’t make it as far as they were implied to either, one was called Lemonade, the other never even got a name other than New Girlband. Oh, and Slavko, who represented Montenegro in this year’s Eurovision but didn’t qualify for the grand final didn’t make it to the live shows of The X Factor. He hasn’t had much luck with song contests in 2017, especially as this years X Factor had no less than 16 ACTS in the live shows. The usual final 12, plus each category getting a “wildcard”, like in series 7. But with less live shows, like in series 12, giving us 16 acts, and only 6 weeks to get through them all.

That meant a change in format, where one half of the contestants would perform on the Saturday, the other on the Sunday, with no sing-off, instead the contestant with the fewest votes would go automatically. They did have a sing-off of sorts though, but for the contestants with the most votes. The act who topped the vote on Saturday would perform against the act who topped the vote on Sunday. This was known as the Prize Fight. They were indeed competing for a prize each time, the chance to open for established pop acts or to work with producers. The problem with this from an audience point of view though was that, well, who cares? Let’s face it, most of the audience don’t even care about the acts existence after the series has finished! Even worse was that the Prize Fight had to be crowbarred into the Sunday show, and the lines were open for that for about twice as long as it was the vote for the main performances from the acts who performed on Sunday! A bit silly, really.

They randomly moved the goalposts again for the Overs category, Over 28s instead of Over 25s.

The acts were allowed to sing their own compositions, or at least the favoured acts were, and this proved popular with voters, as often those acts topped the vote.

The first live show contestant to go was Spencer Sutherland, from Ohio in the US. The show characterised him as an American tourist, his parents despite never having previously left the U.S. certainly had that sort of vibe. So that meant he had no regional support unlike most of the others, which wouldn’t have helped his vote, though his performance of ‘Who You Are’ by Jessie J was a bit boring anyway, it was certainly my least favourite on the Saturday show.

Sunday’s eliminated contestant was Talia Dean. She performed an airy cover of ‘What Makes You Beautiful’ by One Direction, and with hindsight the very underwhelmed
response from the studio audience was a sign. Louis compared her to Barbra Streisand, Sharon replied to him “Nobody knows who she is anymore!”. Nicole compared her to Taylor Dayne, who has a similar name anyway. Talia has the unfortunate distinction of being voted back in to the live shows as wildcard only to be voted out again in first live show.

Leon Mallet, from Great Yarmouth, was also voted back in as a wildcard, and he lasted a bit longer, by six days. He originally auditioned with his brother as a duo, then they were split up to audition as soloists. He also broke his leg during the auditions. His version of ‘Stay’ by Zedd & Alessia Cara was actually one of my favourite performances from week 1, it had energy at least, and his original rap in it was OK. In week 2 he was given a weird Latin mix of ‘Get Lucky’ by Daft Punk to perform, and a gaudy jacket to wear. He was never the strongest vocalist, but it did look like he was stitched up a bit.

Week 2’s second eliminated contestant was Traceyleanne Jefford. She was also quite good in week 1, doing a brassy, sassy take on ‘Written In Water’ by Gin Wigmore. In week 2 she sang ‘Ain’t Your Mama’ by Jennifer Lopez after a VT about how much she loves her kids. Odd juxtaposition there. Either way, the performance was a lot more boring than it could have been. I quite liked her, but she always seemed to be the sort of act that had “2 weeks at best” written all over them.

In week 3, on Saturday duo Jack and Joel were voted out. Jack and Joel looked like a couple, but they weren’t, they were friends who met while studying at Oxford uni. They are not to be confused with the well known Nursery Rhyme Jack and Jill, or indeed twins Jack and Joe from Big Brother 14. Jack and Joel were a bit karaoke really. Not that I’m saying they were bad singers, they could sing fairly well, just it felt like two mates going up to sing a song in a pub. But maybe that was part of their appeal. Their version of ‘The Edge Of Heaven’ by George Michael in week 3 was a bit… nothingy. Not being all that interesting and being on early meant they were an unsurprising last place, and as with most series, when the voting figures were released it turned out that the first few eliminated contestants were never hugely popular in the vote anyway.

On week 3’s Sunday show Alisah Bonaobra had the fewest votes. She was originally from the Philippines, and had finished runner-up on the Philippines version of The Voice. She had a somewhat more bumpy ride on The X Factor, getting eliminated at bootcamp, the Six Chair Challenge and Judge’s Houses, as well as for the final time at the live show. In week 1 she performed the winners song of American Idol season 6 winner Jordin Sparks, which like most winner’s songs, was duller than dishwater. My favourite of Alisah’s performances was in week 2, ‘Let’s Get Loud’ by Jennifer Lopez. It was a lot more uptempo and exciting, and her strong vocals still shone through. However, I’m in the minority if her vote is anything to go by, she was 4th place in week 1 and down to 6th in week 2. In week 3 she was back to the ballads, doing ‘Praying For Time’, and in an episode filled mostly with dull, overwrought ballads her performance being on first made it the most forgettable, and she finished the bottom of the vote in 6th place. Honestly, I wasn’t too bothered to see her go, but I don’t dislike her per se, she seems sweet.

And with Jack and Joel and Alisah gone, that was all the wildcards gone! I think I’d advise any future X Factor contestants that if you’re brought back as a wildcard enjoy what time you have and don’t dream about winning, because the show clearly isn’t keen on the wildcards lasting long. If they liked them that much they’d have put them in the initial final line-up.

Sam Black is a plasterer from the Isle of Man. Apparently though his real name is Sam Smith! I can see why he changed it, in the same way it’s going to be tricky for any aspiring female singers named Adele. Sam memorably didn’t get through to Boot Camp, but proposed to his girlfriend and mother of his baby at the end. He was brought back after Anthony Russell left. There are YouTube videos of Sam from years ago performing Paolo Nutini tracks, but on The X Factor he was mainly cast as a ’50s-’60s throwback. His performance of ‘I’m Your Man’ on George Michael week was cheesy as hell, but it was the only uptempo one on that Sunday show which probably helped him just about dodge last place, and therefore elimination. His exit the next week wasn’t surprising, he was on first with ‘Oops’, a rubbish Little Mix album track which features Charlie Puth, so with that Sam was out. He was told he lacked confidence, which might be true, but let’s face it, it’s also true that he can’t really sing. I think he was aware of his limitations, and that’s not such a bad quality to have. He was very likeable. I fancied him a bit to be honest, he was quite cute.

Sean and Conor Price are brothers from Ireland. I think one of them had an acoustic guitar and the other one rapped? I know they are only kids, but their performances were awful! Admittedly, they performed tracks by London Grammar and Julia Micheals, two acts I’m not a fan of anyway, but they definitely outstayed their welcome. At best, they reminded me a bit of an inferior version of Joe and Jake who represented the UK at Eurovision 2016. (Poor Joe and Jake, it says a lot that Jack and Joel’s names and them being a duo didn’t remind me of them, and it wasn’t until a couple of weeks that the other duo in the competition reminded me of them!). Sean and Conor Price’s vote didn’t change much, ironically after being 5th place for 3 weeks, they were in 4th place in the week they left!

Rai-Elle Williams, from Croydon, opened the first live show, singing a mash-up of Lauryn Hill and Meghan Trainor, and it was surprisingly quite good! She had navigate lots of stairs too. It worked well, despite her black and yellow striped t-shirt, I almost wondered if they were going to add antennae and a stinger to make her look like a bumblebee. She was a vibrant urban-pop act, and was one of the more interesting contestants. She was 5th place in week 1, 4th place in week 2 when she performed
‘Bailando’ by Enrique Iglesias. It might have helped that unlike most of the contestants, she can actually speak some Spanish. She was 4th place again after a heartfelt performance of ‘They Won’t Go When I Go’ by Stevie Wonder. Her final performance ‘Mr. Big Stuff’ by Jean Knight wasn’t bad either, but she was on first and the staging was distracting. A screen showing multicoloured cartoonish outer space background with a crashed UFO, rocket ships blasting off everywhere, spinning moons, Rai-Elle herself flying around. There were also dancers in astronaut helmets. She was 5th place again, which meant last place this time.

Holly Tandy, from Barnsley, has a good voice. She did ballads most of the time, but it was all a bit blandly competent. She was popular in the vote though, in week 1 she finished 2nd performing ‘Hollow’ by Tori Kelly. She was 3rd the next two weeks, then finished in 4th place in a double elimination. Her final performance was ‘Love Me Harder’ by Ariana Grande feat. The Weeknd, and to be fair the weird arrangement they used probably didn’t help. They kind of stitched her up with her VT that week too, giving her the “crazy fangirl” edit when she met Harry Styles. She’s very likeable in a bubbly Yorkshire lass sort of way, and I quite liked the staging in her ‘Despactito’ performance in Viva Latino week, simply because it reminded me of clips of ’70s era Eurovision, with the singing in Spanish, the silver outfits and set, and dated pink font. But I’m really struggling to think of much to say about her. I think she did an impression of Sharon once and it was mildly amusing? I don’t know, obviously she had her fans, but Holly mainly passed me by.

At the semi-final stage they still had six acts, but they got round the whole “everyone performing twice” thing quite well, as now there were few enough acts to all perform together, once on Saturday and once on Sunday. Except for whoever finished at the bottom of the vote on Saturday, they would be eliminated then.

That was Matt Linnen. He was hot! A really gorgeous guy. I must have a thing for plasterers. I was always pleased he got through for those entirely shallow reasons. He came across as a bit arrogant, but what was he like as a performer? Well, he got the pimp slot in Viva Latino week, but God knows why, because it was terrible! ‘Livin’ La Vida Loca’ by Ricky Martin performed with an acoustic guitar, in what looked like a cardboard box, with loads of dancers like it was a cramped lift. And he RAPPED! Despite the pimp slot, it only finished in 5th place out of 7. I quite liked the creepy electronic and violins arrangement of ‘Careless Whisper’ that he performed in George Michael week though. His most popular performance as far as votes were concerned was in week 4 when he performed a RAWK version of ‘Fallin’ by Alicia Keys. He finished 2nd, and not too far off being 1st! But the following week he’d gone from that to dead last in the vote! He performed ‘Gimme Shelter’ by the Rolling Stones. He was the second to perform on the night (traditionally the worst position to perform in TV talent contests decided on a public vote), it was a quite dull arrangement of the song, which isn’t made to be performed by a solo singer in the first place, it has long instrumentals and a backing singer, and the judges comments were basically shrugging the whole performance off. I guess it shows how efficiently the show can cut a contestant out who they see as having become surplus to requirements.

My favourite act before the live shows, and my favourite act by the end were The Cutkelvins, a family group from Scotland with sister Shereen and brothers Kyle and Jay. Admittedly, the reason they were my favourite initially is that I remembered the girlgroup Shereen was in before, Neon Jungle, especially their number 4 hit ‘Braveheart’. But most weeks they gave my favourite performances. I really liked their version of ‘What About Us’ by Pink, though it reminded me more of ‘We Found Love’ by Rihanna and Calvin Harris, probably because of the R&B singer and DJs set up they had. That was a problem generally for The Cutkelvins. Shereen looked fabulous, but more like a solo act, with the boys trapped in DJ booths in the background. In week 1 they were trapped in laser cubes, and in week 2 they were trapped in Tetris blocks. That said, it didn’t appear to do the group’s vote any harm, they were 2nd place in the vote both weeks. I adore Adamski & Seal’s ‘Killer’, so the Cutkelvins were my favourite performance in week 3, the rave-electro song mixed with ‘Papa Was A Rolling Stone’, in tribute to their late father. The boys got to come out from behind their mixing desks too! In week 4 they had an original song ‘Saved Me From Myself’, which was an icy, smooth R&B track. A bit generic, but OK. I thought their best performance came in the semi-final, their other original song, ‘Nothing Like You’. It had a The Matrix-ish sci-fi setting, with green digital letting and triangles in the background. The song had more of a soul vibe to it, and an exciting electronic backing track. But it was on first, which suggested that the show wasn’t considering them in their A-list to get to the final, and that was pretty much confirmed on Sunday. They performed ‘Show Me Love’ by Robin S, with a Rubik’s Cube background. Simon Cowell said it came across as dated. Well, yeah, ‘Show Me Love’ is a dance track from the ’90s, and Rubik’s Cubes are a big symbol of the ’80s! Anyone would think the intention was for it to come across as dated… Anyway, the Cutkelvins were out in 5th place in the semi-final. I hope we hear more from them.

Lloyd Macey, a singer from Wales who enjoys playing rugby, finished in 4th place overall. In many years he would be the default winner, because to be honest he was a bit boring and middle-of-the-road musically. As a young lad but being an old-fashioned crooner, he was very much the Nan’s Favourite, and indeed his own nan showed up frequently, talking about fish finger sandwiches. George Michael week was a good one for Lloyd, as well as graduating from uni he topped the vote after his performance of ‘A Different Corner’, and won the Prize Fight meaning he got to open for Little Mix. In Love Songs week Crazy In Love week he sang ‘From This Moment On’ by Shania Twain. I have a soft spot for that song, soppy ’90s wedding ballad that it is, but it’s a bit dated, and it certainly pigeon-holed Lloyd even more as For The Mams and Nans. In the semi-final he had a bad throat and chest infection, and to his credit I wouldn’t have been able to tell if it hadn’t been pointed out, but there was a feeling of the show wanting him to drift away rather than going in for the kill. For his final performance he was on first, singing ‘Fix You’ by Coldplay, and when it came to the judges comments Sharon said she wanted people to vote for “everyone”, and there was a stupid coughing fight with Simon and Louis, apparently for LOLZ at Nicole comparing herself vocally to Lloyd, most likely to distract attention, and therefore votes, from Lloyd’s performance itself. But whether it was or not, it was a particularly stupid moment in the series. I wonder if Lloyd being ill meant they were worried that if he got through but had to pull out before the final, that it would cause them all sorts of problems? He very nearly did make the final as well, he was within 0.7% off getting in 3rd place! For his performance the night before he was 3rd place and 0.3% off 2nd! I certainly don’t think Lloyd was their ideal winner. He was unlikely to ever be a popstar. I can see him releasing a Mother’s Day covers album or a Christmas covers album, but not much more than that. He’ll probably do well in musical theatre, like many former X Factor acts.

Kevin Davy White, from Paris in France, had been on France’s version of The Voice, where nobody turned round for him. He was overlooked at the beginning of The X Factor
live shows too, but turned out to be one of the major contestants of series 14. He performed ‘Stay’, a different song from Leon, same title, same week, but different song (Kevin’s was the Rihanna track) on a different night. Nobody really paid much attention to it, but he managed to get into the top 4 in the vote despite being on the notoriously cursed position of performing second. In the following week with the Viva Latino theme, Kevin gave the best performance of the whole series when he performed ‘Smooth’ by Santana feat. Rob Thomas. It’s a great song anyway, but his performance was brilliant, he played the electric guitar. He then played The X Factor theme on the guitar afterwards. It’s one of my favourite ever X Factor performances I think. It well deservedly topped the vote that week, and the repeat performance won the Prize Fight against Rak-Su. I wasn’t keen on Kevin’s performance of ‘Fastlove’ during George Michael week, but I knew it would top the vote. It was in the pimp slot, and if John Lewis has proved anything it’s that for some reason the British public can’t get enough of ssslllooowwweeeddd ddddooooowwwnnn vvvveeeerrrrssssiiioonnnnnzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz of pop songs, even when that pop song has the word “fast” in the title.

I didn’t really like his performance of ‘I Will Always Love You’ by Whitney Houston the following week either, but he’s clearly best suited to the rock genre, and he gave another great performance in Cool Britannia week, performing ‘Come Together’ by the Beatles. Despite it being performed on a plinth which looked like a giant slice of cake, it was the best performance of that round. The best performance in the British themed round was by a Frenchman. Make of that what you will. In the Sunday show the next day he performed ‘Voodoo Child (Slight Return)’ by the Jimmi Hendrix Experience, and he was excellent. In the grand final he was good again, playing ‘Whole Lotta Love’ by Led Zepplin. His final performance was an even slower version of ‘Fastlove’ than before, in a collaboration with Tokio Myers, who let’s face it is best known as a Britain’s Got Talent winner. Kevin finished in 3rd place overall.

Runner-up Grace Davies is a singer-songwriter from Blackburn. She has a bit of a link to The X Factor, as her flatmate is Janet Devlin who was in series 8! This year some of the acts could perform their own songs, and on Express Yourself week Grace performed her track ‘Too Young’. She topped the vote for it on Saturday, though my highlight of it was her having to correct presenter Dermot O’Leary that she hadn’t actually won the Prize Fight yet! She did win the Prize Fight on Sunday though, and I think she performed the song much better on that night.

Grace’s performance on Viva Latino Week was, well, quite something, put it that way. She sang ‘Ciao Adios’ by Anne-Marie. They said she was going to be dancing but had her sat on a plinth. Most infamous of all though was her bizarre outfit, which looked like they’d plucked off all of Big Bird from Sesame Street‘s feathers and used it to make a costume of cowgirl Jessie from the Toy Story films. That said, ‘Ciao, Adios, I’m done” is a catchy line. That part was stuck in my head after all the performances had finished despite being on first. It was stuck in my head for days afterwards. In fact, despite everything, Grace still did well in the vote with this too, finishing in 2nd place.

In George Michael week she covered Adele’s cover of George Michael’s cover of Bonnie Raitt’s ‘I Can’t Make You Love Me’. Fine for what it was I guess, but as X Factor performances go, Stacey Solomon’s version in series 6’s George Michael week was much better. Grace was back with her own song again in Crazy In Love week, with ‘Hesitate’. It is about two people who fancy each other but neither wants to make the first move. It was co-written by Lauren Aquilina – I loved her track ‘Sinners’ a few years ago! Grace topped the vote again, but lost out to Rak-Su in the Prize Fight. In the semi-final on Saturday she performed a cover of ‘Life On Mars?’ by David Bowie. Grace performed in on a piano, on top of what looked like a huge bubbling cauldron, and I found it a bit John Lewis. It got her lowest position in the vote, finishing in 4th place. On Sunday she performed another original song, ‘Wolves’. I expected it to be another moody piano ballad, but no it was quite an uptempo song, and was 2nd in the vote. In the final, she covered ‘Live And Let Die’ by Paul McCartney and Wings, which was a bit of a random choice. Then she performed her own song, ‘Roots’, a nice enough potential soundtrack to a thousand adverts and TV episodes, and she sang it in with Paloma Faith. She reprised ‘Wolves’ in the Sunday final, and her last performance was ‘Too Young’ again, backed by enormous roses, and I think she got better and better each time when performing that song, as the performance in the final was even better than the Prize Fight one.

Grace dyed her hair pink, and I wasn’t sure about her having pink/purple make-up, coats, lighting and at one time even a car to match it. The effect it all created, well, you know that Young Hyacinth special starring Kerry Howard as a young Hyacinth Bucket? Give Grace some cat eye glasses and gladies, she would be a shoe-in if they want to cast someone as Young Dame Edna. Or maybe she could present a revived Dame Edna’s Neighbourhood Watch.

The winners were urban boyband Rak-Su, Ashley, Jamaal, Myles and Mustafa, all fromĀ  Watford. They were hyped up as stars of the series from early on. They write their own songs, obviously that would get an airing in Express Yourself week. ‘Mamacita’ wasn’t bad, it could be any of the Latin-influenced pop songs that are out now. It mentioned fajitas, tequila and Shakira. Week 2 just happened to be Viva Latino, and they had another self penned track ‘Dimelo’, Shakira getting her second namecheck in a Rak-Su song in as many
weeks. It also referenced her hit song with Wyclef Jean, ‘Hips Don’t Lie’. They topped the vote by quite a margin in their rounds both weeks, but ended up losing the Prize Fights by a small amount, to Grace in week 1 and Kevin in week 2. In George Michael week they did a different mix of ‘Faith’, with added rap referencing ‘Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go’ and “Netflix and chill”. They didn’t win, but were the first to perform that week, and still had only 0.1% less in the vote than Kevin, who had the pimp slot! In week 4 they had one of their own tracks again, ‘Mona Lisa’, which was yes referencing the painting, and they also mentioned The Leaning Tower of Pisa, and the Louvre. Why not go through all the tourist attractions, make it world wide, put the Pyramids, the Statue of Liberty and the Great Wall Of China in there too. They topped the vote and won the Prize Fight that time, both by quite a long way.

For Cool Britannia they did a reworking of ‘Flowers’ by Sweet Female Attitude. I loved hearing that track again, it is an underrated classic. I found Rak-Su’s version a bit messy, but they did reference other UK garage tracks from that time, including ’21 Seconds’ by So Solid Crew, and a shout out to Craig David. The staging for their last semi-final performance ‘I’m Feeling You’, which they sang in their first audition, was a right neon light eyesore. ‘I’m Feeling You’ felt a bit dated to me, it sounded like 5ive covering Will Smith in 1999. But they topped the vote both nights.

They performed ‘Mamacita’ again in the final, and for their duet they performed ‘Dimelo’, with Naughty Boy and Wyclef Jean. That is really stretching the definition of “duet”, not least when they had practically a whole football crowds-worth of people dancing with them by the end of the song! To be fair though, this was the most enjoyable performance of the Saturday half of the final. Wyclef Jean performed a similar rap to ‘Hips Don’t Lie’, which is referenced in ‘Dimelo’, but it was more like ‘Dance Like This’, the original incarnation of ‘Hips Don’t Lie’ which featured Claudette Ortiz from City High rather than Shakira.

Their final performance was a reprise of ‘Mona Lisa’ and a new song, ‘Touche’, though it sounded like all the others. But having a recognisable sound isn’t necessarily a bad thing a bad thing for a pop band.

The most successful recent winner has been a group (Little Mix), and Rak-Su are relevant. I don’t think they are amazing, but they fit into the current pop landscape. Their songs have been doing well on iTunes too, so maybe the show might get a winner with a pop career for once. Matt Terry and Louisa Johnson are just sort of “around”, they’re not really big stars, indeed save for their winner’s songs, their only top ten hits have been featuring on other acts songs, Matt Terry on Enrique Iglesias and Sean Paul’s ‘Subeme La Radio’, and Louisa Johnson on Clean Bandit’s ‘Tears’.

The show said they were getting rid of the theme weeks, and they didn’t really, but they had themes which weren’t really themes. Express Yourself doesn’t really count as a theme, but I like it, it’s there for all the contestants to show what sort of act they would be, if anything that should be every week. But if they have to have themes, Viva Latino was definitely a good new one, actually having something that is relevant to the charts today! George Michael week was fine. Crazy In Love was just Love Songs, so 99.9% of all pop songs ever. Cool Britannia wasn’t specifically about the late ’90s Tony Blair New Labour era, in which the songs could have been Oasis, Blur, Spice Girls, and ‘Things Can Only Get Better’ by D:Ream. You know what, those totally should have been the song choices! But no, it was just songs by British acts. Then there was Get Me To The Final, so the theme was “songs” then.

Despite production decisions looking very much like a “sod it, we’ll chuck stuff on the wall see what sticks” sort of plan, I liked some of the changes. The overall quality of the acts was a lot higher than usual. There were no ridiculous panto novelty acts like Jedward, Wagner or Honey G. I get that maybe the show “needs” acts like that on some level to draw attention to it, but honestly I didn’t miss them. Having more up to date acts, songs and themes worked, and the contestants being able to perform their own material did too, clearly viewers like it as they voted for acts which performed songs they’d written themselves.

The worst change was the Prize Fight, nobody cares about the acts winning a prize other than who wins the contest itself. To be honest, I barely watch until it gets to the live shows, so cutting them down and extending the audition phases certainly wasn’t a welcome change for me. I did somewhat miss the sing-off, but the act with the fewest votes going every time worked quite well, and most of the time it was the act who gave the weakest performance too.

It had the lowest viewing figures ever, but overall, series 14 of The X Factor was alright. It certainly doesn’t deserve to be called the “worst ever”, regardless of it being the least watched. I think unfortunately people are just fatigued with the show now, I’m not sure anything can be done about that.

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