Published Monday, 30 September 2013
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In previous years the budding stars were either in or they were out, but the format change allowed for some surprise swaps followed by awkward hugs between contestants - and the awkward hugs were my favourite part.
The premise was simple (ish).
The Bootcamp stage had six chairs positioned at the side, each act came forth, sang their heart out and if the mentor of their particular category liked what they saw, they skipped merrily to a free chair and a pass to Judges' Houses.
But alas all was not so sweet and rosy - if the six chairs were filled and the judge in question liked a subsequent act, well then there was a very tense TV moment indeed as anyone could be swapped out for the favoured act.
And the Judges certainly made use of their new fun game!
Was it slightly mean to make a contestant give up their seat, and their hopes and dreams along with it? Of course.
Did it make for excellent viewing on a Saturday and Sunday night? Absolutely no doubt about it.
It must be noted that the acts who were subjected to such drama played their parts well.
Those who took a seat from a fellow hopeful had the decency to look pained about what was happening, even though it was clear they were punching the air Breakfast Club style on the inside.
And those who were being unceremoniously booted off maintained enough grace to give their seat-stealer an "it's ok, don't worry about it" hug, even though it was clear to the viewer that they really wanted to throw them off the stage.
But that's not how ladies and gents behave, so off they went.
My personal favourite was the moment the Over 25's Joseph Whelan thought he was losing his spot at Gary Barlow's suggestion to group mentor Sharon Osbourne.
His determination to retain his place at Judges' Houses meant there was no time for a stoic face and reserved body language.
He was mad!
Luckily his ejection from the stage never came to fruition as Sharon thought better of it, and I thank her for it because Joseph is particularly easy on the eye (me? shallow?)
Over the weekend social network sites went crazy over the drama unfolding as a result of the seat swaps - some were outraged, some were gleefully delighted.
I say let's see more of it - the X Factor isn't supposed to be easy and it's good to shake things up in such a spectacular fashion.
On a side note, it was great to see Belfast's Andrea Magee get through to Sharon's Judges' House. There is no doubt of her talent and I will definitely be keeping my fingers crossed that she makes it to the live shows.
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