X Factor's boyband battle hots up

Published Saturday, 10 November 2012
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X Factor's battle of the boybands kicked up a gear on Saturday, with head judge Gary Barlow declaring that he feels Union J have the edge over rivals District3.

X Factor's boyband battle hots up
Union J react after performing Fix You by Coldplay (© Rex Features)

The theme was Best of British, so District3 opted to cover the emotional Eric Clapton classic Tears In Heaven and Union J chose Coldplay's hit Fix You for their performances.

Both groups, mentored by Louis Walsh, decided to go for the stripped back approach and focus on showing off their vocals.

While District3 were in the bottom two last week, they seemed to redeem themselves in at least the judges' eyes.

Tulisa said it was her favourite performance by the band so far, while Nicole got emotional when praising the song choice.

But there was a sting amid the praise from Gary Barlow, who credited their vocal skills.

"If I'm sat in a record label right now looking for the next big boy band, is it you? I don't think it is," he shrugged. "There's something that slightly dated about this band. I don't know what it is. There's something that's just not got the edge that Union J have..."

Union J's performance also went down well and the song choices of both groups were noted as working in their favour.

One thing they may have to worry about though is appealing to the same demographic.

As Tulisa pointed out, the battle of the boybands could split the vote.

"I can't call it," she said.

Meanwhile, strong contender for the final Jahmene Douglas picked the Robbie Williams track Angels, which could have been a risky move - given that it's frequently tackled, not usually with much success, on talent shows.

But the shy former supermarket worker once again blew everyone away with his gospel choir-backed rendition of the song.

"Angels has been sung in talent shows hundreds of times - but never like that!" Gary, Robbie's own bandmate, said.

From the sublime to the ... spicy, Rylan Clark fulfilled a dream ambition by performing a Spice Girls medley in a jacket reminiscent of that Geri dress.

His harness might have gotten a bit stuck when he parachuted - yes, parachuted - onto the stage, but even his nemesis Gary loved it. Sort of.

"On the subject of fun, that was absolutely brilliant," Grumpy Spice declared.

"But on the subject of vocals, that was absolutely diabolical."

The long-running saga over Christopher Maloney's suitability for the competition, given his penchant for dated classics, continued - with Nicole Scherzinger branding him the "karaoke king".

For the last remaining girl Ella Henderson, a cover of Tinie Tempah's Written In The Stars let her mentor Tulisa's "little star" shine.

Louis Walsh did say she could be the best girl on the X Factor since Leona Lewis, but he wasn't sure about her song choice.

"Because you wouldn't know Tinie Tempah from Tiny Tim, Louis!" Tulisa hit back.

With it falling to James Arthur to perform last, his angsty performance of Hometown Glory saw him once again draw praise from the panel.

"No one should ever cover Adele songs," Gary said. "Except you."

Find out who ends up in the bottom two and who exits the show in Sunday's X Factor results show on UTV at 8pm.

X Factor's Best of British week
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But that's all, folks ...

We've even given you extra 1D, what more could you want?!

It's time to get voting for your faves (One Direction aren't in it, so don't even try) or you can try your hand at predicting who'll be in the bottom two and who's set to go tomorrow night. Let us know your thoughts!

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For all you 1D fans ...

One Direction visited us once and they sang to us ... Are you jealous?? Don't be, here's a little video - don't say we're not good to you!

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Oh. Em. Gee.

It's One Direction!!!!!!

We'd squeal excitedly, but the audience already seems to have that covered. To the point where we can't really hear them sing ...

We'll let you be the judge of whether or not that's bad. ;)

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He always does!
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Special spin ...

Tulisa's just delighted a credible artist with an urban edge is getting recognise.

And Nicole's loving the dubstep, the swag, the phat beats ... That's all code for just how urban James is, in case you didn't know ...

"No one should ever cover Adele songs," says Gary. "Except you."

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Hometown Glory ...

It's Best of British week and James loves the Stones, Stereophonics, etc. So he's doing an Adele song. Naturally.

We're expecting a suitably angst-ridden version and we're not going to be disappointed.

But Nicole's out of her seat and dancing ...

(Download the track here)

Hometown Glory ... (©Rex Features)
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Ha, poor Rylan!
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On a roll ...

Team Louis are onto something with their song choices this week, according to Tulisa. But interesting point - could the battle of the boybands split the votes too much for either of the two groups to capitalise?

Ooh, we've gone all serious tactics there!

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Fix You ...

All the acts are obsessed with stripping back this week, 'cause they're all about the music, don't ya know ...

So Union J are doing Coldplay's Fix You, but will it guide them home to the final?

And yup, one of them's got a guitar again 'cause they're proper musicians ...

(Download the track here)

Fix You ... (©Rex Features)
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Rylan power!

Camp as Christmas, according to Louis - but he absolutely loved it!

According to Tulisa, everyone enjoyed themselves - apart from Grumpy Spice Gary ... But wait, there's a shock from Mr Barlow ...

"On the subject of fun - that was absolutely brilliant," he declares.

Has Gary had a change of heart? There's bound to be a twist ...

"But on the subject of vocals - that was absolutely diabolical." There it is.

Oh, and here we go, Nicole's on the table to defend her act ...

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Spice Boy!

Rylan ended up in the bottom two last week, so he's pulling out all the stops and embracing his lifelong love of the Spice Girls for his performance!

And he totally stole the Queen's Olympic idea by parachuting in! Unlike her Majesty, he seemed to get a little bit stuck though which made us laugh lots.

He's swapped the Geri dress for a jacket though and is definitely determined to spice up X Factor!

(Download the track here)

Spice Boy! (©Rex Features)
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Hmm, what could Rylan be doing?
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No losing Ella!

According to Gary, Ella's what the X Factor's all about.

He's written just one word: "Wow."

For Nicole, it's all about the girl power and she's only got one note too - but it's considerably longer than Gary's. Which is ironic 'cause it's all about Ella needing longer notes ...

Anyhoo, Louis thinks she may be the best girl since Leona Lewis ... Do we agree?

But he didn't really know what to make of the song choice. That's because Louis doesn't know Tinie Tempah from Tiny Tim, according to Tulisa!

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Little star ...

The last girl in the competition, and the baby, Ella's feeling the pressure so she's opted for Written In The Stars by Tulisa's guest mentor Tinie Tempah.

But she's also out to put her own spin on the track, with a slowed-down version accompanied by her very own guitarist - who has to sit in the dark to let Tulisa's "little star" shine ...

Ella's spent weeks being considered a strong contender for the final - is she stilldeserving of a place?

(Download the track here)

Little star ... (©Rex Features)
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Say what?
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Back to basics ...

Tulisa's loving the approach and the song choice, as is Gary - but wait, it is Mr Barlow so there's a catch.

"If I'm in a record label office looking for the next big boy band, is it you? I don't think it is," he says.

"Union J just have the edge ..." Ouch.

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Indecisive District3 ...

They tried out practically every song they know, but finally settled for Eric Clapton's hugely emotional Tears In Heaven. Good choice or not?

The boys haven't been faring too well when it comes to the ole judges' comments lately, so they're out to impress - playing piano and focusing on the harmonies.

Could this be the week they break out of Union J's shadow?

(Download the track here)

Indecisive District3 ... (©Rex Features)
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Star in the making!

The judges are full of praise for Jahmene once again.

As Gary says, Angels has been sung in talent shows hundreds of times - but never like that!

The audience are getting a bit carried away with Nicole's praise for Jahmene, but she's having none of their nonsense. Settle down, you lot!

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Voice of an angel ...

Jahmene's tackling Robbie Williams's big hit Angels and completely making it his own, backed by a gospel choir ...

Wow. 'Nuff said.

(Download the track here)

Voice of an angel ... (©Rex Features)
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Karaoke King?

Nicole's keeping it real and she liked the performance, but brands Chris the karaoke king.

Louis doesn't hold back either - he reckons he's just not what the X Factor is about - and Tulisa's adding to Chris's woes with another rant on his old-fashioned style. Uh-oh.

The tears may not be far off ...

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Still standing ...

Well, Chris did get a few boos last week (We're just telling the truth, Gary!) but he's Still Standing and going for that very number by Sir Elton John.

Can he silence the critics?

He can belt out a tune, but what about those dance moves? Does swinging one arm around a lot and clicking your fingers qualify as a dance routine?

(Download the track here)

Still standing ... (©Rex Features)
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So that's where she got it ...
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Ooh, tense!

Gary sounds like he's out to pick a fight with Dermot for daring to mention his one remaining act Christopher Maloney got a few boos when he went through last week - bit stroppy, Mr Barlow!

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Love from Lucy
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Here we go again - Best of British week and Dermot's gone for the ole baseball swing entrance again. We demand more dance moves, Dermot!

And the judges are suitably dressed for the occasion - even Nicole's wearing a suit tonight ... (perhaps borrowed off Rylan?)

Showtime! (©Rex Features)
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