Has 'X Factor' Laid The Ghosts Of Last Week To Rest? (PICTURES)
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X Factor bosses have had a terrible week as it approaches the Halloween-themed live show this weekend - with one judge calling in sick for Saturday's show, one band having to change their name mid-series after becoming the villains in a public PR campaign, and one of the bands even losing a member.
Meanwhile, Rhythmix had to become Little Mix after a charity published an open letter to Simon Cowell, explaining they had the name first. And The Risk's Ashley told his bandmates that he didn't believe his future lay with the show. Their mentor Tulisa Contostavlos had to replace him with one of her earlier rejections, Ashford Campbell from Nu-Vibe.
We can only imagine the kerfuffle behind the scenes all week, but everything went seemingly smoothly during the live show, with some spirited differences between the judges, but nothing approaching the blatant hostility between Kelly and Tulisa last week, after allegations that Kelly's act Misha B had been indulging in unladylike behaviour backstage.
Here's a run-down of the remaining acts and how they fared on Saturday's show with its Halloween theme:
The Risk had the difficult task of going first with a performance of Michael Jackson's Thriller, after admitting they were gobsmacked by the departure of their band member Ashley, only a couple of days before the live show. It was an understandably wobbly rendition, but the judges were generous in their appraisal.
Johnny Robinson has already taken home the crown for the popularity contest. The housewives' choice thrilled everyone with his ballad That Ol' Devil Called Love, a performance which put him up there with fellow torch-singers Billie Holiday and Alison Moyet. Johnny proved he can actually sing, and even got a hug from Gary - his new bromantic friend.
Sophie Habibis didn't disgrace herself, but made no new fans either, with her rendition of Nancy Sinatra's Bang Bang. Stand-in judge Alexandra Burke called out some "tuning problems" while Gary called it "a difficult song to master". Louis was less vague in his criticism, calling poor Sophie "a secretary who sings at the weekend".
Marcus Collins showed a more feminine side than we've previously seen, singing an imaginative mix of INXS' Need You Tonight with Stevie Wonder's Superstition. After Sophie, it was a relief to hear him hit those notes bang on, and he received unanimous praise from the judges for "nailing it", what Gary called "delivering it".
Misha B showed a hitherto unseen humble side in the pre-act chat, saying she was still "pinching herself". She then proceeded to knock it out of the park with her rendition of Soft Cell's Tainted Love. It could have been the guest performance, and unsurprisingly, the judges had nothing new to say to the consistently high-standard performer - apart from variations on "you smashed it" and "you tore it". Could she not, perhaps, one day soon, just sing it?
Janet Devlin made her pale Irish skin even paler for The Police's Every Breath You Take. "You mean business," concluded Tulisa afterwards. "I hope the audience stays interested," mused Gary. "Do you want to do more upbeat songs?" asked Dermot. Translation of all the above...Janet needs to change or pack her bag.
Frankie Cocozza barely changed note for The Clash's Should I stay Or Should I Go? Tulisa said he'd "won her over", while Alexandra asked "How seriously do you take this?" Gary kept a fixed grin on his face, but I guess we’ll have to wait until next week what he really thinks of his tousle-haired protege.
Kitty Brucknell continues to be the most polarising contestant of this year's lineup, something she acknowledged in the pre-performance chat, saying, variously, that she "knew who she was" and that she wanted to change people's opinions. Even sleepy-sounding Gary seemed to be aware of this, remarking that "people either love you or hate you".
Kitty's version of Eurythmics' Sweet Dreams started with a wobble, understandable as she was being rotated on a wheel at the time, but it got much stronger. By the resounding final notes, she had, to coin a phrase, "smashed it", testament to Louis' description of her as "the hardest-working contestant on the show".
Rhythmix have become Little Mix after a well-sustained campaign by a charity of the same name. After some tearful confessions about weight issues by bandmember Jessie, they finally got to the stage, where they proved themselves once again with a stirring rendition of Katy Perry's ET. Louis summed up the general reaction by stabbing his pen in the air in praise.
Last act of the evening was Craig Colton, boosted by lots of Liverpool love. The bar for Set Fire to the Rain is almost impossibly high by Adele, but Craig stayed in tune, and managed not to murder an amazing song. Nobody's Adele, but Craig wasn't at all bad. Gary was on his feet afterwards, while Louis called him the "heart and soul of the X Factor".
Performance of the night: Craig Colton (not mentioning Misha B, it's too obvious)
Dud of the night:Toss-up between The Risk (but understandable), and Sophie Habibis
Disappointment of the night: Janet Devlin
Surprise of the night: Johnny Robinson
Click through our Slideshow of all the X Factor finalists and vote for who think should be this year's winner...
Relive the night with our Live Blog, pulling in the best tweets we could find...
|@ JAMESINREHAB : Alexandra Burke is trending & it's not all great! Hard seat for her to fill after one album tbh - but at least she wasnt dull #xfactor|
|@ EosChater : There are a lot of tintin inspired quiffs this week #xfactor|
|@ GlennRobb : I wish craig would just get rid of that snarl on his face when he sings! *that is all* #xfactor|
|@ brokenbottleboy : Craig COULD sell albums. HMV are after seasonal staff #xfactor|
|@ brokenbottleboy : EXCESSIVE PLEA TO REGIONAL VOTE KLAXON #xfactor|
|@ oneofthosefaces : Adele's vocal chords are spinning in their temporary grave. #xfactor|
|@ JAMESINREHAB : Loving the pick & mix girls..... Best performance of the night for me! #xfactor #betterthanthepretendlesbiankatyperry|
|@ AraTheCoach : i dont care how much someone on #xFactor cries... i wont feel bad about it!|
|@ Lesterbuddy : Are you kidding me? I just ordered 1 million "Rhythmix Xfactor Winners 2011" t shirts from China and they go & change their name ? #xfactor|
|@ Grazia_Live : Convo this week about which Liverpool biscuit factory Biscuit Craig works at. Decided he's more Crawford's than Huntley&Palmer #xfactor PF|
|@ DarkBunnyTees : Rhythmix have changed their name to what? Litter Mix?...#xfactor|
|@ Bobbypop : Alex and Louis...that was not Cabaret nor was it burlesque. http://t.co/tMrrPbgk #xfactor|
|@ takeabiteofme : Oh my. That was by far the most incredible performance of this years' live shows! #xfactor I love Kitty so much. @kittybrucknell|
|@ Alexmetric : Did the Fash actually just say http://t.co/k6eycwlV ?? who says that? http://t.co/qFYw0vnf #xfactor|
|@ boydhilton : Paranormal Activity 4 #XFactor|
|@ ncguk : Kitty is Tara Palmer-Tomkinson carved from lard. #xfactor|
|@ shehnazkhan : No listen. Kitty's singing SWEET DREAMS???? But which one??? I beg its not... *Hopes its the other one* #XFactor|
|@ Popjustice : Dermot seems to want to be Frankie's friend. Imagine wanting to be Frankie's friend. Imagine being that person. #xfactor|
|@ Popjustice : The only thing worse than Cocozza F is that Philadelphia are STILL trying to make 'cooking with Philadelphia' happen #xfactor|
|@ omid9 : With that hair and those skinny trousers wether he stays or goes Frankie Cocoza has a career in stand up comedy #xfactor|
|@ suttonnick : Is part of the problem this year that none of the judges are honest? #xfactor|
|@ TheZannaMaison : Alex ... "I think you lack in vocal range..." -_- your really commenting on someones vocal range? #XFactor|
|@ tracey_thorn : Is there a number you can call SPECIFICALLY to vote for someone to be removed? #xfactor|
|@ HuffPostUKEnt : I guess we'll have to wait until next week to find out what Gary REALLY thinks of this atrocity... #xfactor|
|@ boydhilton : Clash fans will be loving this #XFactor|
|@ ncguk : For tonight's Halloween themed performance Frankie will murder a song. Ah, sometimes it's the simple things. #xfactor|
|@ grahamlstacey : Anyone from #xfactor USA would walk #xfactor UK. time to stop for a few years I think...|
|@ caitlinmoran : The combo of Sting and the girl from The Ring peerlessly disturbing #xfactor|
|@ stu_waterman : Oh enough with the spooky wooky pseudo-ethereal sub-Florence nonsense, Jannit #xfactor|
|@ mikeblakeney : Didn't she say she was looking forward to doing more upbeat tunes after Sweet Child o' Mine? Would like her definition of upbeat... #xfactor|