With no time at all to get over my judges houses jet lag, I'm back in the good old UK. For the remaining 16, I mean 12 acts, (hold your horses Dean) it really is time to face the music and for the first time in this series, the voting public.
It's going to be an action packed show, so whether you are part of Team Midas or not, here I go with my honest and unbiased views of 2014's X Factor finalists as we go live.
The buzz in the studio is electric as Dermot O'Leary introduces the judges...Simon Cowell, Mel B, Louis Walsh and Cheryl Fernandez-Versini.
Before a note is sung, the wildcards are chosen, what a shock ;)...step forward Jack Walton, Overload Generation, Stevi Richie and, (get in) Team Midas' Lola Saunders....welcome back to you all, but hold on, boom, pow pow...it's a double elimination on Sunday.
The first act to perform live is Paul Akister. It started nervy, which is completely understandable but once he got in his stride, it was amazing. Great start. Louis said, "he is going to go far" and Mel B said it was, "solid"
Team Midas entered the live shows with our very own north east princess, well fishmonger, Lola Saunders. Blimey, what voice, how did Lola not through at judges? She looks and sounds like a pop star. Well done Lola. You are amazing. Louis said she has "The voice of an angel" and Cheryl said she sang "stunningly". Also loved her dig at Simon, "I can't help but think Captain fashion here has taken away from your moment" Priceless.
Boy band Overload Generation have the fan base but it all looked a bit uncomfortable and at times it was off key. I agreed with Cheryl it was, "nothing new" Simon said, "There's one band out there dominating who are the Ferrari (Team Midas' 1D). At the moment you're a VW Beetle in comparison." Not a good start.
Ex soldier Jay James came out fighting and I really applaud the risk of doing an upbeat number, it was a risk that paid off. Louis said, "You remind me of a young Kevin Costner". What?? Come on Louis if you use the same jokes make sure they get better!! Let the X Factor party games begin.
The fifth act to perform was Stephanie Nala. It was very nervy and it just didn't work. I like Stephanie but she could be in real trouble on Sunday. Louis rattled everyone when he said it was, "awful"
Another singer I liked pre-lives was Jack Walton. He looks great, vocally he needs some work but what a good start. Cheryl said she, "was so glad he was back in the competition" and Mel B said, "BooYa" or something like that....
The controversy has already started for this years 'marmite' contestant Chloe Jasmine. I'm a fan, I have to admit. She has a mesmerising voice and is totally fascinating. It was a solid start. Simon said, "ignore the press and embrace it" Cheryl said she was, "very proud of her"
Newly named boy band Stereo Kicks are unique. It's new and fresh but with so many of them, the camera was all over the place. The solos were very impressive though, there is no denying that. Mel B said, "the harmonies were tight". Cheryl said it was, "overwhelming" with so many of them. Simon said they were, "exciting"
Oh, hold on, here is Stevi Richie. Look he is a top bloke and a great entertainer but he is already shaping up to be this years Wagner. More likeable and a slightly, I said slightly, better singer. Mel B's face at the end said it all...
From that charade onto a world class singer Lauren Platt. This girl is a serious contender, one of the best vocals of the night so far. It's effortless and natural and that is the sign of a real star. 10/10 Lauren. Simon said, "it was a smart choice" Mel B said she, "made it her own"
We have already had this years' Wagner now we meet this years' Jedward, in the shape of Blonde Electra. Now I'm in shock, I was sat here waiting to write some negative stuff and core blimey it wasn't half bad. It was vocally good and entertaining to watch. Cheryl said it was, "bonkers"..now where have those elephants gone.
Deep breaths it's Team Midas' van driving hunk Ben Haenow. Look, Team Midas or not this guy is blooming amazing. He had the audience in the palm of his hand. So, so proud. He absolutely smashed it. Cheryl said it was her, "top three performance of he night" Simon said it was, "sensational"
I'm willing Jake Quickenden to do well and he did, in fact he smashed it out of the ball park. It wasn't perfect but he looks great and my team have said he is lovely down to earth lad. Fantastic stuff Jake. Cheryl said he needs to be, "a better singer than better looking" Mel B said, "great job"
Fleur East has crept up the rails and is looking and sounding great. I wasn't overly sure on the song choice but she did a good job and the judges loved it. Louis said,"I love the way you look. I love the way you work it."
Last up for Team Midas were four piece mixed band Only The Young. They have energy and the can ALL sing, like can ALL sing, that is very rare for a band. I thought it was a great song choice and unlike some tonight, their was a chemistry that is hard to fake. I love them.
Italian Andrea Faustini closed the show with a bang, a huge bang. This guy has been faultless in every single performance, it gave me goosebumps. One of the best singers this show has ever heard/had. Already looking like a finalist, even at this very early stage. Simon agreed saying, "You must be one of the red hot favourites."
That's it, two and a half hours and 16 acts later. Now it's over to you.
Right, I'm off to find those elephants, see you next week.Suggest a correction