The first of this year’s ‘X Factor’ live shows went off with a bang on Saturday night, as Dermot O’Leary announced two twists.
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While the confirmation of this year’s wildcard contestants - Lola Saunders, Overload Generation, Stevi Ritchie and Jack Walton - wasn’t exactly a total shock, the hopefuls were all left stunned when a double elimination was announced.
Paul Akister then had the job of opening the show, with a rendition of Ella Henderson’s ‘Ghost’, before Lola Saunders took on Sam Smith’s ‘Stay With Me’.
Both acts received praise from the judges, however Simon Cowell wasn’t a fan of Lola’s ensemble.
“I don't like what you're wearing, and I'll tell you why. You look like you've been wrapped up in tape. I think it's really important that you dress and do what you want to do,” he told her.
Next up was the One Direction tribute group Overload Generation, whose rendition of ‘I Kissed A Girl’ was later eclipsed completely by the new boyband - now called Stereo Kicks - with their version of Katy Perry’s ‘Roar’.
Jay James won praise from Simon Cowell for his performance of Sigma’s ‘Changing’, with the music mogul applauding the fact he took a risk.
However, Simon didn’t have many kind words for Stephanie Nala, following her performance of ‘Everything I Own’, telling her: “When you want an ice cream sundae and you get sorbet, it is kind of disappointing. And that's what it felt like. I think you'd be more comfortable in a girl band.”
The task of putting a different spin on things fell to Jack Walton, whose acoustic rendition of Rihanna’s ‘Only Girl In The World’, offered something a little different, winning him praise for Cheryl Fernandez-Versini.
Next up was Chloe Jasmine, who hasn’t exactly had the easiest week. While Chloe’s received a lot of attention, it hasn’t all been positive and the singer was shown shedding a few tears in her VT, leading to comments from the judges urging her to toughen up.
Even so, she pulled off a fantastic jazz rendition of Britney Spears’ hit ‘Toxic’.
Somebody had to disappoint big time though, and it was Stevi and his performance of ‘Livin La Vida Loca’ which ha Mel B asking if it was actually all a joke.
Simon stood by him though, remaining insistent that he’d be in the competition “longer than most of Cheryl’s girls” because people love him. If you say so, Si…
Mel B was left feeling “proud” when Lauren Platt pulled off Pharrell’s ‘Happy’, while Blonde Electra’s ‘Kids In America’ was… umm, let’s just call the whole thing an assault on the senses.
Simon’s choice of song for Ben Haenow received mixed responses and while his rendition of ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ was hard to criticise it was definitely more sobering than the rest of the evening’s performances.
Returning contestant Jake Quickenden was next up, with a decidedly average rendition of ‘She’s The One’, before Fleur East kept things contemporary with ‘All About That Bass’.
Finally, Only The Young and Andrea Faustini were up, performing ‘Jailhouse Rock’-meets-’Twist And Shout’ and ‘Earth Song’, respectively.
While Only The Young failed to impress, Andrea’s performance ticked all the boxes, with his mentor Mel declaring him the winner.
"You sing with so much passion. It is Italy's loss, Britain's gain,” added Simon. “And after that performance, you must be one of the red hot favourites.”
Along with the eliminations, Sunday’s show will also see performances from Taylor Swift and Pharrell Williams.
See all the performances from the first ‘X Factor’ live show below…