X Factor 2013 is galloping towards the finish line as the final twelve become the final five.
Judge Louis Walsh is sitting pretty with two acts in the final five – Nicholas McDonald and Luke Friend – while Nicole Scherzinger, Gary Barlow and Sharon Osbourne have one act apiece with Tamera Foster, Rough Copy and Sam Bailey respectively.
But who has got what it takes to make the final and what have the judges said? It’s time to weigh up the final five…
Rough Copy (Kaz, Sterling and Joe)
The last of Gary Barlow’s groups, Rough Copy have had an interesting journey from day one in the competition. Arriving as a three-piece boy band, they had to travel to Gary’s US Judges’ Houses location without Kaz due to visa issues. The band was later picked to go ahead to live shows as one of Gary’s final three and Kaz was allowed to return to the group.
During the live shows the ‘street but sweet’ band has stunned with both their vocals and their fashion sense – leather skirts and big white sport socks are the ‘in thing’ according to RC.
“RC! RC! RC!” the chant of their ever-present fans.
The cheeky chaps have caught the attention of the judges with performance of Bryan Adams track Everything I Do and Ray Charles’s Hit the Road Jack.
In Big Band Week the trio were told they were a sure thing for the final.
The judges say: “This week you gave them some caramel, some chocolate and you went to the ski slopes and topped it off with some sprinkles” (Nicole Scherzinger).
Times in bottom two: 1. The band was rescued by Sharon and Louis when in the bottom two against Hannah Barrett.
Chances of making the final: If put up against Tamera Foster I think they’d sway the judges, but anyone else and I think it would be end of the road for this group unfortunately.
Louis Walsh is proud as punch to be working with young Nicholas, saying he’s the best vocalist he’s had the pleasure of working with over the last ten years of the show.
Nicholas got a standing ovation when he covered Christina Perri’s Breaking Dawn track A Thousand Years during Bootcamp, and proved he could hold his own when singing Dream A Little Dream with a thirty-piece live orchestra.
Louis has marked him out as his ‘Baby Buble’ since day one of the lives, after choosing him to be in his final three at his Saint-Tropez Judges’ Houses round. Since then he’s crooned his way through with apparent ease.
While Gary has mentioned several times that Nicholas needs to find his own style, it seems Nicholas is hitting the right note with fans – having never found himself in the bottom two.
The most controversial moment surrounding Nicholas’s time on the show was when a female dancer kissed him on the cheek – a move Mrs Osbourne did not approve of – but his note-perfect performances have been well received.
The judges say: “You are so reliable, you never let yourself down.” (Sharon Osbourne)
Times in bottom two: 0
Chances of making the final: Nicholas has been steady throughout and with no appearances in the bottom two I could see him winning the show. A nice way for Louis to actually leave…
Luke arrived in the competition with his hair as much of a hot topic as his voice. Whether it is a good thing to have made it through auditions, Bootcamp and Judges’ Houses being known as the one that doesn’t wash his hair is debatable. But his tresses have had a spritz and he’s bagged a handful of comments about being in the final and is often described as the ‘dark horse’ of the competition.
Luke even got a bit of a joke out of his mentor Louis after he performed sitting in a boat one week. “It’s because he’s sailing through to the next round”. Ah, Louis!
The young rocker appeared to come a little unstuck in Big Band Week, with Gary commenting on his pacing with the music, but otherwise his commitment to ‘making a song his own’ has held him in good stead. He even managed to make a One Direction song virtually unrecogniseable – an accomplishment on his own.
The judges say: “For me, you are the dark horse in this race. You are coming into your own now. Everything you do, you have that naughty edge. I know you are going to be in that final.” (Sharon Osbourne)
Times in bottom two: 1. Luke was put up against fellow boys’ category member Sam Callahan. Louis refused to vote between his acts, but the others unanimously voted to save Luke.
Chances of being in the final: I really hope Luke makes it to the final three to compete for the win, but there’s a lot of support for Tamera out there which could rock the boat for Luke.
Sam Bailey has pretty much been the face of this year’s X Factor, wowing from day one with her performance of Beyonce’s Listen.
Sam has also been Sharon’s only act since week two of the live shows after Mrs O lost Lorna Simpson and Shelley Smith in two straight weeks. Not that Sharon seems to mind, often reminding us ‘you only need one act to win’.
The prison officer has taken on a variety of performances from Leona Lewis’s Bleeding Love to Frank Sinatra’s New York New York and even found a famous fan in Michael Bolton.
Robbie Williams, Olly Murs and a host of other celebrity guests from the series have also marked her out as a potential future star – and she’s even earned her own nickname along the way, ‘Screwbo’, which Louis unsuccessfully tried to take credit for.
The judges say: of her performance this week Gary said, “I think Leona Lewis is the best vocalist this competition has found and only you could sing it. You’ve really modernized your voice.”
Times in bottom two: 0
Chances of making the final: I think there would be a day of mourning among X Factor fans if Sam Bailey didn’t make this year’s final. Sharon would certainly have something to say.
Tamera’s X Factor journey has been anything but simple. The 16-year-old originally auditioned as a double act named Silver Rock, before both being put through as solo artists.
While at Bootcamp Tamera forgot her words in the middle of a performance of Whitney Houston’s I Have Nothing (calling on host Dermot O’Leary for the next line of the song) and has since forgotten her words twice during the live shows.
A fact not missed by judge Louis Walsh who said to Sam Bailey this week: “Tamera should watch this back. This is what you need to be a star.”
Tamera has swung between being criticised by Gary for sounding too much like Beyonce, to having Gary urge the British public to vote for her.
Indeed, in a sing-off with Kingsland Road, neither act seemed to be deserving of the place given their faultless ‘save me’ performances.
However, Tamera’s inability to remember the words to James Arthur’s first single Impossible in the most recent show lead to boos among the crowd as she avoided the sing-off.
Judges say: “You have the potential to be a world class superstar but what happened to the words?” (Louis Walsh)
Times in bottom two: 1. Sharon and Louis voted to save Tamera over boy band Kingsland Road.
Chances for the final: Tamera clearly has a strong following, but I think Sam, Nicholas and Luke will pip her to the post this year.
The X Factor continues Saturday and Sunday at 8:00pm on ITV