X Factor 2014: Sam Bailey’s half-term report

The reigning champion gives her verdict on Simon Cowell, Mel B, Louis Walsh and Cheryl Fernandez-Versini's remaining eight acts

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Sixteen have become eight on The X Factor after the dramatic exit of Paul Akister during last weekend’s show. Simon Cowell remains the only judge on the panel with all four of his acts in tact (including his wildcard Stevi Ritchie). Louis Walsh has two groups in the running while Cheryl Fernandez-Versini and Mel B have one girl and one boy left respectively. 

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It only takes one to win it as they say, but who has really got a chance at the title? Well, who better to ask than a champion themselves? We caught up with 2013 winner Sam Bailey, who won with more than a million votes, for her half-term report on the acts still in the running. 

Mel’s Boys 

Andrea Faustini

“He wants to be careful he doesn’t become a one-trick pony”

“Andrea’s got an amazing voice. I love his tone and I love the facial expressions that he pulls when he sings – his nostrils flare and everything which is quite cute,” says Sam. “But he needs to do a man’s song. I want to hear him do Luther. A proper man’s song. Maybe a Michael Bolton song. How Am I Supposed To Live Without You? He wants to be careful that he doesn’t become a one-trick pony by singing the same sort of songs.”

Cheryl’s girls 

Lauren Platt

“She could be the next Hannah Montana”

“Lauren could be the next tiny Hannah Montana I think. I think they’re giving her too big a songs. They need to give her pop, twee songs for the youngsters. I think that’s the market for her. I don’t think she fits in the adult market just yet. I think she would be good to fit in the role model for young kids, to be in the Hannah Montana stages, personally.”

Louis Walsh’s groups

Only The Young

“They’re like S Club Juniors”

“I like them, they’re fun. There’s a group that started off at Alton Towers and they’re like a little pop group like S Club Juniors and they tour and they’re very much similar to that. Very twee and could be really good for young kids. I think because I’ve got kids, I look from a kids’ eyes and think you know, Only The Young will be really good for little girls that are like 9 or 10 that want to be little pop stars.”

Stereo Kicks

“They could be the next big hot thing”

“I love them. I’d love to see them in the final. James Graham, I think he’s got an amazing voice, I could listen to him all day. And I think they’re really nice lads. I knew a few of them from last year anyway. They’re young. I’m thinking from the business point of view because the amount of young 14-year-old girls drooling over Stereo Kicks on that X Factor tour. The fact is they could be the next big hot thing. They’re eight naughty lads that just want to go out there and snog girls and show off their muscles and sing on stage and be little pop stars. There is a market for that at the moment. There’s no one that’s done an eight-piece thing, they’ve got singularly great voices and I think they’ll do really well.”

Simon Cowell’s overs

Ben Haenow

“I want to see him in the final”

“I love Ben, want to see him in the final. Definitely love Ben. I loved his Highway to Hell. Sometimes I want him to cough. I just want him to cough to get that husky phlegm out, that’s why I’m dying for him to cough. I want to shout down the TV ‘cough boy, cough’. But he’s doing alright. A lot of them have been struggling vocally. I did message a few of them to say rest up. Some of the contestants need to rest their voices.”

Fleur East

“She needs to work on the power in her voice”

“I think she’s got a great look, I think she’s a great dancer. I think she needs to just grow a little bit with her singing because she’s good at singing certain stuff, she’s great at rapping. Her audition at Judges’ Houses was absolutely stonking, I’m not going to lie, it was brilliant. But I think she needs to work on the power in her voice a little bit.”

Jay James

“It annoys me that he’s already had an album out”

“He seems like a nice boy but he’s not my kind of singer. He’s not going to be my cup of tea but he’s had a week – Mad World, I thought that was quite a good week for him. But I don’t tend to like any of the stuff he’s been given. He’s already in the market, he’s already had an album out. That’s what annoys me about this programme. It should be about people like me that have never actually done anything. Yet Jay James has already been a recording artist and already had an album out.”

Stevi Ritchie

“I think he knows he’s not going to win it”

“I don’t think he’ll win it, I think he knows he’s not going to win it, he’s not taking himself too seriously. I think now he’s got on the X Factor tour it’s time for him to go.”

Do you agree? Let us know in the comments below… 

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The X Factor continues Saturday (8:15pm) and Sunday at 8:00pm on ITV