Simon Cowell really nailed his return to the judging panel of the UK’s X Factor this year, with not one but two acts in the final: ‘Overs’ singers Fleur East and Ben Haenow.
Brand new judge Mel B has also got herself a finalist in the form of Italian crooner Andrea Faustini, while Cheryl Fernandez-Versini and Louis Walsh just missed out. Cheryl’s final act Lauren Platt went out in the semi-final last weekend, while Walsh’s band Stereo Kicks were sent on their way the week before.
But as the three acts prepare to take to the Wembley Arena stage this weekend, alongside a bumper crop of guest stars including Take That, Ed Sheeran and Sam Smith, Cowell looks back over the series and picks out each singer’s top moment. For Cowell, it’s the occasions each of the acts have thought outside “the talent show bubble” and performed as though they’re competing in the real world:
When it comes to Andrea, Cowell is in agreement with host Dermot O’Leary. The X Factor boss says the singer “had a moment” during this year’s Six Chair Challenge with his performance of Whitney Houston’s “I Didn’t Know My Own Strength” adding it’s the vocal he’ll “be remembered for”. Indeed, Cowell was on his feet after the performance, Mel and Cheryl were in floods of tears, Louis was punching the air, even Andrea’s fellow competitors were in awe as it became pretty darn clear he would be taking a seat away from one of them and moving onto the next round.
Enjoy that moment all over again here:
Cowell says it was Ben’s rendition of John Lennon’s Jealous Guy which stopped him in his tracks. His contestant performed the classic track during this year’s second week of live shows and Cowell admits it was the moment he thought Ben was “going to make a great recording artist”. Cowell was up on his feet once more, as was Mel. In fact, it looked like Cowell was trying to tempt Cheryl out of her seat, too. Covering a Lennon original with style is quite something, after all.
Check out that performance here:
When it comes to his second finalist, it’s Fleur’s semi-final performance that’s got Cowell excited. “The biggest moment of the show so far was when Fleur was given a song [Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars’s Uptown Funk] that no one had even heard of and had six hours or eight hours to rehearse it. In my opinion, it was one of the best X Factor – or any talent show – performances I’ve ever seen in 12 years.”
Clearly the public agreed, with the song (followed by the original) making it to number one on the iTunes chart. It even had Louis Walsh up on his feet dancing, before all four judges gave the smash-hit performance a standing ovation.
See The X Factor final this Saturday at 8:30pm and Sunday at 8:00pm on ITV