Motown Week could have been a shocker if the X Factor contestants had murdered some of the most iconic songs in the world. Luckily, they pulled it out of the bag.
Four of Diamonds showed why they deserved to be back after stepping in to replace Brooks Way, while Simon Cowell’s “guilty pleasure” Honey G continued to delight and perplex audiences in equal measure – including Robbie Williams.
10pm Last year Louisa Johnson emerged as a front-runner fairly early on, but this is actually very hard to call. 5AM, Gifty Louise, Matt Terry… there were lots of solid performances. Will they inspire fans to pick up the phone and vote? We will find out in Sunday’s results show.
9.50pm No mention of Brooks Way, but Four of Diamonds are delighted to be joining the live show after replacing the twins in the groups category.
“Sat at home watching it and we moved in Monday morning,” they say. Must have been an intense week. Despite the last minute invite, they give a confident performance of You Keep Me Hangin’ On.
“You come in cold like this and give such a great, confident performance,” Sharon tells them. “Welcome to the X Factor stage, it’s a real pleasure to have such a gorgeous girl group here.”
Simon’s a fan – and it gives him a chance to fire a shot at Louis for apparently not liking working with girl groups. Oooh.
9.40pm Sharon gets the intro right this time, declaring: “She comes from the land of ice and snow, and he name is Saara.”
Have you ever heard Motown with a slight Finnish accent? It’s actually quite pleasing. Well, it is sort of Motown – River Deep, Mountain High is best known as a Tina Turner song but was covered by The Four Tops and The Supremes.
Saara is trying to recover from being in the bottom two last week, but Louis tells her: “What I’m getting from the public, they don’t warm to you.”
Fortunately for the Finn, the other judges completely disagree, with Nicole declaring: “She was hot tonight, alright? You took that song and you smacked it around and made it your banana.” That’s a new one.
Shouty man in the audience is back and yells his support.
“Thank you my darling,” Sharon says. “Who is this person? I love you.”
9.30pm Gifty Louise has a voice perfectly suited to Motown. She’s performing Rockin’ Robin and looks like she is enjoying every minute of it.
“Gifty Louise, you are on fire, you really really are,” says Louis. “So much fun, great song for you – and look at you, you’re gorgeous, Gifty,” says Sharon.
“You’re like a happiness balloon”, Simon tells her, praising her vocals.
“Dare I say, you Scher-slayed this week,” says Nicole. Stop trying to make Scher-slayed happen, Nicole – it’s not going to happen.
9.15pm Next up – Honey G. Oh boy.
The rapper told RadioTimes.com that she would be dealing with the live show theme weeks by putting a “different spin” on the tracks, and now we find out exactly what that means.
Yes, Honey G is performing Mo Money Mo Problems, by The Notorious B.I.G. – a song which samples Diana Ross’s I’m Coming Out.
The rapper may not actually sing any of Ross’s lines but she does earn a standing ovation from Simon, Nicole and Sharon and chants from the audience.
“People are saying to me that they think it’s David Cameron in a wig… people are saying it to me in Dublin, I don’t know,” Louis says, somewhat bizarrely.
Simon calls her a “guilty pleasure”. Possibly this is understandable from a judge who threw his weight behind dancing Stormtroopers on Britain’s Got Talent…
9.05pm Ryan Lawrie admits he’s a nervous about taking on Stevie Wonder’s Superstition. It shows, a little.
“I hate to be the party pooper tonight but it didn’t work,” says Simon to boos from the audience. “It was mechanical, it didn’t feel real.”
Nicole, Louis and Sharon are more upbeat, though, crediting him for breaking out of his comfort zone.
Will Stevie be giving him a ring to sing his praises?
8.50pm Sam Lavery is really embracing Simon’s instructions to strip back her look, with minimal make up, trousers and a white jacket. She certainly hasn’t stripped back her version of Lionel Richie’s Hello, though.
“I love the makeover and I love what you did with that song,” says Louis. “You’ve just got this great rock voice,” Sharon adds, telling her she has “balls in her voice”. If she’s not careful the shouty man in the audience will get excited again.
Nicole tells her she’s a warrior princess, then gets over-excited and leaps up and strikes a pose while whooping. Simon is alarmed. He’s been very alarmed by Nicole tonight, who seems to have had way too much sugar.
8.40pm Relley C absolutely belts out Ain’t No Sunshine. Louis compares her to a young Diane Ross, but there’s a bit of one-upmanship when Sharon declares she is even better than the musical legend.