6 things we need to talk about after Saturday night’s X Factor

The fans were puzzled by James Arthur's appearance and Nicole Scherzinger's abstract commentary

James Arthur (screenshot, BA)

Six became five on tonight’s first X Factor semi-final after plasterer Matt Linnen got the chop – and there was plenty of action worthy of discussion.

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For the first time this year, all remaining contestants went head-to-head on the same night, and the standard was as high as you might expect at this late stage in the game.

From Nicole’s most abstract commentary yet to a head-turning performance from X Factor 2012 winner James Arthur, here’s what you missed on Saturday night.

The crowd turned on Louis Walsh

Louis’ night got off to a bad start when he criticised Matt Linnen for taking on Rolling Stones classic Gimme Shelter.

““I think you could have picked a much better song, even a better Rolling Stones song. Honestly for me – you’re good, the song was all wrong” he said, to a chorus of boos from the crowd.

And the boos didn’t stop there. Throughout the night he struggled to get a word in – and it was particularly noticeable as he attempted to introduce his contestant Lloyd.

James Arthur proved it’s not all downhill from here

With a rousing rendition of his new single Naked.

The 2012 X Factor’s performance will have buoyed the semi-finalists who watched on from the crowd – and so too will the rather favourable stats that Nicole Scherzinger rattled off afterwards – a sold out show in Wembley Arena last night, and 8 million records sold worldwide. Not bad, James!

But fans on Twitter were wondering how he managed to be in two places at once

Keen eyed Twitterers noticed that James was performing at the X Factor (at around 8.30pm) in London, shortly before he was due on stage in Birmingham. Cries of foul play swarmed the social media site:

One fan suggested that Arthur’s performance was pre-recorded a couple of hours earlier with the live audience intact:

“Balls, hair and teeth” are Nicole Scherzinger’s three favourite things…

Nicole’s commentary was typically abstract this evening, but one nugget left us particularly puzzled.

After her soon-to-be-departed contestant Matt Linnen’s performance, she complimented him on his *ahem*, “balls”, and gave away a little too much information in the process.

“The texture of your voice, the huskiness. It has three of my favourite things -it’s got balls, it’s got hair, it’s got teeth,” she said.

Simon then reached over to cover her mouth, but the damage had already been done.

Lloyd Macey performed through laryngitis and SMASHED it

Right before Macey took to the stage, Louis Walsh informed the audience that the doctor had advised the singer – who was struggling with Laryngitis, a throat infection and a chest infection – not to perform.

Yet, he took on Sir Elton John’s Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me anyway – and absolutely killed it.

The judges loved it, in part, because it was imperfect.

“It got sloppy, it got dirty, it wasn’t so perfect,” Nicole said. “I loved it because it came from a different place this week. It came from your heart, it came from a soul, and you know where else it came from…”

Fans weren’t happy to see The Cutkelvins going against the grain on Cool Brittania week

The Scottish trio won high praise from the judges for their original song Nothing Like, but fans on Twitter were unhappy that they didn’t stick to the theme of the week.

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The X Factor continues on Sunday at 7.30pm.