The X Factor 2018 continued this week, with a whole swathe of singers hoping to impress Simon and the new judging panel.
If you missed the show, or just want to re-live some of the best – and weirdest – performances of the night, you’re in luck: these are the three auditions that, one way or another, blew the judges and the audience away…
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Lanya Matthews – And I Am Telling You
Seventeen-year-old Lanya Matthews showed confidence beyond her years as she belted out a powerful version of this Jennifer Hudson Dreamgirls banger. Having brought all four judges to their feet, she of course sailed through with four easy yeses.
‘We have seen some amazing, amazing vocalists,” said Louis Tomlinson, “so as time goes on it goes harder to shock us, but you have done just that. At 17 that is a massive, massive, insane vocal.”
Dalton Harris – Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word
Dalton Harris flew from Jamaica to deliver this emotional performance of Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word, an Elton John song that obviously meant something personal to him. Hence him tearing up towards the end, prompting a hug from judges Ayda Field and Louis Tomlinson. Of course, he got four yeses.
Shan – Never Enough
Last but certainly not least on Sunday’s show was Shan, a 25 year-old session singer from Croydon who revealed that she “wanted to be a role model for young people”. She impressed the judges not only with her style, but with a rousing rendition of Never Enough from musical sensation The Greatest Showman. After being lavished with praise, she went through to the next round with four yeses.
Tom Richards – Let It Go/ Man’s Skin
You might not recognise him with that new beard, but Tom Richards actually appeared on the X Factor eight years ago and even made it to the Judges’ Houses.
In fact, as judge Louis Tomlinson reminded viewers during Richards’ audition, both boys appeared on the show together. But while Tomlinson found international stardom as part of One Direction, Richards was sent home by then-judge Dannii Minogue.
Richards’ 2018 audition didn’t get off to a great start when judge Simon Cowell stopped his first song – James Bay’s Let It Go – halfway through. Fortunately, Richards managed to get the rest of the judges on side with a second song – Rag’n’Bone Man’s Skin – and went forward to the next round with three yeses.
Sephy Francisco – The Prayer
In perhaps the most surprising audition of the series, the Filipino singer performed both male and female parts of The Prayer, originally performed by Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli.
“Wow! Well, that was a surprise!’ said judge Ayda Field, while Simon Cowell joked that he had never “judged a duo who was one person.” And with that Sephy was sent into the next round with four yeses.
Armstrong Martins – Breaking Free
The 23-year-old youth worker and church singer gifted viewers a very special performance of Breaking Free, a song you probably know from the High School Musical soundtrack.
Far from the poppy version sung by Vanessa Hudgens and Zac Efron, Martins’ cover gave the track a new and delicate touch that sent him into the next round with four yeses.
Maria Laroco – Purple Rain
Sure, she may have already auditioned for another talent show in the Philippines, but there’s no denying Maria’s got a devil of a voice. Taking on Prince’s Purple Rain was a bold move, but it proved the perfect way to close the show.
Ivo Dimchev – Lucky Day
Unbuttoned shirt, bleached blonde hair, kooky choreography and a split judging panel: X Factor needs a bit of weirdness in the mix, and Ivo’s original definitely delivered. Guess what? He’s through to the next round…
Felix Shepherd – All I Want
Felix gave the most emotional performance of Saturday night, telling the crowd and the judges, “I’m here today to kind of prove people that I’m more than just a transgender guy.”
Robbie Williams received criticism from some viewers for asking him what his name was “when you were born”, although others claimed he was just trying to learn and offer Felix a chance to tell his story.
you don't ask someone their dead name in front of thousands of people that's just so so disrespectful. Felix did amazing and i'm so happy for him but what robbie said was just not okay #xfactor— morgane ◟̽◞̽ (@IoveIIyIouis) September 8, 2018
If Felix wants to be open and bring up his choices in his audition, there’s nothing wrong with Robbie asking questions, 🤷♀️ #xfactor ps. His voice was beautiful— kombre (@kombre97) September 8, 2018
Scarlett Lee – Never Enough from The Greatest Showman soundtrack
A veteran of last year’s show, Scarlett made it all the way to the Six Chair Challenge in X Factor 2017. And after receiving four yeses in her latest audition, the 20-year-old Make-up artist made it through into the next round.
Athena Manoukian – Crazy in Love by Beyoncé
The 24-year-old songwriter from Greece was given the thumbs down from Louis with her first audition. But despite this – and Ayda labelling the performance “a bit cheesy” – Athena got the three required yeses to go through.
Tre Amici – Nessun Dorma
In one of the most awkward auditions so far, Simon stopped friends LeRoy, Martin and Richard mid-song, asking if LeRoy could sing alone. However, LeRoy refused and the tre amici still received quattro yeses – including one from Robbie’s dad Pete, who temporarily took over his son’s judging spot.
Janice Robinson – Dreamer
The American artist already has Robbie Williams in tears even before she’s finished her number. Not a bad way to kick things off hey? Find out more about Janice Robinson here.
Misunderstood – Juicy Fruit
The X Factor needed to be taken up a gear after last year – even Simon Cowell said it was “a slog”. Surely with moves like opening night act Misunderstood ITV is moving in the right direction?
Andy Hofton – Angels
Hey, if you’ve got Robbie Williams on the panel, you may as well get him up on stage and make use of him right? When Robbie fan Andy takes the plunge and decides to sing Angels with his second song, Robbie can’t help giving him a helping hand. Watch Robbie’s wife Ayda’s reaction – still sweet no matter how many millions of times she must have heard this song…
Brendan Murray – This Woman’s Work
The silky-voiced Brendan Murray initially auditioned with Jermaine’s Stewart’s We Don’t Have to Take Our Clothes Off, but Simon Cowell felt that it was the wrong song choice. So instead he suggested something the feotus-faced Murray had never heard of – Kate Bush’s This Woman’s Work.
This caused problems, with Murray struggling to remember the words, and having to restart the song numerous times. But once he got into the swing of it – and consulted a lyric sheet – he hit the song’s notorious high note and wowed the judges. Extra showman points are particularly deserved for throwing away the lyric sheet with perfect timing.
Jaqueline Faye – You’re My World
Jaqueline Faye initially disarmed the judges with a charming story about living on a farm with chickens, horses and a peacock called Dave. But she soon proved that she was much more than quaint charisma, as she belted out a Cilla Black classic to the applause of both the judges and the audience.
Anthony Russell – Wake Me Up
This audition carried the weight of a controversial backstory: having auditioned last year, Anthony Russell originally got through to boot camp, but quit half-way through the show due to ‘personal issues’.
His return to the show was an emotional one, with Anthony revealing that judge Louis Tomlinson had reached out to him in his time of need, and helped the singer on the road to recovery. But of course, none of this would mean anything if Anthony didn’t then knock his audition out of the park – which he did.