As well as United Vibe, this year’s X Factor contest crafted another group made of performers who auditioned solo: Acacia & Aaliyah (called A Star for a short while).
The two students – Acacia K (15) and Aaliyah Robinson (14) – were put together by Simon Cowell during the audition stage of the competition.
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Although Aaliyah impressed judges Louis Tomlinson, Ayda Field and Robbie Williams with her version of Sail by AWOLNATION, Cowell thought it was a poor song choice and told Aaliyah to prepare another performance for an audition later on.
In her solo audition, Acacia – a singer/rapper who won the nationwide TeenStar singing and dancing competition in July this year – opted for a cover of Bed of Lies by Nicki Minaj ft Skylark Grey. However, just like Aaliyah, Cowell wasn’t completely convinced by her performance, stopping Acacia mid-song.
Fortunately for the pair, instead of booting them both out of the competition, the head judge invited the girls to perform as a duo. And so Acacia and Aaliyah returned to stage once more, managing to blow away the audience and judges with a version of Bang Bang by Jessie J and Ariana Grande.
The two didn’t have an easy time in the Six Chair Challenge, however, with new mentor Williams stopping their cover of Montell Jordan's This Is How We Do It halfway through, telling the pair: "Girls, that was an eight. I believe you've got a ten in you.”
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Acacia and Aaliyah then delivered a pitch-perfect performance of Bang Bang, their audition song. Once again, this received plenty of praise from the judges, particularly Cowell. "This is the first group, genuinely, where if you walked into my record label, I would sign you on the spot," he said.
Williams too was impressed, hitting the Golden X button for the pair and sending the duo into the Judges’ Houses.
They continued to astound Williams at his LA house and won over guest mentor David Walliams with their mash-up of Soul II Soul's Back To Life and Stormzy's Big For Your Boots. Although Williams said he was worried by their age, he sent them through to the live shows.
Acacia & Aaliyah: Key Facts
Ages: Acacia K (15) and Aaliyah Robinson (14)