Season 15 of “The X Factor UK” is quickly winding down. The fifth round of live shows aired Nov. 18 on AXS TV. All four judges, Simon Cowell, Louis Tomlinson, Robbie Williams and Ayda Williams still have acts in the competition. The incomparable Nile Rodgers filled in for Robbie once again in this week’s Big Band show. Last week's guest performer, Michael Bublé would have been right at home.
Heading into the round, Simon and Louis had the most artists performing, with three each. To be honest, it’s not entirely clear why the theme was “Big Band,” because only two contenders – Scarlett Lee and Danny Tetley sang a “Big Band” sort of song. All acts were backed by a multi-piece band/orchestra, so at least that much fit the theme.
Pressure Mounts for a Semifinals Slot
At this point, there are eight hopefuls left who will be reduced to six following this week’s elimination round. Scarlett Lee kicked things off with an excellent rendition of “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You.” This song was Big Band at its best, complete with brass and Scarlett’s powerhouse vocals. It was great to see her do something more up-tempo this week. She even flirted and giggled a little with Simon and all the judges loved it.
Building off momentum from a fantastic performance last week, Brendan Murray simply slayed his performance of “Say Something” by A Great Big World. Nile stressed again how Brendan’s voice made him cry and he’s convinced he could make a lot more people cry with his “magical” voice. His mentor, Louis, beamed when Brendan finished and gave him a huge celebratory hug.
Shan Ako followed, with a brilliant delivery of “Summertime.” She continues to display such silky-smooth vocal prowess and all four judges gave her a standing ovation at the end. Of all the acts, Shan seems like the most ready-to-record (besides of course, Dalton).
Anthony Conquers a Blast From the Past
Anthony Russell’s friendship with Louis is so fun to watch. This week, they played back Anthony’s “X Factor UK” audition from when he was only 17. He sang “Beyond the Sea” and Simon didn’t like it. He looked like such a baby back then – probably because he was one ! He faced his demons with the song by performing it this week. He did an excellent job and Simon genuinely liked it.
Acacia and Aaliyah Take a Risk and Bella Bares her Heart
Acacia and Aaliyah knew they had to make a bold move after almost getting cut. So, they charged out on stage singing an infectious original song called “Act Our Age.” Nile was ecstatic with the way it turned out and Simon loved it. Scratching our head a little, as, their original rap was about as polar opposite from Big Band music as it gets. Still, these talented young girls seem to be handling the pressure at this stage of the competition really well.
On the other hand, Bella Penfold seems to be struggling with song choices. She sang “Strong” by London Grammar and the song just didn’t fit her or showcase her artistry. Still, she seems like such a sweet, down-to-earth person. If she gets cut, she will be missed.
Dalton Owns the Night and Danny Closes It
Louis summed it up best when he said Dalton Harris has been “the most consistent” contender this season. He blew everyone away with his performance of “Listen.” He received a unanimous standing ovation and the audience screamed, clapped and chanted his name. Nile Rodgers also summed it up sweetly saying “You are an artist, brother!”
Right now, it seems like Dalton is heavily-favored to win the whole thing. He arguably out-sings any of his fellow contenders – even Scarlett Lee and Shan. So, if he does win, he would definitely deserve it.
The heartwarming favorite is easily Overs contender Danny Tetley, this season. He sings with his heart on his sleeve and so much passion. He brought his mentor Ayda to tears with his dynamic delivery of “My Way” by Frank Sinatra. Simon even confessed he was emotional during Danny’s performance and it was a perfect way to close out the night.
“The X Factor UK” airs in the U.S. on Sundays and Mondays at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on AXS TV. Weigh in on the broadcast in the U.S. using the hashtag #UKintheUSA on social media.