“The X Factor UK” aired the fourth round of live shows on Nov. 11 in the U.S. on AXS TV. The theme was movie night, which by title alone suggests drama. Judges Simon Cowell, Louis Tomlinson and Ayda Williams were on hand to watch their acts perform, while the incomparable Nile Rodgers filled in for an absent Robbie Williams.
The competition is only getting tougher as it winds even closer to the season 15 live finale. Boys contender Dalton Harris and Girls contender Scarlett Lee easily delivered what were arguably the night’s best performances. While other strong contenders like Shan Ako and Misunderstood made some surprising missteps.
Gio Belts “The Greatest Showman”
Older's contender Giovanni Spano kicked things off with a powerful, entertaining rendition of the title track from “The Greatest Showman.” He’s grown on Louis Tomlinson, who admitted last week he’s a pretty good entertainer. Gio is charismatic and a little larger-than-life, which is exactly what “the greatest showman” should be. It was a solid performance. But, not really his best.
Three Up, Three Outstanding Performances
The next three hopefuls smashed their performances. Dalton Harris delivered a dazzling version of “California Dreamin’,” which arguably rivaled the original song. The audience screamed so loud he probably couldn’t even hear Ayda as she showered him with praise. Dalton is the strongest male singer this season and we could easily imagine him doing a record and a full-blown tour. His inflection, tone, range and vocal dynamics are superb. He earned a well-deserved four-judge standing ovation and Simon seemed to think we’ll be seeing Dalton in the finals. He’s probably right. Watch his performance above.
Scarlett Lee already had beautiful vocals heading into her “comeback” season. That said, she’s really grown and come into her own these last few weeks. Last week, she crushed Fright Night with an extraordinary version of “I Put a Spell on You.” This week, she arguably brought chills with a beautiful, vulnerable rendition of “I’ll Never Love Again” which is sung by Lady Gaga in “A Star Is Born.” The soundtrack is burning up the charts all over the world – hitting No. 1 in the UK, U.S. and Australia. Watch Scarlett's performance below.
It’s a sad, beautiful love song and Scarlett gave it every ounce of tenderness and yearning Gaga delivers in the film. Obviously, they are two very different singers and Lady Gaga is a global superstar. This was probably Scarlett’s best performance in the competition to date. And, we see her as a definite contender for the finals. Nile Rodgers told Scarlett Gaga is one of his best friends and she definitely did the song justice. That’s huge coming from a legendary producer like Niles.
Last week, Brendan Murray was in the bottom two. This week he picked the perfect song with “Everybody Hurts,” which is the song that earned him Louis’ Golden X. Niles and Louis were on their feet for him and the audience went wild. Niles reminded Brendan he brought him to tears in Ibiza and said he would love to record him. Wow! Brendan does have such a unique, sort of shimmering tone. He also has a lot of potential. But, till now he’s been inconsistent, which could hurt his chances of making it to the finals. Still, Brendan’s performance arguably ranks third behind Dalton and Scarlett in ranking the best of the night.
Teen Duo and Bella Penfold are Middle-of-the-Road
Teen duo Acacia and Aaliyah are so cute and full of charisma and really do amazing things at such a young age. However, they struggled last week and their performance of “Survivor” was just okay. Simon said he wanted to see “chaos” and we get it. They should have boundless, electric energy. Their performance seemed a little too tame. Overall, though, it’s hard to fault them for handling the pressure so well at just 14 and 15 years old.
Bella Penfold is such a sweet, genuine person who tries so hard to shine a light for self-love and human kindness. Simon called her one of the nicest contestants he’s worked with. She sang “A Million Dreams” from “The Greatest Showman” and did a nice job. Anyone who's heard P!NK’s version of this song with her daughter might argue Bella’s was underwhelming in comparison. Still, Bella has so much potential and she’s so unique in today’s music landscape. We would love to see her get a record deal, win or lose.
Final Four Lack “Wow” Factor
Misunderstood, Danny Tetley, Anthony Russell and Shan Ako were the final four performers. Every one of them took slight missteps in their performances. Misunderstood was way off track with “Maniac” from “Flashdance.” But, they’re such nice guys and are so talented.
Danny poured his heart into “My Heart Will Go On.” But, the song felt too big for him and it was pitchy. He’s such a sweet guy though. We’ll hate to see him go but his chances of being in the finals are slim.
Shan Ako closed out the night with “Never Enough,” also from “The Greatest Showman.” Shan is probably the most “natural” untapped star of the season and she usually smashes every performance. However, the song just didn’t fit her voice or showcase her strengths. We’re sure she’s not leaving – but, surprised to see her falter. This week’s elimination is going to be tough. Let’s hope there’s not a huge shakeup!
“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 episodes using #UKintheUSA on Facebook and Twitter.