'The X Factor UK' live shows 2: These 3 soulful performances own the night
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“The X Factor UK” aired the second round of live shows this week in the U.S. on AXS TV. The remaining hopefuls hit the stage for this week’s “Guilty Pleasure” theme, hoping to impress “X Factor” judges Simon Cowell, Louis Tomlinson, Robbie Williams and his wife, Ayda Williams.

The 14 contenders rose to the challenge of another intense round of competition. However, three soulful performances stood a cut above the rest and arguably owned the night.

Shan Ako is a Star in the Making

Shan Ako proved yet again she is one to beat in this competition. Before starting her performance of the Elton John classic "Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word," she seized an opportunity to tell the “X Factor” live and viewing audience how important it is to offer up an apology. She said, “When we put our pride aside and say that one simple word, ‘sorry,’ that’s powerful and that’s when we can finally find our journey to forgiveness.”

Shan sang with a simple piano accompaniment and honestly, it seemed like we were at one of her concerts as if she’d been owning the stage for years. Her vocals rose and fell in all the right places. But most importantly, the message in the song rang through loud and clear. She earned a well-deserved four-judge standing ovation and she set the bar incredibly high for everyone who followed.

Dalton Harris Tackles Daunting Song

Louis had to bid one of his Boys acts, Armstong Martins, goodbye last week. He and Dalton boasted similar styles. However, Dalton seems to have a vocal edge on him. This week, he took on a massive song by putting his own spin on the Whitney Houston classic, “I Have Nothing.” It was amazing. Once again, all four judges got to their feet in unanimous, thunderous applause. Robbie would have granted him Olympic gold for his performance Ayda dubbed him “mega,” and Simon branded the performance “a moment.” And Louis couldn’t have been prouder as his mentor, noting that he’s “in his own league vocally” in the competition. Louis is right. He’s arguably the strongest male contender and another one to watch moving forward.

Scarlett Lee Lingers on Our Minds

Scarlett Lee certainly met Dalton’s level and arguably threw down her gauntlet with her electric performance of “Always On My Mind.” She started a cappella and this is already brave. Then she just smashed the rest of the song, delivering all the raw, vulnerable emotion that defines it. She also received a four-judge standing ovation. Louis branded her vocal “absolutely amazing” and Simon was proud of her for picking the song. In all, it was an emotional, memorable performance which was even more moving when she dedicated the song to her dad.

Are These Acts Frontrunners?

It’s just two weeks into the season 15 live shows on “The X Factor UK. “ But, Shan, Dalton and Scarlett arguably emerged as standouts this week after their stunning performances. Ayda’s rock singer Gio also deserves a shout out for performing a powerful rock twist on the only song we feel truly represented the Guilty Pleasure theme – “… Baby One More Time” by Britney Spears. He did a fabulous job and really showed off his big rock voice. Also, the energy Acacia and Aaliyah continually bring is infectious and as the show’s youngest contestants, they slayed their “All My Life/Shutdown” mashup this week. They are definitely the strongest act on Robbie’s team and they could easily sweep all the way through to the finals.

“The X Factor UK” airs here in the U.S. on Sundays and Mondays at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on AXS TV. U.S. viewers can weigh in on the action during the show using #UKintheUSA.