Heading into George Michael week on “The X Factor UK” (which aired in the U.S. on Nov. 12 and 13 on AXS TV) already had emotion built into it. Watching the season 14 contenders honor the memory of the late, great UK native superstar was bittersweet, as, the one-year anniversary of his tragic Christmas Day death is quickly approaching and his loss is still felt all over the world. The stakes were incredibly high for the remaining contestants as, no one can ever arguably match the “Faith” singer’s vocal prowess. But, Kevin Davy White, Rai-Elle Williams and Lloyd Macey delivered standout performances, with Lloyd bringing Sharon Osbourne to tears.
Kevin Davy White Steals the Night with “Fastlove”
Music spills out of French native singer-songwriter Kevin Davy White’s soul. Once again, this Overs contender effortlessly proved the difference between being an artist and nailing a cover song. He closed the first night of shows featuring the Overs against the Groups with a chill-inducing piano serenade of Michael’s sultry song “Fastlove.” The judges all declared his performance the best of the night and the public did, too, as he earned the most votes and became the Prize Fight winner.
Charismatic duo Jack and Joel served up a spirited version of “Edge of Heaven.” But, it wasn’t enough to capture the votes to stay in the competition. Alas, we bid them farewell. Rak-Su opened the night with an original rap injected into Michael’s iconic song “Faith.” They were smooth, fun, and it was a great twist on the song. The Cutkelvins’ emotional tribute to their dad was also a standout.
Rai-Elle Stuns with Soulful “They Won’t Go When I Go”
It’s mind-blowing to think tiny teen powerhouse Rai-Elle Williams is only 16. She already impressed Stormzy with her mad vocal skills. But, her personality and the fire she brings every single week brands Rai-Elle, like Kevin Davy White, a star-in-the-making. She reinforced the fact with her soulful, gospel-infused performance of George Michael’s cover of the important Stevie Wonder anthem, “They Won’t Go When I Go.” Simon Cowell praised her performance and even pointed out she’s not being given enough credit in the competition. This was arguably Rai-Elle’s series-best performance and she could have easily owned the night until Lloyd Macey made Sharon Osbourne (and all of us) cry …
Lloyd Macey Owns the Night, the Prize Fight and Probably Boosted Kleenex Stock
We love Alisah Bonaobra. She has such a big, powerful voice. We had such high hopes for her “Praying for Time” opener. But, something didn’t really translate to her performance. It lacked George Michael’s conviction and emotional fragility. This was arguably one of the Grammy-winning singer's most powerful and emotional songs. Alisah needed a better balance of power and grace, hard and soft and George was a master at it.
Lloyd Macey, however, couldn’t have arranged or attacked his take on “I Swear” with any more vocal brilliance. Like a sobbing Sharon Osbourne, we couldn’t help but remember George’s angelic voice singing what is one of his most-beloved ballads. Mrs. O’s reaction was so touching – and tear-inducing. When Dermot gave Lloyd a Kleenex to give to Sharon, the floodgates broke. He totally deserved to win the night and, sorry, Kevin, the Prize Fight. Lloyd will be opening for Little Mix and we get how happy he is about that!
Alisah left the competition. Unfortunately, the on-again, off-again contender never really found her footing in the competition. We still think she would find a great home on the theatrical stage. It’s hard to pin down a clear front-runner at this point. Next week, the remaining contenders take on the Crazy in Love theme with songs about breaking up and making up.
“The X Factor UK” airs in the U.S. on Sundays and Mondays at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT on AXS TV. U.S. viewers can tweet during the broadcast using #UKintheUSA.