“The X Factor UK” aired the fourth round of season 15 auditions in the U.S. last night (Sept. 10) on AXS TV. Thus far, “X Factor” judges Simon Cowell, Louis Tomlinson, Robbie Williams and his wife, Ayda Williams seem to have had a blast working together as they narrow the search for the next international superstar. Round four delivered several memorable moments and not all of them were good. Highlights include an exceptional singer staying loyal to his friends and a comeback closing contender who arguably stole the night when she seized an opportunity to shine.
Is That You, Janet Jackson?
The show kicked off with a jaw-dropping Janet Jackson look-a-like named Kiki, who was quick to tell the judges how everyone notices her striking resemblance to the “Rhythm Nation” singer. Unfortunately, the similarity stopped with Kiki’s looks. She fell flat on her “Dreamgirls” “One Night Only” performance and Robbie cut her off with mixed feedback saying, “You radiate loveliness. Unfortunately, you can’t sing.” Straight on point, Robbie!
“America’s Best Kept Secret” Wows the Panel
Bubbly contender Burgandy Williams hesitated to give her true age when asked and jokingly said her showbiz age is 28, adding she’s a London transplant from the United States and called herself “America’s Best Kept Secret.” She proceeded to take down the house with a crazy-good rendition of Aretha Franklin’s classic anthem, “Respect.” The entire panel was stoked and Ayda claimed her as her new BF saying, “Burgandy, my new American best friend, your voice is incredible!” Louis loved her as well and commended her for delivering a fun, passionate performance. She earned a unanimous pass to the next round.
Guitar Guys Are a No-Go
Contenders playing guitar and singing at auditions have been on short supply this season. Two turned up in this episode, Roy Robson, a nuclear power plant worker and Ollie Swain. Robson wobbled on an original song called “One Night Stand” and the judges sent him home with Simon dubbing his performance “a busker audition.” Swain followed with an anemic acoustic take on “Feeling Good” which flopped as well.
Tommy Ludford Turns It Around
After two disappointing guitar players, 20-year-old kitchen porter Tommy Ludford strolled out with his instrument and Simon winced. He played an original acoustic rap song called “Kingpin” which he described as being “all about me.” Everyone was feeling the top-tapping vibe. It was fresh, fun and energetic and all the judges loved it. Louis beamed brightly telling Tommy, “That is exactly what we needed to prove Simon wrong! I absolutely loved that.” He earned four yeses and will advance to the next round.
Greece Is the Word and Loyalty Above All Else
Athena Manoukian has garnered over 70,000 likes on her Facebook page and was determined to "gain more fans in the UK." She tried to impress the panel with a Beyonce’ and Emeli Sande mashup of “Crazy in Love” complete with sultry dance moves and backup dancers. Her vocals were mediocre at best and Louis politely gave her a “no.” Robbie and Ayda both gave her a “yes” and Simon closed the deal with a third “yes” and a cheeky grin saying, “I could never say no to this audition.” Louis was on the mark, here. This one is a bit of a head-scratcher …
Robbie Williams asked his dad Pete to sit in for him on the panel while he sat in the audience. How sweet was that? He happily obliged and the judges welcomed classical trio Tre Amici (Three Friends) to the stage. They attempted to sing “Nessun Dorma” and Simon surprisingly stopped them and asked the middle member LeRoy to sing it solo. He balked at the request till his buddies urged him on and after trying it by himself, he nobly stopped and said he couldn’t do it alone.
The three pals started singing it together again and won a well-deserved standing ovation from the audience. Louis was touched by LeRoy’s gesture of loyalty and said, “What you just did has stolen my heart.” Simon even backpedaled saying, “I suppose I have to admit, maybe I was wrong.” The merry band of friends will be moving on to the next round.
Comeback Closer Shines
Last season, Girls contender Scarlett Lee was cut by Sharon Osbourne in the Six Chair Challenge. Simon immediately recognized her but was under-impressed with her delivery of an original song called “Survival.” He noted it was like the sixth time he’s heard her sing and he was afraid it might be the last. Scarlett was visibly shaken but accepted his challenge to show them why she should be on the show “through singing.”
She crushed a performance of “Never Enough” from “The Greatest Showman” and brought all the judges and the entire arena to its feet in applause. Robbie thrilled her when he said, “You just made the biggest save I have ever, ever seen” and Simon paid her a huge compliment saying, “You are an amazing singer. Honestly, it was magic. I would love, love, love to be mentoring you.”
Scarlett was visibly emotional with all the positive remarks and she is definitely one to watch moving forward. She obviously knows the ropes and something tells us she’s not backing down in her comeback fight to the finish.
“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 action in the U.S. using #UKintheUSA on social media.