“The X Factor UK” put the season 15 Girls contenders through the intense Six Chair Challenge paces and the action aired here in the U.S. last night (Sept. 30) on AXS TV. Simon Cowell has had years of practice in this brutal elimination round, which awards six survivors one of six chairs and a trip to the Judges’ Houses round. This season, Simon pressed a Golden X for one lucky hopeful, whose seat is guaranteed and right before the nail-biting finish, he ordered a sing-off for the last seat as the credits rolled.
Six Chairs Await Six Girls
With the elimination of the Bootcamp round, the remaining Girls contenders are all vying for one of six chairs in the Six Chair Challenge. Louis Tomlinson knows the round first hand, after experiencing the rigors of it when he and his One Direction pals were formed into a group on “The X Factor UK” back in 2010.
This season, each Girls contestant only has one shot to impress Simon enough to earn a ticket to the Judges’ Houses round. Kleo kicked up the energy in the room with her cover of “Waka Waka (This Time for Africa) by Shakira. Simon liked it and gave her a seat, which would be his trend for the next five hopefuls.
Georgia Burgess sang a soulful version of “Happy” by Pharrell. Her nerves came through in the performance but who can blame her? Simon happily gave her a seat. Apri Darby took a big risk singing “Angels” right in front of Robbie Williams. But, he loved it and so did everyone else. Off to the third seat, she went! Ava Lily followed Georgia’s lead by giving her own stunning take on “Perfect” by One Direction. Louis smiled throughout and really liked it. Simon gave her the fourth seat.
Two Filipino singers followed with Maria Laroco serving up a brilliant cover of Whitney Houston’s “Queen of the Night.” Then, Sephy Fransisco showed off her high and low vocal prowess again with her rendition of “Never Enough.” All the seats were filled and the contenders waiting backstage fretted over their chance to fight for one of them.
Bella Stormzy’s Her Way to a Golden X
The Golden X is a great addition to a really intense and often harsh round. Bravo, “X Factor” powers-that-be for including it! Bella Penfold had incredible, infectious energy at her original audition. She surprised everyone in the Six Chair Challenge with her amazing rendition of “Blinded by Your Grace, pt. 2” by Stormzy.
Louis absolutely loved her and Simon faked everyone out by declaring “This isn’t going to make me popular … I can’t give you a seat.” He promptly got up to “explain” why by pressing his Golden X. It was an epic moment. Well played, Simon! Unfortunately for Kleo, this meant Bella was taking her seat and she was going home.
Five More Singers Fight for a Seat
Five girls were left, vying for one of the five filled seats. Teen singing sensation Lanya Matthews crushed her performance of “I Didn’t Know My Own Strength” by Whitney Houston. It’s such a moving and powerful anthem and Lanya brought the feels. She earned a seat, which she took from April Darby.
Jennifer Owens was gutsy enough to sing a potentially uplifting original song, “Fly, until Simon cut her off and asked her to sing it a cappella. She rose to the challenge and nailed it and was asked to take Maria Laroco’s seat. The audience wildly protested. So, Simon brought Maria back and cut Ava Lily instead. Louis intermittently commented on how “brutal” and tough these decisions were. We agree and there are three more Girls waiting to sing for Simon!
Shan nailed her delivery of “A Song for You” and her raw talent really shined. Simon told her to take Georgia’s seat. But, Georgia wasn't going without a fight. She begged Simon for the chance to sing something else and we’re sort of surprised he allowed it. She sang a really emphatic version of “Show Me Love,” which caused Simon to reconsider and he asked Lanya Matthews to leave instead. We’re not sure if he made the right choice here. It remains to be seen.
Molly Scott is up next with an incredible, vulnerable rendition of “Say Something” by A Great Big World. This girl can really sing! Simon asked her to take Sephy Francisco’s seat and this seems like a good swap. The only thing is, as Louis points out while laughing, Scarlett Lee is up last. As a returning contender who previously lost in this round, she’s hungry and desperate to prove herself.
Everyone rooted for Scarlett to do well and she smashed her rendition of “Piece by Piece” by Kelly Clarkson. Robbie Williams was genuinely moved, telling her the performance made him think of how he misses his children and how much he loves them. Sniff, sniff. She got a seat. But wait! Simon asked for a sing-off to see which seat she’ll take as the credits started to roll.
Tune in tonight here in the U.S. at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on AXS TV to see how the rest of the Girls round plays out. Weigh in on the action using #UKinthe USA.
“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.