Nicole Scherzinger and Louis Walsh have each confirmed their final six acts on The X Factor 2017 after the Six Chair Challenge came to an end in the most dramatic episode yet.
Tonight’s show saw Nicole address the outraged audience over her decision to get rid of Talia Dean.
Louis then faced not one, not two, but three dilemmas as he considered which of the Boys should fill his six chairs.
He kept one member of sibling duo of ITG and sent the other home, before facing his own backlash from the raucous Wembley crowd.
Later, Louis instigated a three-way sing-off after struggling to pick whose place the final act, Jack Mason, should take.
As always, judges Sharon Osbourne and Simon Cowell were on hand to offer their thoughts – but another tense moment saw Simon interrupt one of Nicole’s acts.
Overs – Nicole Scherzinger (continued)
The latest episode began with all six of Nicole’s chairs occupied, by Berget Lewis, Bill Downs, Gary Barker, Glenroy Grant, Loverine Fermino and Slavko Kalezic.
Talia Dean (Returned, replaced Bill Downs) – Viewers were left on a cliffhanger yesterday when Nicole got rid of Talia so she could keep Loverine. Simon and Sharon leapt to their feet in disbelief, and the audience booed heavily. The crowd was still angry when Kevin Davy White was brought out to perform tonight, chanting “bring her back”. Bowing to the pressure, Nicole granted their wish and decided to send Bill home so Talia could return.
Kevin Davy White (Seat, replaced Gary Barker) – With that mess finally cleared up, Kevin was able to return to the stage and fight for his own place. The Frenchman hoped to bring “good vibrations” to the people with his cover of Bob Marley’s ‘Is This Love?’, and Simon was certainly feeling them, calling him “the real deal”. Louis added: “You don’t know how good you are, you are a class act.” Nicole thought it wasn’t his “strongest” audition, but said he deserved a seat “hands down” and gave him Gary’s spot.
Jon Lilygreen (Seat, replaced Loverine Fermino) – Moustached Jon’s big dream is to fill arenas with fans eager to listen to his own music, and he demonstrated that by performing an original track, ‘Baby You Know’. Sharon told the former Eurovision entrant: “Everybody got in to it, you were really brave doing your own song, and it worked.” Noting that she “respects” him as a musician, Nicole struggled with her decision, but eventually gave Loverine’s seat to John.
The audience was angry and began chanting “bring her back” again, but sadly for Loverine, it didn’t work the second time.
Matt Linnen (Seat, replaced Glenroy Grant) – Matt was next to face the “really brutal” Six Chair Challenge, and this time he was sans guitar for his performance of Mark Ronson and Daniel Merriweather’s ‘Stop Me’. “You’re not perfect, but with a bit of help you’re going to be amazing,” reviewed Louis. Nicole called it “by far the best audition that you’ve given vocally” and, while urging the crowd not to “kill” her, bid farewell to Glenroy for Matt.
Tracy Leanne Jefford (Seat, replaced Jon Lilygreen) – Rounding off the Overs was Tracy, who jokingly exclaimed: “Why have I been left to last?!” Although Nicole was supposed to be calling the shots, it was Simon who interrupted her first song, ‘You Don’t Own Me’. “Guys, something’s not working for me right now,” he said.
Tracy continued the track a capella, but Simon still wasnt happy: “It’s not good enough.” Admitting an “affinity” for the divorced mum, Nicole gave her another shot, and this time she sang ‘Misty Blue’ by Etta James. Although Simon called her a “total, utter mess tonight”, Tracey took Jon’s place, completing Nicole’s line-up for Judges’ Houses.
Therefore, the top six Overs are: Berget Lewis, Kevin Davy White, Matt Linnen, Slavko, Talia Dean and Tracey Leanne Jefford.
Boys – Louis Walsh
Lloyd Macey (Seat) – The final judge to take the Hotseat was Louis, with Simon jokingly asking him to make his Six Chair Challenge less “chaotic” than normal. His first decision, at least, a to be a no-brainer after Lloyd’s rendition of ‘Feels Like Home’ had the crowd on their feet in applause. “Your voice is timeless, there’s always room for a classic singer in the charts,” Sharon praised. “I really liked your song choice, I see you getting better all the time,” added Louis.
Leon Mallett (Seat) – Brothers Leon and Alex originally entered for The X Factor as group ITG, but Simon dropped a bombshell at Bootcamp, suggesting they should move forward as soloists. They agreed, and Leon was first to face the Six Chair Challenge, arriving on stage in crutches due to an ankle injury. He earned his seat after his performance of The Chainsmokers’ ‘Closer’ had Simon raving: “You’ve come alive on your own. You’re like a completely different person.” Louis added: “This is the first time I’ve seen something in you.”
Alex Mallett (No Seat) – Unfortunately things didn’t go as well for Alex, and the siblings were well and truly split when Louis made the difficult choice to send him home. The Irishman told Alex should be “very proud” of himself after his performance of Plan B’s ‘She Said’, but claimed that Leon had “something more”. He commented: “There was no spark for me. For that reason, I’m going to say no. I honestly don’t think this is going to work.
Anthony Russell (Seat) – Liverpudlian Anthony stunned the judges by turning up in a suit and bow tie, but joked: “I’m skint, I’m £80 overdrawn, it’s still got the tags on! It’s going back tomorrow!” However, his piano version of Joe Cocker’s ‘You Are So Beautiful’ didn’t make quite the same impression. “I’m gonna be honest, I kind of feel that – maybe it’s through our comments or something – that we’ve trapped you in this suit, made you all polite, and now we’ve lost Anthony,” Simon reviewed.
Anthony did get to take a seat, but he’s since dropped out of the competition due to “personal reasons”.
Spencer Sutherland (Seat) – Spencer took a risk by putting his own stripped-back spin on one of judge Nicole’s own hits, ‘Don’t Cha’. It paid off with the former Pussycat Dolls frontwoman, who said: “I think it was a really clever song choice. “I love your voice, you can sing the phone book!” While Simon also approved of Spencer vocals, he thought the performance was “a bit corny”. Louis gave him the fourth chair, despite saying he “oversang”
Enèsi Zubairu (No Seat) – Tonight was the first viewers saw of Enèsi, a student and part-time Greggs worker. “Yeah, sausage rolls!” exclaimed Nicole, who praised his performance of Michael Jackson’s ‘Human Nature’. “You’re my cup of tea, I like your soul, I think you’re a natural,” she said. Although Louis thought Enèsi “worked the stage very well”, he somewhat inexplicably concluded that it was the “end of the road” for the 20-year-old.
Benji Matthews (Seat) – Having found Bootcamp “the best experience of [his] life” after debuting an original track, Benji brought another to the Six Chair Challenge. ‘Daydream’ is a tribute to his grandparents, who had recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, but his second effort wasn’t as well received. “I didn’t like that song at all,” Simon blasted. “It was so sloppy, so corny, and it’s not you as an artist.” Regardless, Louis gave Benji his backing, calling the student “different” and quirky”.
Gregor Coleman (Seat) – Mixed feedback in previous rounds meant Gregor faced an uphill battle, but his take on Coldplay’s ‘Yellow’ finally made the panel sit up and take notice. “I thought your chances of getting a chair were practically zero… until now,” admitted Simon. “I thought that was a really, really good audition.” Nicole added: “I feel like I’m meeting you for the first time.” Louis also complimented Gregor’s “very believable performance” and awarded him the final empty seat – but he didn’t get to keep it for long.
Aidan Martin (Seat, replaced Leon Mallet, who then replaced Gregor Coleman) – With all six chairs filled, Aidan faced double the pressure, as he had prepared a follow-up to his room audition track, ‘Punchline’. He took to the piano to play another self-penned song, ‘Point Of No Return’, which he’d only previously sung to his mum. “Every time you perform, you get me. You are so genuine, everything you do is with great emotion,” Sharon reacted.
Louis decided to give Aidan a chair, but faced his own Talia moment when he announced Leon’s departure. The other three judges were again on their feet in surprise, and Nicole led the booing audience in a chant of “bring him back, bring him back”. Louis changed his mind and asked Leon to return, opting to send Gregor home instead.
Russell Jones (No Seat) – There was no such dilemma with nursing home singer Russell, who was panned by the panel after singing Tina Turner’s ‘Fool In Love’. “I thought that was terrible, just your voice, the weird performance… I couldn’t stand that,” slated Simon. “Right now you look like a deer in a headlight,” noticed Sharon. “The song choice was not good.”
Jack Mason (Seat, replaced Benji Matthews) – The last of the boys was teenage busker Jack, who vowed he “wouldn’t go down without a fight”. That fight came in the form of Andra Day’s ‘Rise Up’, and like his Bootcamp appearance, it won him a standing ovation. “I love you so much, I’ve loved you from day one, you’re a sweetheart of a guy,” gushed Sharon. “This is the third or fourth time today where I’ve felt a genuine connection with the audience,” added Simon.
Louis wanted to give Jack a chair, but struggled to decide which of the seated acts should be replaced. Another sing-off ensued, with Benji and Spencer initially going head-to-head, before Louis asked Lloyd to join in. Eventually, it was Benji who had to give his spot up for Jack.
Therefore, Louis’s top six Boys are: Aidan Martin, Anthony Russell, Jack Mason, Leon Mallett, Lloyd Macey and Spencer Sutherland.
The X Factor continues next Saturday at 8.20pm and Sunday at 7.00pm with Judges’ Houses weekend, when the acts going through to the live shows will be revealed.