The top six Girls on The X Factor 2017 have been revealed after the dreaded Six Chair Challenge began tonight – with three acts facing a head-to-head sing-off as Sharon Osbourne struggled to decide who to keep.
Having made it through Bootcamp, this year’s hopefuls were again gathered at The SSE Arena in Wembley for the most controversial stage of the competition.
Judges Simon Cowell, Nicole Scherzinger, Sharon Osbourne and Louis Walsh had to whittle down their categories by filling six chairs, each representing a place at Judges’ Houses.
One at a time, contestants took to the X-shaped stage to sing, and if they were good enough they’d get to take one of the seats – but at no point could they get comfy.
If a better act came along later, their mentor could choose to send home one of the seated acts in order to free up a spot for them.
As if the whole ordeal wasn’t tense enough – especially with a 4,000-strong audience chanting “seat, seat, seat” – this year bosses introduced a new twist to cause even more drama.
For the first time, the deciding judge had to sit alone at their own desk, away from the other three.
Tonight it was Sharon’s turn in the so-called ‘hotseat’, and her task proved difficult after she was given the category she wanted the least – the Girls.
Although it was up to Sharon to make the final decisions, Simon, Nicole and Louis were still able to comment on the performances.
Here’s a full recap of how her Six Chair Challenge played out…
Scarlett Lee (Seat) – Sharon may have given Scarlett a ‘no’ at the room auditions, but she ended up giving the make-up artist a seat after her stripped back version of David Guetta andUsher’s ‘Without You’, commenting: “It’s unbelievable how confident you are.” Not all of the judges were convinced, however, with Simon claiming the performance was “all over the place”.
Hayley Norton (No Seat) – The Six Chair Challenge marked Hayley’s first appearance on The X Factor as a solo act, after she split from her mum Debye and their group Descendance at Bootcamp. With the spotlight squarely on her, she chose to sing The Beatles’ ‘Come Together’ – but it didn’t impress the panel. Simon thought she’d “done well” but wasn’t sure about her vocals. Sharon seemed to agree, claiming her voice was just “OK”, and ultimately chose to send her home.
Sky Saron-Wermerling (Seat) – Even though we’re at the middle stage of the competition, we’re still seeing new faces. Sky hasn’t previously been featured on the show, and the mixed feedback she got for her performance of Ed Sheeran’s ‘I’m A Mess’ may suggest why. “I don’t think the vocal was perfect,” Simon remarked. “You’ve got a lot going for you, I’m just not sure,” mused Sharon. To the 19-year-old student’s surprise, she was given the second chair.
Rai-Elle (Seat) – Super-confident schoolgirl Rai-Elle chose to showcase her voice by singing ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ a capella, and the move paid off, earning her a standing ovation from the audience. Simon called her “the best so far”, joking: “If Sharon doesn’t give you a chair, you can take mine.” The decision was a no-brainer for Sharon, who laughed: “This crowd will kill me if I don’t give you a seat, so you’re in!”
Holly Tandy (Seat) – Following Rai-Elle was fellow 16-year-old contender Holly, who became emotional before taking to the stage, asking: “How do I follow that?” She needn’t have worried, as her performance of Lady Gaga’s ‘The Edge Of Glory’ also won rave reviews. “You didn’t oversing, you took it easy, your delivery was perfect, you’re a very special girl,” gushed Sharon. “I’m not gonna beat around the bush, just sit down!”
Nicole Caldwell (No Seat) – With Sharon as her mentor, the odds were stacked against Nicole. Following her nervous Bootcamp appearance, Mrs O told the Scot to “get a grip” on her anxiety issues, and curtly admitted she doesn’t “feel as strongly” about her as the other judges. This time, Nicole delivered a far more confident performance of Fatboy Slim’s ‘Praise You’, which Simon described as “by far the best you’ve done”. However, Sharon still wasn’t sure she has what it takes and opted to say goodbye.
Shanaya Atkinson-Jones (Seat) – Shanaya again channelled the emotions of her childhood, opting to sing the Hairspray track ‘I Know Where I’ve Been’ because “I know where I have been, I know where I am, and I know where I’d like to go”. A teary-eyed Louis told her: “You’ve never let me down, you’ve got something going on. When you sing, I believe you.” Sharon said she’s yet to feel a similar “connection”, but gave Shanaya a seat after she promised to take directions.
Elysa V (Seat) – Elysa, who came all the way from Australia to take part in the show, performed Meghan Trainer’s self-empowerment anthem ‘Me Too’ – but, unlike Jodie Woolcott at Bootcamp, she had the right swagger to pull it off. “That was my favourite performance of yours,” revealed Nicole. “You really give everything, you are a great, natural performer,” added Sharon, who gave her the final vacant seat.
Taliah Dalorto (Seat, took Sky’s place) – With all six chairs occupied, the pressure was on for the contestants to prove that they were worthy of dethroning another act. The first to do so was Taliah, who hijacked Sky’s spot after her rendition of James Bay’s ‘Let It Go’. “What am I gonna do with you lot? It’s hard, so so hard,” lamented Sharon.
Alisah Bonaobra (Seat, took Taliah’s place) – However, Taliah only got to sit for a few moments before she was sent packing in favour of Alisah. The Filipino singer – who narrowly avoided elimination during the first part of Bootcamp – demonstrated her powerful vocals once more on Celine Dion’s ‘All By Myself’. “That is how you do it honey, that is how you fight for a seat,” exclaimed Nicole. “I’d give you two seats,” joked Louis.
Jenny Ball (Seat, took Shanaya’s place) – Blackpool girl Jenny tried to impress with The Goo Goo Dolls’ ‘Iris’, but she failed to win over Simon, who said previously eliminated act Nicole should be put through over her. “If she got a no, and you got a yes, this would be crazy,” he commented. Fortunately for Jenny, she had the person who mattered on her side. “You’re always strong, I like you, I connect with you,” said Sharon, who gave her Shanaya’s chair – a choice which left the other three judges dumbfounded. “I can’t believe she did that,” gasped Nicole.
Deanna (Seat, took Jenny’s place) – That move again proved to be short-lived, as Jenny was soon turfed out in favour of Anguillan musician Deanna, who performed Emeli Sandé’s ‘My Kind Of Love’. “Beautiful song, you’re a very classy lady, I love the way you perform,” said Sharon.
Grace Davies (Seat, took Alisah’s place) – A force to be reckoned with in the competition, Grace again brought a self-penned song for her Six Chair performance. Named ‘Do It Better’, she explained it was a “sequel” to her touching break-up track ‘Don’t Go’, which she debuted at Bootcamp. It was another triumph, with Simon joking: “I wouldn’t give you a chair, I’d give you the table, the chairs, my water, my tea, my prawn cocktail Skips, that’s how much I like you!”
Another controversial moment ensued when Sharon announced that Grace would take Alisah’s place, with the audience booing – and even the Blackburn warehouse assistant herself was shocked.
Kelsey Gill (No Seat) – Emerging on stage in a tense atmosphere following Alisah’s exit, Kelsey also performed an original song, ‘Scars’ – but she didn’t wow the judges as much as Grace, with Nicole saying: “For me, that was not enough to take one of those chairs.” While Sharon “admired” Kelsey for using her own material, she added: “I’m so sorry, but I’m gonna have to let you go.”
Georgina Panton (Seat, took Elysa’s place) – The final act to compete for a chair was Georgina, whose arena audition was one of Simon’s favourites. Following her piano rendition of Rihanna’s ‘Diamonds’, the media supremo again praised her, saying: “There’s something about you. I’m not gonna say this was perfect, because it wasn’t, but what I love is that you give everything you’ve got, you literally lay it on the floor.” Sharon agreed with his sentiments and gave her Elysa’s chair.
However, Sharon’s Six Chair Challenge wasn’t over there. With the feeling that Alisah’s depature may have been a mistake lingering, she was called back to the stage – where she was joined by Rai-Elle and Scarlett.
The trio were asked to perform in a head-to-head sing-off to decide once and for all which of them would make Judges’ Houses.
Rai-Elle got to return to her seat – but it was bad news for Scarlett, as Sharon decided to send her home in favour of Alisah.
Therefore, Sharon’s final six Girls are: Alsah Bonaobra, Deanna,Georgina Panton, Grace Davies, Holly Tandy and Rai-elle.
The X Factor continues next Saturday at 8.15pm and Sunday at 7.00pm.