Talent Triumphs Over Looks On ‘The X Factor UK’

ITV

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Gimmicks, sympathy, and cuteness can get you pretty far on The X Factor, but eventually, talent wins out. So it was that Matt Linnen — undeniably sexy and magnetic — was finally eliminated, leaving much better singers to battle for the win.


 

The Cutkelvins


The Cutkelvins opened the episode by once again performing their own original song, a high-energy dance jam. And once again, parts of it sounded ever so slightly off-key to me. Still, the trio has talent, both performing and songwriting. Louis Walsh said “This sounds like a hit single to me” (it does not) and said “All of Scotland should vote for you” (they should).

Also, tonight’s theme was supposed to be “Cool Britannia,” with other contestants performing songs by British icons like Elton John and the Beatles. In singing their own work, are the Cutkelvins putting themselves in that league? I hope not.


Matt Linnen

The heartthrob performed an odd, amped-up version of Gimme Shelter by the Rolling Stones. I guess I’m a purist, because I didn’t like this arrangement, which sounded like low-rent Imagine Dragons to me. Louis agreed: “The song was all wrong,” though Simon loved it, saying Matt had “guts” to “put yourself up in comparison to a band like the Rolling Stones.” Sharon said “Your vocals have been improving” which I took as damning with faint praise.

Simon’s endorsement, and Nicole’s weird compliment (something about balls and teeth and hair) weren’t enough to save Matt; see below.

Grace Davies

Now this is more like it. I really liked Grace’s spare, piano-only version of Bowie’s classic song. The judges seem to agree: Louis said she should advance, Simon said she deserves to be in the final, and Sharon called her a class act. Nicole said she was getting “sparkle unicorn vibes” because Nicole is crazy.

Kevin Davy White

Kevin’s country-rock-ified version of The Beatles’ Come Together was unexpectedly cool. He performed on his own giant platform, so it was kind of like attending a KDW concert (Simon said as much). All the judges basically pleaded with viewers to vote for him, so I think he has a real shot at winning the competition.

Rak-Su

Another song that I think should be disqualified from “Cool Britannia” — Flowers by one-hit wonders Sweet Female Attitude is not in the same solar system as Gimme Shelter or Come Together.

Either way, the audience loves their singing, rapping, and beatboxing. Simon called them “game-changers,” but I wonder if their votes will be canceled out by the Cutkelvins, who also perform their own original songs.

Lloyd Macey

A great cover of Elton John’s Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me. He even channeled Elton John. The problem is that he had a sore throat and was supposedly performing against his doctor’s advice (what else could he do?). Simon calling him a “fighter” is nice, but not the same as calling him a “star” or a “winner.” It would suck if he were eliminated for something he can’t control…then again, would it be fair if he skated by on a sympathy vote?

Results

Dermot said only 2% of the votes separated the two least vote-getters. Matt was the unlucky one, getting booted off the show after an impressive run. I agree with the call, since I think he’s just the least talented of the remaining six — which doesn’t mean he can’t sing or doesn’t have a great look.

I wonder who was the act that Matt beat by just 2%. Any guesses?

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