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X Factor UK 14: Live Show 1 (Girls & Boys)

.. and I'm back!

X Factor UK 14 is here once again and as every year, DAM NATION is back to cover the live shows until the Finale. I've been following the season and I must say that the talent this year is quite good. There were a couple of standouts, but I'm waiting for someone to pull an upset. There's no clearcut frontrunner though and that's a good thing.

I'm still on the fence about the new format, but I guess I have to wait and see how things will go from here on out. The new stage looked INCREDIBLE though and the performances were all decent to awesome without any train wrecks like previous seasons.

On with the show!

08. Sam Black
Look, Sam's rendition of Faith wasn't exactly terrible for a first live show performance, but it lacked a certain degree of conviction. It felt as though Sam wasn't sure of what he was doing that it almost seemed awkward throughout the entire number. His vocals were decent though save for some timing issues at the first half of the performance, but yes, arguably, the weakest one tonight. 5

07. Leon Mallett
There was nothing wrong with Leon's take on Stay - in fact, the added rap verse was a clever touch and he actually sounded good for the most part - but I totally forgot about this performance as soon as he was done and that's not a good thing. Not sure if it was the performance order, but I remembered the people before him, so.. 5.5

06. Lloyd Macey
City of Stars
Not going to lie, Lloyd is an undeniably strong vocalist with fantastic technique and he delivered the City of Stars with effortlessness, which was actually a brilliant song choice for him. However, I can't shake off the thought that there's something inherently cheesy and schmaltzy with most of his performances including this one. It's too vanilla for my liking. 6

05. Alisah Bonaobra
This Is My Now
If you've been following DAM NATION for a long time now, you'd probably know how I feel about Alisah since I covered The Voice Philippines, and somehow, my comments are practically the same. The high notes she threw towards the end were pretty good - in fact, she gave the kind of performance that goes big on reality singing shows in general - but it felt more like showing off what she can do than actually feeling the music. There was not one ounce of spice in her performance and I was left feeling cold and empty. The terrible song choice didn't help as well. This was a good vocal showcase, but this is X Factor and you have to have that something extra. I guess, she should join The Voice instead no? Oh wait.. 7

04. Rai-Elle Williams
Doo Wop (That Thing)/No
Vocally, Rai-Elle wasn't as bombastic as Alisah or Lloyd, but there was something just so inherently cool about this performance that I found myself really getting into the whole vibe that was radiating from her. She looked comfortable on stage, she looked like she was having fun, and her pitch was surprisingly good considering that she was moving around the stage a lot. Good job. 7.5

03. Grace Davies
Too Young
I'm not really sure what to feel about original songs being performed at this stage of the competition, but Gracie actually delivered one solid performance. The song sounded good with enough moments to let her vocals soar, her tone was lush, and the way she phrased her words were interesting. She did hit a couple of wobbly notes, but I digress. 7.5

02. Spencer Sutherland
Who You Are
Such a shame that he was performed on the death slot. Spencer, to me, is one of the better contestants this season with a clear musical identity, strong vocals, and star quality. His version of Jessie J's Who You Are was just sublime and the liberties he took with the melody and phrasing was pretty impressive. There was a bit of straining towards the end that it sounded like he was almost shouting, but it's just me nitpicking, because this was really good. If only he performed towards the end instead. 8

01. Holly Tandy
I didn't expect much from Holly as I felt like she didn't have enough personality to pull off a surprise, but this was awesome. This Tori Kelly track is a deceptively hard song to sing and she delivered with power and charisma. Her vocals, for the most part, was terrific, she looked stunning,  and there's something about her that screams STAR. Not sure if she'd be able to take it all, but we'll see. 8

Spencer Sutherland
X Factor UK 14: Live Show 1 (Girls & Boys) Reviewed by DAM on 6:09 PM Rating: 5

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