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'The X Factor' Top 7: Half term report card

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Sam Bailey: A+

Sam Bailey on 'The X Factor' Disco Week

© Rex Features / Tom Dymond/Thames

Sam Bailey



Despite being tagged as this year's "Tesco Mary", given the tag "ScrewBo" by Louis Walsh and an alarming amount of interest from Michael Bolton, Sam has managed to overcome these hurdles and genuinely be considered a contender for the title. No easy feat for an act in the dreaded Overs category.

Sam's managed to not only hit all the big notes, she's also managed to make herself look like an artist who could sell a few records. The judges can't find a flaw, her blubbing husband gets us all emotional every time and she's proving to be consistently popular in the Digital Spy polls. We'd probably hate her if she wasn't so darn nice.

Rough Copy: A

Rough Copy on 'The X Factor' Disco Week

© Rex Features / Tom Dymond/Thames

Rough Copy



This cane-swinging, hyperactive, giddy three-piece have won our hearts. Kaz, Sterling and Joey were the stand-out group in this year's competition, which admittedly isn't saying much, but halfway through the contest and still standing strong, they have to be considered dark horses to win this thing.

Louis Walsh appears determined to pin them as the new JLS, but these guys have their own swagger and style and we most certainly like the cut of their jib. Their version of 'September' in Disco Week was our highlight of the Live Shows so far.

Luke Friend: B+

Luke impresses the judges.

© Tom Dymond/Thames/REX

Luke Friend



Who thought old hairy chops had it in him? We spent the first couple of weeks poking fun at his grubby locks and making cheeky comparisons. Kimberley Walsh. Swampy. The Cowardly Lion. Our old gran's mop.

But then something happened. He surprised us with 'Let Her Go'. We were blown away by 'Kiss From A Rose'. And he managed to cover 'Play That Funky Music' without making us cringe. He definitely wins the prize for most improved contestant, and he's almost been good enough for us to forget about that hair. Almost.

Tamera Foster: B

Tamera Foster on 'The X Factor' Disco Week

© Rex Features / Tom Dymond/Thames

Tamera Foster



The runaway bookies' favourite before the series started and still the most likely to land a cheeky record deal from Simon Cowell, Tamera has everything going for her on paper. Unfortunately, it's still all on that piece of paper and not coming across on Saturday nights.

Aside from her strutting and assured take on 'Ain't Nobody' in week one, her performances have been a little too timid, her personality a little bit too restrained and she's not been warm enough to win over voters. Hence her spot in the bottom two a fortnight ago. She may still win a record deal (and be the real winner), but her chances of winning the whole show are looking slimmer by the week.

Nicholas McDonald: C+

Nicholas McDonald performs 'Dream A Little Dream'.

© REX/Tom Dymond/Thames

Nicholas McDonald



He's only 16 you know. Yes we know. Christ, God, Jesus, we bloody know his age already.

The only problem for Nicholas is that his age is about the only interesting thing about him. A clone of former bland X Factor teens (Ray Quinn, Leon Jackson, Eoghan Quigg), he's racking up the Scottish and granny vote, but proving to be totally unmemorable as a performer. He'll reach the final, but only by being competent and innocuous rather than by blowing anyone away.

Hannah Barrett: C

Hannah Barrett on 'The X Factor' Disco Week

© Rex Features / Tom Dymond/Thames

Hannah Barrett



Her constant blubbing and Greggs worker backstory should have made a winning formula for public support. Everyone loves a Steak Bake, right? However, a shift to growling and bellowing out her songs rather than letting her natural soulful tones shine has left her languishing in the bottom two - twice.

She's got the ingredients to make it to the final, but she'll need to turn things around quickly (and maybe smile when the judges are giving their comments) if she's going to achieve that.

Sam Callahan: F

Sam Callahan on 'The X Factor' Disco Week

© Rex Features / Tom Dymond/Thames

Sam Callahan



Sam's cover of Dean Martin's 'Ain't That a Kick In The Head' sounded a little bit like Dean Martin... if Dean Martin had been possessed by the ghost of Frankie Cocozza and he wheezed out the notes while being trampled on by a herd of wildebeest.

We're sure he's a hard worker, we're sure plenty of people wouldn't kick that face and those arms out of bed in the morning and he's probably a really nice guy. But as a popstar, Sam's about as close to becoming the next big thing as Louis Walsh is to winning Miss World. We've heard farts with better pitching, sick animals with better tone and drunk tramps at Brixton Tube who can hit more of the right notes.

What marks would you give the X Factor Top 7? Let us know below.

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