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X Factor Anniversary Show review: Urban flavour and forgotten lyrics

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Over on BBC One on Saturday night, the broadcaster was marking the 50th anniversary of a much-loved show. A cameo from Tom Baker, great actors, a glimpse into the future, plenty of touching nods to the past; It was a wonderful celebration of a fantastic British institution.

On ITV, Chico was jumping all over Caroline Flack in a warehouse.

The X Factor judges

© Tom Dymond/Thames/REX

The X Factor judges



Yes, this was the 10th Anniversary X Factor special. A randomly picked date, which happened to coincide with the events happening on BBC One. ITV did their best to trump the Doctor Who party and when it came to frightening performances that had you jumping behind the sofa in horror, X Factor was without question the clear victor.

Who needs Zygons and Daleks when you've got Louis Walsh?

The 10th Anniversary theme meant that we had lots of old X Factor 'favourites' returning as guest mentors, hits from former acts and everyone from Chicken Man to Johnny Robinson peering eagerly in the background for a few seconds of screen time.

"There is no place for Wagner and 'Love Shack'," said Dermot O'Leary at the top of the show. Once again, the show's greatest ever performer was snubbed. We almost switched off there and then in protest.

Nicholas McDonald

© Jonathan Hordle/Thames/REX

Nicholas McDonald



16-year-old Nicholas McDonald was the first performer on Saturday night. Except, Nicholas isn't 16 anymore. He's 17. It's probably going to cost him the series. A 16-year-old singer is incredible. A 17-year-old singer? The judges seemed less enthralled.

Louis Walsh reminded us all that he's been working on the show for 10 years, a fact which never ceases to make my jaw drop, and declared Nicholas one of the finest singers he's ever mentored. From the man who gave us Jedward, Kandy Rain and the McDonald Brothers, this was high praise indeed.

For viewers not occupying Planet Louis Walsh, Nicholas's cover of 'The Climb' was the musical equivalent of an episode of Antiques Roadshow. Totally inoffensive, but about as thrilling as the valuation of a teapot belong to a woman from the Norfolk Broads.

Bringing back former acts - in the case of Nicholas, it was ex-champ Joe McElderry - only highlighted the weaknesses of this year's crop. Nicholas was competent, but he wasn't a patch on Geordie Joe.

Hannah Barrett

© Jonathan Hordle/Thames/REX

Hannah Barrett



The next visitor was Alexandra Burke, whose career is a bit less ok.com and more wherethehellhasshebeen.org these days. Alexandra stopped by to offer some words of wisdom to Hannah Barrett. The result was a mangled version of 'Hallelujah', another sing-off and the axe on Sunday night's results show for the Greggs worker.

Hannah's biggest problem throughout the series was her mentor. Nicole Scherzinger didn't believe that her "Hannah Banana" could do any wrong. She kept barking and growling out the tunes and Scherzinger kept heaping on the praise.

"I've heard that sang a million times," she told Hannah. "Nobody can do what you did."

Leonard Cohen? Jeff Buckley? Pah, they've got nothing on the girl serving cheese and onion pasties.

Luke Friend

© Jonathan Hordle/Thames/REX

Luke Friend



Next up on stage on Saturday was Luke Friend, who was generous enough to give his time to charity this week and met up with poor old series two winner Shayne Ward. Shayne looked more excited about meeting Luke than the teenager did to meet the guy who gave 'No U Hang Up' to the world of music.

A "dark horse" who has a "lane of [his] own", Luke's judges' comments were brimming with clich├ęs. He was also informed by the judges that he should be a dead cert for the final. That would be good news if it wasn't for the fact that every remaining act has been told the same thing at some point. Including Hannah.

Rough Copy ditched their leather skirts and Gary Barlow used the term "urban flavour" *wince*. That combo combined to make for the worst performance from the trio since the start of the Live Shows. Their cover of 'Don't Let Go' was shaky at best, and not even a Louis Walsh Boyz II Men comparison and a peculiar pair of skiing goggles could distract viewers and save them from a spot in the sing-off.

Rough Copy

© Jonathan Hordle/Thames/REX

Rough Copy



The Rough Copy boys might have been ropey on Saturday night, but at least they didn't forget their lyrics. After stumbling and skidding through 'Diamonds Are Forever' last week, Tamera Foster drove headfirst into a motorway pile-up this week as she stuttered across a buttock-clenching version of 'Impossible'.

"YOU NEED TO THE REMEMBER THE WORDS!" Louis Walsh barked at her. You don't work for 10 years as an X Factor judge without picking up some golden nuggets of advice like that.

Tamera Foster

© Jonathan Hordle/Thames/REX

Tamera Foster



Tamera was, and still is, without question, the act most likely to have a long-lasting pop career. Unfortunately, the 16-year-old is currently crumbling on live TV. Her nerves have gone and she probably needs some advice and comfort from someone less brutal and with a margin more common sense than Louis Walsh.

Rounding off the show was Sam Bailey, who did little to alter every sane viewer's belief that nobody else in the competition stands a chance of beating her. Powerful vocals, sensible song choices, gracious comments, a few Maloney-isms about missing her kids. The only danger for Sam is complacency.

Sam Bailey

© Jonathan Hordle/Thames/REX

Sam Bailey



Who did you like on Saturday night? Are you enjoying the current series? Let us know below.

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