X Factor review: The tenth anniversary show


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The Independent Culture

In the same week that television brought us a drama about the making of Doctor Who, X Factor celebrated its tenth birthday with a series of performances of past winner’s singles.

It’s hard to believe that 10 years ago Steve Brookstein was about to be crowned the first champion of the ITV show, which has since brought us the likes of Shayne Ward, Alexandra Burke, Leona Lewis, JLS, One Direction, and Little Mix.

In an unapologetic celebration of its own success, the show went all out tonight, bringing back former winners to act as mentors to this year’s cohort.

Nicholas McDonald opened the show with a cover of Geordie 2009 winner Joe McElderry’s “The Climb”, to high praise from the judges, with Louis (in true hyperbolic form) calling him “the best vocal artist I have ever worked with on this show”.

It was the first of many self-referential moments from the show, which included appearances from Chico and Rylan, and a montage of all the judges past and present- including a glimpse of the Cherly Cole Danni Minogue golden era.

Memorable performances from tonight included Luke Friend’s cover of One Direction’s “That’s what makes you beautiful”. The dreadlocked 16-year-old (endorsed last week by Adele) gave the song an unexpected raw edge with almost Aerosmith-like vocals.

Rough Copy also owned their version of Little Mix’s “Don’t Let Go”. But it is their outfits not song choice that will be remembered tonight, as the group looked to be midway through a heavy après-ski session in ski goggles and salopettes.

We were told by Dermot that Tamera would be singing “the greatest X Factor song”, which brought “Bleeding Love” to mind. But instead she sang James Arthur’s number one single “Impossible” (itself, like most of the song’s tonight, a cover).

That was not the only disappointment. The poor 16-year-old then crumbled on stage as she forgot her words, for at least the third time this series.

Sam Bailey saved the day, as ever. The prison worker turned diva was given Leona’s single, and belted out “Bleeding Love” with emotional gusto in a bright red floor-length dress.

The X Factor tenth anniversary lived up to everything the show has always stood for: melodrama, sentimentalism, narcissism…and damn good Saturday night entertainment.