The bottom two is announced and probably due to the lack of young people voting - two younger contenders are there. It's Afnan and Dirk. Lloyd Webber makes them sing "Memory" and helps them dig deep by saying: "It's about a cat." Why, thank you for that. They both do ok but Afnan is out of tune. Amanda turns to Andrew and there is an awkward silence. No real sense of tension here - just a get on with it look from Holden. He saves Dirk. Off he goes up the "Stairway to Heaven" - I kid ye not. What about Afnan? He's asked to "Walk into the Light!" In other words - apply for The Voice.
So then it's back to the competition leaving no time to for tears. Ben is up first singing a Plan B track - he seems to have backing dancers from the show Chicago which is distracting but he has great presence and is still the one to watch. Jason says he's "cool and calm." Dawn goes for the word "amazing" (isn't everything?) and the Lord says he's going to go a long way. I like him - he has a calming presence and I think he would not be a gamble if you paid for a ticket.
Next up is Tim singing "First Cut is the Deepest" - maybe he should dedicate this to Afnan who's now walking up a spiral staircase to another show. The back story of Tim's neurosis is playing havoc with my concentration on his actual performance. Not mad on his falsetoo shrieks either. He was solid but there is something about the way he's being presented which I think will stop him winning. Mel says: "He's very brave." That's my case in point - he's presented as a victim.
Rory the rock star is the next one to step up to the mic. He sings Kelly Clarkson's "Stronger" and the routine is very homoerotic. If any contestant should be on another show, it's this guy. He simply just does rock songs and doesn't act them. He's a great performer and knows how to work a crowd but he's a singer, not an actor. Accepting that he can sing and as a judge he would kill for his voice - Jason says: "I wanna be in your club." The Lord sticks to cliches and simply says: "You're a superstar!"
Nathan is perfect reality television material. He flicks his hair, has VT footage telling you how good he is and is going to divide an audience straight down the middle. I'm finding him a bot of a one trick pony but the songs are not helping because he is encouraged to either stick to his comfort zone or sing them in a rock style. "Don't Wanna Miss a Thing! would be ideal as it's a rock ballad. It would show a vulnerable side. I would rather they all sing songs from musical theatre but this is ITV and clearly the pop songs get people voting as they've heard them before. Jason mentions that Nathan is over confident. Expect tears in the V.T tonight.
Roger is obviously given a daft question as he says: "Playing Jesus and Simba are two very different things!" Sherlock Holmes is alive and well! The rock song he is given is flat and does not go anywhere. Not only that, but he has a lack of emotion throughout. He reminds me of Seal and should do numbers like this or bring soul to rock songs. The judges agree. I think he could be vulnerable though as his performance is forgettable.
Dirk does "Titanium" and lord knows why. Well, Lord does know why and he should be quizzed. The song is dire for a competition like this. Jason claims it's one of his favourite songs and says "It doesn't suit you." Dawn says "you came alive." Was he dead behind the eyes yesterday? Andrew cracks an unfunny golf joke and then forgets he should be judging and says: "Glad you're here" - like you would to a family member on Boxing Day. I'll leave you with Jason's oo-er comment: "You've just gotta release the beast!" Is this Jesus Burlesque style?
George Best - I mean Jeff is next. Oh dear - he's singing The Killers but in the style of musical theatre. There's a jokebox musical that would be a disaster eh? Brandon Flowers seems quiet and unassuming off stage. Give him lights, a decent song, a band and a big audience and watch him soar - he's mesmerising. Jeff is, well Jeff. He's engaging and puppy like. But here, he is out of his depth. Jason says: "More passion and fire" is required and he's right.
Niall has the blandest pop song ever and struggles with it. His pitch is all over the place and he looks like he hates singing it. In musicals, you end up singing stuff you hate, I suppose. But these guys don't get long to learn them or perform them as unlike other shows, this is nightly not weekly. Even so, the performance is lacklustre and I wouldn't be surprised if he goes home soon.
Jon is proof that these shows do help someone improve. His version of the very apt "I Can't Make You Love Me" is stunning. His vocal control is superb and he has clearly been taking in every bit of advice he has received. He won't be going back to Butlins, that's for sure. The Lord agrees and says: "You lost the Butlins, completely."
David sings "Nothing Real But Love" and it's an excellent track for him. He delivers and reminds me of Will Young - in that he can do vulnerable performances. Jason says that he was last because they have "Saved the best" till then. Dawn says: "You Rock." Mel says that he was "Born to perform."
So, the show has improved - it feels like it has some pace. Having an evictee at the start gives some drama to the proceedings. On our twitter feed, many people said they need to sing more musical theatre and I agree but this is ITV and people vote for pop songs they know. Sad but true. So, 7 days left and I might need more than a stairway to heaven by the end of the process.