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X Factor: The Judges Houses

Can you believe it’s judges houses already!? No, nor can we – and it’s October as well (time to get the mittens out)! Judges houses are, arguably, one of the best parts of the whole competition… though this time around it seemed more like ‘Judges Favourite Holiday Destination’ than REAL judges houses, but still exciting to see where everyone ends up.

Tulisa met up with Tinie Tempah and took the girls to St Lucia, and it looked absolutely glorious. The glow of her sun-skin against her newly bleach-blonde hair complimented her wonderfully and we think it’s become a colour triumph, though there were still a couple of you over on Twitter who weren’t convinced and think she should go back to her dark tresses!

The girls left in the competition were Ella, Jade E, Jade C, Amy, and Lucy – a tough job for Tulisa to decide on who should go through, but she narrowed it down to Ella (which was a given), Jade Ellis (one of our favourites!) and Lucy Spraggan.

Lucy, we felt, was a bit of a gamble – while she is an amazing talent, her own style seems to transcend the X Factor a little, so it will be interesting to see how far she can go with what she does.

Louis surprised everyone when he took the groups to Las Vegas! Usually a long-running joke for those of us who’ve been watching X Factor since day dot that Louis always takes his category to Ireland (Ireland is beautiful, of course, but you have to feel for the guys who don’t get to go to California, don’t you?!) – but not this time! Everyone went wild when they found out, and fair enough as well. Louis was joined by ex-judge, Sharon Osbourne (who was looking very smooth-skinned… a really good BB cream??).

Favourites, Rough Copy, were nowhere to be seen due to visa issues, so Times Red and Union J (AKA Triple J, but with an extra member – an unsuccessful chap from the Boys group who has a look of the Harry Styles floppy hair about him… are you confused yet?) stepped in to the competition, along with Duke, Mitsotu, MK1, GMD3 and the only all-girl group (all two of them) Poisonous Twin.

Despite Louis’ assertion that the boyband market is saturated, 2/3 of his final choices (which were GMD3, Union J and MK1) were boybands, so maybe he’s more confident in the boyband market than he’s letting on. We were particularly devastated that Mitsotu didn’t get through, as we absolutely LOVED Holly’s red hair – such a gorgeous colour.

As a stark contrast to the usually trusty stay-at-home Louis, Gary Barlow seemed to have hired out some sort of country estate to take his ‘Overs’ category to. The voiceover was sure to continuously remind us that it was Gary’s ‘JUDGES house’, which did kind of infer that it wasn’t his own manor. Beautiful as it looked, we imagine the acts would have been devastated they weren’t sunning themselves on St Lucia or getting amongst it in Vegas!

The overs seemed particularly tame this year, no real stand-out acts; Carolynne finally got past the judges houses stage (after getting to the same stage with Louis last year) along with Melanie and Kye. Christopher Maloney, despite being a standout act every time he’s been on, didn’t make it… the rest, entirely forgettable, unfortunately!

It will be interesting to see if Melanie Masson’s wild, beautiful, natural curls can be tamed and brightened a little by the X Factor style team.

Of course, how could we not mention the reappearance of CHERYL COLE as Gary’s sidekick!? Ms Cole was looking divine with a slick top-knot bun and a dark purple lipstick, with Celine Audrey sunglasses… ain’t she the greatest!?

Finally, to the Boys category! Nicole Scherzinger looking pristine and glamorous as ever was joined by RnB star Neo, who was wearing a natty little red hat. It was inevitable that James Arthur, the North East’s unlikely pop hero would get through with his beautiful bluesy tone. We hope he loses the Deirdre Barlow glasses for the live shows!

Also through was Rylan (you know, the guy with the shoulder wigs – we hope those guys get a trip out again in the series, maybe with a Caroline Flack style ombre), whose reaction to his place in the live shows was completely unprecedented… and dare we say a little off-putting!? See for yourself…

Also through was Jahmene, which was a given! Despite his nerves and anxiety, he really is something special, and Nicole spotted it. We were disappointed for the other boys; especially Adam Burridge who we thought would have nailed it!

As ever, it wouldn’t be the X Factor without some kind of bogus twist (admittedly, we thought it was going to be the inclusion of so many groups, but that’s only part of it) – each judge got to nominate a wildcard, who will be voted in by the public. Definitely could have called that. We hope it’s ladies’ favourite Adam Burridge, but definitely think that Times Red AND Christopher Maloney (as he makes us weep every time he talks about his nan) all deserve their place in the live shows. And Amy as well. Bring them all back!

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