“The X Factor Australia” live shows have begun on Sunday. The Top 12 contestants became 13 as the Wildcard has been announced.
First to go on stage is drummer Jason Heerah, who sang Ed Sheeran’s “Sing.”
Complete with sexy dancers in high heels and short shorts, the family man opened the show with high notes and extreme energy. His performance was so well received that his coach Redfoo nicknamed him “Hammer Time” because he “nailed it.”
Next was the returning contestant Tee, who hurt his knee while “twerking” during practice, according to Foo. So instead of his usual animated self, he sang John Newman’s “Love Me Again” just staying at his spot at the top of a makeshift pyramid on stage.
Although he walked with a limp on stage to hear the judges’ critique of him, it was worth it since he heard only positive remarks.
Ronan Keating, who was his mentor last year, said he felt guilty for not getting him through the home visit. He even bravely compared Tee with the song’s original singer, John Newman, who came to the show last season to perform the same song.
“We had John last here perform that song. It’s so tough to sing that, and you made it your own. John won’t mind me saying it, but you sang it better than he did,” Ronan told Tee.
His coach Natalie Bassingthwaighte didn’t mind that Ronan sent him home last year since that allowed Tee to try again for this season.
“You’re here now and you’re all mine!” Nat, who handles the Under 25 Boys category, said.
Ronan then introduced Sydnee Carter, whose nerves got the better of her during boot camp and home visits.
The 16-year-old Perth girl performed Coldplay’s “Don’t Panic.” It was a surreal production, with just a candelabra and a guitar player accompanying her on a small boat on stage. The song itself didn’t require Sydnee to hit high notes, but, as the judges said, it was an incredible performance nonetheless.
For Dannii Minogue’s Groups category, Younger Than Yesterday was the first to perform. If the act’s name doesn’t ring a bell, it’s because they were unoriginally named Boy Band when they were formed during the boot camp.
The trio of 16-year-olds – Joel Watson, Harry Targett and Ellis Hall – gave their “best performance” so far according to the judges.
Only Natalie gave them constructive criticism, telling them to watch their timing because it was a bit off. However, she also said they have improved a lot since.
Single mum Rochelle Pitt had a glam makeover since receiving the good news during home visits. As his coach Foo call her, she’s now “Rochelle 2.0.”
The “miva” of the season – that’s “mummy and diva” put together – Rochelle impressed the audience and the judges with her black-and-white production and performance of “History Repeating Itself” by the Propellerheads.
Trill, the youngest group in Dannii’s category, still have their swag during their performance, but they still had something missing from their performance. According to Foo, who appeared speechless after watching the girls’ “trippy” stage production, they need to work on their vocals.
For Ronan, though, their vocals were amazing, but their production was too much. They also have to watch their timing.
Adrien Nookadu took on Jason Derulo’s “Stupid Love” next. While he was fantastic and was able to bring the girls in the audience scream for him, his vocals weren’t as impressive. As Dannii noted, he didn’t hit a few high notes because he was dancing at the same time.
Natalie agreed that he “wasn’t 100 per cent there tonight.”
The Wildcard was next. Each of the judges chose one of their acts to be their Wildcard, and it was up to the viewers to decide who they want to join the top 12.
Ronan chose Alice Bottomley, while Dannii had the Brothers 3. Natalie presented Jesse Teinaku, and Foo picked Ryan Imlach as his contender.
Only one of the four acts mentioned would sing live and join the top 12, and that one was Brothers 3.
The self-proclaimed farm boys – Makirum (16), Shardryn (17) and Tayzin Fahey-Leigh (18) – were given just a few minutes to prepare for their live act.
Each carrying their guitar, the brothers sang Bruno Mars’ “Just the Way You Are,” and promptly got a standing ovation from the judges.
Marlisa Punzalan, 14, is the youngest solo act in the competition. Ronan gave her one of the hardest songs of the night, “All By Myself,” which the schoolgirl was able to deliver nearly flawlessly.
Natalie thought the top note needed a little bit working on, but the rest of her performance was perfect. Dannii’s beef was the song itself. The lyrics of Celine Dion’s classic include “When I was young,” which wasn’t appropriate for someone who is still as young as Marlisa.
Caitlyn Shadbolt stayed true to her country roots with Keith Urban’s “Days Go By.” It was a great move, too. During home visits, she tried pop and sang Demi Lovato’s “Skyscraper,” but that didn’t pay off too well.
Singing country, however, Caitlyn was able to have Nat and Ronan dance to her music.
The newly formed Girl Group now has a unique name, XOX, and a new look. Chaska Halliday (17), Tahnie Cristini (19), Nada-Leigh Nasser (21) and Serenity (18) proved that although they didn’t like being put together at first, they were able to shine individually and as a group nonetheless.
Dean Ray, whose eyes were described as “too intense” by Natalie, sang The Rolling Stones’ “Sympathy for the Devil.”
As presenter Luke Jacobz observed, Dean wasn’t used to getting praises from the judges. The aspiring rocker explained that it’s because he looks up to the judges so much that it seems unbelievable for them to give them compliments on his singing.
The last performer was 25-year-old Reigan Derry, who looked like a sand angel on stage when she performed “Unconditionally” by Katy Perry.
“What were you doing in a band? Don’t go back in a band!” Dannii told her, referring to her past as a member of the Aussie pop duo Scarlett Belle.
After Reigan’s performance, the judges appeared to have conceded to Foo, who they think would take home the winning crown with Reigan this year.
The contestants are now relying on viewers to vote for them to advance to the next stage.
“The X Factor Australia” will resume on Monday, with last season’s winner Dami Im coming back.
Read: ‘The X Factor Australia’ Recap: Top 12 and the Wildcard Are Chosen Watch the performances:
Wildcard: Brothers 3