“The X Factor Australia” continued with its Home Visits on Monday night. The hopefuls faced their mentors and the guest judges for their final performance before the top 3 acts from each category are announced.
Natalie Bassingthwaighte’s Under 25 Boys and Ronan Keating’s Under 25 Girls are still in New York City, while Redfoo’s Over 25s are in Las Vegas. Dannii Minogue’s Groups are left in Sydney.
Ever since getting on the “X Factor” stage to audition, Amali Ward has been vying for Redfoo’s approval. Foo was the only judge to say no to her, and even during practice, he has not been too keen on her, citing her lack of emotion during performance.
Taking Foo’s advice to heart, the 25-year-old songstress incorporated as much emotion as she could while singing Rihanna’s “Diamonds” in front of her mentor and Nicole Scherzinger.
“I just love looking at her,” Nicole told Foo of her assessment of Amali, adding that she has the looks and talent. However, the former Pussycat Dolls singer also noted that Amali was lacking confidence in herself, which was perhaps due to Foo’s always telling her that she was “emotionless.”
24-year-old Alice Bottomley was next to be featured, singing Roxette’s “Listen to Your Heart” in front of her mentor Ronan and John Legend, who thought that she was “excellent.”
Boy Band, the group just formed in boot camp, finally found a leader among them. Joel Watson and Harry Targett agreed that Ellis Hall should be their leader as he has experienced being one in his former group.
After singing for Jessica Mauboy the day before, they again tried their luck with James Blunt and their coach Dannii, singing “What I Like About You” by The Romantics.
Harry missed a few words from his verse, which Dannii noticed immediately.
Brothers 3 were next to face Dannii and James. After their not-so-impressive performance of the Bangles’ “Eternal Flames,” the farm boys decided to give the song another shot. This time, though, they managed to impress their mentor and the British singer-songwriter.
Dannii, however, still had a “question mark” over the siblings, saying their genre appeared to be from a different era.
Caitlyn Shadbolt didn’t hit the right notes during practice session with Ronan, so she was hoping that she would perform better the next day when she faced her mentor and John. Still singing “Skyscraper” by Demi Lovato, the 18-year-old country singer still wasn’t able to hit some notes.
John noted that it was an emotional performance, one which left him questioning whether or not she was going to cry while she was singing.
Chloe Papandrea wanted to correct her “massive mistake” the day before. She still sang Christina Aguilera’s “What a Girl Wants,” but with a different take. It was a good decision; Ronan and John loved it.
Dean Ray, whose eyes were described as too intense by her mentor Natalie, sang a rockified version of Abba’s “Dancing Queen” once again. Jennifer Lopez heard him along with Natalie.
“Interesting,” Jennifer said of Dean, adding that she could see why Natalie told him he was polarising. “He has a pretty Ken Doll face, but then it’s like Ken and Marilyn Mason had a baby.”
Girl Group, the newly formed quartet composed of the fiery Serenity, Nada-Leigh Nasser, Chaska Halliday and Tahni Christini, still impressed Dannii and now James. Singing “What a Man,” the girls made Dannii scream with delight.
James also commented that they are “great singers.”
Dannii’s concern was the votes, though. She wasn’t sure if young girls would back them up.
Serenity, who was hesitant about being put in a group, was surprised that they have such great chemistry together.
James Johnston let go of the disastrous “Man in the Mirror,” and instead went for “Something I Need” by One Republic. It can be remembered that Natalie gave him the harshest criticism of the day during their one-on-one mentoring session when he tried the Michael Jackson hit.
So wisely, he sang the other song in front of Natalie and Jennifer, who said his most compelling trait was his “storytelling quality.”
31-year-ol drummer Jason Heerah sang “Benny and the Jets” by Elton John on stage with his mentor Redfoo and Nicole as the only audience.
“He made me smile,” Nicole said.
“Yeah, he’s nice, but where’s his edge?” Foo countered.
Jaymie Deboucherville put off the judges with his attitude during boot camp. But when he faced Natalie and J.Lo, he was all charming and respectful, telling them they’re picture perfect.
“He was so adorable, it’s crazy,” Jennifer said. “I was mesmerised.”
When sister duo MajikHoney faced their idol Jessica Mauboy, Honey messed up a bit in her vocals. She blamed it on nerves.
This time, Jessica wasn’t in the room anymore, but they still struggled in the first part of their song, according to James. Nevertheless, they were able to hit it off after the first shaky lines.
After consistently giving superb performances, 14-year-old Marlisa Punzalan was worried that a tiny blunder on her part would “mess up” mentor Ronan’s impression of her.
Unfortunately, she did make a blunder while singing The Pretenders’ “I’ll Stand By You.” It was so noticeable that Ronan, who has been singing her praises since from the very start, started wincing as she tripped off on her vocals.
Fortunately, John was still impressed. Although she’s so young, the youngest in the competition, John said that her voice is beyond her years.
Paris Inc’s most positive remark from Dannii and James was their obvious friendship. Dannii remarked that she loves their image since they don’t have something like them in Australia.
But as James noted, singing “Your Love is My Drug” by Ke$ha wasn’t probably the best choice. It’s not the song that they should have gone for if they wanted a spot in the finals.
“If I’m honest, it wouldn’t be my favourite song,” the “You’re Beautiful” hitmaker told Dannii. “And I think maybe they didn’t enjoy themselves too much.”
When Dannii added that it wasn’t a winning performance, James agreed, perhaps jokingly, “Definitely. I sing songs that I hate every night, but I just learn to love them. I think about the money and it makes me smile.”
Reigan Derry was emotional when she told the camera that she was lucky to have another chance after being part of a duo that had amassed moderate success in the U.S.
“It’s good when I don’t speak much,” Nicole told Foo after Reigan sang “Locked Out of Heaven” by Bruno Mars. “I think that you have your contender to possibly win the Australian X Factor right there.”
“What I’m concerned about is she’s not new to this,” Foo mused. “So there must be a reason why she hadn’t made it.”
41-year-old single mum Rochelle Pitt impressed Nicole so much with her performance of Aretha Franklin’s “Natural Woman” that the guest judge only said, “Oh, I like her. She sounds great.”
“But to be relevant, she’s got to go out of her comfort zone,” Foo countered.
When Ryan Imlach sang “Wicked Games” by Chris Isaak, it was clear that Foo and Nicole liked him as a performer and as a person. However, Foo was concerned about how likeable he really is to the viewers.
Shanell Dargan still “needs more attitude,” as Ronan told her during the practice. That’s also what John observed while she was singing “I’m Not Ready to Make Nice” by the Dixie Chicks.
“My only concern is that she’s bottomed up,” the multiple Grammy Award winner said of the 21-year-old care worker.
Math and science teacher Stephanie Totino, 27, was at her best when she sang “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” according to Foo.
“She was going for it,” Nicole agreed, “but I wasn’t moved.”
Sydnee Carter went for a ballad version of Rihanna’s “We Found Love,” and got a positive feedback from John, who said he liked how he sang the song.
However, he also had a negative to go along with his praise.
“Her physical presence was so not ready for primetime,” John told Ronan.
Trill, the youngest girl band in the competition, made James clap after they performed “Price Tag” by Jessie J.
“They’ve got swag!” James praised the three girls, although he also added that they weren’t fully letting go.
Watch the full episode on “The X Factor Australia” Web site.