Normally on this blog, I like to leave a gap before I review a show a second time. It could be a year, sometimes two, but always enough time to for it to progress and evolve, for better or worse. However, some shows a done a disservice with this approach. Even a few weeks can make a difference in whether or not the trail of breadcrumbs you followed at the start are the ones you are following now.

The X Factor definitely deserves another look now we are deep into the live shows. For a start, there has been some massive surprises in the selection for the finalists, in particular in the Over’s. I always felt that Honey G was primed for a spot, even when Sharon Osborne sent her packing at boot camp. But there had also been a definite narrative for the other two spots to go to any out of James Wilson, Janet Grogan or Samantha Atkinson. Instead, the virtually previously unseen Relley C and the initially unpopular Saara Aalto took them.

Not that I’m disappointed. Saara is one of the strongest vocalists and an increasingly bold performer, although she has received more love form the judges than the public. Relley C, meanwhile, was easy cannon fodder while they kept in the more contemporary 4 of Diamonds and Ryan Lawrie.

Overall, this year is a strong line up. Matt Terry and Emily Middlemass are easy leaders, the former good looking with an excellent falsetto, the latter with a definitive sound and style. Such as been the ease of their dominance that the show has deliberately de-ramped them this week, Terry dropping the killer falsetto and Middlemass being ever more rooted to the spot in productions, to actually make it look like a competition.

5 Minutes to Midnight are easily pitching for the JLS vote. They are perhaps not as likeable, and some productions have seen them fall back on backing tracks rather than their own voices, but anything less than a semi-final spot would be amiss.

Aalto, Sam Lavery and Ryan Lawrie are all easy targets to pick off over the next three weeks, the only question being the order. Aalto, for me, needs to be spared a few weeks yet, purely because she is more at home in the big productions the show thrives on and is a stunning vocalist. A sing-off between Lawrie and Lavery would be interesting – the latter has gone off the rails and is being denied her moment, while Lawrie has upped his game but still is relatively forgettable.

And what of Honey G? Is she a cultural appropriating prankster catfishing the show? Or a slightly deluded middle-class woman? Personally, I think her love of the music and of entertaining is sincere, and I think deep inside she knows she is the novelty act. But what I like about her is that she actually seems nice. She thanks the whole team at the show for given her opportunities, works hard and has a streak of self-deprecation that is joyful. A win would be a step to far, but having her in the final at Wembley Arena? I wouldn’t say no. I say Honey, you say G. Honey…

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