The quarter finals of The Longridge X-Factor have taken place and this Sunday, June 11 is the penultimate event when the remaining six contestants become four..
It is said the tension could not have been higher at Sunday's quarter finals, nine deserving finalists fighting for their place in the next stage of the competition, edging ever closer to the £1000 cash prize.
The judges had many tough decisions to make but eventually only one of the talented contestants can be crowned victor at Billy's Wine Bar.
Cat Perrin-Griffiths, guitar in hand set the bar incredibly high by opening the night with her acoustic version of Cher’s 'Believe'. The judges commented that Cat, as always, blew them away with her tremendous talent and brave choice of song. Judge Alan epitomised this sentiment by saying: “That’s not an easy song to sing and it can go wrong so easily but you nailed every note." Cat started the competition with a very generous score. However, she was entered into the sing off at the end of the night…
Lettie Elizabeth, another guitarist and singer shocked and stunned judges and audiences alike with her tear jerking and powerful original song that she had written and dedicated to her grandmother in the audience. To say there was not a dry eye in the house is a safe bet. However, Lettie’s performance was not enough to secure her position for the penultimate stage as despite her clear musical talent, the judges agreed it was not her strongest performance.
Crowd favourite Tony Hannon truly came into his own with a pitch perfect take on Bryan Adam’s 'Everything I do, I do it for you'. The audience and judges burst into thundering applause, all enamoured with Tony’s incredible voice. Judge Alan was completely lost for words, “you... nailed that” was the only thing he could bring himself to utter. Rupert Swarbrick told Tony that back when that song was released, it remained in the charts for 26 weeks and he had hoped he would never have to hear it again. Tony was able to breathe a sigh of relief as Rupert followed up his statement by saying: “However, you have made me love that song again and I loved your performance. You belong here." Tony was able to make it to the penultimate stage after receiving Judge Alan’s first 10/10 of the competition.
Amanda Turner followed up Tony’s performance and unfortunately wasn’t able to meet the same quality. The judges took issue with her particular song choice and the fact that she had forgotten her lyrics. Although the judges couldn’t deny that Amanda provided a great entertainment factor and decided that she would be entered into the ‘Best entertainment’ category which will take place during the finals on June 25.
Holly Lupton was up next and she had taken on board judge Alan’s comments of “I want to see you sing a song that shows who YOU are”. She sang Adele’s 'Rolling in the deep' and clearly a good choice as “Holly’s voice was incredibly well suited for the song”, commented the judges. Jane Priest summed up Holly’s performance perfectly: “confidence, personality and talent. Superb”. Holly made it through but was the second to be part of the sing off.
One of the younger stars of the competition; Fionnuala McBride brought her own unique and modern take to the competition, singing Britney Spears’ 'Toxic', a song she won’t even remember being released. Fionnuala has previously had great performances and the judges have given a tenor fair share of criticism, however, they were “glad to see that [she has] worked on it because that was so much better!” Fionnuala will be performing again in the semi-finals as she made it through with ease.
Another one of the younger contestants, Sean Grealis delivered an emotional rendition of 'I can’t make you love me'. Sean successfully captivated the audience and judges alike. Pete Bennett told Sean, “I was so emotional with that song, I was away with the fairies. I loved it”. Local cyclist, Ben Frew took to the stage to give a truly rousing compliment: “Brilliant. Loved it mate”. In a twist, Sean became the third to enter the sing off as he and Holly Lupton scored exactly the same.
Crowd favourite James Wiltshire took to the stage and both the judges knew they were in for a treat, and James did not disappoint. He performed Etta James’ 'At last' and did the idol herself proud as his performance could only be called flawless. James’ performance was the only one of the night to receive a standing ovation by the judges. The decision to give James the highest score of the night was an easy one with his spine tingling tones still haunting the room.
Last of the night to perform was Geno and in his familiar lively manner, he took a moment to appreciate how despite recent events in Manchester and London it was fantastic everyone could come together and have fun and enjoy themselves still. Geno also paid homage to fellow performer Tony Hannon as he is currently serving in the army. Geno’s take on 'Sex Bomb' was a performance that even Sir Tom Jones himself would have been jealous of. Geno had the audience like putty in his hands with them singing along with him. The judges described his song as a “sensational performance”. Judge Alan told Geno: “I think I hate you, you’ve got it all, the voice, the presence… You’ve got everything”.
In the three-way sing off, Holly, Sean and Cat sang with even more vigour than before. However, the final verdict was that Sean and Cat would go through and Holly wouldn’t. However, Holly will be returning alongside Amanda for the best entertainment category.
submitted report by Sam Booth, one of the organisers.