In the third instalment of this series' X Factor Malta Six Chair Challenge, tonight we saw the Overs' take to the stage to fight to be on the final six in the category, their fate lying in the hands of mentor Ray Mercieca. After what felt like a straightforward instalment from the Boys' category with no many swaps, although a sing off, will the be Overs' be as straight forward? Unlikely but here it what unfolded.
First up tonight was Anna Azzopardi, after receiving mass praise in her room audition, and surviving bootcamp, she definitely seemed as one to watch in this category leading into the show, and deciding to take on the iconic "Son Of A Preacher Man" by Dusty Springfield to get her into the final six. The performance was very classy and slick, what we have come expect of Anna, Ray complemented her on the song choice suited her voice and personality as a singer and with that Anna took the first chair and rightly so!
Next to the stage was Malta Eurovision Song Contest veteran Franklin Calleja. The man with the a powerhouse voice we've come to know and love over the years decided to showcase that prowess with "In The Arms Of An Angel" which side note is one of the most beautiful songs to dance a Waltz to, and he certainly did it justice with a effortless showcase of his range and emotion, which received a standing ovation not only from parts of the watching audience, but Ray himself! And once again a straightforward decision for Ray as Franklin took Seat Two.
Following Franklin was the lovely and sweet Kim Cortis, taking her trusty guitar to the stage with her once again she chose to sing "Skinny Love" she tackled the normally tricky slow ballad well and again like Franklin showed the range and high notes she can achieve as a singer, however not all the judges were convinced, especially Alexandra who criticised the key she sang in which was bothering her and wished she sang it lower in parts, Ray somewhat agreed stating she lost it in parts near the end of the song, however that aside Ray said he felt he had to giver her a chair and Kim takes Seat Number Three.
Next was Janice Debatista, how has since the first audition and bootcamp ditched the pink hair, tackling "Dear Mr President" as come to be expected from Janice, she performed with real emotion and conviction, performing the lyrics as opposed to just singing them, she was complemented on being fully engaged with the story throughout the performance for the other judges, Ray however did openly admit he was worried Janice was too delicate and how far could she go in the competition moving further on, however Ray threw that aside and Janice claimed Seat Four, not long until we see people being moved about now...
Next to fight for their seat was Laura Bruno, who we have not seen a great deal of previously in the competition, however with her moment and the spotlight purely on her to shine, she chose to sing "Clown" be Emeli Sande and wow the Overs' are just bringing it! Another stellar performance showing control and power in equal measure throughout, however once again Alexandra swooped in with a harsh truth, saying the song was "outdated" and saying Laura did not deserve to progress in the competition, it seemed Howard and Ira followed along similar critiques, leaving Laura visibly defeated and upset by the time it came for Ray to make his decision, however Ray gave her Seat Five, leaving Alexandra with an expression of her not agreeing with her judging counterpart at all. But regardless Laura survives...but for how long?
Sixth to compete for a chair was Vanessa Sultana, who impressed the judges' so far with her powerful vocals and soulful tone, taking on "I'm Changing" for this round of the competition, and being quite honest, she could release an album of big band classics and I would buy it in a heartbeat! Once again delivering a big performance with elegance and class so it was zero surprise to us when Vanessa took Seat Six! But that's it, they are all full, and with plenty more singers to come, who will stay and who will be forced to give up their seat?
The first act looking for a swap is Chris Grech, who was clearly not messing about in the Six Chair Challenge when he announced he would be singing "Caruso" from the one and only Pavarotti, in a heart wrenching performance Alexandra commented on the judges seeing a different side to him they hadn't yet seen in the competition, Ray cited that despite having vocal issues in the past, he did not want to lse him and said would be taking a chair, which means...SWAP! After what was shown as a few moments to decide, Ray decided Chris should take Seat Five, meaning we lost the fabulous Laura Bruno, who was visably devastated and holding back tears as she gave up her seat and left the stage.
Next to fight for a chair was Malta Eurovision Song Contest 2017 runner up, Janice Mangion, speaking to host Ben Camille before walking onto stage, we could see some nerves potentially coming forward where she also admitted she is unwell and could not perform to the best of her ability, she decided to sing "Stone Cold" by Demi Lovato, after pushing herself and giving an emotional performance, she was complemented on challenging herself by the other judges, and Ray said despite her being sick he had to go on his gut feeling and decided to give Janice a chair, which means its time for someone else to lose theirs. Ray decided Seat Four would be the one to go home, meaning we had a swap of the two Janice's, as we sadly say goodbye to Janice Debatista from the competition.
Rachel Tedesco Triccas was the next artist up for consideration, she has impressed us so far with her big voice and soulful tone in the competition, she admitted on stage she planned to peel back and show the judges a different side of her we had not seen in the competition and that it was an intimidating challenge, singing "Goodbyes" by Georgia Smith, it was a far more stripped back production from Rachel for sure as she promised, showing a clear emotional connection to the song, Rachel began to tear up mid performance, and despite carrying on and performing despite the tears, it caused her voice to shake and lose the tone on a few notes and words, however it moved some of the judges with Alexandra citing it would be a difficult decision for Ray as she believed Rachel deserved a chair based on that performance. However Ray felt there was to much drama in the performance, and despite Rachel protesting it wasn't planned and just happened organically in the performance, which we agree with, Ray could not make a decision of who should lose their seat for her, so Rachel was sent home on the spot, a decision we totally disagree with, we hope this is not the last we see and hear of Rachel going forward.
After Rachel was sent home it was time for Ben Purplle, the musician armed with his trusty guitar once more and a voice which is certainly one of the most unique in the category, took on "Creep" by Radiohead in a bid to makes it to Judges' Houses, arguably one of the hardest and biggest songs to attempt, as we've seen many acts in different spin offs of the show attempt it in the past with varying success rates, as with all the Overs' before him, Ben held nothing back and performed his heart out, the judges agreed it was his best performance in the competition so far, however Ray could not give a final verdict on Ben just yet, instead opting for a sing off immediately between Ben and Chris Grech for the chair. After an impressive sing off between the men, it was decided that Ben would take Seat Five and sadly meant Chris would be going home.
The penultimate singer to perform this evening was Anna Faniello, the parents of Cluadia and Fabrizio Faniello who have both represented Malta at Eurovision in the past, with both of her children in the audience supporting her, Anna has really impressed so far in the competition with her voice and the tone in which she sings, and pushed herself even more tonight singing the iconic and world renowned "Nessum Dorma" and was true to form of what we've come to expect of her, it was classic, it was timeless and a beautiful rendition, with the audience on her side and cheering her from the first bar of the song to the last, proving that she is there clearly on merit and nothing else, the judges all praised her immensely for her performance and was no shock when Ray awarded her a seat, after addressing the audience citing this is what the show is all about, finding people who deserve to have a shot no matter what their age. However with Anna being awarded a chair, someone is about to lose theirs at this late stage, before announcing who was losing their seat Ray said he knew what he had to do and the person who would be losing their chair "would be back to blow everyone away soon" and it turns out it was Seat Three - Kim Cortis he was referring to and who would lose their seat to Anna, we are sad to see Kim exit the competition but wish her all the best.
The final of the Overs' now and the only one who can remove one of the current six is Perta. Performing "Never Tear Us Apart" Petra as usual showed us what she can do with the power and determination in her voice, making sure this was not going to be an easy decision for mentor Ray of who to keep and who to lose at this very late stage, Ray stated that Perta WAS the X Factor and she would be getting a seat, but that means someone is losing out in the very last performance of the night, a cruel time to kicked off in this brutal round, Ray said he was making his decision based on what he seen, what he feels and what he believes is justice. In the end Perta took Seat Four, meaning we lost Janice Mangion, in a decision which was not popular in the arena to an outcry of boos and jeers, but the decision was final.
Which means the six Overs' moving onto Judges' Houses
. Anna Azzopardi
. Franklin Calleja
. Anna Faniello
. Ben Purplle
. Vanessa Sultana
Next week the final Six Chair Challenege takes place and its the turn of the Groups! Did the right six advance you feel? Who would you have kept instead? let us know your thoughts!