The X Factor Live Tour at The Motorpoint Arena Nottingham on Friday 23rd February 2018.

Images and Review by Kevin Cooper

A lot has been made of the X Factor’s struggling TV ratings, but when it goes on tour the live shows bring songs, dancers, pyrotechnics, flames, confetti and a great light show to packed arenas all around the country. And last night the Motorpoint Arena was no exception.

As the countdown to the start of the show built up the excitement, the atmosphere was truly indescribable. With third place Kevin Davy White opening with an electric Whole Lotta Love, the bar was set. Showcasing his fabulous vocals with the likes of Smooth, Fast Love and Come Together, he was undoubtedly a fans favourite.

Up next was Grace Davies who appeared from below the stage with her fairy light adorned piano for a superb version of her self penned track Roots. Later joined by dancers for her up tempo Wolves, she started the second half with her version of Life On Mars followed by of Live And Let Die which she delivered with the passion that earned her the runner up place. Having signed a huge record deal with Simon Cowell’s label, she is definitely one to watch out for.

Moving from their tried and tested formula, this year saw the introduction of presenter Becca Dudley, who other than orchestrating the new audience vote, actually brought very little to the proceedings. There was no need for her to rack up the excitement, because this crowd screamed with delight when Matt Linen was given the opportunity to shine with Fallin’, Gimme Shelter and Scars To Your Beautiful, all of which served to showcase his uniquely gravelly voice.

Lloyd Macey’s slot contained a beautiful version of Coldplay’s Fix You, before his Lay Me Down produced a kaleidoscope of colours around the arena from phones and the colourful Catherine wheels bought from the merchandising desk.

Introducing themselves to this crowd from the B stage, the tours wild card act, Sean and Conor Price blended rap with attitude with Issues and Strong, which saw them mystifyingly perform with their backs to the main stage. All was saved though with their second half number All Along The Watchtower that saw them engage with the crowd.

Scottish siblings The Cutkelvins seriously brought something to the party with pumping covers of Show Me Love, Havana, and What About Us. Their energy was infectious and had the crowd up dancing.

It was great to see Rak-Su make an early appearance with their first audition song, I’m Feeling You. And showing that they were worthy winners they entertained with Mamacita, Touche, Flowers and Dimelo.

There were several collaborations, with real highlights being Lloyd, Kevin and Matt’s version of Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me, and with all of them on stage for Little Mix’s Reggaeton Lento and Justin Timberlake’s Can’t Stop The Feeling, the confetti went into overdrive.

Undisputedly Rack-Su won the vote, judged by a decibel reading of screams that coincidentally put Grace and Kevin in second and third place, just like the show itself. And even if the TV viewers are dwindling there is no doubt that the live shows are still very much alive and kicking.