The X Factor Live Tour 2016 performed at The Motorpoint Arena Nottingham on Sunday 6th March 2016.

Images and Review by Kevin Cooper

The X Factor with its drawn out audition process, mandatory tears, artificially tense public votes and bickering judges, might not be the most sophisticated of television programmes, but it is undeniably addictively watchable.  There is singing, sometimes even some good singing, but it always feels second place to the manufactured drama.

With the X Factor Live Tour, on the other hand, what you get is just the singing.  Essentially it was a slickly choreographed upmarket karaoke session with sparkling pyrotechnics and excellent backing dancers.  So say what you like about the X Factor, the live show is certainly worth seeing, and over 4000 fans did just that at The Motorpoint Arena last night.

The night started with a 30 minute video clip from the show, which included songs from past contestants; Little Mix, One Direction and Olly Murs, before the lights went down and the Ghanaian duo who finished in second place, took to the stage.  Reggie ‘N’ Bollie delivered a high energy rendition of Reel 2 Reel’s I Like To Move It, getting even the most committed pop hater’s toes tapping and the huge bang at the end of their song woke the audience up nicely for Che Chesterman.

The crooner, from Basildon who used to stack shelves in Tesco, captivated this audience with a soulful mashup of Tears Dry On Their Own, and Ain’t No Mountain High Enough which was as sharp as his suit.  The Beatles’ Yesterday was given his own take as he slowed it right down and showcased his tremendous vocals.

Up next was the first showing of Pilipino sisters, 4th Impact, who wrapped their tonsils around Bang Bang and Ain’t No Other Man before they disappeared down a trap door leaving the stage to the mercy of self-styled bad man, Mason Noise.  Dispelling the notion that the most entertaining thing about him is his name, he showed that he can throw some shapes as he danced his way around Men In Black and the aptly named Sorry.

Then came the powerfully voiced Lauren Murray who very nearly stole the show with the beautiful You Don’t Own Me as she sang her heart out whilst lazing on a chaise lounge, before the stage was handed over to the former backing vocalist for Tina Turner and Elton John, fans favourite Anton Stephens.  Still looking wide eyed and surprised that he made it as far as sixth place, he delivered a very delightful Dance With My Father, with just him on stage, awesome lighting and that voice.

It was soon time for the return of 4th Impact who came from the back of the arena through the crowd to the stage to join the Tour’s first ever wild card, Seann Miley Moore.  Their medley of Rich Girl and Fancy plus Moore’s solo The Show Must Go On, was one of the highlights of the evening.

Murray and Che popped up again, the latter belting out a brilliant When A Man Loves A woman, then Reggie ‘N’ Bollie had a crack at Who Let The Dogs Out? which had this whole audience on their feet singing along.

Taking the audience into the interval was a group performance of Happy which featured more confetti and balloons than a Cirque De Soleil show, but sadly did not include the 2015 winner, Louisa Johnson.

Part two offered more of the same, with the ‘B’ stage coming into its own.  There was a fantastic rendition of I Am Changing by Stephens, Mason Noise doing a fabulous Justin Timberlake impression whilst showing his abs to this screaming crowd as he delivered Lost Without You, and Lauren Murray displayed superb vocals with her version of Hold Back The River.  There was also the mesmerising Miley Moore whose version of David Bowie’s Life On Mars was simply sublime.

Then just as the audience thought that the youngest ever winner of the competition was not going to make an appearance, all eyes were drawn to the ‘B’ stage as Louisa Johnson belted out her version of Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean, before treating us to Fighter and Let It Go.  On the main stage for her debut single Forever Young, a song which surprisingly failed to make the 2015 Christmas top ten, before she finished her mini set with a cover of James Brown’s It’s A Man’s World.

There were winners and losers on the night and no doubt this audience had their favourites.  The show closed with everyone on stage performing We Found Love which rounded the night off and sent everyone home happy.

But the cynics out there may wonder just how many of these acts will be seen at the arena again, and that is a good question.  But for now they are entertaining thousands of their fans every night and having the times of their lives.

Entering the X Factor may be like playing the lottery, but Leona Lewis is at The Royal Concert Hall next week, so you never know we may have just have seen the next one who goes on and makes it.