Review: The X Factor Live, Capital FM Arena, by Paul Hindle
"NOTTINGHAM, are … you … ready … for … the… night of your life", Peter Dickson's booming voiceover proclaimed, with typical X Factor understatement.
Cue Carmina Burana soundtrack and huge pyrotechnics to accompany series highlights beaming out from three massive screens.
And, with hysteria successfully induced, some of the faces from the ninth series of ITV1 smash The X Factor were unleashed on a packed arena.
This show was pure gig, so no judge histrionics or live vote but still plenty of X Factor pizzazz with those pyros, jets of dry ice and 12 energetic backing dancers all part of a two-hour show on stages at the front and back.
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The top seven from last autumn's series made up the show, with the best - winner James Arthur – being saved until last and the others appearing in random order throughout.
The larger-than-life Rylan Clark, who squeezed in winning Celebrity Big Brother between the X Factor series and tour, kicked proceedings off, with boyband Union J, Ella Henderson and another boyband, District3, following.
The Adele-like Henderson delivered stunning vocals on Florence and the Machine's You Got The Love before reprising the self-penned song from her emotional first audition, dedicated to her late granddad.
The mega-talented 17-year-old, who has signed to Simon Cowell's Syco record label, was behind a piano later for a memorable performance of Cher's Believe.
In between times, runner-up Jahmene Douglas nailed a gospel version of The Beatles' Let It Be and third-placed finisher Christopher Maloney delivered a resonant vocal in a cover of Elton John's I'm Still Standing.
It was Maloney who mentioned the inevitable 'J' word too ... "I'm so glad you've all been on the journey with me," he gushed, before dedicating You Raise Me Up to us all.
Indeed, there was gratitude aplenty throughout as we were variously thanked for support, or voting, and most grateful of course was the champion, 24-year-old James Arthur.
He had the luxury of a six-song set, split between the stages, and the deafening welcome he received was proof of why he was the series winner.
His No.1 single Impossible was included, of course, as his finale, before he was joined by all the finalists for a spectacular encore of U2's Beautiful Day.Decent performances all round, but I wonder how many of the seven acts will still be on our radar in 12 months' time?