Live music review: X Factor Live at 3Arena Dublin

X Factor Live was a victim of unfortunate timing, the pop circus rolling into Dublin the same week that 2013 winner, Sam Bailey, was released from her record deal with Simon Cowell’s SyCo Records. 

Live music review: X Factor Live at 3Arena Dublin

It was a chilling reminder of the flip-side of reality TV stardom — when the cameras stop rolling, it’s anybody’s guess whether your audience will hang about.

Still, the latest crop of hopefuls didn’t seem to have taken Bailey’s sudden exit from Cowell-land to heart.

X Factor winner Ben HaeNow

Eight-part boy band, Sterokicks, merrily stomped all over Paul McCartney with a hideously cheerful mash-up of ‘Let It Be’ and ‘Hey Jude’; 17- year-old Lauren Platt delivered a brain-melting mash-up of Pharrell Williams’s ‘Happy’ and Massive Attack’s ‘Teardrop’ — her chutzpah offset by the fact 90% of attendees were utterly unfamiliar with the latter.

As is standard with X Factor, the latest competition featured a token car-crash act, in the shape of chintzy Freddie Mercury wannabe, Stevi Ritchie.

His segment was obviously sanity-testing, thought not necessarily in a bad way: he was keen and willing to look ridiculous, which rendered him more likeable than the majority of his Cowell-approved compatriots

The loudest cheers were for the trio of finalists. Pavarotti clone, Andrea Faustini, was equal parts flawless and soulless; Fleur East couldn’t make her mind up whether she wanted to ape Rihanna or Beyoncé.

Fleur East, the runner up

Looming over the lot was champion, Ben Haenow, a former van driver whose geezer-down-the street charm had whipped the audience, with their sparklers and enormous tubs of popcorn, into a tizzy before he had warbled a note.

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