X Factor: Groin against heart

03:02, Jun 25 2013
X Factor
TIGHT COMPETITION: Tom Batchelor and Benny Tipene

It was another tough night at the X Factor judging table.

Stan Walker was left with the final decision between two of Ruby Frost's boys and it seemed he would either break into tears (again!) or his head would explode.

Somehow the public had supported the sometimes-shaky girl group Gap 5 and left rocker-boy Tom Batchelor and heart-throb Benny Tipene facing the chop.

And despite telling Batchelor his voice was "out of this world", Walker sent him packing.

But let's go back to the beginning of this surprisingly captivating episode.

Host Dominic Bowden, who now seems to have settled on his black funeral suit (much better than those grey accountant numbers of earlier episodes) introduced the judges as the four musketeers.

Then before we cut to the chase we were shown a segment where the contestants were visiting the Ronald McDonald House in Auckland.

Playing with the kids, golden voice Whenua Patuwai got to be knight while Batchelor played a princess.

It was just a wonderful thing to do, but did they really say they were baking cup cakes and cocaine?

Back on the show, Dane Rumble sang his latest song for us while we waited for the bottom two to be announced.

I know he's doing rather well in this country, but Rumble's just not my cup of tea.

And the Twittersphere seemed to have a hard time recognising him without his sunglasses and wondered if it wasn't Willy Moon pretending to be Rumble.

Then it was decision time.And the first act Bowden called as being safe, was a bit of a shocker: Gap 5.

They were joined by Patuwai, Cassie Henderson and Moorhouse, leaving Batchelor and Tipene standing along with show-favourite Jackie Thomas before going into an ad break.

Of course we all knew that Thomas couldn't possibly be in the bottom two, but Bowden still tried to string the thing out as long as possible before revealing - Ah! Surprise! - Thomas was through and both of Frost's boys were on the chopping block.

But then it was time for Aussie X Factor star Reece Mastin to perform.

He started somewhere in a bad office backdrop, which turned into a bus stop, then there where girls were taking photos, and he was wearing jeggings with stripes on one leg.

It was like a movie without a story, but the girls in the audience seemed to love him when he finally arrived on stage.

Then it was time for the bottom contestants to perform.

Batchelor did a really good, yes, almost sexy, version of Led Zeppelin's Whole Lotta Love while Tipene went for our hearts, performing Elvis' Falling In Love.

Such a tough call.

Frost said she was shell-shocked and devastated at having two of her acts in the bottom two and couldn't possibly vote.

Over to Melanie Blatt, who, of course, loved them both. She had Tipene set as one of the final acts but wasn't really impressed with his recent song choices, and gave her vote to Batchelor.

Daniel Bedingfield loved Batchelor's guitar playing and Tipene's rendition left him spellbound but he was still sending Batchelor home.

Now it was all in Stan Walker's hands and, as it is every week, this was the hardest thing he's ever done.

So he criticised Tipene for not taking criticism too well but - "man, this is so hard" - he was sending rockin' Batchelor home.

Now I have to say, from the get-go I wasn't all that sure about Batchelor. He reminded me too much of the crazy rabbit from Meet the Feebles, but I think he had one of the greatest voices.

I'm sure I am not the only one who waited for him to perform a song from The Doors. He's a bit weird, but isn't that part of what the X Factor should be all about?

His voice could compare with some of the big rock legends and now he just has to find himself a band and make his dream come true.

Do you think the judges' decision was the right one?