Last night was Coke Choice week on The X Factor NZ, with contestants singing songs from the year of their birth as chosen by fans.
It could have been a huge challenge for the Top 5, but it saw most of them lift the bar higher than ever before.
Jackie Thomas delivered her best performance yet, singing Alannah Myles’ 1990 hit ‘Black Velvet’.
Sitting on a swing high above the judges, Thomas sang so well she had her mentor Daniel Bedingfield using expletives to describe its awesomeness during the commercial break.
But the same could not be said for favourite Whenua Patuwai, who sang Michael Jackson’s 1995 single ‘You Are Not Alone’.
Stan Walker said the song did nothing for him while Bedingfield slammed Patuwai’s delivery, saying “a true artist should be able to sing any song and knock it out of the park".
Acid-tongued judge Mel Blatt cut to the chase with one of her strongest criticisms all season.
"Those huge letters behind you make up for the charisma you lack,” she told Patuwai.
“It sounded like R&B [produced on] someone's laptop."
After a couple of weeks delivering below-average performances, tonight Benny Tipene proved he is back!
Singing Tom Petty’s 1989 single ‘Free Falling’, Tipene won over both the judges and the audience.
Walker and Blatt said they wanted to see him in the final, while Tipene’s mentor Ruby Frost summed it up simply: “You’re back!”.
The youngest contestant, Cassie Henderson, had the audience ‘Torn’. But her performance of Natalie Imbruglia’s hit single may just save her from elimination.
It was the first time Cassie has sounded believable as an artist since the X Factor live shows have started.
Christchurch boy band Moorhouse have emerged over the last couple of weeks as real contenders to take out the competition (though I’m not sure how they’ll share the car which is part of the prize package).
Their performance of All-4-One’s 1993 single ‘I Swear’ was “cheesy 90s boy band”, according to Frost. But, she said, it also proved the boys have what it takes vocally to compete with the best.
Bedingfield not only disagreed, he delivered the most controversial comment of the night, saying Moorhouse are “missing a fifth member”.
“But, it’s not the guy that left – it’s Auto-Tune,” he said.
“You’re just jealous,” someone shouted from the audience – good call.
I don’t know what performance Bedingfield was listening to, but the Moorhouse boys all sounded in tune to this reviewer!
Are we beginning to see Bedingfield’s nasty streak?
X Factor fans will find out who is being eliminated live on TV3 tonight at 8pm.
The eliminated contestant will speak to 3 News on Tuesday morning, so don’t forget to tweet us your questions after tonight's episode!