CROYDON'S Ben Haenow made an impressive start to the X Factor live shows on Saturday night.
The 29-year-old gave a typically powerful but note-perfect rendition of Simon and Garfunkel classic Bridge Over Troubled Water - earning the first standing ovation of the series from his mentor Simon Cowell.
Louis Walsh and Cheryl Fernandez-Versini were also impressed, with Cheryl saying Ben had given one of the top three performances of the evening.
However, fourth judge - Spice Girl Mel B - was less positive saying that, while she likes Ben voice, she found his performance "boring" and would have taken him "in a different direction" when it came to song choice.
In all, sixteen acts performed on the first live show, with a theme of Number Ones, which lasted two and a half hours. These include four wild cards, brought back into the show in addition to the initial 12 chosen by the four judges.
Two acts will be booted off in the first results show, from 8pm on Sunday night.
The current bookmakers' odds have Ben, who lives in Shirley, as second favourite to win the show at odds of 4/1, behind hot favourite Andrea Faustini (15/8) who gave the performance of the night in closing the first show with his take on Michael Jackson's 1995 chart-topper Earth Song.