Cyrus Villanueva performs on The X Factor.
Cyrus Villanueva performs on The X Factor. Contributed

The highs and low of judges swap week on The X Factor

A SONG choice swap reinvigorated The X Factor tonight.

The show's four celebrity judges picked the songs for their competitors' contestants, resulting in acclaimed performances for nearly all of the remaining six singers.

Cyrus Villanueva cemented his spot at the top of the leader board thanks to his take on Knocking on Heaven's Door, despite Chris Isaak's reservations about the song choice by Guy Sebastian.

He got a standing ovation from the panel and was praised by Isaak for growing as an artist and pushing for his own arrangement of the song.

His team mate Big T (real name Tangaroa Te Tai) didn't fare as well though, getting off to a rough start in the wrong key for the up-tempo Bruno Mars song Locked Out of Heaven.

Big T performs Locked Out of Heaven on The X Factor.
Big T performs Locked Out of Heaven on The X Factor. Contributed

The railway yard worker was clearly upset at the end of his performance, but was praised by all four judges to remaining professional and continuing with the song.

"It was one of those things that just didn't go your way," Sebastian said.

"You're still fun and infectious."

Isaak was clearly bothered by James Blunt's comment that Big T was in danger of sounding like a cruise ship singer, calling his criticism "chicken s***" and walking away from the desk as the show ended.

"I am who I am and I'm not perfect," Big T said.

Mahalia Simpson was back in her comfort zone with Adele's soul song Chasing Pavements, as was Natalie Conway with the '90s dance track I Need a Miracle selected by Dannii Minogue.

The reality singing show continues tomorrow night with a live elimination.