Sunday, 30 October 2011

The X Factor UK, overview & review of Live Show 4, Halloween.

Once in a while I'll write a "review" of a singing competition, and for this year's X Factor the time is now.

Last week was a bit of a snoozefest. A couple of stand-out performances but very little of the performers could claim this had been their best performance yet.

In comparison, this week was pretty much solid. Again, no-one in particular stood out but I'd say 80% of the performances were really good. Halloween theme worked its magic...

Let's get this started, then!



The Risk:
I never register boybands in these competitions, well…I don’t register boybands, period. I loved the Spice Girls – they had good, energetic pop songs (& one gorgeous ballad) & great attitude. I loved Sugababes because they sounded good & their songs had something...extra...for a lack of a better word. I completely hated boybands when I was a teen. Boys should have guitars or pianos, not dance around like headless chicken while singing sirupy ballads. My hatred has turned into indifference. I quite like Take That’s last album, but I only bought it because I like Robbie.
I actually liked The Risk’s first performance, four classy looking young men – why not, takes me back to the vocal groups of the first half of the 20th century. But they’ve faded away since then. The vocals didn’t imrove – and I don’t think adding a boy from No Vibe is exactly a good cure for this problem. (edit: Okay, I admit they actually sounded better than last week so maybe it was not a bad idea.)
Also, I’m not fond of Thriller. I suspect the song was so succesful only because of the then-novel video. Aiden Grimshaw at least made it interesting last year but The Risk made it even more boring.

Final verdict: MEH!

Johnny:
Where do I start. Johnny is sweet, cheeky, funny & I suspect half-deaf. He sings like a soprano girl and in his spare time he’s a drag queen. No problem with that. So why is he my guilty pleasure instead of just pleasure? Why do I always grin, half embarrassed for him, when he’s onstage? He’s a good singer. He’s an adorkable performer… and he’s a GUILTY pleasure for most. That’s not fair & the recent performance just confirms it. If he puts on a show & sings well, he’s a guilty pleasure. If he just sings, with a tasteful visual production behind him, he’s amazing.

My notes while I was watching:
How many sex-with-Gary puns can Johnny put in one VT? I literally laughed my arse off watching it. Had to pause several times.
Johnny’s best vocal yet? I was waiting for this for a month. Finally!
Johnny looked like he was gonna come when Gaz came to him on the stage. The fire was burning…oh…love, you ole devil.

Final verdict: YAY!

Sophie:
I adore her voice. I have no problem with her personality, just her ability to stay in tune (exacly what I HATED about Rebecca last year, only R. was way more pimped than Sophie – that makes me like Sophie more, as a result.)
I love the song choice but Sophie didn’t give it enough drama. I can only guess what Haley Reinhart would’ve made with it:



Final verdict: Could be better.

Marcus:
This is where this blog entry gets all fangirly. I love Marcus to bits. I gave him a nickname: Smiley. I wanna adopt him as my slightly younger bro (actually had we grown up in the same city we might have ended up in the same class together at school). He’s adorable, lovable and the fact he’s afrom Liverpool doesn’t definitely hurt him in my book. Massive Beatlemaniac, I visited Liverpool last year & fell in love.
As for Marcus’s singing ability...before I noticed how absolutely adorbale he is I noticed him for his vocals at the judges houses stage of the competition. While most of the other boys sounded like castratos on helium he actually had a deep, warm, manly vocal. I don’t love his voice but I like it. I like that he’s a versatile performer – which he showed last week when he totally nailed Are You Gonna Go My Way. /TBH this song used to be my sex song. Now whenever it comes on my iPod I go: awwww. So Marcus kinda spoilt it for me in a sense but I don’t mind./
What I liked about the Halloween performance: he went all-out, a zombie panda look. Great choreography, pretty good dancing. It unfortunately took a toll on his singing which wasn’t as clean as it could’ve been but hey, it looked Halloween-ish & it was fun.


Most of all I love the song choice. Had he sang only plain Superstition it would’ve been hilarious, given the theme, but since he LURVES Stevie it would’ve been too predictable. But the fact the song got mashed up with a kick-ass INXS song...wonderful. While I don’t care for Stevie, I love INXS biggest hits - it could’ve been a disaster but no, this marriage worked out just fine.

Final verdict: YAY!, watch out for the vocals tho, babe!

Misha B:
I like Misha B. Even if her visual style reeks of GaGa too much (but when a girl dresses outrageously these days, she’ll always get compared to GaGa, so the best thing to do, is to fuck it, really). She could easily be in the same league as the biggest female artists these days + she usually also gives good vocals. I don’t care about the backstage shenanigans, so no comment on that.
Tainted Love was a great song choice, good production & choreography, Misha sounded like Misha thruout. Fun, exciting and anyone who wears a horn growing from a vagina on their head should get a medal.


Final verdict: YAY!

Janet:
I like her as a person. She seems introverted and shy but she can be hard as nails. My kinda woman. He vocal tho...sweet but it’s just not my thing. Plus, just like Sophie she has „slight tuning problems“ as Popjustice puts it. Generally I like her performances (esp. Sweet Child) but they are nothing that would make me exstatic the way Haley Reinhart does:

What did they do with Janet's hair this time?! Poor thing will be bald when she’s finished with this competition. :) Nice set production, more or less approve of the arrangement of the song. But she had a real problem singing the low notes. My ears say ouch!

Final verdict: Okay.

Frankie:
Even in the days of his dardest partying days, Rob’s always been a witty, loveable, if polarising guy with some real talent for music and entertainment. (I personally thought he was a dick until I heard the Royal Albert Hall concert on the radio. My mum was a fan of his before I was.) When my mum saw Frankie she classified him a tuneless fake. When I saw Frankie for the first time I definitely saw the Robbie vibe and thought he was at least witty, even though voice-less.
The magic’s gone. On one hand I’m REALLY happy Gaz stopped trying to sell Frankie as a serious artist. This man sounds best singing punk rock songs, him strangling himself on a sad alternative singer songwriter ballad was a bad decision. So this is now corrected. But is every VT from last week on gonna be about him being a party animal? BORED. Gimme the witty Frankie. I’m now starting to think he never existed.
Should I Stay is a great song and a good song choice for him.
But Tony did it so much better.


Final verdict: Okmeh.

Kitty:
Not sure what it is about her, just like a lot of people I still don’t like her. But over the time she’s won me over as a performer. I’m not sure about a future for her outside of this show but I like watching her. She’s never boring. Shhhhhh. Shhhhhh.

"I don’t wanna say 'This is The New Me' next week coz that's irritating."

Sweet Dreams. A great song, a great song choice and Kitty was vocally spot-on this week. Production-wise it was on par with Misha’s performance. Props for the scar.

Final verdict: YAY!

Little Mix:
They ARE better than the other girl bands I saw on XF so far. They have a lot of room for vocal & dance improvement but I like em. Little Mix tho?
Those who call one of them fat and ugly should perform seppuku on themselves, coz that’s not cool. Besides her face has an unusual but rare beauty and she really is not fat.
This week they finally wore nice clothes. WIN! The vocals have come together in the end, really cool choreography but what I really loved: hair & make-up. Hands down the best of the night. Good job, stylists!


Final verdict: Almost YAY!

Craig:
Lovely voice, lovely guy. Not my thing music-wise but I had his Jar of Hearts stuck in my head for weeks. And I didn’t mind.
Isn’t Set Fire… basically a slightly sped-up ballad? Not that I mind but Gaz should shut up.
This was a great performance. Alexandra had a good point: Craig projects well. That’s the difference between him & Sophie. Both great voices but you can feel what Craig is feeling when he sings. In Gaz’s voice: "well donn, Craig!"

Final verdict: YAY!

This was a good evening. The Halloween theme ensured some interesting visual stuff and the rest wasn't too bad either...
Hawk.