The X - Factor UK Live show bring usual tears, tantrums and mediocrity
By Ian Cullen Oct 9, 2011, 20:40 GMT
09/11/2011 - Gary Barlow - BBC Radio 2 Live in Hyde Park 2011 - Hyde Park - London, UK © Landmark / PR Photos
For the last few weeks, we’ve seen the worst and the best in the auditions for this years X - Factor in the UK.
Add to that, the new judging panel led by 'Take That' singer song writer Gary Barlow. An aside, a friend and I once discussed forming a parody band called 'Fetch This,' but we never did get to it, and to be honest had already seen a fantastic parody band called 'Fake That,' and they were fantastic.
This weekend saw the first of the live shows, and in last night's show we witnessed 16 acts sing for the viewers' votes. The twist is that one act from each of the judges will go, and I know who I’d like to see leave and who I think should stay.
I will not go through every single performance, but will point out what I felt was the best and worst of the show and explain why.
But before I do. Let's have a reminder of who the final sixteen are:
Gary Barlow who is handling the Boys this year picked: Frankie Cocozza, Marcus Collins, Craig Colton and James Michael.
Tulisa Contostavlos was given the dreaded Groups category this year, which is a category that has been dropped on Louis Walsh for most years. However this year the groups category could be both a blessing and a curse because the range of acts is a mix of potentially great and really cheesy, but Tulisa having the experience of N Dbuz behind her made some interesting choices with: Two Shoes, Rhythmix, The Risk and last but not least Nu Vibe.
The Over 25s
As ever The Crown Prince Of Cheese an mediocrity Louis Walsh, who hold the keys to the Over 25s category picked a line up that you’d expect to see at a Pontins or Butlins holiday camp. As in no one really stands out, and those that do stand out for the wrong reasons. Louis picks include: Kitty Brucknell, Johnny Robinson, Jonjo Kerr and Sammi Brooks. I can’t legitimately see any of these acts making it to the final. And though Sammi Brooks has a fantastic voice. She lacks that something extra, but more on that later.
Kelly Rowland, who managed to get on my nerves throughout most of the show last night has the Girls category and have to say she has some fairly good acts which include: Amelia Lily, Misha Bryan, Sophie Habibis and Janet Devlin, who has been a favorite since she performed a moving rendition of Elton John’s Your Song at auditions.
The Best Of The Saturday Night Sing Off
Instead of going through every single act. I’ve decided just to pick what I felt were the best acts of the Saturday sing off so as to save time, but to make it fair I will pick the best from each judges acts and then the worst.
For me in this series Gary Barlow perhaps has the strongest group with the boys. Pretty much all four of his acts impressed me in some way. Tattooed bad boy Frankie Cocozza was a lot fun to watch and a true showman and did a pretty good vocal, but by far the best of the night out of the boys category was Craig Colton who sang brilliantly and really sold his song well on both and emotional and technical level, but what stood out most was they he really connected well with the audience and for me he is a definite contender for the final week’s of the show. Whereas Frankie Cocozza, who appeals to a certain audience, may struggle due to him not being middle of the road enough to win the series, but I personally would like to see Cocozza do well.
The Over 25s
For me by far the weakest category of the show is Louis Walsh and his over 25s, but out of this category there is only really one act that impresses, but will not win and that is Sammi Brooks, who has a brilliant voice, but doesn’t really have the something extra that engages and communicates with the audience.
The groups is a mixed bag this year, but there are two acts in this category that may go places. The best of the night for me was The Risk, who live up to the name given that the vocalist were taken from two boy bands that started out as solo acts in the audition stages. The Risk sang brilliantly and we got a treat here in that every single member of this boy band can sing and sing well. So you didn’t get the old fashioned method of one of two lead singers with the others doing harmonies. Coming in a close second for me last night in this category was girl band Rhythmix, who did a son combining rap with vocals, which by admission is something am not a fan of, but I can still tell when it is done well and Rhythmix did it well.
If Gary Barlow has a tough job with the Boys. Then Kelly Rowland also has some difficult choices to make with her Girls, given that much like the boys they are all individually good vocalist with very different styles and lots to offer.
Standing out for me in this category was Sophie Habibis who sang a very seductive version of Katy Perry's Teenage Dream. Also putting in a great performance was Janet Devlin, who I can see making it to the finals due to the fact that as well as having a very distinctive vocal. You can’t take you eyes off her when she sings, which is a very rare star quality to have.
The Worst Of The Saturday Night Sing Off
The Over 25s
I’m going to get the very worst out of the way first and am sure the comments field here at M&C will be yelling 'crucify him' when they hear my viewpoint here.
The worst for me last night was Johnny Robinson, who is very likely to be this years gimmick act in a similar vein of Jedward. The only difference being is that Johnny can actually sing, but has the type of high pitched voice that you’ll either love or hate. There’s no middle ground here. Anyway last night Johnny sang the Cher song Do You Believe.
That said I feel that Johnny will be around for a few weeks and possibly could get to the finals given how likable that he comes across and he certainly will not depart in the early stages.
Though I’m sure that Gary Barlow will disagree with me. I feel the worst out of the Boys category last night was James Michael, who did a rendition of the Beatles song Ticket To Ride, and that was his mistake if am perfectly honest. Essentially his vocal was okay, but wasn’t great.
The issue for me was the song. Ticket To Ride is a very vibrant kind of song and I felt slowing it down and reinterpreting it the way James did was a bit of a mistake and did very little to excite me when compared to the other singers in the boys category.
This category was especially tough for me to call when reviewing the four vocalist and the weakest for me is nothing to do with the vocals, but more to do with versatility.
So for me the weakest last night was Misha Bryan. What makes this worse is the fact that she is from my home city of Manchester. So naturally I want to support her, but I just feel that as the weeks go by she’d be really tested with the different range of songs they’re asked to sing on X - Factor and with her having such a big voice that is suited to Torch Songs and big Soul numbers. I’m not convinced she can sing the more gentle numbers.
The worst of the groups for me is very easy to pick out. Two Shoes for me were the worst. Don’t get me wrong they’re fun girls and sang a fun number that suited their own style, which is great for karaoke, but not great for selling records. Finishing off as second worse for me was Nu Vibe who as a boy band just didn’t gel at all well and came off as very old fashioned with no particularly strong vocalist among them.
The Four Acts That Left
Of course this is where my opinions are disregarded given that the choice of who stays and who goes is always going to be down to the British Public and the judges, but I always enjoy this part of the show because it has me yelling at the television and shaking my fist in the air swearing more than a drunken priest with sever IBS and cramps.
The four acts to leave were as follows:
The first act up for elimination were Louis Walsh’s over 25s and by the end Louis chose to keep Salli, Kitty and the turd (coughs... I mean third) person Louis put through was Johnny, which didn’t really come as a great surprise. This means that Jonjo who was the one out of Louis acts to leave. If am honest though Jonjo may have benefitted more from being under one of the other mentors and of course a better song choice. While not a brilliant singer he did have a certain likability factor.
The second lot of acts up for elimination were the Boys and Gary chose to keep Marcus, Craig and Frankie. Which sees the departure of James. I pretty much figured it would come down to either Frankie or James being the ones eliminated, but am glad that Gary chose the performer in Frankie as apposed to the singer in James whose interpretation of Ticket To Ride didn’t really cut it for me.
The third acts facing the chop were Tulisa’s groups. At the start of this final show of the weekend Tulisa who has a heart of gold and is as straight talking as you can get. Admitted to only having made her decision about a half hour before the live show went to air. Out of her four acts Tulisia chose to keep Rhythmix, The Risk and Nu Vibe. Which seen Two Shoes get eliminated from the show, which wasn’t really any great surprise. That said Nu Vibe only stayed in by the skin of their teeth. But Tulisia based the decision on how good Nu Vibe sounded in the studio verses how they sounded live.
The final acts facing the chop with Kelly Rowland’s girls. Kelly who has a pretty strong acts probably had the toughest decision of the night, but in the end Kelly chose to keep Janet, Miss Misha B and Sophie.
Which unfortunately left Rock Chick Amelia Lilli out in the cold, which is a great shame because I’d have likely kept her in over Misha B. That said though out of all the groups I think Kelly Rowland had the toughest choice given that all her girls are fantastic vocalist and all have their own quirks.
So that about wraps things up for this week. So until next weekend I bid you all farewell.
Monsters & Critics' contributor Ian Cullen is the owner and lead writer for the popular science fiction and comic book news site www.scifipulse.net. Ian also hosts the SFP-NOW podcast, which comes out weekly and is available for download on iTunes and smart phones.
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