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In Review: X - Factor ‘The Finale’ (UK)

By Ian Cullen Dec 10, 2012, 6:53 GMT

In Review: X - Factor ‘The Finale’ (UK)

This particular final of X - Factor was more special than any of the prior finals due to the fact that it was held in my home city of Manchester, which pretty much meant the the audience was far more loud than your typical London based variety.

This particular finale of X - Factor was more special than any of the prior finals due to the fact that it was held in my home city of Manchester, which pretty much meant the the audience was far louder than your typical London-based variety.

When you get a bunch of Manchester folk packing out a venue, you’re guaranteed that it will go all the way up to eleven in the noise factor. We don’t hold anything back.

There are times, though, when X - Factor can be hell.

Especially if you enjoy good music, but hate the novelty acts like I do, which often pass through many of the rounds seeing off other more worthy acts, which by all rights should have moved further along the competition. This year's competition was no exception to that rule.

For weeks, we have seen great acts leave the show in favor of the popular novelty act, but once the camp factor known as Rylan exited the competition.

I breathed a sigh of relief when he had decimated the competition to a point where there were just two acts that had anything close to what I’d view as the X - Factor quality. Plus they could actually sing - unlike Rylan - who only ever seemed to have my cat darting out the room to a nearby hiding place.

After Rylan’s departure it was a matter of the quarter finals, which had the surprise result of the boy band Union J leaving the competition. I’d always felt Union J were a shoe-in as finalist.

After the Quarter Finals, we wound up with two solid acts and a better than average karioke singer called Christopher, who only seemed to do eighties torch songs.

The three finalists wound up being Christopher Maloney, who was a favorite with the middle-aged women and grandmothers. Also James Arthur, who for my money was the best act left in the competition and Jarmaine Douglas, who had a brilliant soulful voice, but had nothing else that we’d not seen before on X - Factor or any other number of talent shows.

This year saw a change in the rules that allowed contestants to bring in and play their own instruments as well as sing there own songs if they so wished to do so. It was thanks to this rule that we got a few different acts and James Arthur was one of the acts that took full advantage of this.

The first round of the final saw all the acts singing solo and then signing a song with their mentor. Both James Arthur and Jermaine got to sing with Nicole Sherzinger, who has perhaps been the most entertaining judge in the series thus far, but my one black mark against her is the fact that she chose Rylan as one of her acts in the competition. We can only be thankful that the British Public didn’t carry that joke to far and allowed for her two most talented acts to get through.

Both Jermaine’s duet with Nicole was of the song ‘The Greatest Love Of All,’ which for me was a bit of an obvious song choice and somewhat of a cliche. Despite this niggle, Jermaine more than held his own and put on a fantastic vocal performance.

James Arthur, who is the one act in the series that has consistently reinterpreted songs and done them his own way. He performed ‘Make You Feel My Love’ and was easily the performance of the night due to the fact that once again James completely flipped the song.

Christopher Maloney’s duet was with Gary Barlow and the song they chose was ‘Rule The World’ by Take That. Sadly though Maloney’s performance of this with Barlow and his solo effort of the title song from Flash Dance wasn’t enough to keep him in the competition.

After presenter Dermot O'Leary read out the result, Maloney applauded before being shown a montage of his highlights.

O'Leary then turned to Maloney and said: "This poor guy has had to put up with so much", before asking how he felt.

Maloney replied: "Do you know what, I feel like I've already won", before adding that coming third was "fantastic".

His mentor Gary Barlow simply said: "Congratulations. Amazing. He's done brilliantly."

For week’s Maloney was getting a lot of negative comments from Tulisa and the other judges, who felt he was dated and to be honest I’d agree with them for the most part.

The second part of the final, which aired earlier tonight was Soul Singer verses All round singer and performer and it was one hell of a fight.

The show started with all the finalist reunited for a rendition of Santa Claus Is Coming To Town.  I wasn’t convinced. Fact is last I heard Santa was on the dole and the Reindeer had been sold off to make glue, which makes me wonder why they were all so damn cheerful.

Ho, Ho, Ho.

First up for the final showdown was Jermaine who sang the song Angels, which was originally performed by Robbie Williams, which he did a superb job off.

All the judges were really impressed with both his singing and song choice.

Jermaine’s journey in the competition has been about the most dramatic in terms of he started off as a very shy, nervy and quiet man, who weeks before was working in a supermarket stacking shelves, but as Nicole Sherzinger points out. X-Factor has taken him on a journey from boyhood to manhood.

Personally. Though I think Jarmaine is superb at the songs he chooses and has a very soulful voice, which can hit all the highs. For me he isn’t really offering anything new, but despite this am not going to dispute that he has one sweet set of pipes and if X Factor were just a singing competition he’d win it hands down.

Next up was James Arthur, who chose to ‘Lets Get It On,’ which was a song that he sang in a past show, which was a very different version from the original, but just as sensual as the original.

Once again the judges were unanimous in their support for James. And thankfully Louis Walsh did not say he will be the best boy band ever.

For me throughout this competition James Arthur has been the consistent performer and have always enjoyed how he takes classic well known songs and flips them and does them his own way. Which is something you don’t see enough of on things like X - Factor. I also enjoyed the fact that he can also play some pretty serious guitar as well and often did throughout the competition.

Like in previous, years both acts were required to get up and sing what will become the winners single and this year the song chosen is ‘Let It Be,’ which was written by Paul McCartney when he was with the Beatles and its also a song that I can play fairly well on guitar.

Jermaine was up first and his version went with a rather gospel approach, which am sad to say I didn’t really like all that much. Jarmaine sang it well, but I wasn’t a fan of his interpretation.

Last up was James Arthur, who did a rendition of a song called ‘Impossible,’ which sounded a bit edgier and like something I’d probably be more inclined to buy.

It’s fair to say that the two acts had a very close contest and were both very different from each other, but in the end there can be only one winner and the act chosen by the UK this year was James Arthur, which for me was the surprise result given that I would have thought that Jermaine’s style of Soul music would have been more mainstream and something that the UK public would be more comfortable with.

That said though am really happy that James won it because he has been the one act that I have enjoyed throughout the entire competition.

At the end of the day though both these finalist will have great careers ahead of them and unlike in prior years I can’t wait to go out and get a CD or a Digital download by James Arthur.

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