Rating The Acts! The Final Chart!

Before I get into my final blog, I would like to welcome another addition to the X Factor family. We’ve all obviously had glimpses of this arrival, but it really was last night that this very odd individual entered our screens. Enter the applause for Bitchy BarlowTM.

Week nine is semi-final night on The X Factor. 4 acts need to become 3, to enter the BIGGEST FINAL EVER ! on the X Factor. Yes, we get that the production will bring the Final to Wembley. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t buy a ticket to witness the singing live of this sorry bunch. However, the show must go on, and the show must have a winner.

I did my chart last night. Amelia was the first, Little Mix and Misha shared the second spot and Marcus was the last. Since we’re one week from the actual final, I will use my last blog to say why, according to me, one should vote for one act and let another go away.

I would not vote for Marcus Collins. Marcus has wow-ed audiences with his performances by focusing on the staging and dancing rather than the singing. Every week he has been equipped with an army of dancers and heavy stage work, to hide the fact that he is not a good vocalist and that his voice is actually very limited. “He oozes charisma” is what everyone would say, but I wouldn’t actually buy a CD to hear one’s charisma. Marcus would follow the long tradition of numerous male winners before him, something that seems to be even more powerful than the Curse Of The Girlbands.

I would not vote for Misha B. For one simple reason. Simon Cowell’s label does not have the means to deal with Misha B. Misha B is an urban act. She doesn’t need bubblegum pop singles, or semi- heartfelt ballads, because frankly, she wouldn’t be able to handle them. Misha is not equipped to sing every song, and her attempts at it more often than not seem synthetic and forced. I do think Misha has a nice voice and I think she has everything she needs to become a great urban act, and at the risk of sounding like a broken record, I will remind everyone that Misha’s rendition of Respect and Rolling in the Deep were sensational. Had she followed in that road instead of venturing into more popular, but of lesser quality material, she would have ruled the competition like her prison bitch.

I might vote for Little Mix. The girls, at this moment, have no identity. The are obviously targeting a younger demographic, with very popular song choices and very perky performances, but that is not how it’s done in the real world. I won’t blame the girls or Tulisa though. I myself would be hard pressed to maintain a musical identity if I am thrown into Rock, Motown, Dance week. Being a group formed 2 months ago didn’t help, and having the young, inexperienced Tulisa didn’t help either. But somehow, the girls managed to grow, to build a fan base, and to showcase vocals that would have been average another year, but are great this year. Actually, scratch that. As far as girlbands go, they are the best, they fall short in comparison to solo singers. Which is something that always happens. I think the girls need a little more time in the real world to find themselves and their sound, but this is not to say that they don’t deserve to win. Hard work needs to be rewarded and the girls have worked hard.

I would vote for Amelia Lily. She was my favorite since the first week, not because of her performance, but because of her potential. Amelia has a powerful voice. That is a fact. Another fact is her tendency to sound sharp at times, and yet another fact is that she missed 4 weeks of performances, also known as 4 weeks of vocal coaching. Amelia is potentially a great powerhouse singer; I can see her rocking the punk rock-rock-pop rock scene: she has the voice, the performance, and the looks. Some of music’s leading ladies of our time have big voices and in my eyes, Amelia is just one of them. Get her a vocal coach, an ear piece (so she knows how her voice sounds) and a recording studio, and this girl is ready to roll.

I would offend myself if I didn’t say a few words about Bitchy Barlow. The mentor of the strongest (one of the strongest?) category this year, he managed to make his acts’ quality decline. From the catastrophe that was Frankie, whom he allowed to go into a self-destructive spiral of alcohol and drugs, to the ever-boring Craig, who managed to mimic Adele in almost every song he sang (it was not had, it was the same song), to the dancing Marcus, Gary showed Britain and the world that it takes more to be a mentor than being an artist. On the night when his act was outshone by every other act in the competition, he started belittling the competition, by reminding people of the Misha-Tulisa-Louis incident, something for which Misha worked hard to make people forget, by telling her she wouldn’t win because of said incident, by telling Amelia she hadn’t found her softer voice, while her softer voice is just fine, by telling Little Mix that hey vocals were not worthy of a semifinal, while the girls showed their probably best vocal yet. All the while blowing his own acts out of proportions. Yes, I don’t expect him to call on every flaw of his acts, but as Kelly Rowland, the true Head Judge showed us, you can be critical without being offensive or downright mean (when Janet was horrible, she did say that wasn’t her best performance. No need to hide what everyone has seen). Barlow, take that little integrity you’ve left and walk away, before you become X Factor’s joke.

Final Thoughts: I would like to see Amelia win the competition, but everyone beside Marcus deserves to. This season was weaker than the one before, and Dannii Minogue was missed. I think it’s time the X Factor machine took a break and left the screen to the much more interesting The Voice, but I am conscious it won’t happen. I do understand why the ratings have fallen though. The talent was unimpressive.

Thank you for reading and I hope you’ve enjoyed my blogs at least half as much as our weekly spats with ThatOne. Have a nice X Factor-less year everyone!

EDIT: The Final 3 was composed of Amelia Lily, Little Mix and Marcus. Misha left us. Good Luck to them all!

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11 Comments

  1. canadiangal

    I pretty much agree with everything you have written this week Silvio. 

    To be sure, I find Marcus to be very entertaining and I do like to watch his performances, but I don’t think he has a strong recording voice.  Then again, with G.B. as his mentor and choosing his songs and delivery style, who knows what Marcus could accomplish.

    For only 2 months together as a group, I think Little Mix is amazing.  I’d like to see them again at the end of the X-Factor tour.  I think they will be stupendous by then and they may end up as the “real” winners of the competition with a solid recording-career.

    I have liked Misha B since her audition.  She is so serious about music and works so hard on her performances, that I think she might be a little blunt with those that she perceives as wastrels.  I don’t think she is anything other than a perfectionist.  She has real soul and excels at R&B.

    I think you are correct in your assessment of Amelia Lily.  She has the best voice in the competition.  She has the looks and personality to go along with her voice.  I think, win or lose, she is capable of a great recording career.

    Gary Barlow….what a disappointment!  At the outset of the audition phase, I thought he seemed to be really listening to the auditioners and very astute in his observations.  He has now become a bad joke.  He is just plain rude and more than a little pompous.   He has no wit and is a detriment to the show.

    Does it really matter who the winner of X-Factor is?  In fact, the winners seem to be a little cursed, as they are subject to the poor quality and badly produced records from Simon Cowell’s record label.  The real benefit for these kids is the exposure they receive by performing on the live shows.  The exposure does open doors and give them incredible access which they didn’t have before.  They ALL need to get themselves some “black-belt” agents/managers, find decent supportive record labels to sign with and run as fast and as far from S.C.’s machine as possible.  

    1. Silvio R

      Hi Gal. I will agree with you completely on the Barlow issue. The man is a shadow of his former image and needs to clear out as fast as possible. I was disappointed too.

      I don’t understand why people seem to hold Simon in high regard. He is nothing but a financeer with a good ear. Making him head of a music label is like making a blind nun into a fashion designer. It’s pointless.

      Thanks for reading though. 

  2. ThatOne

    Well I think we’ve come to the end of Misha B’s quite despicable calvary. If Tulisa had a little more intelligence she would express her shame more convincingly than with all that sudden praise, dripping with insincerity; she’s just too dim-witted to understand what she has done. In a couple of years we will see Misha B as the star and Tulisa trying to attract attention to whatever else she is “selling” as she shares the red carpet with the rest of the Z-list “celebrities” or tries to make her way in with no ticket and no pass…

    Misha B found Dancing In The Street far too easy, a bit like Usain Bolt obliged to run 100 metres in less than 15 seconds, but she made a statement, fixed the standard to match, which the others pretty much missed, and showed, again, that she can bring more fun than the other three together, on a good day, downhill, with a following wind and the XF microphone’s echo on twelve tenths. But her second offering was pure magic. A perfect Perfect, and then some. I enjoy Pink, she has a nice irreverent edge to her art, and I was astounded to hear an excellent song come out so differently even though nothing, apart from the singer and the duration, was really changed.  I hope Pink gets to hear and enjoy what Misha B did to her song.

    Thank you, Gary, whatever your weaknesses may be, for coming out with a direct indictment of Tulisa and Louis for setting the Misha B hate campaign rolling.  For those who know her real motivation Tulisa has portrayed herself as a thoroughly unpleasant piece of work.  Gary’s tone was epic. To be fair on Louis I cannot blame him as harshly as Tulisa.  Louis just supports the last person to speak, and has an invisible third foot residing permanently in his mouth.  If he were a marriage counsellor divorce lawyers would build a 100 foot statue in honour of his solo contribution to the exponential growth of their case-load.

    Amelia Lily should note well how to sing a high, loud, long note as demonstrated by Misha B.  Amelia is a little pop-singer, and most singers in her genre avoid difficulties their talents cannot resolve.  Gary wasn’t quite right when he said she shouts, and I expressed the problem in a similarly inaccurate way.  What actually happens to Amelia’s big’uns is that they go sharp and rough, but there is still a note there so it’s not truly speaking “shouting”.

    Isn’t Marcus an enigma?  To start with I was disappointed that he sang “My Girl”; he should have had the courage to sing “My Guy”.  That is most certainly not a discriminatory remark; I sincerely believe that homosexual singers of both genders should feel safe singing about love the way they see it.  Elton John’s “Daniel” is a perfectly poised example of how to do it.  Were a heterosexual to sing a love song to a person of their own gender that would really be inexcusably offensive, so songs are modified appropriately.  Darn! I forgot!  It’s the X Factor, and sincerity does not open the door to understanding on such a tawdry little show.

    Philosophy over, back to the singing… Marcus is decidedly a very shaky singer, but not all the time.  Last night he only played “Hunt The Right Note” intermittently; on one of the latest versions of the M&S ad he opens the singing with a whole line of approximate pitch, but sings his second part perfectly.  I suspect the XF sound technicians dial in an echo with a modified pitch, so the singer’s error in pitch is smeared.  (It’s the only explanation I have come up with for Leon Jackson’s instant and total loss of pitch when he started touring daytime TV as the X Factor “winner”.  Other contributions welcome.)

    Finally Little Mix were really disappointing. I thought they had built up a group dynamic and would accelerate away from the others, but last night they seemed to forget everything they had achieved.  I’ll not linger on the styling, which was either an insult to four young women or non-existant. The singing was awful by their own recent standards: loose harmonies and wobbly timing, just like four solo singers forced to form a quartet with just 30 seconds warning.  The worst of the evening.  Everyone puts in a duff performance sometime, but professionals are able to hide it if it occurs at a particularly unhelpful time.  That’s what professional show-business is about: you forget the words, pee in your pants, your ex uses a loud-hailer to heckle you and the electrics fail, but you just call up all your skills and talents, and keep the show on the road somehow.  Going from Little Mix to four individual Mix-lets is unacceptable.

    Who knows? I may even go and see a Tim Burton film in about a year…

    (Unless there is a miracle of deserved voting in Misha B’s favour this is as far as I go with XF 2011. See you on other subjects?)

    1. Silvio R

      You’ve echoed my thoughs on the Marcus issue. I didn’t want to write it cause of the whole bullying thing people love to bring up, but I found it incredibly unsincere that he was singing to “his girl”. Did he mean his BFF? Sister? Favorite aunt? Because from the emotional depth of the song you’d think that was exactly who he thinking of. I have bitched about this enough. If you don’t feel the song you’ll not gonna connect with the audience. Oh well.

      To her credit, Misha did a hell of a job on her swan song, and I though Tulisa’s tears were actually genuine. If I were her, I’d at least try to get her a nice record deal. I am expecting to be called naive now. And I also don’t know why I am directing this to you. 

  3. Gerard McGarry

    I feel a sense of growing relief as this series of X Factor nears its underwhelming end.

    When this show began (and I mean back at the very beginning, not just this August), I was excited for the potential of the show to discover new talent and a place that would nurture up and coming popstars. But The X Factor has collapsed into a farcical mess of sensationalism, ludicrous overproduction and a complete and utter lack of talent.

    Each week, I watch with a weary heart as – like you say – Marcus performs a ridiculous routine that would never work from a real world popstar, surrounded by a bevy of backing dancers. Even the good singers like Misha and Amelia have their performances marred by the staging and often piss poor song choices. Little Mix, as I’ve said elsewhere, are thoroughly overrated. Even listening to the banality of the judges’ comments last night, you’d be forgiven for trying to puncture your own eardrums to never have to hear another X Factor cliche/critique again.

    The point I’m slowly working around to is that I really don’t care who wins. If you pushed me, I’d say Amelia, because she was a late injection of talent into an incredibly dull lineup this year. Either way I couldn’t care less.

    What’s hilarious right now is that there’s a small, passionate core of fans trolling the internets supporting their Misha B’s and their Little Mixes. What none of them realise is that with interest in X Factor already dwindling, all these contestants may be more quickly forgotten about than at any other time in the show’s history. Which means, when they inevitably surface with an original single, the silence they’re met with will be deafening. Wait and see.

    1. Silvio R

      You know what Gerard? I was watching the Voice of Albania just a week back and this guy came on. You know the drill, average guy, with a passion, he sang for the first time when he was two and the usual shit. The he opens his mouth and I found myself captivated. The guy left, and 4 more guys and 6 more girls rocked the house. There were no naked dancers, so cars on stage, no horse guys with leashes. 

      I’m not saying that it’s the performance that is damaging everyone. Quite the contrary. It’s the performance that is helping them, in the small X Factor microworld. I think the X factor started going downhill since Simon ordered live auditions and hired that bald guy choreographs. That’s why I like the Voice. They will get to the performance stage of the format, but I won’t forget Christina on the US version, saying to Rachel that if she felt like she was out of breath, she was to stop moving, not stop singing. It is about the voice.

      As a side note, Tom Jones and Jessie J for the Voice. I am jumping ship.

  4. ThatOne

    What others may do on the web is difficult to judge, so you may be right, in the main, but know this: I do not troll. As soon as I heard Misha B’s first audition I got in touch with people in Manchester only to learn that there was already a lot of Misha on YouTube.  It’s that earlier work which pushed me to rate Misha so highly, confirmed by either the complete package of her performances or by her ability to make a high quality best of certain doubtful song choices. I rate her very high chances, (like very, very probable), of success in a real life career on what I know of the music industry for about 5%, and for 95% on the opinions of folk from the regional music business in the South, the North West and the North East. As far as I learned there is not a single club nor radio station in those regions, (and addressing audiences with a mental age at least equal to their chronological age), which would not welcome Misha and/or list her recordings without a second of hesitation. The only caveat came from the club owners who don’t really think the larger venues will leave them anything.

    Of course there are people wandering aroound with gut feelings of hope and despair for Misha B, posting to convince themselves as much as other people.  Those good people are called “fans”, and their number is a non-scientific supplementary indicator of Misha B’s future.

    Here’s a point I am trying, and failing, to elucidate and substantiate: the link between Tim Burton and Misha B.  If it’s true, (large “if”), and if, (gargantuan “if”) Simon Cowell has released Misha B from her outstanding contractual obligations with XF, it’s wonderful.  Being a voice and singing some songs for an animated cartoon film isn’t on a par with Jennifer Hudson’s big Hollywood break, but it’s better to start small than not start at all.  But I’m not getting excited until the “ifs” can be removed.  I wonder if that would remove Misha B from the XF tour?  Tim Burton is very unconventional, so working out how far he has got with a film before the time and place of its premiere are announced is unlikely. I’d guess that Misha B would tour with the others before Tim Burton would need any of her time, but it’s just a guess.  Maybe Perez Hilton would know more; the Atlantic has never reduced his ability to get news over here; and he is a Misha B fan.  We shall see.

    You are right that most XF participants, “winners” included, over-estimate the show’s ability to get real world people to pay to see them or listen to them.  Only the very best alumni do carry interest from the show to the downloads, CD sales and venue ticket sales: JLS have, to date, a very solid grip on success; Leona Lewis had a successful first album, but the second sold weakly and her contract has been in doubt; all the interesting people with whom I have discussed Rebecca are sure she will succeed, but her first album comes out, officially, tomorrow, so it’s mighty early, and there’s a lot of fuss at the moment about One Direction, but most people doubt their longevity.  And that is that!  Alexandra Burke’s career is distinctly low key, Joe McElderry’s career has been revived in an unusual manner and is far from solid even so, Ray Quinn has gone totally musical theatre, and, frankly, I can’t be bothered to fish around in my head for other wannabes who are already well on the way to being has-beens.

    And now, as an elderly gentleman must, I shall get my suit out of moth-balls to be correctly dressed while I sit in the hall and wait for the postman to push my Rebecca album through the door.

    1. Gerard McGarry

      I’m not calling you a troll. All I’m saying is that there have been times this year when we’ve received a load of abuse from people – if we criticise an act for being substandard, we’re accused of a smear campaign, if we favour an act who we think has potential, we’re accused of being biased.

      There’s a sliding scale here – do we have to treat every single act the same? Is a Jonny Robinson to be given the same gravitas as a Misha B just because there’s a small core of niche fans who like him? Then we get down the line to Marcus or Little Mix, neither of whom are really good enough to win a record deal. Yet if you dare voice this opinion, a bunch of die-hard fans will plaster your site within minutes with comments about how unfair you’re being.

      Anyway, as I say, none of this was directed at you, ThatOne. I’ve just had a weekend of abuse for stating my opinion on Unreality TV and I’m sounding off a little bit.

      I’d like to just go on record here and say that I’ve appreciated your comments and discussion here – some of your comments have been worthy of their own blog posts! If there’s ever a time you want to write any music reviews or opinion pieces, we’d love to hear from you! And if you ever need a hand using the blogging features on Shout, I’d be more than happy to help! Send me a PM and I’ll give you some pointers.

  5. canadiangal

    Just out of curiosity what have the XF ratings been like this year in comparison to previous years?  Have the ratings remained constant over the course of this year’s contest or have they been falling?  If we (who were once quite interested in the show) find the whole thing lackluster, what could there be to interest the more casual viewer?  

  6. slaneyvalley

    I stopped watching X-factor weeks ago (after Johnny Robinson left) but I have enjoyed reading your thoughts and summaries Silvio R. Thanks for keeping us updated. For me simply – the X-factor has LOST the X-factor. It is past its sell by date. As I have said previously in another thread, when a reality show becomes more about the judges than the contestants then interest wanes.

    1. Silvio R

      Thank you slaneyvalley. I appreciate your words. I loved Johnny since the whole Kylie performance. I don’t remember having laughted harder than that night. He really was awesome, and he was not half bad as a singer.

      Like you said, it’s about the judges. And as it seems about Kelly’s moving mole. And Tulisa’s tatoo. But you know what, do expect another MAJOR SHAKE-UP on the judging panel. It’s what they do best. 

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