Rating The Acts! X Factor Week Eight

Hello everyone! It’s Week Eight on the X Factor tonight, meaning, there are just TWO more weeks until the winner is crowned. I know I should be sad, but in reality, I couldn’t be happier that this season is coming to an end. Maybe with the new year we’ll get a new judging panel. Or something. Whatever.

The pre-semifinal week is always rough for me. See, it’s the week before the really important ones, and people are thinking more about their next performance than about their current one. But in all fairness, this week was the worst week of the season. It was so boring, so so boring. I actually missed Johnny, because with that guy, you knew you were in for a laugh. And not only was the night boring, it was also full of below standard performances sung by people who have been singing for 8 (and 4) weeks already.

My classification tonight will be based on act, so I won’t have two rankings. I have scored points from 1 to 5 for the first song and the same for the second song. Again, I say that I am greatly disappointed with the standard this year. Take the classification with a grain of salt, and don’t forget to vote. And don’t do drugs. Or something.

So, this week’s best act, the one who gets The First Spot is Amelia Lily. The first song was really nice, not brilliant, but nice. I sense that Amelia has a bit of trouble with controlling her vocal fully, but I am going to say two things about that. First, she has been performing for 4 weeks less than the other guys, and she has a lot to learn. Second, her voice is very beautiful and strong, and really corporeal, so I am going to forgive the little problems in pitch. If you recall Rebecca last year, she had massive problems with control and note holding, but people, myself included, did not care, because her tone was just stunning. The second song was a mess for me, because she was basically asleep for the first 20-30 seconds of the song, and after that, she started shouting a little in the beginning. Again, taking in consideration the age, the potency, the experience, the potential and the mentor (I don’t think Kelly is paying that much attention to the girls’ vocals, more so to the performance) I think Amelia should be cut some slack. 9/10

The Second Spot goes to Little Mix. I have to say, out of all the acts, the only group on the competition is the only one who has gone through a journey. They weren’t the best group. Actually, in my first post they where the third, but they grew. They have potentially-decent vocalists on the group, who really need some vocal training, and they have a specific demographic they want to target. Their first song, or rather mash-up was actually painful for me, because the only common between Biebs’s and Dianna Ross’s songs is that they had the word baby in the lyrics. And what the hell is up with the dresses? It seemed like they were dipped in glue and pushed into a clown’s dressing room. The stylist needs to be fired immediately. The second song was the one that did it for me. I will admit that the vocals needed work, but I felt that was a very sincere delivery of the song, and you could just tell that it came from some place. I loved the message, which should net be pushed further, by the way, and I loved Jesy’s melismatic voice. With work, it could be great. 8/10

The Third Spot goes to Misha B. Misha started out strong with the Cindy Lauper song, which I don’t understand how can be considered a guilty pleasure. She, for the first time elevated the pulse of the night, and I always love her rapping and the times when she comes out doing what she does best. I am gonna say that what she was wearing was dreadful beyond words, but I don’t really care about that when faced with a convincing performance. The second song was a disaster, because not only did she lose her originality, she also delivered a tired and incredibly dull performance that was more focused on Misha’s facial expressions than on her actual connection with the public. To me, that says Broadway, and I hate Broadway. Kelly should have never allowed her to sing that song. I am sure Misha has other heroes, not only Rebecca Flack. 7/10

The Fourth Spot goes to Marcus. Marcus is not a versatile singer, and he is not a great vocalist. Marcus is a very nice showman and can keep up with his dancing moves, but beyond that Marcus really doesn’t do it for me. The first song was a copy of the previous 7 weeks, and the second one, well, it showed us there is a reason why he can only do big productions. The vocals were weak and they were mostly colorless. I would urge him never to hit his falsetto again, because it has an irritating tone. 4/10

The Fifth Spot goes to Janet. I don’t care if she forgot her lyrics, I have witnessed actual singers who forget them and are in tip-top physical condition. Janet confessed she was sick, and I would have rather missed a few lines than see actual emesis on stage. The problem I have with Janet is that she does the same thing every week, and I have come to be bored of this thing. The first song was kind of cute, but the second was technically deficient. The yodel she lets out after EVERY phrase is boring and she actually had to push out a lot of the song. It felt synthetic and it felt shouty. I think she would have fared better had she entered Britain’s Got Talent. 2/10

And that’s that, dear readers. I would obviously like to see Janet or Marcus go, but something tells me those two are the ones that are safer than the others. I am very excited to see who the celebrity duets are gonna be, and I hope my top three gets a chance to sing with them. Till then, enjoy!

EDIT: It was Misha vs. Janet, with Janet going home. Cue the Fix claims. Or the Kelly-Was-A-Coward claims. Either way, the right decision was made.

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13 Comments

  1. ThatOne

    We all know that the acts are obliged to step out of their preferred style just to make a decent job of the songs they are allowed to choose, and that the infamous X-Factor echo mike covers all sorts of musical sins. So how would last night’s kids get on with the far more demanding real life of a real performer?

    Little Mix: Now we know why Cheryl Cole doesn’t sing live-live. (Her “live” X Factor spot last season was recorded well before the show went on air…) Juvenile pop girl bands don’t need to sing live without a tone warping echo, they just have to giggle and wriggle. The Mix-lets looked and sounded like four brave girls taking part in an office party karaoke competition. I cannot criticise their singing: there wasn’t any.  In the real world they will make a couple of albums and then move on to the reality TV circuit.

    Janet Devlin: I have called this girl a boring fake from the first auditions.  It just got worse: she is a disastrous boring fake.  Not many people will pay to see and hear a sad, static girl with a reedy little voice and a stand-up comic’s parody of an Irish accent la-la-la-ing through forgotten words.  One album, then local “fame” only.

    Misha B: A superior being in this company. She is not perfect, but a real life star through and through. People will pay to see a full set of the sort of work Misha B produces almost without fail.  Real life adjustments required, after which she will enjoy many, many years of international success.  Too good to win the X Factor, but the girl had fun.

    Marcus: Cracks are appearing, and he tried to plaster them over by becoming so very, very generic and safe.  There is no need in real life for another conventional male singer.  He looks like a potential winner of the X Factor, and very likely to disappoint exactly like all previous winners. (Leona fans: read the news about the effect of her insipid second album on her contract. Nice girl, fair singer, got Cowelled.)  On an irrelevant subject which I only mention for its neat twist: How did he end up with either a natural mop of hair that looks like a hair-piece or a hair-piece that refuses to lie down, when he’s a hairdresser in a very trendy salon?  Not that such a problem hindered Elton John’s career…

    Amelia: Really, really awful, even by the low standards of the X Factor.  Scowled, sulked, moved like she didn’t want to, and shouted tunelessly.  Forced smiles only fool those who want to be fooled. Perfect performance for an X actor winner who is likely to do a Leon on the winner’s tour of daytime TV.  (Leon got pulled out of all his live spots when the absence of the X Factor echo at the first two attempts revealed that he couldn’t sing.) Real life will require a lot of work, a real lot of work, but she could just scrape out a few years of career, being a role model for stroppy teenage girls.

    1. Silvio R

      You know what your problem is? It’s not a matter of high expectations, or high standards. You’re just one of those myopic people that like someone so much it becomes impossible for them to do any wrong. Not only that, you also feel compelled to bash every other person that could possibly be more capable than the one you cheer for. That to me sounds suspiciously like what Tulisa “did” to Misha, and coming from someone who makes it a point to insult Tulisa every time he can, I say it’s not fair. You are entitled to your opinion, even if that opinion is that Amelia shouts tunelessly and Little Mix don’t sing at all.

      I don’t know if you’ve ever had the opportunity to listen to singers live. I also don’t know if you’ve had the opportunity to assist or maybe take part in some kind of songwriting session. I have had both of these chances, with my native artists and in my native language of course, and I can promise you that before a singer is unleashed on the world, a lot of stuff happens. Producers can turn toads into princes.

      Simon’s label is a disgrace for the simple reason that it doesn’t rely on the longevity of the artist. If Simon can produce 12 bubblegum songs with minimal cost and sell them to 10000 tone deaf teens, he’s fine. He’ll get his payday. Next year, he’ll get another bunch of singers he’ll go through, to find someone with whom he can go through the same exact process. To get the money.

      So I don’t care much if you think Misha is divine. If Misha was that good, she’d have gotten a break by herself, just like Duffy, Adele, Jessie J, Florence Welch, Amy Winehouse did. This competition gives you a more public figure. If you’re an artist, you’ll know how to use this chance. If you like it easy and breezy, you’ll end up the way past winners have.

  2. ThatOne

    Your attempt to give yourself greater credibility than mine is a failure.  Calm down, have a good night’s sleep, read yourself tomorrow morning and you should be able to understand.  By the way, it’s very probable that I’ve been around music longer than you have been alive.

    One precise point: you seem to think that all great talents get a chance of “making it” through the more conventional paths to fame.  Surely you know that that is just plain wrong.  Think back to all the talented folk who just scraped it into a top-level career, and how they would never ever have got anywhere without that little decisive dose of luck.  I’ve always thought that for every singer, group, band, solo musician, whatever, who reached the top there is at the very least one just as worthy of success but who never got that one, last good break.  Louis Walsh knows a heck of a lot about that, with acts he signed up in extremis.  Look at XF USA, listen to and research Josh Krajicek.  Fame passed him by at every opportunity it had for frustrating him, even though his talent has always been the one he is now delivering to the world.  No talent show as a last chance, no top musical career for Josh.

    But it does seem to me that we can agree that talent shows promote infinitely more dross than quality by giving the fallacious impression that the top twelve acts usually selected for their live stages are the twelve greatest new talents around. There’s just a smattering of successful talent show alumni; there’s one Chris Daughtry for so many Leon Jacksons.

    The final shame of talent contests is Cowell’s prediction that Jennifer Hudson would never have a great career.  The great talent show guru has never really got it 100% right at all. I’ll give him a 50% for Leona Lewis, to be revised when her contract is back on an even keel.  Or not.

  3. Silvio R

    I am not “attempting” to give myself a greater credibility that yours; I am attempting to make you see the criteria by which you are judging other musical acts. The fact that you perceive my comment as a challenge is a testament to your insecurities.

    I can tell you hundreds of performers that sing excellently live but never touch a musical sheet. I can also tell you a hounded more artists who are brilliant in their studio recordings but who usually fail to channel that exact same emotion to a live audience. Florence + The Machine, my favorite band is just like that. Her albums are sensational, but because of the heavy production her tracks get, Florence’s live performances rarely live up to the CDs.

    That is the power of production, and you telling me and whoever’s reading this blog that Amelia will go on to sing to “stroppy” girls, or that Little Mix will go and have two albums and then retire to reality shows while Misha will go on to have international success tells me your vision is indeed myopic. Misha, the center of all this debate, did it to herself. She started out strong, but somewhere along the way, she decided it was more important to win the show than to maintain originality. Does that sound to you like what a bona fide artist would do? Yes, Tulisa is partly to blame for what happened, but Misha should have shown that she had character and should have gone out three weeks ago with her head held high. Not singing songs she doesn’t even believe in.

    I won’t go out and say that every talented person will get a shot at fame. I know very well of the luck involved, and of the people who block your way because you might be better while they are better connected. But you say that Misha is “a thrilling young star, one of the best this century“. Surely, you must know that a talent this big would have gotten a break without the need of Cowell’s incompetent machine. My point is, don’t write someone out because you don’t like him or her. Lady Gaga was rejected by one of music’s most important people. I don’t see her singing to stroppy teens. That’s partly because she didn’t change herself to make herself more marketable.

    And to conclude, I will say that the age thing doesn’t do it for me. My second cousin is 50 years old and tone deaf. Should I listen to his comments on music?

     

  4. ThatOne

     

    You really are very tiresome, very predictable, bereft of new ideas and given to hackneyed expessions and mis-quotes.  You may well have tone-deaf quinquagenarian family members with even less music industry savvy than you, but that’s got nothing to do with me and my forty four-ish years involvement in music, starting from booking up and coming bands like Family, Jethro Tull, Ten Years After… for uni and college concerts.

    Anyway, we’ll see who gets the better career out of all this year’s rather poor X Factor crop.  I would rate my experience and reliable and usually respected judgement against your rather novice approach any day.  I will just call on the obligatory caveat where teenage girls are concerned: Misha could still do a Paris Bennett, make enough money fron one album and inflated revenue from live “spots” and branding to be comfortably well-off for the rest of her life, and just simply stop doing anything more worthy.  Actually that’s not entirely fair on teenage girls, since Melinda Doolittle did pretty much the same and she was no teenager, but you should get the drift.

    If you have no experience of the US music industry you should still try YouTube-ing for Josh Krajcik, who should do well from the last-chance openings his presence on XF USA will bring him, after none of the traditional routes to success were kind to him. Misha was doing well before XF, so I’ll count her use of XF as a stepping stone as evidence that she wanted to get on faster than she was doing, on the club circuit around Manchester and worse.

     

    1. Silvio R

      You know what? You are impossible. You keep belittling my experience but in the end say nothing new or different: you only reinforce my points. I guess that’s the old way of doing it.

      I will go now. Notice me not writing a paragraph of words to answer a misinterpreted line in your response. You should try that sometimes.

       

      1. Dara Hickey

        Fear not Silvio – ThatOne’s rebuttals’ potency is diluted due to the fact that they are incapable of not giving the, admittedly, quite bemusing impression they’ve just raided Dictionary.com/Thesaurus.com for a plethora or practically archaic language and that there appears to be some fast-diminshing hope that by using language that exists outside the linguistic circle of the majority, there is some form of superiority present. Quite frequently, the unnecessary dressings hide it’s true meaning in such an intoxicating pomposity that both his/her opinions and justifications for said opinions are lost in a sea of useless faux-tactical syntactic nonsense. Ahur-hum.

        Now back to the important shit:

        A good healthy debate is always a worthwhile investment of time, but ThatOne’s blatant ignorance to the opinions of others are exactly why we cant have nice things. The X Factor is pure, unfiltered, shite. Lord knows why we spend so much time defending and knocking the weeds that grow out of such a stinking heap of excrement. I must say though Silvio, you do it with far more balance and justification than most – it’s nice not to see hyperboles and superlatives whipped out of your arsehole to try and create an opinion that carries some depth.

        ThatOne is clearly a fan of Misha. So? And I can’t be a fan of Janet? I can’t be a fan of Marcus? I can’t dislike Misha? Is that what we’re getting at? In the grand scheme of things we are arguing over pig slurry. 

        Notice I am not denying you of a right to support Misha, or Silvio’s support for Little Mix – I loathe them both – because of the day, I am not here to force you to change your opinion. I am merely pleaing for the right to voice my own. The least you could do is respect another for having different opiions to yours which, might I add, are based of far less airy fairy assumptions that some Donald Duck impersonator is ready for REAL fame (she’s clearly not, considering she falls apart like some badly cooked trifle when the media pounces on her – something she’s going to have to adapt to if she wants all the showerings of glamour and awe that “fame” brings).

        1. Silvio R

          I’ll try to speak normal English, even though I am the last one who should be concerned with that.

          This is how I see stuff. My time around patients has taught me to not take things that seriously, because there are far more important things than a thin harmony. I guess I could write about the terrible problems I see in these singers, but in reality, I just don’t want to. That’s why I try to focus on their potential. And no one can deny: some of the people in this competition have potential.

          Like I’ve said in a previous post, I really don’t believe X Factor has the ability to produce major superstars. It has the potential. Simon’s army is incompetent, and that’s why we haven’t yet witnessed a superstar come out of the show, with the possible exception of Leona. But I watch the show to have fun (which admittedly, is happening less and less this year), and when the show ends, I return to real life, with real life music, with real life people who aren’t being shielded against basically everything. I don’t understand how one can become an artist, a genuine artist, the kind people respond to, if one is never subjected to life. Meh, I guess ten weeks of fighting about which is the bestest dress qualify as life too.

          And I will also say that Amelia Lily has my support. I like Little Mix, but I like Amelia more. If anyone deserves the 15-30 minutes of fame this show grants you, is our friendly diabetic big-vocal girl. I think she can be worked on, and I think that I would be more or less inclined to buy her stuff. And this has nothing to do with my training. I think.

           

  5. canadiangal

     

    You’ve taken the words out of my mouth!  I have been watching, with no small amount of interest, the “provocative” discussion between Silvio and That One.

    We all know that X-Factor (both the UK and USA versions) are complete hogwash, but we still love to watch and debate the performances.  It’s ultimately Cowell’s record label that destroys most of the artists by not recognizing their strong suits.  For example, Joe McElderry excelled at ballads during his X-Factor season…..what does the record label produce for him?….an album full of a bunch of poppy drivel which is sung in a vocal range which is far too highly pitched to appeal to most anyone.  2nd album (non-Cowell) is so much better. 

    I  like Misha B. a lot,  but I also liked Janet (now this is eclectic I know).  As much as I like Kelly Rowland, I think she did rather poorly on song choice….All you have to do is check out those little You Tube clips (especially “Crazy”) from Janet herself, to see what a quirky little performer she can be.  Why didn’t we see anything like that on the live shows?  2 performances where the words were forgotten and Janet really had to go.

    Kitty was quite brilliant and survived as long she did on her own efforts and despite Louis.

    Speaking of Louis, I think he is quite past it and should retire.  Just because he has the “older” contestants, it shouldn’t mean that he has to select song material which dates back to The Ark!!  

    To be honest, I don’t think that X-Factor is doing too well in North America.  Next season will tell, of course,  but most people I have talked to don’t like the judges sniping at each other so much, as it takes away from the contestants and their performance.  Also, the productions are sometimes too much. 

    Bye the bye, did anyone  notice the similarity between Janet (UK)& Drew (USA).  They even sang the same song – Fix You (check out the You Tube clips).

    So there’s my thoughts to add into the mix.

    1. Silvio R

      Well, I have three things to say to you.

      One, I’m happy to have your thoughts on the mix.

      Two, We’re happy to entertain. Or at least I am.

      Three, it’s so nice to know of someone who liked Kitty. I liked her too. She was fun. Which is something the competition is missing at this point.

  6. ThatOne

    I have run through all the latest performance show numbers, (not a pleasant task…), and read all these exchanges, (far more interesting).  I stand by every word of my first comment on this subject.  I cannot convince you of my background, such is the web, but I cannot go against it either.  I am what I am, whether people believe me or not.  XF is sinking mighty low as a singing competition, and it’s not even a decent popularity contest because it is less and less based on what good points need to be attributed to the contestants, and more and more based on the lies and innuendo that can be dressed against a contestant, fired up by bad behaviour by the judges.

    A glimmer of hope is appearing, but far too late to influence events.  Misha B fans are fighting back and making strong points in her favour while putting all the non-singing rubbish under fact-based scrutiny.  I hope they do not succeed, because I really, really do not want Misha B stifled by the lop-sided winner’s contract.  But the longer she stays on the show the better.  Is it really controversial that the judges are keeping Misha B in the competition?  Not one bit, as they are only obliged to judge the contestants on their performances, (one thing they get right), while the public are perfectly entitled to like rubbish.  That’s rubbish like Chico, Wagner, John and Edward over here; the list of rubbish on American Idol would be too tedious!

    Kelly has stated that she will stand by Misha B come what may, because that is what she knows she must do.  That is the right way for Misha B: USA music fans will base their opinions of Misha B’s music on what they see and hear of her performances because that is the way they do things.  They even re-accepted Ike Turner for the last years of his life, their support for very controversial characters like Jerry Lee Lewis or James Brown never weakened for more than a few months.

  7. Gerard McGarry

    Have to agree with CanadianGal – I love watching these now weekly sparring matches between you guys!

    Here’s my tuppenceworth: I can’t warm to Misha B. I think she peaked too soon and she’s being smothered by the X Factor overproduction machine. Based on what I originally saw of Misha there’s a fair amount of talent and potential there, but it’s not being harnessed properly by Kelly Rowland or whoever really makes the creative decisions on The X Factor.

    I wanted to like her, but it’s hard to command my respect or support when you’re dressed as a purple Quality Street or wearing a Rhino horn hairstyle.

    As for the rest of them, well I’m utterly apathetic. I kind of fancy Amelia Lily as the underdog who walked in late and proved that Kelly Rowland was wrong to dump her. And I think she can be transformed into a powerhouse pop star. But I’m not particularly excited about whatever she might release. Little Mix likewise have the potential, but they’re nowhere near as consistent with their vocals. That’s not to say that one tour and 9 months of intense vocal training later, things might have improved.

    I won’t even bother with Marcus. This year’s show has become a Saturday night chore. And I’m actively trying to be positive about the acts, but it’s difficult when they’re this bad. The problem is, the basic ingredient – the X Factor, if you will – was missing this year: talented singers who we look forward to seeing on stage each week.

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