Welcome back, dear readers! Last night, on the X Factor we witnessed the murder of Rock, courtesy of the X Factor Judges. We saw it all, from the “Oh My God did he just do that?” to the “Damn, she can sing” to the “Shut up!”. Yes dear readers, we saw it all.
First of all I would like to weigh my opinion on the Tulisa-Gary-Kelly argument. Tulisa gave Rhythmix a pop song (two actually) and she ordered a rock remix for them. Gary gave Craig a ballad by a rock group. Kelly opted for a rock song, with an arrangement that reminded me of yet another genre. I have been part of songwriting sessions, and I know that the best approach when dealing with a theme called Rock would be Tulisa’s approach. Rock is about energy, about freedom, about not caring. It’s about the guitars, the wailing vocals and the crazy stage presence. When you take a song from Bon Jovi, but make it a ballad, you are not singing rock, you’re singing a ballad. When you take a song from Kesha, keep the melodic line, the lyrics, but change the arrangement, attitude and instrumentation, you are singing rock. What differentiates genres is not the artist, but the song.
Now with that out of the way, I’ll start with the performances. I will be extra hard, because Rock is my favorite genre. For easier navigation, I have divided the contestants in three piles: the Good pile, the Bad pile, and the Meh pile.
On the Good Pile:
The First Place goes to Kitty Brucknell, who is slowly showing everyone how it’s done. Now that’s rock, lighting stuff on fire and screaming into the microphone! The performance was dignified and worthy of being called a rock performance, and it was the only one that sent tingles down my spine. Bravo Kitty for being a great vocalist (The nosey tone is starting to not bother me anymore), a musician and a visionary, who doesn’t rely on others’ ideas to build a performance.
The Second Place goes to Misha B, who, I have to say reminded me of a banshee last night! The skin tone was the only thing missing (banshees are spirits), and the girl could have gone flying and killing mountain’s people! Now seriously folks, even though Misha B is clearly an urban act, she pulled out a pretty good vocal (not without problems, I might add, cuz she had trouble with the timing once or twice, but still pretty good), a pretty solid performance and a killer attitude. To say something about the bullying incident, I will say that maybe it was inappropriate of Tulisa to say what she said on public, but I cannot not believe her acusations. If, like the conspiracy theorists like to say, Tulisa would have liked to undermine the competition, she could have gone and trashed any other contestant who stood in her way (Craig, Janet, Marcus). Instead she chose Misha. I have said that Misha’s ego is being inflated, and I have said that she needs to tone it down, but maybe the whole thing could have been handled backstage. Let’s not lose perspective though, the girl is amazing. Bravo Misha!
The Third Place in my classification goes to Marcus, the one who opened the show. Marcus really is not a rocker: he doesn’t have the tone or attitude for that, but that didn’t stop him from delivering a kick-ass performance, dancing it out like nobody cared, and screaming (ineffectively, refer back to the tone comment ). That’s what rock is people. Take notes Gary, otherwise know as the writer of “Run for your life”, a “rock” song. *wink, wink*
The Fourth Place, and last for the good pile, goes to my sweet Janet. I love this girl. I don’t know why, but I do. I can’t help but feel like she’s being forced into being the “sweet little girl from Northern Ireland” to get some kind of sympathy. I feel an edge in her, like some kind of repressed thing, because no one, NO ONE sings like that if they don’t have something to tell. Janet sings Sweet Child o’ Mine, in a typical Florence + the Machine fashion, full with drums and hair and ambience, but lacking a potent, larger than life voice. Again I say that was not the point, but I love Florence’s Rock and even though Janet’s was not a match for hers, the girl is amazing. I see her as somewhat misguided actually. She needs to experiment, so she finds a comfort genre. You can’t do an album full of ballads.
Now for the Meh (not bad, not good, not memorable) Pile:
The Fifth Place goes to Sophie, who is wrestling with anonymity. No one knows this girl, and no one is doing sh!t to help it. She gets to sing Living on a Prayer, yet again a stripped version of it. I don’t know if the decision to re-arrange the song was made out of ignorance, or to make her vocals shine through, but it was a bad decision. While Sophie is a good vocalist, touching a song like that is a sin. She was also jumping keys at times, and again I must say the whole production of the song was wrong. Good for her though. It could have been a train wreck, but it was just okay.
The Sixth Place goes to Rhythmix, who are the “cool, young, fresh, edgy, other interchangeable meaningless adjective” of the bunch. Tulisa made the controversial decision of giving them a Kesha song, and another song from group called Salt and Peppa and Turkey Seasoning. The girls made an effort, and even though it felt a little bit weird, it was a nice performance. Mash-ups are cool, in my opinion, and this one was done right. One thing though. Both songs were done by Glee. Both songs were sung in a choir-y way. I can’t help but draw parallels. And the girls looked as if Kurt had dressed them. Or maybe like they were put in front of a water colors-transporting car, right before it exploded.
The Seventh Place goes to Craig. (OddOne’s nose was right, note to myself). Craig was outed this week, and I always fear that in this kind of popularity contest, such games are dangerous. And it didn’t help at all that he sang Stop Crying Your Heart Out very deficiently. The performance was again singing candle, his voice cracked more than a couple of time, and he was constantly shifting registers. A far cry from the Craig I thought he would be, but hey, from his audition episode, the one I loved was Jade.
The Eighth Place goes to The Risk, who feel they need to capitalize on Derry’s ability to pick up girls. How fascinating. One of the boys, I think his name was Ashley, was sick, and he looked and sounded sick as well, and I have to say, as much as I love this group, they were a mess tonight. Again Charlie’s vocal performance did them a lot of favors, and the other white kid sounded really nice too.
And now, on the Bad Pile:
Sami grabs The Ninth Place, mostly because she is given one of the worst songs she could ever be given. Something with time in the title, Turning Back Time I think, by Cher. To say it was the wrong song for her, would be an understatement. She carried the song through out of respect for her mentor, but the song was boring, and it was off-putting. Her voice cannot be blamed usually, but you could tell she didn’t love the song. I would hate to lose the girl so early on, but she is being mentored the wrong way.
On The Tenth Place is Johnny. Johnny is worried about being the circus act of the competition, and we get to see that he’s not always as flamboyant as he carried himself to be. He sings I Believe in a Thing Called Love, Which could have been a nice choice on paper, but really wasn’t. To his defense, he is not even remotely a rocker, and he says that much. I believe it. The chest voice parts were nice and audible, some can even call it real good, but when he went into his falsetto, I jumped back like I was hit by a bucket of water. It was painful. It really was. His falsetto is very detached from his normal, high voice, and that makes the transition, if fast, painful and chaotic.
The Last Spot goes to Frankie by default, because if it were up to me, he’d stayed home since boot camp. He’s overstayed his welcome. We are treated to a video of him going clubbing, and talking about his Rockstar ways and sh!t. I was nauseated, actually. How can someone who has been given such a big break, be so irresponsible? I can’t help but bring James into this. While one just wants to have fun, one needs to provide for his family, and the last one can actually sing and play an instrument. Frankie needs to go as soon as possible, because I can’t stand another performance of bad singing, cocky faces and stupid hair. There were Jedward, there was Wagner, now there is Frankie. And Frankie is not funny bad. Just bad.
Final Thoughts: I am hating Gary Barlow. It has come to that point. I am convinced that just because you’re a nice songwriter, you’re not a good mentor for new artists and I would put down all his decisions of last night if it weren’t for Marcus. I think the judging table has lost the harmony, and I think we will see the kind of bitching Dannii and Cheryl and Simon consider a horror movie. I am behind Tulisa’s way of mentoring and Kelly’s girls, but not Kelly herself. I will give Louis a free pass this week, because Kitty was amazing! AMAZING!
So that’s it folks. I would love to hear what you thought of last night, and my review of it. I will post the results for the international crowd as soon as they are cleared. See you next week!
EDIT: Sami and Kitty faced off in the bottom two, and Kitty is safe. Sami goes home, leaving in the competition the likes of Frankie and Johnny. See people, this is not a singing competition.
Note to myself. When I go out, sing in the karaoke and get drunk (not necessarily in that order) I will be sure to film it, because I might have a shot at stardom. Or at the very least, at X Factor.