The X Factor never fails to amaze me. Not just in a hideously cynical way that people like me who are NO FUN AT ALL would understand, but also in a positive way… sort of.
The X Factor truly is a Juggernaut amongst Lilliputians when it comes to the show’s affect on the music industry and those that are forced to stand like skittles (sadly not the edible variety) and witness the unstoppable force that is the X Factor winner as they rise to megastar prominence in a nothing-short-of-spectacular fashion, catapulted high above those that have tried and failed and those that are indeed still trying to make it into the all-powerful, (and maybe not so) all-seeing public’s eye.
Problem is, there’s no stopping it. Not now. It’s just too big a force. You could either resent the show, it’s warped view of fame and all else that it thrusts upon our society, go and buy Trashmen’s ‘Surfin’ Bird’ but you’d probably get brushed aside or into line like a stray hair on Theo Hutchraft’s head, and the very fact you’re caring about the whole subject matter means you’re only fuelling the fire. You could try and ignore the affect it has completely, but odds are you’d end up getting flattened by the steam-rolling monolith itself because you chose to be Not So Clever and stand where it’s rolling (pretty much everywhere), and then of course, you could always find yourself incapable of resisting them temptation altogether and go and buy the winner’s single, but then you’d also be climbing onto the steam-roller and adding to the power and might of the already powerful and mighty force that it has.
Not that there’s anything wrong with buying the winner’s single, just to clarify, but all I’m saying here is The X Factor is unstoppable, because no-one saw how big it would become back when it was on a budget, and now it’s viewing figures are unprecedented for Saturday night viewing.
Sure it may have had a bit of a slip-up here and there (Steve, Leon, and unfortunately, I fear Joe is going the same way), but the wheel’s aren’t exactly falling off the X Factor bus just yet, in fact, with a shiny new winner under his belt, Simon’s about to brush off his bank card and buy a whole new one.
And now onto Matt Cardle. Whilst I appreciate him giving a good stab at the “I’m going to make real music” thing and turning down the opportunity to sing something predictable like Whitney’s ‘Greatest Love Of All’ in favour of something with a little more… growl. Obviously he wants to shift that “Oh, but he only sings song made famous by ladies whilst wielding a crap acoustic guitar” name he’s been slapped with. Only problem is, as rough and as gruff as Matt Cardle looks on the outside, he’s a bit of a charisma black hole really, and he’s most certainly not rough and gruff when he sings (quite odd, because he was when he was in his band, Seven Summers). In fact, I actually find it very hard to listen to such a heroically valiant vocal from the Biffy Clyro clan get turned into a whimpering, reedy, falsetto-ridden snoozefest.
The video will be along in a few days, and it’ll obv feature footage from “Matt’s long and arduous journey” as he “worked so hard” and slaved it out in front 15 million people each week, interspersed with scenes of him surrounded by ribbons or something. Oh, how so very hard it is to sing on a stage for ten weeks.
Don’t get me wrong, I loved Matt’s voice at first, and when Aiden Grimshaw – the only person in the history of X Factor I’d had a proper go at this “connecting” malarky with – was eliminated (read: cheated) from the competition, Matt became my “favourite” to win. Unfortunately, with ‘When We Collide’, which sees Simon oust the original title for fear that it may not, God forbid, be commercial enough to put the word “horror” in what now is basically a pop single title.
And I do mean that. I’m no die-hard fan of Biffy Clyro, but what I have heard from them always delivered a definite kick, so I checked out the original version of ‘Many Of Horror (When We Collide)’, and to my disgust, I could not believe how badly produced the new version is. First thing you note is the distinct lack of guitars compared to the original, then you note the useless falsetto Matt injects into it, to no avail, and then you notice his desperate attempt and trying to sound manly when he growls a bit, and THEN he pretty much squeezes out any life left in the song by introducing the Westlife staple: a key change, or at least, a half-arsed attempt at one, before falling to his knees in what is probably the most painful finale ever. I suggest the X Factor contestants are contractually obliged to stay standing during their performances from now on.
When you consider all these factors, Matt tried to do a serious, “real music” cover, but it turned out to be a damp cloth. The roar, the passion, and the vocal and musical depth have been mercilessly sucked out of ‘When We Collide’ faster than Simon Cowell’s bank balance is rising and thrust before us in a limp, flaccid form that has as much appeal, musically, as sitting in a nail gun.
But that’s another flaw with The X Factor. It’s not a music contest. Any people who still believe it’s about music and finding real talent is as out-of-tune with the current goings-on in the music world as, well, The X Factor itself. It’s basically a popularity contest. That’s all. Matt was the underdog: a seemingly worthless painter and decorator from Colchester with alright looks and a big “emotional” voice. Unfortunately, if this was based on true talent, the final three last night would’ve comprised of Rebecca, Aiden and believe it or not, Katie, because at least she had some kind of artistic vision. On that logic, I suppose I should be saying Cher too, and whilst she was indeed something “new and never-seen-before” in the tiny, inclusive world that exists as The X Factor stage, in the real world, she is in fact an amateur singer and an appalling rapper, a.k.a: nothing “new” and nothing “never-seen-before”.
Matt on the other hand, well, as much as I bid him good luck in this music thing he’s got going on now, his first single’s a bet of a wet fish, and he’s about as exciting to talk to as driftwood.
But hey, it’s a singing competition right?
Rating: 2.0 STARS
Download: December 13, 2010 (OUT NOW)
Featured Album: TBA