Single Review: The X Factor Finalists ft. JLS & One Direction – ‘Wishing On A Star’

“This is a great game, isn’t it?”


Digital Release: November 27, 2011

Physical Release: November 28, 2011

Ah, it’s that time of year again. That glorious time of year when Simon Cowell goes all out to make it look like The X Factor is a good thing. Isn’t he kind to us? It’s all very well releasing a single for a charity and it’s all very well that all the finalists get a fair share of the spotlight (cough), but when it comes to cramming over twenty artists into one song, slapping on some forced grins like everyone’s having buckets of fun whilst bobbing up and down in uncannily regimented unison, doesn’t it all feel a bit contrived? 

But of course, ‘Wishing On A Star’ a charity single, so we shouldn’t be too harsh, because after all, it’s dedicated to children with lower than average life expectancy. But in the same breath you could argue that if the welfare of those children meant any kind of iota to the big Cowell steam-roller, then they might have done it with far more conviction and far less circumstantial gaudiness. By which I mean, if only there was something worth buying this single for. If you like good, melancholic music and you like charity, donate the money yourself – and donate a lot more than whatever iTunes is charging – and slap on some of Wagner’s live performances from last year – they’ll almost certainly make you shed a tear. Don’t bother submitting yourself to quite possibly the most predictable charity single The X Factor has ever spun out. It was obvious from the outset that the show’s stinking bias wafting over Misha B meant that she was going to start the whole thing. But the only wish she appears making is that Gary Barlow’s boardroom banality is going to coerce the other judges, or at least the hopeless fall-guy to his far right, into saving her from the inevitable fate to the bottom two this weekend. Keep on smiling, though. Keep on smiling.

Further on, there’s a lovely puff of twee Oirishness from Janet Devlin, still singing like she’s a little lost girl in a some gothic forest fantasy while the rest of us wonder if she’ll ever be able to stifle that strained gasp at the end of her vocal phrases. And then there’s Marcus – or someone who sounds like Marcus, I think. I can’t tell because what little personality he has when all you get is his voice has been ironed out by a slab of auto-tune, because that’s what charity singles are all about, dear readers. Craig makes an appearance, which is nice. And then we end up sifting through much of the other anonymous riff-raff while we also strive to guess which of this years ‘talent’ is actually singing. Could it be Kitty? Or Amelia? That part’s definitely Donald Duck- oh no wait it’s just Misha. That there – is it Johnny? Or is it Liam Payne having his testicles crushed by a piece of Kitty’s costume as he yearns for some non-existent falsetto? It’s a great game this isn’t it? Screw the conceited veil of niceness they’re all wearing, I’ve donated my money so now I’m having fun – it’s like X Factor bingo. We just need more Peter Dickson voice-over action and there’s an X Factor single I might chance to buy.

The inclusion of JLS and One Direction is useless. Nice of them to name-check themselves and trample over what little emotion had been conjured though, because if they didn’t they’d probably be shown up to be just as personality-void and anonymous as the rest. I bet Misha’s livid she couldn’t name-check herself, and I bet Johnny’s fuming he didn’t get to shout “Vogue!” at the end of the song. In place of what could be a deliriously camp ending to such a drab song, it literally just fades out, like a rusty exhaust pipe spluttering it’s way it’s way off into the distance. This supposedly rousing finale hasn’t stirred up many tears or an incentive to donate more. All it’s done is make me feel slightly cheated because it could’ve been even funnier if Cocozza had turned up.

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