Rock Week you say? Hmm, please don’t tell me there’s going to be another ‘Don’t Stop Believin”. After three covers AND the original, I’m not sure I could cope…
So this week, Katie finally gets the public send-off and the Wagner 2 Win campaign was seen gradually crumbling to rubble as each Judge voted on Sunday night to save Tesco’s finest. This is what really angers me: the fact that the saboteurs couldn’t see the X Factor sabotage through to the end; Wagner’s voters just seemed to give up, so the whole thing came to a timely demise. Annoyingly though, if Wagner was never going to win, why did it have to be at the expense of real talent like Aiden Grimshaw, TreyC Cohen and Paije Richardson? Surely the idea of a sabotage is you see it through to the end so Simon ends up looking like a tit, but no, and now all we have left are a couple of decent singers, and two acts who’ve already “made it”: Cher and One Direction (let’s face it, they’ll be signed). But it was when Simon claimed that his show is now “Why I am happy is because there were people out there trying to de-rail this show for different reasons. What has happened tonight is that we’ve put this show back in the hands of the public by showing it can’t be predicted”, that I felt the real backhand across the face. Simon’s been de-railing his own show for years, and he’s been Americanising it, too. A dear friend of mine brought it to light that all Simon does with his winners is try to Americanise them – getting them to work with American producers, trying to break them in America, comparing them to American artists (Leona to Mariah, Alexandra to Beyoncé, Leon to Michael Bublé). He clearly hates British music, and it shows in the weekly themes, and even the special guest performers: the only special guest British act that have been on the show this year that aren’t X Factor alumni are… wait for it… The Wanted.
Anyway, the acts performed two songs this week, resulting in a real snoozefest, and considering last week’s enormously underwhelming show saw the departure of Paije Richardson, the whole thing failed to impress once again. I may not have liked Paije greatly, but at least he was something none of the remaining acts are (with the exception of the on and off Katie Waissel, who incidentally, has also left): fun. But with Katie’s deluded mind-set that she’s a rock star already, her ‘fun’ performance of Kings Of Leon’s ‘Sex On Fire’ was dire. Officially kicking boys where it hurts – and again in their ears – her voice was transparent and had absolutely no power behind it, and at times, just appeared to cut out as if she’d chocked on a bit of saliva. Performance-wise, she seemed to flounce about as much as she could, trying to convince us she was a “rock chick”, unfortunately, she’s about as rock as a pillow and no matter how many times she screamed “Come on everyone!”, I heard no cheering. Of course, Simon had to go and give her the same old morale-building “You’re a fighter” speech, which was only the first of the Judge’s eyebrow-raising comments that evening.
Katie’s second performance was much better; it was an excellent song choice from Cheryl, not because I like the song, but because it suits Katie’s voice perfectly. And after the travesty that was ‘Sex On Fire’, her performance of the R.E.M. staple was beautiful. And even though her voice was at it’s most powerful, she didn’t once sound like she was trying too hard, which was something that majorly flawed her first performance. I do feel that the stylist should be fired though, first she put Matt onstage without a shirt and now she’s put Katie on in her gran’s throws. Tut, tut.
Others who supplied me with quite a shock his week was the unusually good performance Wagner Carrilho had with Radiohead’s ‘Creep’. Even though his booby dancers were MIA (they’d crept off to Matt’s performance of ‘I Love Rock ‘N’ Roll’), he delivered the most tuneful performance of his X Factor career and, dare I say it, there was emotion in his voice! Dannii hit the nail on the head with the comments though (she seemed to be the only sane judge on the panel) – “I think it was good because you connected with the lyrics”. Talk about gouging out the innards with a blunt spoon…
And on Wagner’s second performance, well it was clear little progress was made: the dancers were back and so was his inability to keep up with the lyrics. The song actually sounded from slow and plodding as Wagner “embraced the madness” and performed his own interpretation of Robert Palmer’s ‘Addicted To Love’, or rather ‘Addicted To Loaf’.
That weirdly, wasn’t the worst performance. That honour goes to the grossly egotistical, overtly confident, “I’m a superstar already” mind-set of one Cher Lloyd. What is the fascination with this girl!? Yes, she offers something new, but it’s no use advertising a new fragrance of crap. And her performances last Saturday were appallingly bad. She looked like she’d just raided Claire’s Accessories and then had a tussle with a pair of eye-brow tweezers. I was beginning to warm to her over the past two weeks with her humble performances of ‘Stay’ and ‘Imagine’ but this week, she spat over Avril Lavigne’s ‘Girlfriend’ and trampled like a drunkard through ‘Walk This Way’, murdering both, and sounding like a pig straining for air whilst she did it. If you used your imagination, you could see Jedward doing the same kind of performance last year, can’t you? The worst part was when Cheryl literally pissed herself with excitement and the rest of the Judge’s followed suit, claiming Cher Lloyd is something rare and “a one-off”. An dog undergoing an epileptic fit would be a more skilful dancer than Cher and her wobbly leg. Just get off the stage, you amateur.
In other performances, Rebecca, the girl who sings like Duffy with a deeper register, had an on/off night with her two performances. The first was boring, typical Rebecca singing over an awful R&B-lite arrangement of U2’s ‘I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For’, and the second was much better. Unleashing her jazzier qualities, Rebecca delivered a sterling performance of The Rolling Stones’ ‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction’. She was backed up by a miming brass sextet and a pair of ostrich imitators, but she shone on Saturday, if at times, she was a smidgeon too nasal, that never stopped me loving Aiden Grimshaw. I just wish the poor thing would move about more, the last time we saw her walk about on stage properly was on the first live show.
One Direction also delivered two polarised performances. One of them wasn’t even Rock-themed so Louis was right to pull out the rule book but I wish he’d slap Simon in the face with it. As the five boys sung (see: destroyed) Bryan Adams’ ‘Summer Of ’69’, purist Simon had to rip out the guitar riff and replace it with a synth, naturally, and whilst their fans a-likened Harry’s song choice to the invention of the wheel, I scoured Thesaurus.com for a suitable adjective. And I found one: anaemic. Both performances were, although one had substantially better singing, but it was certainly not rock. The voices were brilliant (those that actually sung). Liam and Harry have proven themselves as talented singers, but the rest are just filler; the equivalent of Mollie and Frankie from The Saturdays, or Siva from The Wanted. However, Zain did deliver a promising vocal for his first time, but did Nialle or Louis actually sing? If I’m correct, they just stood there clutching their mic stands hoping to have a little improv session.
I loved how the Judge’s unanimously mentioned that “yes, you can actually sing” after their performance of ‘You Are So Beautiful’… *Long pause* WELL NUHHH. It’s a singing contest?
And speaking of singing, Tesco Mary gave another fairly unengaging performance, because we all know what she does – there’s no surprise anymore and I did, as Dannii said, found her second performance of The Pretenders’ ‘Brass In Pocket’ a little too karaoke, but isn’t that what The X Factor builds itself upon? Anyhow, to sum up two lacklustre performances: whilst Brian Friedman must’ve ejaculated over Mary’s hip-swivel, I decided to go and make some toast but by the time I came back Mary had got into full swing and started throwing her “sexy” walk as she paraded the stage. It threw the crowd into hyperventilation, but it did nothing for me; you wouldn’t see her doing that on her (hypothetical) tour; it’s clearly not her own decision to do that kind of performance, so at the end of the day she wasn’t being herself: just doing what she’s been told.
Matt Cardle owned the night. Again. Just give him the crown now, save his poor little lungs the hassle of having to out-sing his counterparts, yeah? ON a serious note, his performance of ‘I Love Rock ‘N’ Roll’ was fun, but a little underwhelming, so thankfully he rescued that with – OH HECK! The guitar’s back! – his rendition of The Moody Blues’ ‘Nights In White Satin’. He was absolutely captivating, even though I don’t really care for him anymore, his performance was atmospheric, dramatic and drenched in emotion (nice kick!).
Unfortunately though, I don’t feel like there’s any act left in the competition that I really want to win; nay, there’s no act left I really give a damn about. Cher’s made it (THANK YOU JAY-Z), One Direction will get signed in an instant, and continue to force offensive, soul-crushing dross onto our ears for the next ten years. Mary will probably be signed by Louis and have one hit album, Rebecca will go on to big things, and Matt’s going to win and if he’s got any thread of sense, he’ll refuse to conform to Simon near-on Arian-purist popstar regime; you just know Simon’ll morph him into Bryan Adams. You can see it now, can’t you?
Best Performance: Matt Cardle – ‘Nights In White Satin’
Best Song Choice: Rebecca Ferguson – ‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction’
Worst Song Choice: Katie Waissel – ‘Sex On Fire’
Best Vocal: Matt Cardle – ‘Nights In White Satin’
Most Boring: Cher Lloyd
Biggest Gimmick: Cher Lloyd as a whole.
Who I Wanted To Leave: Wagner Carrilho/Katie Waissel
Who I Thought Would Leave: Tesco Mary/Katie Waissel