Saturday, November 3, 2012

X Factor Live Show #5

Hi chickadees!

This week's theme is Number Ones. Should be interesting right? Before we get started, I would like to say that I'm a little heartbroken that Lucy had to withdraw from the competition due to illness. I really felt her absence last week and I continued to feel it this week. I feel like the spark of fun and life in this series has dimmed more than a little with her departure. I hope she puts out an album soon. I will buy it. :)

Final Breakdown (in my opinion...very conflicted about the order this week though)
1. Jahmene Douglas
2. Union J
3. Ella Henderson
4. Christopher Maloney
5. James Arthur
6. Kye Sones
7. District3
8. Rylan Clark

Rylan Clark: Hung Up/Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight). I don't know if you know this about me as I only reveal it when I feel like I'm in a safe space... but I'm an ABBA fan. A massive ABBA fan. Not in an ironic way. I genuinely love their big hit songs. This was before the phenomenon of Mamma Mia really took off with the movie, though I did see the stage show with Louise Pitre and it was brilliant. It was one of the few shows in my life where I've sat front row and those are always fun. Where was I? Oh, right, Rylan. The feathered shoulders felt unnecessary. They didn't really create interesting body shapes or make sense with the outfit. They just seemed glued on for camp value. Loved the way he broke the glass though. I think this is one of his best vocal performances. It still wasn't very strong but I think it was a marked improvement from last week. I did think it lost a little energy. Rylan just needs to find the balance between singing and dancing/performing. Nicole does a great job sticking up for him though. Very entertaining. 

Union J: Love Story. I couldn't get the best quality version of this because TheXFactorUK youtube channel wasn't uploading it and Fremantle was blocking all the high quality videos. I really like Taylor Swift songs. I can't help it. They just make me happy. With the quality issues, I thought they sounded good. It was a little safe. Anytime you sing a Taylor Swift song, you're not really trying to vocally challenge yourself. 

Kye Sones: You Get What You Give. He burst out with a lot of energy. I think this was one of his stronger attempts at using his falsetto. There was something about it that felt safe to me. Maybe it was just that American Idol style circling camera trick. I think this is a good song but it doesn't really have an arc. Kye did his very best and I can't fault him on the vocals or the energy but I wasn't thrilled by it. I pretty much agreed with Tulisa. I think Kye just needs to find the right song if he's going to rise in the competition again.

James Arthur: Don't Speak. So...I do kind of like this song. But while I've learned to trust James for the most part repetitive songs like this always scare me. It's very easy for them to start to get tedious even in a minute long performance. I felt like it was more of a return to the James we saw at the beginning of the competition. Some of the riffing felt excessive and unnecessary. It felt a little low energy though the vocals were good. I think James has to work on his performance style when he moves around the stage because before the emotional high point kicks in, it feels a bit random, like he's just wandering around. Maybe I'm just spoiled by so many great performances. Though this one was good, I'm used to being surprised and impressed by James and this week it just felt like another track on an album that sounded like the song I listened to a few songs back.

Ella Henderson: Firework. Katy Perry has some great songs. Now, there's some garbage on One of the Boys. And Peacock is just... *shudders* But those hits are hits for a reason and have rightfully spawned hundreds of youtube covers. There's something about some of those songs that has that magic capacity for a great performance. Personally, I went into this holding Ella's performance up to the amazing Lea Michele. So, no pressure, right? This was Ella doing Ella. She has a beautiful way of interpreting songs sometimes. When it started off a bit quiet it felt like she was speaking from the heart in singing those lyrics. And that's what a great performer does. But there were definitely weak points as it progressed. Some notes were weak and a bit strained. Her voice definitely cracked a few times. The high notes weren't always as strong as they could be and I would have sung some of those notes on different vowels because they were a little painful. It was good but there was so much randomness to it. It didn't feel natural. It felt strained. I really want her to work on fixing these same problems that come up almost every week without fail. It's really getting to the point in the competition where she can't just rely on the strengths of her voice. She needs to start addressing the weaknesses.

District3: I love the song. It's great exercise music. Again, I couldn't get the best quality version. Is the X Factor UK youtube channel against Louis for some reason? Anyway, even forgiving the sound quality, I thought they sounded very rough at first. It improved throughout the performance but it still just felt average. And I'm not sure they're ready to interact with dancers. It came across as awkward.

Jahmene Douglas: Listen. I know I've already told you I'm a massive Beyonce fan. But there is almost no touching her when she sings a ballad. I love Jahmene, but I was nervous about this performance. You can't mess around with riffs for this song. You need to bring POWER vocals. While Jahmene's performance was very, very, very good. It was lacking that power. There were so many brilliant points. But there were also some missteps when he strayed from the melody too much. And he couldn't sustain the amazing belt you need to make this song truly impressive. I think if I didn't know how this song can sound, I may have loved it more. 

Christopher Maloney: There was something very odd about Christopher's vowels during the verses. Maybe it was his placement. I did however think that the song choice really worked for him. He's a very good singer. What more can I say? In a week where my favorites all had issues I think Gary has a point in saying that Christopher consistently gives good vocal performances. 

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