Saturday, November 24, 2012

X Factor UK Live Show 8

Hi chickadees!

I was reading the incredibly snarky X Factor Live Blog on the Guardian ( when lo and behold, the X Factor official youtube page started uploading the performances. Hooray! Contrary to this person's opinion, I'm under 25 and I happen to love ABBA and Motown so the performers actually have something to live up to for me. Seriously, the only songs I can't immediately hum are "Tracks of My Tears" and "Dancing on the Ceiling".  I'm kind of unsure of how I'll feel now that there are no female performers left to do sassy ABBA and Motown inspired numbers but we'll see what happens. I'm going to break down the ABBA and Motown performances into two parts so it's easier to follow.

Final Breakdown For Both Performances (in my opinion) 
1. Union J
2. James Arthur
3. Jahmene Douglas
4. Christopher Maloney
5. Rylan Clark

ABBA Performances
Rylan Clark: Mamma Mia. I think he's gotten to this "average" place. It's not painful to listen to but there's nothing special happening either. It's like someone doing a decent job when they take the mic for karaoke. He loses his breath at the end of phrases but he's more or less in tune. The chess set up made me laugh. For anyone who doesn't know, the guys in Mamma Mia wrote a musical called Chess. Listen to the Judy Kuhn version. Or Julia Murney singing the hell out of Nobody's Side on youtube. Don't listen to the Idina Menzel/Josh Groban version. I don't know what happens to her sometimes but she sounds like she has a speech impediment it's so bloody awful.

Union J: The Winner Takes It All. Jaymi. I learned his name because he's that good. It was a very... pretty version. I can imagine James Arthur performing this like his heart is breaking. Union J was all smiles and playing to the crowd with this song. But I saw nothing wrong with the vocals. Very polished. Very professional. The only thing it lacked was emotional impact.

Jahmene Douglas: I Have A Dream. This song is a little saccharine. OK, more than a little. It was a bit breathy. He looked a bit angry again. He has a great voice. It was just a little sleepy for me.

James Arthur: SOS. Meh. This didn't feel like reinvention. Stuart Heritage described it as busking. I'd have to agree. Nothing wrong with the vocals but it just lacked impact. I'd rather have the diva performance. And the beat felt out of place.

Christopher Maloney: The performance was very theatrical. As in, it reminded me of the Money, Money, Money number in Mamma Mia where the ensemble crowds around the lead performer. Except more interpretive dance-y. And naked. Listen, Christopher has a good voice. I like that he has a bit of a musical theater sound and that he uses vibrato. I do think the straight tones went off a little and sounded kind of shouty. I thought it was weird as all heck but what can I say? I liked it. Gary should stop making the staging so creepy every week if he wants people to focus on Christopher's vocals.

ABBA Performances Breakdown (in my opinion)
1. Union J
2. Christopher Maloney
3. Jahmene Douglas
4. James Arthur
5. Rylan Clark

Motown Performances
Rylan Clark: Baby Love/Stop in the Name of Love/You Keep Me Hangin' On. Again, I think it was average but for whatever reason I think he sounded a little better in this performance than the ABBA performance. Did he warm up? Was it more in his range? Was the melody simpler? I don't know. But it was a little better. The staging was crazy ridiculous. I'm not even going to try and comment on it.

Union J: I'll Be There. Slight raspy quality to Jaymi's voice in the opening. I liked it. I thought it was another solid, professional performance. Really pleasant to listen to. Gary's critique was idiotic. How is the Jackson 5 not a band? Did he want a medley of all the great Motown groups?

Jahmene Douglas: The Tracks of My Tears. I love Smokey Robinson and the Miracles but I'm more of a "You've Really Got a Hold On Me" kind of girl. Still, I was expecting great things from Jahmene this week. He didn't disappoint. The vocals were fabulous. While the giant "Jahmene" in lights was fun, I kind of wished he had gone with a more traditional setup. Maybe have the women providing the backing vocals on stage.
I basically agreed with Tulisa's critique.

James Arthur: Let's Get It On. Gorgeous performance. He showed off his range with those high notes. He kept it dynamic and full of energy despite it being a slower song. And yeah, I give him points for not letting it get creepy. This is a pretty overtly sexual song and it can go very wrong on talent competitions like this. But James was able to carry it. I think the beat was a little heavy but other than that I loved it. James came back from the bottom 2 fighting.

Christopher Maloney: Dancing On the Ceiling. I don't know this song. The performance was very cheesy. Very cruise ship. I don't understand why Christopher was dressed like that. The vocals were average. This is Christopher's version of Rylan, that place where he doesn't stretch himself to do or be any more than what he's comfortable with.

Motown Performances Breakdown
1. James Arthur
2. Jahmene Douglas
3. Union J
4. Christopher Maloney
5. Rylan Clark

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