Sunday, October 6, 2013

X Factor UK 2013: Heading Into The Live Shows... Girls

Hi chickadees,

I know no one is reading this but I just need to get my thoughts out. Of the finalists, Hannah Barrett is far and away my favorite contestant but so far I haven't felt any "wow" moments this season. That might be due to the short performance clips and lack of extra footage that they're posting on the youtube channel for the international viewers but I think it also says something about the performers. Sure, there were some interesting voices in the group that went to judges' houses but I haven't been knocked back by anyone's talent or invested in their journey to win. But that could always come in the following weeks. As of now, I'm tentatively planning to cover the live shows, but you know me. I could always get distracted or occupied by other things. I'd like to spend this post going through the Girls category and briefly touching on the contestants who are leaving us after the judges' houses phase of the competition.

Nicole Scherzinger is mentoring the category this year and if her acts prove popular, I think she has a great chance of winning for the second year in a row. But that is a big if. From my perspective as an international fan who is only watching the youtube clips, it seems like the girls in her category have gotten a lot of screentime this season which is always a good indication of who they want you to pay attention to and sympathize with.

Hannah Barrett: As I've said, Hannah is my favorite. I think she has a great sound. I may be channeling Louis and being completely off base with my references but I hear a little Lauryn Hill in her voice. I don't think she has the best control or the most power but she has great stage presence and I love that raw, dirty, gritty quality she can bring out in her vocals. She has already given so many great performances. I hope Nicole let's her have a say in her song choices. I'm totally fine with her doing older songs like A Change is Gonna Come and I'd Rather Go Blind and really looking for the songs that suit her voice. I don't know if she'll be popular enough to make it until the end, but if we're just going on talent, I think she could make it. (Oh, but please stop doing whatever it is you're doing to make her cry before almost every performance.)
Tamera Foster: Tamera had a bit of a rough start. She lacks polish and training and confidence. Her judges performance was her best one so far. She had much more control. She didn't forget the words. And she chose a great song. I don't think she really has the vocal power required for the songs she tries to tackle but I do like her.
Abi Alton: Oh, Abi. Maybe if she didn't look so much like singer songwriters that I do like (namely Lisa Loeb and Ingrid Michaelson) I wouldn't be as hard on her but I just don't see anything there. I know they're moving in this phase where they want people like James Arthur and Lucy Spraggan and Ella Henderson who can write songs and maybe play an instrument instead of just power singers who can impress you with their vocal tricks. But I just don't think Abi is that special. Her vocals are always very breathy and honestly, I can just think of people who do a version of what Abi does better. They have the voice to back up the quirkiness.

Eliminated Girls
Relley C: I like Relley C. Have there been rough spots in her performances? Sure. But I still think she's one of the more capable singers who auditioned this season and I liked her decision to go with a song that used so much of her lower register for her judges' houses performance. Should she have been a finalist? I'm insulted you're even asking me, person I made up for the purpose of asking me that question.
Melanie McCabe: Melanie just makes me so sad. When I first saw her this season I was excited to see a familiar face. But there's just something about her, despite what she says, that seems a little damaged by the toll of being repeatedly rejected by The X Factor. The Melanie who made it to judges' houses with Kelly Rowland and Jennifer Hudson is not the same Melanie who sang for Nicole and Mary. She doesn't have the same control and power. She's a little weaker and a little more tentative. But based on that judges' houses performance, do I think that she should have made it to the live shows over Abi? 100%.
Jade Richards: I went back to listen to her old performances because I remember liking her more. I learned that she's never been a power singer. But she used to make more of a smooth, smoky quality to her voice. I haven't love any of her performances this season but it was a big mistake to tackle a Christina song for judges' houses as someone who isn't a power singer. It made her voice sound so thin in comparison to the original song.

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