Sunday, October 6, 2013

X Factor UK 2013: Heading Into the Live Shows... Overs

Hello peanuts,

Now that we've discussed the Girls category, let's move onto what I think is the next strongest category: the Overs. I know. I feel like I should be checked into a mental institution for just typing that sentence. But this is the first time since I started watching in season 7 that I feel like the Over-25 category is populated by more than the acts that everyone knows have zero chance of winning unless someone organizes a group of anti-X Factor fanatics who have never read Audre Lorde. Sharon Osbourne is mentoring the Overs this year and as I've never seen a season where Sharon served as a judge, I have no idea what that means.

Overs Finalists
Sam Bailey: Sam is clearly the one to root for. She fits the profile of the contestant you root for.... unprepossessing and unassuming with a big voice. She's the contestant who wouldn't have been discovered without a show like The X Factor. She has great power and great control. So far, I haven't loved any of her performances as much as I enjoyed her rendition of Who's Loving You but her judges' houses performance was very strong and placed her as a clear frontrunner. If she has the public's support, Sharon could take Sam to the finals.
Lorna Simpson: Speaking of Whitney Houston, we also have Lorna Simpson in the Overs category, who auditioned with I Have Nothing and performed I Wanna Dance With Somebody at Bootcamp. At 26, she just qualifies for the Over-25s which is lucky given how much competition there was in the Girls category this year. They barely let the international viewers see anything of her rendition of I Have Nothing, but from what I have to go on, I will say that it sounded great in spite of a few rough spots. Lorna is another power singer but like Whitney, she can bring both power and those lovely delicate high notes. I think her belting is a little rough around the edges and can be a little shouty but she's definitely one to watch in the competition. I'll be interested to see how she fares once we can actually pay attention to her as a competitor. She hasn't gotten all of that extra backstory material (at least on the youtube channel) so I find myself forgetting her. Based on how she looked in her three performances, I think she might be comfortable changing up her look so I hope she doesn't become one of those contestants who gets that B.S. critique of "you're talented but I don't know who you are as an artist."
Shelley Smith: I want to like Shelley. I really do. Actually, scratch that. I do like Shelley. I just haven't been impressed with her performances. Shelley is fun. She can dance around and command the stage. But she just doesn't fare well compared to the powerful voices of Sam and Lorna. She can shimmy all she wants but if you're going to sing the kinds of songs she wants to sing, you have to bring it, and I just don't think she can. I've been waiting for her to change my mind and convince me that she has more to offer than vocal acrobatics and if she does, I'll start championing her during the live shows but right now I still think she's choosing the wrong songs.

Eliminated Contestants
Zoe Devlin: Zoe reminds me of Jade Ellis. She has a unique voice but there's a bit of a gimmick to her style and you're either going to love it or hate it. I enjoyed her performances at Bootcamp and Judges' Houses but I can definitely see why she didn't make it through. I might have given her Shelley's place but I'm not sure how versatile she would have been as a competitor. I think she had a great voice but I couldn't tell from her performances if she would have the control or power to do different genres or if she would have to force each song to suit her needs.
Andrea Magee: Who the heck is this? Honestly. If you were only watching the videos on the youtube channel I think you would have been as shocked as I was when she showed up as judges' houses. I liked the small snippet we heard of her original song and her performance at judges' houses was decent until that last weak attempt at hitting the high note but I don't know if I even saw five full minutes of her time on the show.
Joseph Whelan: I have gathered that a lot of people were big fans of Joseph but I was not. I think he sounds like that guy you know who has a good voice but he lacks polish. His vocals sound pained and very rough. He doesn't have great control and can be very shouty. I think if he keeps singing like that he could do serious damage to his voice. Regardless, I think he sounds like he's be much more suited to being the frontman of a rock band than a contestant on the largely pop music based X Factor.

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