Saturday, November 30, 2013

X Factor UK Live Show 8

Hello chickadees,

Even though I'm pretty sure the only people reading this are spambots, and not very many spambots for that matter, I will continue to record my descent into madness. That's right, it's the eighth X Factor UK Live Show. Get excited.

The clear winner of round one. 

Nicholas McDonald: For his first song, Nicholas is singing Just the Way You Are by Bruno Mars. It seems appropriate for a low-key but generally pleasant and in tune performer like Nicholas. OK, starting off a little shaky. The pitch seems to be all over the place and his voice is cracking. Just get to the words. I wish Nicholas tried more. This is a high school talent show performance. This is not the kind of performance that deserves an arena. The high notes could be better. His falsetto is weak. I'm actually rather disappointed.
Sam Bailey: Sam is starting off with How Will I Know by Whitney Houston. I would have thought that at this point, the X Factor would have run out of Whitney Houston songs for the year. Surely, they've repeated some of them. There can't be this many Whitney Houston songs. I don't remember anyone singing Heartbreak Hotel but no one ever sings Heartbreak Hotel. I don't know if it's the arrangement or the set or the red lipstick or the spangly outfits but Sam Bailey feels dated to me. It's not that it feels cruise ship but she seems like a performer who has already had her moment in the spotlight and is just doing a tour to promote her greatest hits album. The actual performance was not perfect but quite good. Sam doesn't have a natural presence and a magnetic quality on stage but she is a capable performer and a very good singer. Basically, I don't think she has "the x factor" but I'd probably listen to her album.
Tamera Foster: Tamera is singing We Found Love by Rihanna. Again, not an unexpected song choice but one that should suit her. I hate her outfit. Seriously, who is dressing the contestants? The vocals were a little weak in spots. It wasn't a trainwreck but there wasn't that spark to make it interesting. She didn't do anything exceptional with the performance or her vocals.
Luke Friend: Luke is performing Skinny Love by Bon Iver. It's at this point that I realize I don't know who Luke is as an artist. Is he rock or is he acoustic guitar? But I don't really care so let's just evaluate the performance. The vowels are a little piercing for a guy with a guitar. You know these kinds of songs really reward performances who appear to let down their emotional barriers and do something genuine even if those performers didn't write the song and have zero emotional connection to it. If you do it right and fake it well, you seem like an "artist." That is not Luke Friend. It's not awful but not for one second does this performance come across as genuine. But after the last three acts, I have low standards for this round so Luke will rank high.
Rough Copy: Rough Copy are singing a mashup for the first round. I was a bit confused until I went to the wikipedia page and discovered that everyone is not performing the song voted on by the fans for the first round. I'm pretty sure I don't know either of these songs but I can still tell that they were a bit out of breath from all the words and not giving it their all on the vocals. They really need the background vocalists. Things are not looking good for Rough Copy unless people just insist on voting them through regardless of how well they perform. Which is entirely possible. I mean, Abi Alton.

First Round Rankings (in my opinion)
1. Sam Bailey
2. Luke Friend
3. Tamera Foster
4. Rough Copy
5. Nicholas McDonald

The clear winner of round two.

Nicholas McDonald: The video title tells me Nicholas is singing Greatest Day by Take That. That's nice, I guess. I've obviously never heard this song before unless it was performed on X Factor and I forgot about it. It's still not the greatest vocal performance but it has a bit more clarity and it seems to suit him a little better than Just the Way You Are. The falsetto is a little better but still not great. He's not holding any of the notes. Basically, better than round 1, but still not great. If Nicholas makes it through it's due to his popularity and the strength of his past performances.
Sam Bailey: Sam is singing Clown by Emeli Sande. It sounded vaguely familiar even though I still haven't listened to her album and long story short, Sam performed it at Bootcamp. Sam is doing pretty well so far. She gives solid performances and she's never been in the bottom 2. I'm not sure why they want her to repeat a performance since that's usually what an act does to remind people of a moment when the audience liked him, her, or them. Oh, well. Oh, dear. They've made up Sam to look like someone else. I can't quite place it. Maybe Ella Henderson? I don't know. Either way it's unfortunate. I listened to her Bootcamp performance just before listening to this one. There isn't a dramatic difference between the two of them but there is a slight improvement, so yay? I don't know. I didn't like the choices she made in an effort to make it more emotional. I would have preferred to see her sing it straight.
Luke Friend: Luke is singing I Will Wait by Mumford and Sons. Is this the songs I don't know round? I'm not sure Luke's low growling qualifies as singing. I can't tell if he's going flat or if he's just kind of talking. I think he was a having a bit of trouble negotiating the break between either his upper and lower register or the growling and his regular voice but on the whole it sounded fine. I think I'm broken. I think X Factor has broken me. It was probably awful but I can't really tell anymore.
Tamera Foster: Tamera is singing The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face by Roberta Flack. Well, she'll surely be better than Matt Cardle, right? It was a little weak at first. A little flat. But it had that little spark in it. It had "the x factor."
Rough Copy: Rough Copy are performing I Believe I Can Fly. I'm in a good mood after Tamera's performance so I'm hoping they'll do well. It wasn't fantastic. The vocals were not perfect. At this point I should really stop expecting their vocals to be any stronger than they are. That said, this is a perfect song for Rough Copy. Not only does it suit their voices but they get to bring in a whole host of backup singers for the second half of the song.

Second Round Rankings (in my opinion)
1. Tamera Foster
2. Luke Friend
3. Sam Bailey
4. Rough Copy
5. Nicholas McDonald

Overall Rankings (in my opinion)
1. Tamera Foster
2. Sam Bailey
3. Luke Friend
4. Rough Copy
5. Nicholas McDonald

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