13
Dec 10

X-Factor Crystal Ball

FT24 comments • 572 views

MIGHT CONCEIVABLY MAKE A GOOD RECORD BUT PROBABLY WON’T: One Direction.

MIGHT CONCEIVABLY MAKE A GREAT RECORD AS LONG AS WILL I AM KEEPS HIS GRUBBY PAWS OFF: Cher Lloyd

WILL MAKE A DISAPPOINTING BUT COMPETENT RECORD: Rebecca Ferguson

WILL MAKE A RECORD THAT IS NOT AS BAD AS THE RECORDS IT WANTS TO BE BUT STILL, FOR ALL THAT, BAD: Matt Cardle

WILL MAKE A RECORD, GOD HELP US: Wagner

WILL TRY TO MAKE A RECORD, GOD HELP US: Katie Waissel

TESCO EXCLUSIVE SEWN UP: Mary Byrne

MUSICAL THEATRE AND/OR PANTO AWAITS: Aiden Grimshaw

BACK TO THE PUB CIRCUIT (INCREASED FEES): Treyc Cohen, John Adeleye

BACK TO THE PUB CIRCUIT (REDUCED FEES): Diva Fever

OBLIVION: Belle Amie, F.Y.D.

EMBARRASSING TALKING HEAD APPEARANCE IN CHEAPO CLIP SHOW: Storm Lee

WILL WALK AWAY WITH A LEVEL HEAD, A SMILE ON HIS FACE AND SOME GREAT YARNS TO TELL THE GRANDCHILDREN: Paije Richardson

WILL PROVIDE VOCALS ON AN IRONIC DANCE-PUNK RECORD WHICH WILL PROVE THE WORST THING TO COME OUT OF X-FACTOR 2010: Nicolo Festa

Comments

  1. 1
    Lex on 13 Dec 2010 #

    I should put money on Katie Waissel appearing on I’m A Celebrity… within the next two years.

    1D’s problem is their total lack of competence – OK, not being able to sing doesn’t matter, but they can’t harmonise, they don’t dance, they don’t have any singular thing to latch on to and to stop even their obsessive fans getting bored of them. Videos and live performances are going to be an issue. Compare them to how tight and professional JLS were at the same stage. And they’ll be torn between taking time off to maybe improve all those things, and rushing into a career just to capitalise on XF.

    I hope some good electronic producers start pursuing Rebecca with alacrity. I fear what you said on Tumblr is true though, unlike Cher (and maybe Matt) she’s just not pushy enough to define her own aesthetic.

    I am going to really enjoy Matt being reduced to a Brooksteinesque husk of bitterness by the Cowell machine.

    Haw, Joe McElderry’s new single made No 68 this week. Can’t believe anyone thought his career would amount to anything.

  2. 2
    Tom on 13 Dec 2010 #

    If McElderry had been on one of those Lloyd Webber you-can-be-Joseph type shows he’d have been absolutely A-OK.

  3. 3
    will on 13 Dec 2010 #

    I was watching the snooker on the other side. Proper entertainment.

  4. 4
    pink champale on 13 Dec 2010 #

    One direction’s lack of competence kind of *is* the singular thing about them, isn’t it? I ended up warming to their amateurish enthusiasm (with their one routine of bouncing up and down in a straggly line) – if nothing else, sets them apart from your slicker boybands: it’s kind of like talent-show pop having it’s C86 moment. (Is this selling them to you yet, Lex?). You do wonder though, how it is possible for a single five piece band to contain two members who are (judging by the fact that they were not once in 12 weeks allowed near a microphone) worse at singing than Zain.

    To me, the really striking thing about the final was just how embarrassing to duets were. Matt and Rebecca in particular were outclassed to a shocking degree – they were like Donovan in “Don’t Look Back” not knowing where to look as Dylan takes his guitar and does “It’s all over now Baby Blue” at him with beautifully guileless malevolence. Cher was much, much better of course, actually putting in a performance instead of standing there gawping, but then a) she’s actually any good; and b) he’s Will-I-am.

    I liked Xtina’s heartfelt tribute to Rebecca though, “um, they sent me a video on my way over here and I think she’s a good singer”

  5. 5
    Tom on 13 Dec 2010 #

    Duets week is always like that though! It’s a fundamentally unfair trick to pull on yr rookie pop recruits, it’s like the 2000AD stories where a cadet gets sent on patrol with Judge Dredd.

    I think the angle on One Direction is that they’re bubblegum – I can’t remember the last time a boy band was launched who weren’t intended in some way to be streetwise.

  6. 6
    Tom on 13 Dec 2010 #

    FFS though Biffy Clyro. They might as well have got him to do “Motorcycle Emptiness”.

  7. 7
    Erithian on 13 Dec 2010 #

    I didn’t think Matt and Rebecca were so much “outclassed” as singing their own, perfectly fine, versions of songs which were then subsequently staged to suit the star. Matt’s style was never suited to the pyrotechnics they set up for Rihanna and it was a bit “Lady and the Tramp”; while I was quite enjoying Rebecca until the overblown Xtina vocals kicked in. The most telling pair of duets, perhaps, was the year when Ray Quinn with Westlife looked like a nipper allowed to join his big brother’s gang, while Leona with Take That already looked like she was taking them on as equals.

    As for your categories, Tom, Nicolo has surely already reached oblivion… while Belle Amie provided an unexpected highlight for me with a rather sassy version of “You Really Got Me”, and I wouldn’t mind hearing them again.

  8. 8
    Lex on 13 Dec 2010 #

    I think the idea of the duets week is that once in a blue moon, something as special as Alexandra/Beyoncé will happen.

    1D are hardly totally squeaky clean Jonas Bros/Bieberites though, are they? Esp looking at Zain’s Twitter. “Cheeky scamps” covers it, but I think they’ll need some form of streetwiseness to go on – not nec JLS-style songs about clubs and women’s asses, but something that has a bit of that not-entirely-innocent mischief to it.

    Belle Amie must HATE them – 1D were no less ropey and look at their contrasting fortunes.

  9. 9
    Tom on 13 Dec 2010 #

    I think it was as simple as 1D looking like they liked one another and BA looking like they hated each other! Erithian is right that “You Really Got Me” was BA’s best moment but it was also the only time they did anything good at all. It was apparent they all thought they could/should sing solo, whereas all of 1D had an endearing gratefulness that it’s not them having to do the lead vocal (obviously not an asset in a future career! But it made them gel better)

    Cheeky scamps should cover it I think. Is the material out there? No idea. Quite interested to see though – JLS have made some OK pop records but what they would do was punishingly predictable from the word go.

  10. 10
    JonnyB on 14 Dec 2010 #

    My prediction: it’ll be “Matthew Cardle” for last-chance saloon Album 3.

    It’s the first time that I’ve watched the X Factor and I found it interesting, especially the disconnect between the judges’ appraisals and what appeared to have happened in front of my eyes.

    I felt sorry for Rebecca as, overawed, she appeared to forget to sing in the duet. I thought Cher – by the terms of the competition – should have won it. The aggressive One Direction branding campaign was Orwellian. I was intrigued by the contempt that the show demonstrated towards the viewers – presumably not all of them sinister internet campaigners – who wanted to have a laugh at Wagner every Saturday and who were under the impression that ITV on a weekend in the evening is an entertainment channel.

    People that emerged with least dignity: Bon Jovi.

  11. 11
    JonnyB on 14 Dec 2010 #

    Oh sorry – meant to add – loved and agreed with each one of those, Tom! Especially the Paije one.

  12. 12
    flahr on 14 Dec 2010 #

    Bon Jovi transcend your feeble human ideas of ‘dignity’

  13. 13
    Lex on 14 Dec 2010 #

    especially the disconnect between the judges’ appraisals and what appeared to have happened in front of my eyes

    YES – this was particularly noticeable this series, and by the end the judges had pretty much given up all pretense of “judging”. I don’t expect, y’know, detailed crit from them, but look at clips from past X Factors and the difference is marked.

  14. 14
    Tom on 14 Dec 2010 #

    Much though he is the panto villain of the group and much though his vision of pop is one to shudder at, Simon is the only one with anything approaching good ears and a critical mindset: this is I guess why he’s been a success. Cheryl was prissy all series, Dannii absurdly inconsistent and generally tedious, Louis has long since been replaced by some ludicrous Louisbot.

    There definitely seems to be a rule of no harsh criticism from the semis onwards though.

  15. 15
    swanstep on 14 Dec 2010 #

    @Lex. Utterly unrelated to this thread. But do you have any thoughts esp. written down/linkable anywhere about Girl Talk?

    I’ve been enjoying listening to the recent album (and earlier stuff too) just in the last couple of weeks. It suddenly occurred to me about a week ago that part of what I was getting out of it was all this stuff that was new to me on the rap side – esp. all the bitches and hos stuff that I’d otherwise completely avoid but, heh, Girl Talk layers it over Sabbath and Gabriel and NIN and Outkast so I can deal with it in that case. I remember you scandalizing Erithian and myself (and others) with a lot of raunchy rap lyrics that were completely new to us (and to most popular regulars)… so I’m guessing that you in particular would be in an interesting position with respect to Girl Talk. Possibly absolutely none of the samples would be new to you! At any rate, can I tempt you to share any thoughts? (Note that I’m not committed to any final assessment of GT myself. I’ve been having very casual fun with the records and thought the following youtube comment about them was great: ‘Girl Talk is like holding a mirror up to the music industry, except it’s one of those mirrors that make you look skinny and attractive.’ But that’s as far as I’ve gone!)

    Related to thread: I gather Cher didn’t win the thing. Wasn’t she the best thing since Amy Winehouse about a month ago? How did she blow it?

  16. 16
    pink champale on 14 Dec 2010 #

    Louis, with his bow ties and odd crimpolene hair began to look more and more like a ventriloquist’s dummy every week

    Yeah, the judges definitely had their pre-determined narratives for some of the contestants that they were going to stick to no matter what. In particular from beginning to end, Rebecca’s performing style was to stand stock still, hunched over liked an old lady, terrified and shaking. Nothing intrinsically wrong with this, she’s clearly very shy and that’s that (though it was a bugger to watch). But reality TV has to be therapy so every judge, every week, whooped about how much she’s grown, how she was unrecognisable she was from the shy girl they first met, how she’d unleashed her inner diva and delivered a knockout performance – I’m sure Mrs Champale and myself weren’t the only one’s screaming at the telly “NO SHE HASN’T! SHE DOESN’T MOVE!!!!”

    @15 Cher didn’t really blow it, she did pretty well (came fourth) but never had a chance of winning. X-factor gets a pretty broad audience (it really is the programme loved by those from 8 – 80) many of whom would be totally alienated by her up to the minute innovations like, gasp *rapping*. Plus she seems to have been widely disliked by a lot of people who might otherwise have been her constituency for being too strange/arrogant/ch*vvy. In truth she did come across quite oddly – weirdly composed and detached, seeming decades older than seventeen – this might make her interesting as a pop star, but it was an awkward fit on Saturday night ITV.

  17. 17
    Tom on 14 Dec 2010 #

    She has a kinda Minajian theatricality which is what I like most about her! Mind you theatricality is what I liked most about Aiden too.

    re Rebecca – it was fine when she was doing the torchy songs and it could be passed off as focus (cos her voice really was good) but they kept giving her things like “Satisfaction” to do! I do fear for her a bit.

  18. 18
    pink champale on 14 Dec 2010 #

    strangley, none of the judges picked up on that comparison!

  19. 19
    Lex on 15 Dec 2010 #

    For a while I really thought they were going to get Minaj in as Cher’s celebrity duet in the final. That would have been amazing. Especially if they’d done “Roman’s Revenge” – imagine Cher bellowing “I’m a BAD BITCH – I’m a CUNT!” on live Saturday evening TV ♥ ♥ ♥

    Tom’s right though in that her stage presence was seriously impressive and unrivalled – Rebecca got all the flak for standing still all the time (and by the end it was just funny how rigorously she stuck to it), but it’s not like Matt/Mary/1D were known for moving around, let alone dancing. But in the majority of her performances, Cher scampered around some pretty complex staging and pulled off singing and dancing simultaneously without seeming remotely fazed. (“No Diggity”, “Nothin’ On You” and “Get Ur Freak On” showcased this best I think.)

    @Swanstep – I’m a bit of a Girl Talk hater I’m afraid! I don’t understand why corny student mash-ups are still a thing in 2010 – I remember the 2002-03 wave and even then they seemed totally faddish. Girl Talk just takes that and adds your standard atrocious indie smugness to it. What it comes down to is that I prefer all the original hip-hop/R&B/pop songs he uses and don’t think dumping a shitty indie song behind them so much “recontextualises” them as “desecrates” them.

  20. 20
    swanstep on 15 Dec 2010 #

    @Lex. Thanks for your feedback. You thoughts kind of confirm for me that what I’m getting out of it *is* in fact largely traceable to my own ignorance about recent r’n’b and hip-hop. That’s a little uncomfortable.

    I wasn’t aware of anything like GT in 2002-3: there were ordinary mashups of 2 or 3 songs at most per 5 minutes, and there was Avalanches and Matmos and The Books-style sound collages where I was. That the GT formula of 20-30 songs per 5 minute track still feels new to me is my other excuse.

    Anyhow, thanks again. And ‘er, yeah, your Cher/Nicki Minaj duet idea sounds amazing. Imagine the headlines in the tabloids the next day!

  21. 21
    robotsdancingalone on 15 Dec 2010 #

    Oh my god Nicki Minaj and Cher would have been glorious.

    Joe McElderry is the greatest contestant that show has ever seen. His ‘Sorry seems to be…’, ‘Could it be Magic’, and ‘Don’t Let the Sun’ are unimpeachable lessons in spot-on pitching, emotion, and communication.

    Belle Amie were great.

  22. 22
    robotsdancingalone on 15 Dec 2010 #

    One Dimension were likable, that’s about it. Rebecca lacks vocal nuance. Matt relies too much on one form of voice production. Cher was annoying, but great on stage. Maro dipped after week one. Diva Fever had at least one good singer. And they were fun. Sorry for all these short sentences!

  23. 23
    lex on 15 Dec 2010 #

    Joe McElderry is the greatest contestant that show has ever seen

    *splutters*

    Really?!

  24. 24
    robotsdancingalone on 17 Dec 2010 #

    Yes! IMO at least. I didn’t watch until the year before him, so I may be missing someone interesting (Leona?) out.

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