Sunday, October 09, 2011

X Factor UK Live Show 1

The first UK Live Show. 16 acts, all with makeovers, not all better as a result, and a chance to show us what they can do for a full track instead of carefully selected clips of them doing stuff they might either not have chosen themselves or were obliged to do with others in Boot Camp.

At first glance this looks a strong crowd and I'd have thought it would be really difficult for three of the judges to select someone to send home. Louis, as ever, will pretend to have trouble but only has Kitty with any chance of lasting for a while and even she will need to overcome a lack of adoration in the voting public.
Welcome back Dermot, too, who is a breath of freash air after watching Steve Jones' wooden efforts and fatuous comments on X Factor USA which is running in parallel on ITV2, just a few weeks behind.

Someone does need to sort out Dermot's make-up, though, and most of the men for that matter, to prevent us being dazzled by the reflecting lights on their foreheads.

Amelia Lily has the task of opening and it's a great start. Brilliant, in fact, with her interpretation of Billie Jean by Michael Jackson. She is one of the few who look better now than in the early stages when the blonde and the black seemed heavy, being replaced by a new, slightly softer look. Amelia would normally be totally safe but in a group with Misha and Janet she must be glad that the comparatively unknown Sophie is on hand to make Kelly think a bit about who should take the hit. This girl has star quality. I can see her selling records but some of the notes need to be found more accurately. Let's put that down to a 16 year old's nerves.

Johnny Robinson tries to sing Believe by Cher. This is where the fun starts as this guy, whilst charming, is way out of anyone's idea of an X Factor winner. It just isn't going to happen. He's already won in a way. People like him. He's had a great month or two of an experience and his natural character may well find him jobs as a talking head on panels like Big Brother has after the show and things like that where I can see him fitting in and enjoying himself. He sounded as if he'd been inhaling some of the helium from balloons. Some dancers appeared and lifted him up at some point for no apparent reason. They should have dropped him. Wearing a ridiculous silver mac he is the show's JEdward, or the 'Circus Act' as Gary called him.

Rhythmix are complete unknowns. They sang Superbass by Nicki Minaj which not many viewers would be able to sing along with. They worked well together and the number was fast enough to disguise their singing or timing until they slowed down at the end when it didn't seem so good. There are definitely a couple of good singers in there and they're pretty and pretty different, standing out in the competition. They should stay this week but they'll need to be a bit stronger vocally to stay longer and give us a chance to get to know them individually.

Frankie Cocozza was the act we'd been looking forward to. There's been a lot of talk about him since the very first week and we know he'll perform well as he seems to have a natural confidence on the stage. In addition he can hold a note, find the next one and you get the feeling he lives the song. This number was The A Team by Ed Sheeran, again something more familiar to younger viewers but they may well be the ones he needs to vote. It was actually a damn difficult track too but he'd mastered it and I liked the way he didn't look for some big ending or overwhelming show. He just stopped and that performance will have done him no harm at all. Top 3 of the night on reflection.

Sophie Habibis Who? Yes, we don't know much about Sophie, except that every image we see of her presents a totally different character and that confuses us even more. Teenage Dream by Katy Perry suited her and she sat prettily like Diana Vickers used to and even sounded a bit like her. She surprised everyone with a really good performance but she's in a very tough group. One has to go and it may well be her which is a shame but Amelia has the edge I think for star quality.

Jonjo Kerr tried You Really Got Me by The Kinks. Nice guy but Ray Davies could have done better and he's 78. He just kind of stood there as if he was in a bar with friends and singing along to a track on the juke box. There was just no star quality, even if he did get the notes and timing well. I think he's likely to go in Louis' group. No, maybe he shouldn't but I think he will as he doesn't have that necessary entertainment value.

2 Shoes could have excelled with Something Kinda Ooooh by Girls Aloud. But they didn't. They started well but then it kinda fell apart. the whole production was rubbish with an old Peugeot painted pink and it was like a pathetic version of a Sheila's Wheels advert. Dreadful. they were also out of tune and out of time. They ought to go but I have a feeling they might not.

What on earth happened to James Michael? He was one of my tips to upset the whole applecart amongst the boys but whilst I could see what he wanted to do with Ticket To Ride by The Beatles, it just didn't work. Such a shame. He must be regarded as the most likely for Gary to send home but...

Misha Bryan is loud. Good, with probably the most accurate notes of everyone, but loud and uncomfortable viewing. Rolling In The Deep by Adele is one of those recent tracks that now sounds as if it's been around as long as a Rolling Stones' track. Yes, it was accurate, had a rap bit thrown in in an attempt to be a little bit different but this girl doesn't do anything for me. Respect her, yes. Like her, want to listen to her more? No. I can't imagine she'll be worried about not being here next week, though. Whilst she'd be my choice to go home that would be a complete and utter shock and I don't think Kelly does that kind of shock.

Nu Vibe did Beautiful People by Chris Brown and that suited them. They sounded OK but didn't come across as a group. Each seemed to have a character and the average that they'd gone for didn't allow any of them to shine. They're my prediction to go and I'm not sure anyone will be too concerned. Except them, of course.

I'd expected a lot from Marcus Collins and Moves Like Jagger by Maroon 5 should have suited him well. He'd been one of my possibles for a Final in the early days but I was not at all impressed by this nervous performance which was only just average. It started strangely, possibly a transmission or audio problem which I don't think the judges saw. In fact they were full of praise so I'm left wondering what I missed. All very average and he'd be the send home act if I were choosing. Perhaps he's so lucky James cocked up.

Samantha Brooks is Louis' 'also-ran' act. She's a nice enough person and she has a great voice, accurate notes and all that. But she's no star, no X Factor winner and watching her doing Free by Estelle was like some Top Of The pops rehearsal from the 1980s. She'll almost certainly survive for another week, though, as JonJo will go first.

The Risk sang She Said by Plan B. Excellent. This is the group to beat after Week 1. No worries about whether they'll stay or not. Every member is a great singer in their own right and some should have made through themselves perhaps in another year. The lead, stolen from The Keys, is a cool guy and very comfortable on stage. Damn good all round and they'll be around for a good many weeks yet, if not all the way to the last three.

Craig Colton was someone I knew would sing well but how would he look? Jar Of Hearts by Christina Perri sounded more like an Anthony & The Johnsons number in the way he performed it. That's meant as a compliment as he really knew what he was doing and you also felt he meant the words he sang. A totally original take on this track and quite unique, he stood out from the crowd tonight and we all forgot his odd gait and silly hair.

Kitty Brucknell is the only real contender in Louis' category. She delivered Who Wants To Live Forever by Queen in a quite remarkable way. Unexpected. She's got a huge mountain of not being liked much to get over and tonight she made a lot of progress in winning back some love. She is a superbly talented singer and performer. If they can somehow transform her to be more likeable, and fix the horrid make-up, she's another who deserves not only to be there but to survive a long time. You just know that she'll be worth watching.

Janet Devlin brings the show to a beautiful close with Fix You by Coldplay. This girl is enchanting. She really  just is in a different league at the moment to the others. Whether future song choices, the others taking chances and getting big fan club following will be enough to help someone overtake her remains to be seen. What is likely to happen is that she'll be in the Final and lose out to the really popular other act, so be careful about those bets! Remember Leon and Steve won in previous years and Crystal and Adam Lambert only managed second place in American Idol!

Sunday will be an interesting show. My guess is that James, Sophie, NuVibe and JonJo leave.

Here are my ratings out of ten for singing ♫ and star quality ☼

Amelia Lily ♫ 7 ☼ 9
Johnnie ♫ 4 ☼ 7½
Rhythmix ♫ 6 ☼ 7
Frankie ♫ 9 ☼ 9
Sophie ♫ 8½ ☼ 6
JonJo ♫7½ ☼ 2
2 Shoes ♫ 6 ☼ 8
James ♫ 4 ☼ 7
Misha ♫ 9½ ☼ 7½
NuVibe ♫ 8 ☼ 6
Marcus ♫ 5 ☼ 7
Sammie ♫ 9 ☼ 3
Craig ♫ 9½ ☼ 8
The Risk ♫ 8½ ☼ 9½
Kitty ♫ 9½ ☼ 5½
Janet ♫ 10 ☼ 9

Information links from X Factor Updates

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