X Factor: Top 4

13 12 2012

We are getting very close to seeing the finales for all our favourite shows… The Voice,  Factor, Survivor will all come to a  conclusion in the coming week just in time for the Christmas Yule log.

The X Factor performance show featured 2 songs by each of the Top 4 contestants, both carefully selected by their Mentors. Do we still believe that Britney Spears is making any decisions on her own at this point? I guess if we actually believe that they are showing us the real ‘rankings’ every week, we can believe anything. Neither here nor there… the Mentors are still apparently guiding the path of their proteges in their infinite wisdom.

Let’s begin with Tate Stevens:

Song 1: Bonfire

There’s nothing Americans love more, than a down-home country tune, sung by a man who loves his wife, reads the bible and wears the you-know-what out of a cowboy hat. Tate Stevens knows that. So what is his plan to win this show? Sing good ole fashioned country songs about the good ole fashioned country boys sitting around a bonfire drinkin’ American beer on a Saturday night (but tomorrow, they’ll all go to church with their mammas). . that can’t hurt his chances ;)

Song 2: Fall

Smooth, very smooth. His vocals were smooth, and so was the idea to show footage of he and his high-school sweetheart wife as he performed. It has always been Tate’s back story that has made him such a compelling individual. He knows his audience, he knows his voice, he’s ready to make an album. No, he’s not my favourite – but I have to admit that every time he takes the stage, he does so with a seasoned professionalism that every other contestant lacks. Oh, and he also has a wife and kids… which never hurts.

5th Harmony

Song 1: Anything Can Happen

I think this was the first time we’ve seen 5th Harmony work a ‘production’ – we very rarely see them step outside their 5-across formation. They were starting to remind me of the 3 Tenors, so I was very pleased to see them interact with stage settings and props. How nice of Katy Perry to donate her candyland set to the show. These girls can ‘SANG’. Every single girl could be a star in her own right, each having spotlight moments in each performance. I like this direction for them combining art, drama, fashion but never losing their ‘voice’.

Song 2: Impossible

There are a ka-jillion songs in the global songbook to choose from, Simon (the genius producer), suggests that his struggling girl group song a song they’ve already performed. He doesn’t offer any suggestion about how to make it different or better, the only obvious change was including sections of Spanish lyric – which was not even his idea. It needed to be shaken up, to show how much they’ve improved, how far they’ve come, the kind of artist they will be. This song lacked their name-sake harmonies, and it definitely felt flat after their energetic first song. No one can deny their talent, but even Simon knows they will need a miracle of biblical proportion to beat out 3 cute beach-blond boys, a country singing American dream, and a young singing-phenom.

Emblem 3

Song 1: Baby I love Your Way

I will preface this by warning you, that I hate this song. Unless Emblem3 had blown it to pieces and made it a completely different and modern version, I was always going to hate this performance. And I did. I hated the song, but I am also growing very tired of watching this group perform. It’s a formula. Wave your arms, crouch and reach out to the audience, jump, send a boy into the crowd, back to formation. It doesn’t really matter that I was not a fan, because the judges seemed to think this was the quintessential XFactor winning performance. Sigh. #idisagree

Song 2: Hey Jude

I get defensive when it comes to covering Beatles music. Some things are sacred. Every once and awhile, a performer on one of these shows will take on a Beatles song and do it justice… but when I heard Emblem3 was singing Hey Jude, I was not optimistic. The entire video segment built of the story line that the youngest beach boy needed to step up his game and take the lead on this tune – letting out a classic McCartney scream at the end of the song. I was waiting for it… he sang one line at the end of the song, and it was hardly even a decibel over the screams of the 13 year old girls in the audience. So, for Demi and LA to compare these boys to The Fab Four, is just ludicrous. In fact, it’s irresponsible and irreverant. I need to move on… #hotandbothered

Carly Rose Sonenclaire 

Song 1: Your Song

Right. Britney Spears chose Elton John for her little songbird. Carly Rose is coming off a big week – she was covering new songs and giving them the Carly treatment, knocking them out of the park with big notes and smooth runs. Your Song is a classic, but it is not the kind of song Carly Rose should be singing. She may be an old-soul, but she can’t sing old songs and stay current. Elton John had a stellar voice in the 70′s, and even he would tell you that this was not a power singer’s song… if she was adamant about choosing something from the Elton John collection, how about My Fathers Gun?

Song 2: Imagine

Right. Britney Spears chose John Lennon. I simply refuse to believe this. You now know how I feel about amateurs taking on The Beatles. The problem I had was NOT Carly Rose’s vocal on a song I deem virtually untouchable, it was the arrangement of the song. She stuck in big notes and fabricated big moments in a song that was NEVER intended to win someone a talent competition. It’s not a competition song, it’s a song that invites you to quietly reflect on the state of the world. I might be the only song that cannot be elevated by a big voice, or a big note.

I don’t think Carly Rose is in danger – I think her past performances will give her momentum. She benefits from the mis-steps of Simon’s girl-group this week.

Thoughts?


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