Notes On The X Factor #4

It seems, as Daniel Evans finally takes his forced leave from the competition, that PM’s predictions are becoming slightly more destined. After a severe backlash (also predicted) that saw Evans fall from slight student joke to washed-up pool cleaner with dubious familial entanglements, the Great British Public decided that enough was enough. Speaking of enough, the descriptions of exactly why Evans’ performances were so lacklustre throughout the series have been  plentiful here, and so focus will turn to other areas.

 

Rachel Hylton‘s consistently overbearing vocal found a relative home this week during her performance of Amy Winhouse’s  Told You I Was Trouble, but it wasn’t enough to keep her out of the bottom two – resulting in her attempt to salvage herself with U2’s One Love (albeit in Mary J. Blige’s guise). The simple fact is that, at the extremes of the phrases, Hylton’s voice is too loud. Each time a higher, louder note is followed a lower, quieter note, the force with which the first is delivered obscures any merit in the second. This creates a sonically confusing, amateurish sound that, when Hylton’s continually dubious tuning is factored in, can only leave a negative lasting impression. As the climax of the song (in video, above) approaches, Hylton’s grasp and confidence of the notes completely disappears – she snatches, loudly, at Blige’s “love is a temple” section with embarrassing results. Unbelievably, Daniel Evans’ performance of Bridge Over Troubled Water was, though mawkish, infinitely preferable to this misguidedly breezy and ill-executed episode.

 

Diana Vickers‘ confused interpretation of Coldplay’s Yellow was, undoubtedly, partly due to her previous illness (continual protestations in blogsville and beyond that she wasn’t really ill seem a little unjustified), and partly due to the actual choice of song. Though none of the judges cared to admit it, this choice is the least complimentary she has endured so far. A song such as Yellow, one so close to what Vickers herself might listen to, even buy on record, is exactly what an audience might expect. If she were next week to perform a Damien Rice song, the problem would be the same. Vickers’ charm amongst viewers and commentators comes from her interpretations of songs that she wouldn’t be expected to perform. U2’s With Or Without You and Blondie’s Call Me are reasonably far-removed from the (probably) Kooks-loving blonde’s realm of expectation and, therefore, when hushed and dimmed in performance, are imbued with tangible novelty and surprise.

Predictions for next week – Rachel and Ruth in the bottom two, Rachel to go.

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