With the song selections this week, I have to ask how long does it take to be a legend? Michael Jackson obvious legend, Britney Spears recent legend, Lady Gaga, as much as I love her, it hasn’t even been 10 years since her first charting release in 2008. Perhaps that is what is the threshold for me ten years at least after their first major charting release and then at least several top 40 hits to follow that up in the next decade. Anyway onto the top 12 performances ranked in order from best to worse, by my own algorithm and probability that they can win after this performance.
Tee’s “Hey Jude” it isn’t just Tee’s huge voice that sells this performance, but also his emotional fragility. Tee deserves to be battling it out with Reigan at the end. The choir may have been a bit much, but then again, I am ranking him as number 1 for the week, so perhaps I am being hypocritical. Tee does this classic songs so well, I am a bit curious to hear his take on something about more modern.
Reigan Derry’s “Toxic” I have faith that no matter what song Redfoo gives Reigan she is going to tackle it full on and deliver a finale-worthy performance. So let’s see how she does Britney’s In The Zone classic. It seems that no amount of theatrics Redfoo throws at Reigan is going to stop her from shining, so throw away, throw away. Just hand her the crown already, Reigan needs, deserves, and is supposed to win this season. Oh my goodness. Amazing
Sydnee Carter’s “Live and Let Die” an interesting song choice for Sydnee. Despite an amazing audition, and fumbling through boot camp and judge’s houses and turning in a less-than-middle of the pack performance last week, Sydnee has a lot to prove. She is only going to get so many chances. And boy did Sydnee deliver this week. She sang with confidence and the arrangement was very well suited for her. I enjoyed the staging, the paper doilies on the side suited her, for a moment I could see the type of Sandi Thom meets Alanis Morissette meets Charli XCX record that Sydnee could make.
Caitlyn Shadbolt’s “Blaze of Glory” Caitlyn always surprises me. I didn’t think she was going to be in the top 13, but now that she is here, I don’t particularly want her to go anywhere. Caitlyn delivers very competently every time she has been on stage and I can see her Kacey Musgraves meets Miranda Lambert record that she could make. Caitlyn might not be doing anything particularly impressive on stage, but she looks like an artist, her performances feel like an artist, and dare I say it Blaze of Glory could be on country radio with this arrangement.
Dean Ray’s “Janie’s Got a Gun,” last week Dean was my personal surprise of the competition, I wasn’t expecting much from him, but his “Sympathy for the Devil,” made me a believer. This week, Dean did good, but not great. Something about the staging was unnecessary, his voice had a solid tone throughout, and the arrangement fought him in some parts. All that being said, he did better than a lot would with this song, just not the right song for Dean, I blame Natalie for this falter.
Jason Heerah’s “Working Day and Night” Jason’s falsetto is so strong, he is so much fun on stage and most likely off of it. I like this performance more in theory, than in execution, perhaps if it was one of Jackson’s bigger hits like “Smooth Criminal” or “Bad” or “Earth Song” or “Thriller” I would be more inclined to push this up into the top tier of performances tonight, but instead it felt kind of middle of the road, despite how well Jason did with it. I wanted more of a chorus that you can sink your teeth into then this song could provide. Sorry Jason.
Rochelle Pitt’s “Gimme Shelter” I cannot help but think about Mary Byrne when I watch her. Very competent in everything she goes out on the stage to do, but nothing special, nothing that I am like Rochelle needs to win. Sam Bailey, who is of a similar archetype, was able to pull it off. I want to see who Rochelle is an artist and where she could fit on the charts. I know Redfoo is playing week to week and he already has his main horse in Reigan, but that doesn’t mean you can’t give Rochelle a fighting chance to be Reigan’s runner-up.
XOX’s “Last Friday Night (TGIF)” on paper I will say this song is a very solid choice for these girls. This was a decent sized hit for Katy, but wasn’t epicly massive, so therefore there is a lot of room to put their XOX stamp all over it. Serenity is the star of this group without a question, the vocals are good, the harmonies not as tight as I wish they could be. I want these girls to be in the position to win, but as far as I could tell for the best group in the competition, the best they could hope for is third place with this sort of performance.
Younger Than Yesterday’s “One Way or Another” I do like the idea of YTY being a lite-rock/pop band. Between this song selection and “What I Like About You” I definitely can see them being successful in this direction. Dannii has gotten this right, give these boys a song that isn’t to challenging, and their slightly around average voices will shine, and so will their attractiveness to the young girls of Aussie. As far as I am concerned, much better than What About Tonight, no matter how this competition goes for them.
Brothers 3’s “Always On My Mind” a bit of a safe choice for the Brothers. I didn’t hate it, I didn’t love it, this song doesn’t give much personality, and sometimes neither does the Brothers 3. The harmonies were good, but ultimately I sided with YTY, as the superior boy band, for sheer amount of X Factor alone. I am not sure what this group could do to make me believe in them, “Story of My Life” was a decent step in the right direction. They could find themselves in the bottom 2 tomorrow, and I am not sure if I can argue they deserve to stay over even Adrien.
Marlisa Punzalan’s “Paparazzi” I pontificated if Gaga even deserved legends status, yet, but regardless it time to zoom on the little girl, with the big voice. This felt like a good song choice for Marlisa, but her sickness held her back from it actually working. All that being said, she did a decent job overall, I felt some moments of greatness and she was committed to the lyrics even as her voice faltered. I think Marlisa deserves another chance, even with just a performance like this. Can Marlisa win? Perhaps, everyone loves a good redemption arc/comeback story.
Adrien Nookadu’s “Like I Love You” with just reading the song choice, I have to side eye Natalie, stop trying to make Adrien into this dance-r’n’b-pop person. I feel like Adrien is more rock than this or last weeks song choice, and Natalie is probably trying to not make Adrien look like the lesser rocker to Dean, but he is, and perhaps this suggests that she made bad choices picking her final 3 from her final 6. Yes I would rather have Jesse or James here over Adrien. Adrien sounds OK on this track, but truth be told he is getting swallowed by the arrangement. Adrien needed to prove he could do less, before he tried to tackle more. I don’t call that playing it safe Natalie, I call that playing it smart.
2. Reigan Derry
3. Sydnee Carter
4. Caitlyn Shadbolt
5. Dean Ray
6. Jason Heerah
7. Rochelle Pitt
9. Younger Than Yesterday
10. Brothers 3
12. Adrien Nookadu
A lot of people should be glad there is only a bottom 2 tomorrow, because right now I would be sending even XOX there if it was a bottom 4, which is sad, I love me some XOX. The people in the bottom 2 will be a combination of YTY, Brothers 3, and Adrien Nookadu. With Adrien or Brothers 3 being the likely boot.
Thanks for reading,
Bottom two update:
XOX vs YTY
The answer is obvious YTY need to go and XOX need to stay. It is unfortunate because I thought YTY had lots of potential, but that is also how I felt about Trill. Instead we keep around the middling Brothers 3, who have no business winning the X Factor. I sincerely hope that B3 do not become Christopher Mahoney of this competition.
I’m glad the judges got it right, I am looking forward to Decades week next week! Let’s get some 00’s fun!