Sunday, November 1, 2015

X Factor UK 12: Top 13

It's the first live shows and I must say that almost all of them delivered decent performances. Yes, there were a couple of lackluster performances here and there - mostly on the song choices - but for the most part, this was a pretty telling week. I'm excited to here more from these crop and from the looks of it, I think we have a much better set of finalists this year than last year.

Oh, and with two people going home this week, I'm pretty sure we're in for a couple of shockers. Or maybe not. 

On with the show!

13. Bupsi Brown
You're A Wonder One
I admit, there's something incredibly appealing with Bupsi, but this boiled away any shred of originality, and to some extend, emotional connection, leaving me with nothing but a husk of a song. Her personality, which was one of the biggest reasons why she's still here, was a bit muted making this a lot underwhelming than usual. 4

12. Kiera Weathers
Crying For No Reason
Competent, but never compelling. While I'm not discounting the fact that Kiera got some talent, there's a blandness in her delivery and an inconsistency in her pitch - maybe due to nerves? - that made this forgettable and rather generic. Plus, the lazy arrangement sounded like it was ordered off a discounted karaoke machine. How Rita chose her over Monica is beyond me. 5

11. Anton Stephans
Dance With My Father
Not entirely an inspired song choice from Simon - considering it's been done to death and with far more gusto - but Anton hits all his notes almost flawlessly, but those crazy eyes took me away from the performance. It was as if we're in an uncomfortable staring competition and he'd just smack me in the face if I ever blink. Too much, Anton. 5

10. Lauren Murray
I'm Every Woman
Look, Lauren pretty much nailed every note of this overdone Whitney Houston ditty, but I couldn't shake the idea that this maybe Rita pulling a prank on her with an inscrutable song choice and bizarre staging. Why Rita, why? 5.5

09. 4th Impact
In a week where Ché Chesterman, Louisa Johnson, and Max Stone got creative with their arrangement, 4th Impact's paint-by-numbers work wasn't special enough. The girls have some serious chops with a couple of sweet moves and still have enough air in their lungs to belt out massive glory notes - although they went intermittently sharp on some of their ad libs -  but I felt like it's all they can do. I've seen this before from them and the vocal bombast back then was impressive. Now, it's just tiring and overrated. 6

08. Reggie 'N' Bollie
It Wasn't Me
This was fun! I'd be lying if I didn't give this duo credit for improving their vocal accuracy tenfold since their last performance. Plus, they showcased more charisma and energy leaping around the stage than Kiera has mustered up in all her performances combined. Ha. 6

07. Max Stone
Someone Like You
Part of me wants to give Max (and mentor Simon) points for attempting to put a boppy reggae beat to a classic Adele hit, but the finished makeover was too jarring. There was something not entirely authentic about the number. Good thing, his vocals was soaring and he didn't miss a note. Next week - provided he's still around - Max won't be able to survive another performance like this. A deeper emotional connection is his only hope. 6.5

06. Ché Chesterman
Tears Dry On Their Own/Ain't No Mountain High Enough
The first half was incredibly fantastic that I figured he'd end up in the upper tier of my ranking this week. His vocals were rich and it had power and dexterity to navigate the intricate dynamics and transitions of this brilliant mash-up. However, the minute he did those excessive runs at the end, his pitch wobbled and the caterwauling somehow dragged this performance to ruins. It was still good, but it could've been A LOT better. 7

05. Seann Miley Moore
Life On Mars
I've got to be honest and admit that in all of his performances prior to the live shows, I've found the adoration for him to be completely mystifying. I mean, he can definitely sing, but there's a huge disconnect with his song choices and the image that he's putting up. Tonight though was far and away his best performance of the season. It had the wickedness and theatricality needed to fully sell the song, and his vocals was strong. 7.5

04. Mason Noise
It's not easy to pull off something as current as Justin Bieber's Sorry, but this kid has got spunk and swagger straight on. I've wondered about his charisma levels, but this was proof positive that he could actually exist in the real wold right this second. This was slick, well-sung, and he threw in enough dance moves to prove himself a double-threat. There's an indelible coolness to this performance that I honestly didn't expect. 8

03. Alien Uncovered
Do It Like A Dude
To my eyes and ears, Aliens Uncovered provided the most riveting performance of the night. No, I don't think it's for everyone - especially given that the show skews more to the older demographics - but this was pretty incredible. The group managed to stay on pitch for a good part of the performance while busting out a few energetic dance moves and proved willing to aim for something more than simple mimicry. They just did it with high energy and wicked enthusiasm. 8

02. Monica Michael
Make It Rain
Never in her entire X Factor journey have I considered her a threat to win the title - even a dark horse - but that changed last week and this week. Make It Rain was, arguably, one of the strongest performances of the evening. Her pitch and power were solid here and the simple and straightforward arrangement breathe new energy to probably the most covered song this season. She hit some big, dangerous notes with all the force and audacity and it was awesome. 9

01. Louisa Johnson
God Only Knows
At this point, this is Louisa's competition to lose. Not only was her song choice and arrangement spectacular, but how she delivered a vocal with enough warmth and emotion. It was rich, accurate, with just the right amount of restraint, and delicately handling the words of the song that eventually soared with that much needed power. The dynamics was impeccable and I just couldn't ask for anything more. 9

Bupsi Brown
Kiera Weathers
Lauren Murray


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