Random thoughts on ‘The X Factor’

I try to post something every month on here, but I just haven’t been inspired to post anything this month. I disappeared into Wikiholes and YouTube holes looking at X Factor stuff, this post is just random thoughts I have. So with the 12th series of The X Factor about to start, here are some random thoughts I have about past series.

Looking at how last year’s lot are doing, the winner and runner-up Ben Haenow and Fleur East haven’t released anything yet, so it remains to be seen how they will do. They were both pretty good, but then so was series 10’s winner Sam Bailey and Syco didn’t keep her beyond a year.

3rd place finalist Andrea Faustini has released an album. Stevi Richie, the joke act that wasn’t that funny and Chloe Jasmine, the tabloid headline grabber who didn’t last long enough to grab any headlines, are now a couple and following the path of other joke/controversial acts like Jedward, Frankie Cocozza and Rylan they’ve gone into Celebrity Big Brother.

Stereo Kicks split up after a grand total of one single release. To be honest, I’m surprised they stuck it out that long.

Only The Young released a single which reached number one on the physical singles chart, but let’s face it that doesn’t mean much these days. On the proper chart, they reached number 53. I think a problem they have is that they don’t really fit in anywhere. They’re not quite an indie band and they’re not quite a bubblegum pop band. That was always part of their charm, but it’s not likely they’ll ever trouble the mainstream again. I have a soft spot for them, so I hope at least they can do OK for themselves even if it’s just touring.

They were a type of finalist I always seem to like, a serial sing-off surviving underdog. Others included Lloyd Daniels from series 6 (he had a nice voice, if not really suited to most of the songs on the show). Hannah Barrett from series 10 (she had a lot of good performances, but her version of ‘Somebody Else’s Guy’ stood out as the best) and Ruth Lorenzo from series 5 (she has since represented Spain for Eurovision last year, was on Spain’s Jury for Eurovison this year, and is taking part in the original Spanish version of Your Face Sounds Familiar).

Looking back, series 8 was odd wasn’t it? I still think that week one twist to get rid of one from each category is one the worst they’ve ever done. I definitely think James Michael, 2 Shoes and Jonjo would have bought more to the show had they been given more of a chance. James Michael was at least pretty, 2 Shoes were fun and it’s supposed to be an entertainment show after all, and Jonjo despite probably being the most forgettable managed to get into tabloids from having a few pints, he might have been interesting. Amelia Lily was voted off in the same twist, and was the one chosen to make a comeback later. She became one of the biggest contestants of that year, but we’d never have known that if not for Frankie Cocozza getting kicked out.

So many of the show’s initial plans fell through for various reasons. Frankie, Nu Vibe and Misha B all seemed like they were supposed to be the ‘stars’ of that year, but it all went a bit pear shaped. Tulisa predicted Nu Vibe to be the overall winners, but they ended up dead last in the first public vote. With Frankie, it turned out he couldn’t actually sing, and ended up being kicked off for doing drugs. Misha B’s time on The X Factor has to be one of the most depressing examples of what this show does, as in her they had a readymade popstar, and over the course of the series she was turned into a deflated reality TV contestant.

The top 3 in the first public vote was Janet Devlin, The Risk and Sophie Habibis. None of them made it to the final, in fact Sophie and the Risk were both gone before the second half of the live shows. The designated joke act Johnny Robinson was 1% off topping the vote the one week he was taken semi-seriously singing ‘I Believe In A Thing Called Love’ by the Darkness.

Janet Devlin topped the vote from weeks 2-5. There were a lot of rumours that she was determined to do her own thing and didn’t play ball with song choices and what the show wanted her to do, which may have led to the massive deramping she had.

Amelia Lily in her big comeback got the most votes in week 6 and her bottom 2 bounce in week 8, and Little Mix topped the vote for weeks 7, 9 and 10. That’s probably what’s most unusual about series 8. A girlgroup was not only popular, they won! And became one of the more successful winners.

My highlight of that series, by a long way, was Lady Gaga running on to hug Kitty Brucknell after she was voted off.

Speaking of Kitty Brucknell, I kind of adore her, but unfortunately I haven’t much liked anything she’s released since leaving the show. With the exception her guest vocals on the dance track ‘I Wanna Get Out’ by Tiltin, specifically the Loverush UK remix, which I ended up playing a lot on my iPod.

Diana Vickers – ‘Cinderella’ came up on my iPod shuffle this month, which I had forgotten about. It is a very good pop song and should have been a hit really. I’ve got to love the lyric “for you I would lose both of my shoes”, referencing the fairytale in the title, Diana Vickers’ shoeless performances and the morning after the night out before walk of shame.

I found out the Bewitched TV series theme tune has lyrics thanks to The X Factor. Olly Murs sang it for Big Band week in series 6 and Katie Waissel sang it for Halloween week in series 7. God, I’m having nightmarish visions of a remake of that TV show with those two in the lead roles!

A lot of series 6 alumni are still ”around” in the public eye.

Joe McElderry was on TV.  Is doing musical theatre now. He seems happy. Good to know.

Rachel Adedeji was on showbiz website news as she’s got married. Is doing musical theatre now. She seems happy. Good to know.

Stacey Solomon isn’t doing musical theatre, but she’s finally got an album released. This year she did The Jump and had a relationship with fellow contestant Steve-O from Jackass. She seems happy. Good to know.

We’ve never had X Factor contestants collaborate outside the context of the show have we? I suppose that in some ways they have to not become too anchored to The X Factor and exist in the pop world in their own right, but Alexandra Burke and JLS returning and performing together in the series 6 final was great. I’m surprised we never got an Alexandra/Leona Lewis duet actually, although they both released stuff this year. Leona’s last single didn’t make the top 40. Alexandra has made an EP, but either it didn’t make the chart or it never got released. Instead she’s been playing the lead role in the West End musical version of The Bodyguard.

I remember reading someone on the internet somewhere suggesting that Leona and Alexandra should do ‘I Know Him So Well’. Well it would be interesting addition to the list. As well as the Elaine Paige & Barbara Dickson original we’ve had Whitney Houston & her mother Cissy Houston, Steps, John Barrowman & Daniel Boys, Lily Savage & Barbara Dickson, Elaine Paige & Susan Boyle, Geraldine McQueen & Susan Boyle, Melanie C & Emma Bunton. It’s a pity we’ll probably never get an Agnetha Fältskog & Frida Lyngstad version, considering it was co-written by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus. Sorry, gone off topic a bit. Get back to The X Factor.

The Beyonce/Alexandra duet of ‘Listen’ in the series 5 final is still the best moment the show has ever had, and I can’t see this upcoming series containing anything to knock that off the top spot to be honest. But let’s see what the new series brings.

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