- Don't Stop Believing
- Eurovision Song Contest
- Idol Series
- Must Be The Music
- The Voice Series
- X Factor Series
- MDS Sound of 2012
- Theme Weeks
I'm currently looking for some new writers in order to expand the blog given that I can't post the amount of things I'd like to. So if you are interested in writing about anything related to music (news, TV shows, album reviews, introducing artists) just drop me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we can discuss some of your ideas.
19 December, 2014 1:29 PM
Published by Kevin Mc Stravock
The last of Cheryl's girls, Lauren Platt left the competition last week in a tense sing-off with Andrea Faustini leaving us with three acts in the grand final, Fleur East and Ben Haenow for the Overs and Andrea for the Boys. Mel B is apparently ill so has been (oddly) replaced with former judge Tulisa but Simon, Louis and Cheryl are here. By the end of the weekend, Sam Bailey will have a successor.
Recap and videos after the JUMP...
'Demons' by Imagine Dragons - 9/10 - This is an amazing song choice for Ben, I was hoping he would do something like this or 'America' for his winner's single to be honest but doing it as the finale opener is also a smart move as it's definitely an epic enough track to open the show. Vocally, the first verse is a little under but then again I'm not sure how singing in a box affected the acoustics. Once it got into the chorus, he absolutely nailed it and his raspy voice was at home, tearing through the song with ease. This is one of Ben's strongest performances to date, he's not my preferred winner (more on that act later) but I wouldn't be disappointed if Ben won either because I think he has a great voice, I just wish he could have done more stuff in this vein as I feel some of his song choices have been a little tame.
'Thinking Out Loud' with Ed Sheeran - 8/10 - This performance is a decent, if not AMAZING duet. Ben seems a bit nervous, which is probably quite understandable considering that he is duetting with one of the biggest artists of the moment. Ed sounds great on this, Ben's voice isn't as well suited to the song but I much prefer this rendition of the song to the first time Ben sang it where his voice was just too rough and rocky on the song. He sings it slightly softer this time around. A solid duet from Ben and Ed there, I'd say Ed's popularity alone will have done him a favour.
'Feeling Good' by Nina Simone - 7/10 - Having been in the bottom two twice now, I'm fairly certain Andrea will be finishing in third place and this song choice didn't persuade me otherwise. It's a very obvious song choice for him, perhaps a little dull considering how Fleur and Ben have been given very current songs that haven't been performed much on talent shows but are recognizable enough to go down well. The performance got better as it went on but it felt like he was swallowed up by the huge performance somewhat. Whether it was his microphone or just the way he was singing it, at times it was really hard to hear him and it lacked that extra impact to really nail the performance. Consdering the arrangement, he needed a little bit more conviction and I didn't feel like it was a final performance, it felt a little nervy.
'Ghost' with Ella Henderson - 8.5/10 - This was a lot better than I was expecting to be actually, having Andrea sing with Ella Henderson wasn't a duet I was expecting to hear but they both have fantastic voices and despite both having big voices, this duet works surprisingly well. I really like Andrea's solo part of the song, his voice sounds really good on it, I much prefer his rendition of the song to Paul Akister's performance of it in Week 1 which was a little forgettable. Ella sounds incredible, obviously, but she doesn't make Andrea pale in comparison like some celebrity duets can end up doing *cough* Christina Aguilera screaming over Rebecca Ferguson *cough*. A solid duet from Andrea there but I will be surprised if he finishes anywhere higher than 3rd place.
'Can't Hold Us' by Macklemore feat. Ryan Lewis - 10/10 - Fleur comes in on the side of a motorbike, talk about entering in style. The whole thing just feels so fresh and so polished, I love Fleur's rapping, it's only when you hear her that you realize how average previous rappers like Cher have been in terms of rapping ability. The whole thing just feels so much like she's already an established artist performing at an awards ceremony or something, she's such a polished and confident performer and really nails the energy of the song. I loved her take on this song and it's a really good start to the final for her, Fleur and Ben have been the most consistent performers of the series so it's only fitting that they were also the two best of the final, they need to make the second night.
'Beneath Your Beautiful' with Labrinth - 8/10 - Fleur was delighted to be told she would be duetting with Labrinth as this song, originally a duet with Emeli Sandé is one of her favourite duets of the past few years and she has always wanted to work with Labrinth. If anything lets this performance down, it's actually, surprisingly Labrinth's vocals as he doesn't sound as good as he usually does. I really like his voice but he sings part of it out of tune, Fleur actually sounds surprisingly great on the song, her voice is a little strained at the beginning, perhaps nerves but she soon gets into the performance and I think her and Labrinth sounded the best together and had the most natural chemistry on stage. She sounded particularly great in the last 30 seconds or so, I loved seeing her stripped back and this was another really impressive duet. For the slight vocal misses, I'd put it on par with Ed and Ben's duet.
1. Fleur East
2. Ben Haenow
3. Andrea Faustini
Eliminated (in third place):
Right result here, Andrea is a great singer with a fantastic voice but he was too inconsistent compared to the other two and didn't just have quite the same stage presence or performance abilities that Fleur and Ben have. He's undeniably a great singer, will be interesting to see how he fares post-show.
'Man In The Mirror' (Live Show 6) - 10/10 - I wouldn't have personally picked this as my favourite performance of his, I preferred 'Highway To Hell' and 'Jealous Guy' but it was a pretty good performance and anything I had against the performance the first time has been smoothed out this time because this is absolutely faultless. Ben's tone is his best asset and he really makes it key in this performance, it's what makes this cover stand out from all the other countless Michael Jackson covers we hear every year on the show. I love the stripped back element of this song, it's perfect for Ben, whatever happens tonight, personally I reckon Ben will probably win it, I think we've got a pretty great top two and Ben would be a deserving winner.
'Something I Need' by One Republic (Winner's Single) - 8.5/10 - This song feels like it was tailor made for Ben, Ryan Tedder has a sort of rasp to his voice and the whole feel of the track is like it's just made for Ben. I have to admit that Ben has grown on me over the course of the competition and I really like his voice for the most part. He delivers this song with commitment and passion and he does it justice, vocally it is a little shouty particularly in the final rendition of the chorus but overall, he absolutely nails it. The song itself is the only thing that holds it back, I love One Republic but this isn't their best song and I would have preferred something a little bit more epic, like Secrets. Aside from a bit of oversinging towards the end, great performance, I have a feeling Ben will win this.
'Uptown Funk' by Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars (Live Show 9) - 10/10 - I loved this performance so much last week, it was without a doubt the best performance of the series and although performing the same song two weeks in a row seems odd, it was so magical and had such an incredible reaction that it makes sense to let her sing it again. What it locks in surprise element this time around, it makes up for in an even bigger, extended performance which proves why Fleur has been such a great contestant. She's not going to come out and sing Whitney Houston ballads in a ballgown, nor is she a massive belter with Mariah esque capabilities but her sheer stage presence and versatility, being able to go from an all-singing and all-dancing huge number to a more humble, stripped back performance shows that she has the credentials to do really well in the charts. She's the one I would keep an eye on once this show is over regardless of whether she actually wins, she has something special, this was brilliant. Performing this song last week propelled her to number one on iTunes and prompted Mark Ronson to push the release date of the song forward (he's now number one in the charts) so it's clear that there's interest in her.
'Something I Need' by One Republic (Winner's Single) - 9/10 - I'm disappointed that they gave her the same song as Ben as it's clear that the song was picked with him in mind, not so much for Fleur. However, I'm pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this rendition of the song, there's something fresh about her delivery of the song, it has a slightly different feel to it than Ben's which is in many ways more faithful to the original. I would have loved to hear her doing something like 'Feels Like Coming Home' by Jetta or a Janelle Monae track but this is a really good song, she gives it a bit more life than Ben did and overall, I think she made the stronger impression on me with the track. That last section was fantastic, I would love to see her doing well after the show and I feel that she will even if she doesn't win tonight.
Not a totally surprising result, not my personal preference but I'm not annoyed to see Ben succeeding either as he has been very strong throughout the show and I do feel that Fleur is a cert to do well regardless and is likely to benefit from not being the winner. I'm interested to see how this year's contestants will fare after the show, I think Fleur, Lauren and Andrea will all get record deals. How Ben will fare compared to previous male winners remains to be seen.