And so, after what seems like an eternity of it being on TV (not helped by the endless ad breaks), this year’s series of the X Factor reaches it’s conclusion this weekend. The final is being staged in my hometown of Manchester this year. I am not going to it, incidentally. It would have been nice to go to it and experience live TV from actually being in the audience of it, but I wouldn’t have got the chance anyway. Plus I’ve been starting to come down with a bit of a cold, which sucks as I have loads of stuff to do. Ah well, I’ll be at home watching it, which is probably the best place for me really.
I have to say, again I haven’t really enjoyed this series as much this year but it has been marginally better than last year’s, in terms of the fact that there has been at least one contestant that I’ve been interested in this year. I think I’ve forgotten most of last year’s contingent, bar Little Mix (which I still think is a stupid name for a group, nothing against them personally) and Marcus Collins – oh and Janet Devlin, and The Risk. But the latter two is probably down to the fact that I follow them on twitter (what about it?).
So what do I think of this year’s final three? Well there are two of them that I thought would definitely make it to the last stages of the competition and one that I didn’t necessarily think would get to this stage. You can probably guess already who fits each one, but even so, here’s what I think of each of this year’s finalists:
Jahmene Douglas – When I first saw Jahmene’s audition I knew that he would go far in the competition. It’s fair to say that he has delivered pretty much every week, even in the performances that I personally wasn’t really that keen on. His ABBA week contribution was probably his weakest , but hey, it was an ABBA song he was doing. If he wins the show I think he will do quite well if given the right material. My only fear is that he might easily be forgotten about – he’s a nice kid, his talent stands out, but he doesn’t. This is not a dig in any way and it is understandable given what we know about him. I hope the experience of being on the show really does bring him out of his shell, then he will really shine. In any case, I don’t think he will be going back to ASDA any time soon.
James Arthur – Of the three left in the competition, James is my favourite. Again, he has been a very consistent performer. In fact, I don’t think there has been anything he has done on the show I really disliked, apart from when they threw in the dubstep bit when he sang Adele’s Hometown1 Glory (why they did that I will never understand). While it would be great if he won, part of me is not sure he will. What works against him is the fact that he is the only one of the three that has been in the bottom two at some stage of the series, and those who have been in that situation have never gone on to win it. That doesn’t mean to say that it couldn’t happen, though.
However, if he does go on to win it, I hope that Syco do not shaft him the way that 2010 winner Matt Cardle was. It’s not wrong to say that James is similar to him in terms of that he writes his own stuff, has played in bands and done the gigs, but they are different musically. I hope James gets a chance to be able to do his own thing, and that he isn’t moulded into Cowell’s own version of Ed Sheeran (I like Ed Sheeran by the way), as it‘s clear he has got something of his own and I would hate him to lose that. I also hope that if it does go wrong with Syco, he follows Matt’s example and walks away from them, rather than stay with them and end up waiting ages to release new material like Shayne Ward did. James would do well to grow a thick skin too, as engaging in twitter spats with the likes of Frankie Boyle will only result in giving Boyle and his ilk more ammo to fire at him. Not to mention making it more likely that the media will tear him to pieces post X-Factor.
Christopher Maloney – I am going to admit it. I actually don’t mind Christopher at all. Really I don’t. Sure he is cheesier than the most mature cheddar, and his performances don’t float my boat (probably because it’s not a cruise ship), but he can sing. He was voted in by the public as the wildcard at the start of the live shows, and the public have kept him in each week. However sad it is that some other singers who we thought would be in to the end have gone while he’s remained, it’s not his fault he’s still in it. In fact, a lot of the negative press surrounding him has made me feel uncomfortable. There has always been at least one contestant each year that has been painted as a kind of pantomime villain by the media since the show’s inception. This year, however it has been nastier than ever before, to the point where I’ve felt sympathy for Christopher and also for Rylan towards the end of his time on the show. Not enough to make me want to vote for them, but enough to make me think that certain sections of both the media and the public have overstepped the mark this year somewhat. I don’t know, nor care, if Chris is a diva, or anything else that he has been accused of being in the tabloids. But even if there’s even a hint of truth in the stories about him, are those spreading them and giving him abuse any better people than he is? Somehow I doubt it.
If Chris wins, it will more likely be because of the hate towards him, rather than in spite of it. That said, there are probably as many people out there who haven’t read the tabloid stuff and voted for him because they like him, as there are those who have voted for him just to stick it to Cowell and his minions. To some, he might not be the most marketable act that ends up on Syco’s roster, but he will probably still sell records to more than just his Nan. Whether anyone will own up to owning one is another matter entirely, but whatever happens fair play and good luck to him.
So there you have it. This has turned out to be more than a little pre – X Factor final blog post. Whatever, this is the only one I have done this year. Lucky you.