The X-Factor was a touch dull last night. I couldn’t get interested even though, as ever, I made an attempt to overcome my musical prejudices and think about who was best in performance.
I’ve never liked Ray, but he did OK yesterday. He is from Liverpool, and his genuine tears of emotion after singing You’ll Never Walk Alone probably got him the extra votes he needed to take him into the final. This song was easily his best moment in the series (see how generous I am! I can’t stand him). I think he’s fine for staged musicals, but I don’t much of a recording career for him. We already have a Tony Bennett. Ray just doesn’t convince me.
Poor old Ben! The judges loved him. I didn’t. Last night he growled through the awful Bryan Adams song Everything I Do (I Do it for You), and then growled through U2’s I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For. He growls roughly in tune, true, but it’s still a growl, a commercially-oriented growl, and it’s become really tedious. Although I’m sure he has miles more talent than Ray, I think, on the performances, he deserved to get booted out. He didn’t cry afterwards either, which may have lost him a few sympathy votes.
Leona was good, again way, way ahead of the others. It appears that a tiny margin separated all three contestants. If that’s the case, I can only assume that people vote for the style of music, the personalities, who they fancy most, and the songs they like best. If they voted for talent, Leona would win by miles. She sang a rather boring Whitney Houston song (I Have Nothing) effortlessly, but then did a terrific rendition of Somewhere Over the Rainbow, which showed how good a singer she is. Like Ray, she was in tears afterwards.
So the final is next Saturday – Ray vs. Leona. It should be a foregone conclusion. But it probably won’t go to plan. Whoever wins, only one of the contestants in the entire show has ever stood a chance of being a star, and whether she wins or not won’t make any difference to that.