Saturday, December 13, 2008

X Factor 2008 - The Winner Is...

Alexandra! And very well deserved too.

I don't know how she got through her reprise of Hallelujah. She was so emotional and could hardly speak. Her vocals disappeared at the end of verse 1, but she got it back and held it together - more or less. It was very moving to watch.

That open emotion is great in so many ways, but I get the feeling that she is a very nice and also a very vulnerable young woman. I hope people look after her well. She demonstrated tonight that she has the ability to move an audience deeply with her voice. That's what marked her out from the other contestants throughout the series, but especially in the final.

I'm honestly still reeling from her first performance of Hallelujah - it was just staggering. I am a big Leonard Cohen fan. He is one of my favourite songwriter/performers and I think Alexandra did him proud tonight.

And here it is:

I was a bit concerned that it might not sound so good this morning, after all the excitement had died down, but no, it's really good stuff.

And for good measure, here's her performance with Beyoncé:


Colin Will said...

I didn't watch it, but I'm looking forward to discussing the Strictly Come Dancing semi-final with my 4-year old German grand-daughter tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

i love alexadra she is just 2 great i love her song beauty and she sings exactly like leona lewis alexandra i hope you read my message you always look so beautiful whenevr you come to x factor will you be my best friend!!!!

siobhan said...

alex was outstanding, she is an amazing person with an amazing voice, so proud of her....

jacqueline said...

I have been following the X factor with my 13 year old son Ethan. Glad to hear it caught you the way it caught me! It's been quite a journey, hasn't it?

I'm also a Leonard Cohen fan; have been since about the age of ten and saw him perform 3 times this year. My feeling is that he does the best version of the song (with Jeff Buckley as a close second); I missed the other verses in the Alexandra version and I think Jeff Buckley comes a close second. The song and its lyrics shine as a hymn to love without any vocal pyrotechnics. But I am a purist.

Anonymous said...

Is it me or is it 2 years on the run the winner has been female and black??
simon just has a thing for black women

Rob said...

That sounds like an interesting conversation, Colin.

Anon and Siobahn, thanks for commenting.

Jacqueline, to be honest, I agree, and I missed the deleted verses. If only one version of Hallelujah could be left in the world, I'd struggle to choose between Cohen and Buckley (I'd probably choose Cohen because he wrote the song). I also like John Cale's version, for its fragility. However, I think Alexandra was quite restrained in the first two verses. She's grown throughout the last few months - I think she would have given it 'too much' at the beginning of the competition, but she held back. And when she launched into the pyrotechnics in the third verse, she was doing it partly because she had to, due to the competition element, and partly because the musical arrangement demanded it, but I also got the sense that every breath of the song was coming from deep inside her, as if she had really inhabited that 'cold and broken hallelujah'. If she hadn't, then she fooled me!

Anon, you're forgetting that last year, the winner was male and white (and,I suppose, quite forgettable, so I can't blame you). Also, it's not Simon who makes the choice, but a UK public vote. Simon was mentoring Eoghan.