It’s finally here, the finals. While I’d have loved to see Lucie in the final three, I’m pretty happy that Olly and Joe are in (since one was my early favourite and the other is my current favourite). The top this time around are much better than the top three from last season (minus Alexandra).
So, this week the theme for the three songs are audition songs, duets with a celebrity and rehash of best performance of the season. While I feel that the duet section (which has been a mainstay in every finals) isn’t such a great idea since it invites direct and immediate comparison between the contestant and the celebrity (which, no matter which one looks better, is never good), I think the audition songs round is really smart. I mean, the contestants’d have to be pretty good at those songs since it’s what got them in right? At least there’s a guaranteed level of performance there.
This week, I felt all three finalists did exceedingly well (with Olly being a huge surprise, after his lacklustre top four week) and overall, it’s probably the best episode all season. Every single performance was at least really decent.
What A Wonderful World (original: Louis Armstrong): I think these type of songs are perfect for her. Instead of forcing her to belt at the limit of her voice (which I mentioned last week was the main problem with her song choices), the song is gentle enough to let her showcase her actually-pretty-nice voice, with a couple of bigger (but not too big) notes tossed in for some power. One of her best performances. B+
Feeling Good (duet with: Michael Buble): Wow that dress is hot. She started really strong but once Michael came out, she kinda lost it and got totally outsung by him. Michael, who by the way has apparently transformed from the huge blimp has-been he was to a hobo-in-a-suit who hasn’t slept in weeks, is really a fantastic singer. Even when the mic is like a billion miles away from his face, his voice is so strong (but not lip-synched). Plus, he’s got the weird Olly leg jerks. And he totally bitch-slapped the English accent, which was hilarious. B+
Who Wants To Live Forever (original: Queen): This was one of those songs I mentioned that actually, instead of showing what a good singer she is, showcased the limits of her voice instead by forcing to belt at this shouty, yelly range. I found it overrated then and this time around I thought it wasn’t even as good as the last time (she was a bit shaky in parts). Still, I guess it’s a decent vocal effort and at least she can reach those notes, even if they’re forced. Love the glam-goth dress though. B
Superstition (original: Stevie Wonder): I said last week that he’s the weakest technical singer left in the top four (and now the top three) and, while that is still true, he was actually really great here vocally. It fit his range, he had a couple of strong notes and, of course, his stage presence was excellent. Even with the pervy under-skirt slide, he somehow kept it all controlled and confident and didn’t veer into over-the-top stage theatrics, which he’s sometimes prone to. Best performance of his (for me) and best performance of the night. A+
Angels (duet with: Robbie Williams): I thought this match-up was actually the most appropriate, since Olly has always given a Robbie vibe to me (what with the cheeky confidence and swagger on stage). Again, while Olly isn’t the best singer left, he did his part decently and managed to hit the huge chorus okay. Robbie was just totally hilarious. I bet he’ was high/drunk. The flub was totally lol. B+
Fool In Love (Ike & Tina Turner): Really good choice for him. It allows him to show off that astronomical stage presence of his while being vocally easy, but spunky, enough for him to sing well. Nothing much else to say, since it was a standard Olly performance that was well-done. A
Dance With My Father (original: Luther Vandross): Another really good choice. The song is a perfect platform not only for his excellent voice, but also for emoting and this performance again showed off the stage confidence and comfort he’s developed in the past few weeks. He seems relaxed but invested in the song and it was another great performance from him. And lol at Louis (mentor to JEdward) saying this competition is all about finding the next great voice. A
Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me (duet with: George Michael): I think I’m one of the few who found Joe’s original performance of this overrated. That was back before he found this relaxed gaite on stage and I felt that, technically proficient as it was, the performance was a bit robotic and boring to me. This time around, I think he did better. George was decent but this is the one duet where I thought the contestant actually outsang the celebrity. B+
Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word (original: Elton John): The original performance of this was the one where I thought he finally moved from being a singer to a performer. He got this great stage presence from nowhere and he totally replicated it here. Amazing performance and the end was kinda cheesy but cool. A
So, Stacey got out at the end of the show, which was fine by me. Nice girl as she seems (I’d love to watch a reality show with her in it or something), she definitely wasn’t the most outstanding performer of the season (or even the top three) and, if she won, she definitely wouldn’t have compared to Leona or even Alex. I was just afraid she wouldn’t leave since she’s never been in the bottom two.
Who should win? Joe, by far. Like most of the judges have said, he’s got the whole package. Big voice (to me, he is the best singer of the season, Danyl or not), a new-found stage presence and youthfulness. Still, if Olly won, that wouldn’t be too bad. He’d be the first winner who can really perform, instead of just sing (and his singing is perfunctory enough to not be counted as terrible).
Who will win? I think this is gonna be one of the closest finals ever. Olly’s been a fan favourite from the start and he only got more and more confident while Joe started off slow but has been raking in a crazy number of fans in the last few weeks. I’d say Joe, by a very tight margin.
And, by the way, having “The Climb” as the winner’s single is just sad. Nothing against the song itself, but hello, it’s Miley.