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August 21, 2010

The X Factor 2009

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This talent competition produces better and better talent year on year, and 2009 is no exception! At the time of writing this article there have been only three shows, and I have already chosen TEN potential winners. Admittedly some are more potential than others, but if you’ll permit me, I’ll share my list with you along with my thoughts on the artists.

In no particular order, I have…

Jamie ‘Afro’ Archer. Auditions 2.

This 33 year old has been trying to get a big break for a long time, feeling that his talents were not appreciated in the small venues that he’d played before this show.

He performed Sex On Fire by the Kings Of Leon in a manner that Simon Cowell described as ‘fearless’. I was not personally familiar with this track, so after his performance I went off to listen to the original. Oh My God! In my opinion Jamie Afro did a FAR better job than the original group! He brought his own passion for music and an ability to involve the audience together in a perfect fusion. He’s got a great rock singer voice and the ability to perform in the studio or live on stage with equal panache.

Jade Fubara. Auditions 3.

Jade is a 17 year old school girl with big dreams and a big voice, along with a dedicated group of supporters.

Young Jade amazed me, I must admit. Her Acapella rendition of And I’m Telling You was without doubt impressive. She wowed the crowd with her note-perfect singing and powerful voice. I feel this raw talent could go a very, very long way.

Lucie Jones. Auditions 3.

This Welsh delight comes from the village of Pentyrch, a place so small it could be described as a ‘one 4×4 town’. A charming young lady, unafraid to take on one of the biggest songs in pop history.

When Lucie announced to the panel that she was going to perform Whitney Houston’s song I Will Always Love You, Simon Cowell asked her if she was “sure she wanted to perform that song”. She was! Lucie performed this oh-so-hard-to-sing track with apparent ease. Her clear and perfectly pitched voice was used to great effect, and was sung ‘her way’, without trying to impersonate Whitney.

Daryl Markham. Auditions 2.

Daryl is a 40 year old carpenter from West Sussex. He was meant to be on last year’s show, but the dates clashed with his brother’s wedding day, so of course that came first. Sadly, he lost his brother to lung cancer shortly afterward.

Although emotionally charged after telling his story to the panel, Daryl was still able to perform Rod Stewart’s song I Don’t Want To Talk About It. Louis Walsh described his voice as amazingly commercial and I concur. Like Lucie he performed the track without trying to impersonate the original artist, and it worked very well for him. I just hope that revealing his personal tragedy is not going to influence the voting in any way. The big test for Daryl, I feel, will be getting through boot-camp.

Miss Fitz. Auditions 2.

A girl-group with a clever name and a clever twist. One of the girls, Gemma, got through auditions in 2006 (Leona Lewis’s year), but didn’t make it through boot-camp. Now she’s back with fellow brunette Marina and a blond girl whose name (I think) is Maikin.

Most often, a girl-group will attempt to perform another girl-group song and fail miserably doing so. These young ladies were smarter than that. Marina announced that they were going to perform Britney Spears track Womanizer, but with a twist, and what a twist it was! They used a style that I can only describe as a cross between Big Band and The Andrews Sisters. A resounding success taking a modern song and taking it back to the 1940’s and making it work incredibly well.

Rozelle Phillip. Auditions 2.

This 21 year old is originally from Trinidad and Tobago and moved to the UK a year ago. Brought up by her grandmother, she decided that she MUST enter the competition after seeing Leona Lewis win. With the full support and urging of her grandmother her she is.

This girl is a Diva in the making! Another big performance, this time of Jennifer Hudson’s track One Night Only. Perfectly delivered, her eyes were full of delight and a hint of wickedness that enhanced her performance to huge effect. She is another natural-born singer and performer.

Danyl Johnson. Auditions 1.

This 27 year old school teacher had Simon Cowell standing and applauding at the end of his audition. At round-up time, Simon described it as “single handedly the best first audition I have ever heard”. An accolade indeed!

Singing The Beatles track With A Little Help From My Friends, this audition was a winner right from the start. Performed with the passion and feeling of a natural live entertainer, he had the audience and the panel totally with him with ease. Keep an eye on this one!

Stacey Soloman. Auditions 1.

Ok, so she’s 19 years old, she’s blond, she’s from Dagenham in Essex (UK readers will already be forming stereo-typed image), and she came on stage in tiny shorts showing long, perfect legs.

So what does she choose to sing? Louis Armstrong’s classic, What A Wonderful World. It is no exaggeration to say that her rendition took the entire panel by surprise. A clear, sweet and perfectly controlled voice which Simon said was “really, really good”, and I humbly agree! I’m still blown away by the amount of talent I’ve reviewed so far, and there’s more to come.

Joseph McElderry. Auditions 1.

An 18 year old student from Cheryl Cole’s neck of the woods, South Shields. This young man had never performed before an audience larger than about 100 and a few charity gigs.

This guy sung a tough song with heart-touching perfection. His treatment of Dance With My Father by Luther Vandross was simply wonderful. Already a song that brings a tear to the eye, Joseph’s clear and strong voice did it full justice and would have put a tear in the eyes of the Presidents of Mount Rushmore! I believe this young man is destined for great things.

Lloyd Daniels. Auditions 3.

He’s a 16 year old student from South Wales; he’s also blond and a young ladies dream! Before X Factor, he’d only ever done Karaoke and school plays. So quite a transition!

At first Lloyd tried to perform I’m Yours by Jason Mraz. It started well enough, but although he didn’t lose the lyrics or his timing, his vocals were unable to keep up with the formulated pitch-changes that make the song a lot harder to perform than most people think. Thankfully, Cheryl Cole had spotted that this young man had potential, and stopped the audition so that Lloyd could try another song. She could see that audition nerves were affecting him and convinced Simon Cowell to give him a second shot. So Simon asked Lloyd to sing something else acapella. Pushing his nerves aside he launched into the R Kelly track If I Could Turn Back The Hands Of Time. Without the backing track, Lloyd was a little faster in tempo than the original, but he certainly did not do it harm by doing so. Another one to watch!

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