Sunday, 30 March 2014

The Top 9 Perform

This week they're 'with the band'. At first I thought that this was going to be an old-style Big Band show, which does happen at some stage sometimes, but no, this is much better - basically getting them to perform with the band on stage.

This should suit several like Jesse and Caleb better than others.

Alex starts with more of a solo with his guitar, much as usual, doing Don't Speak by No Doubt. He made a good job of it and he certainly has a talent and bags of support from the crowd. He doesn't change though, and we need to get just something to remember. Keith got it right - we need an 'edge'. That song didn't have any edge at all. It was nice but he needs to be a bit nastier.

Majesty needs a good week and doesn't deserve to be in the bottom two again. She does Florence & The Machine's Shake It Out - well, she tries but she could be in trouble again after all as that was not right for her. It was a brave effort but all over the place and the track just doesn't suit her. I would be worried that this may be her week to go if the others choose better. Harry is so right in saying how people can't latch on to who she is as she has such a vast range and may not appeal to enough people at the right time. She would have been my choice to make the final this year but it'll take some good fortune and much more careful song selection.

Boondocks by Little Big Town is another bit of a cheat by Dexter who stands there with his guitar singing a goof ol' boy Country song. Was there a band anywhere? He suggests we 'give it up for the band guys' but I think they'd given up and gone for a smoke anyway while he was on. To be honest, he was not very interesting and that was terrible forgettable. Harry hits him hard with the same point. It may be that Majesty gets saved by Dexter. For several minutes the conversation is about gummy bears and it's like the production team had actually forgotten him.

Malaya has lots of energy, you have to give her that. In the sing-a-long-rock at the start she was obvious, maybe too obvious, but at least she was making an effort and getting excited. I have always thought she tried to hard so far. The Long And Winding Road from The Beatles, mostly Paul, is her choice. Not exactly a 'band performance' but what a good choice to show us what she can do. The glasses are a hundred times better and she holds herself back, not doing the screech and trying over hard like before. Nice job. She ought to be safe after that. Best performance of the night so far and she'll be around a bit longer. I just hope she stays in control and doesn't revert to rubbish.

Sam is slowly growing in confidence and he has a great chance tonight. Hey There Delilah by the White Ts is simple but quite effective for him. He looks good, very comfortable - maybe just a bit too comfortable perhaps - and I reckon he's the act whose time has come. That's his style and I can see him surviving if he can keep the girls voting in big numbers.

Jessica talks about how she likes hunting again. She may actually win some votes over there with that! Rhiannon is a wonderful track but it is a tough thing - Stevie Nicks has burned that song into my brain. I hoped she would do more with it. This was the track that someone else I admire - Didi Benami - sang at about this stage in the competition, only to be voted out. She was spot on with the lyrics, tune and all that but nothing that grabbed us and she is suffering from the comparison. I like Jessica a lot and she really should have a chance to win this thing. She would be my choice to win and I would look forward to her album too.

CJ is another serious contender in my view. Such a natural talent. You can't imagine him doing much else really. If It Hadn't Been For Love is a track from the Steel Drivers that few seem to know. Good though and ideal for CJ. He should be through easily for another week. Nice job. Complicated review from Keith this time, matching Harry. The audience have to pause for a moment to try and figure out what on earth he meant before applauding! CJ just listens and looks increasingly confused. Harry tells him he has to work on his pitch. I can't really tell you what Keith said as I didn't understand him myself. Poor CJ just wants to sings tunes.

Caleb really should make the most of tonight. This is most definitely his theme. He has had a rock band for some years but hasn't done well with them. In a way you wonder why and what is now going to be any different. He chooses Led Zeppelin's Dazed And Confused. Not a number that many will know and not the band's best known track either. Caleb does, of course, belt out the lyrics and does so in tune and in time. he knows what he's doing but much of the track's success is from the band. Remarkable performance as he does get hos vocal chords screaming out eventually in an impressive ending. The audience were well in support which I was a bit surprised about, bearing in mind all the Country folk that I thought would have been there. It will be interesting to see whether people who liked that are also people who vote on these programmes.

Jena closes the show. Following Caleb isn't easy. I would have expected him to have been the last act. Jena should also be at home with this theme and has the Evanescence classic Bring Me To Life. Not the simplest of songs as it maybe shouldn't be hit so hard at teh start as most people are inclined to do. She chews up the lyrics a bit. Nice to watch her on stage but this was a messy performance and had a touch of desperation about it. Possibly the second worst of the night and I would put her and Dexter in the danger zone. Joining them might be Majesty. I also fear a little for the lovely Jessica, purely because Rhiannon is very risky.