Only three more shows until X Factor Australia has a winner. Can you pick one from the pack already?
This week our final six got the command to dance and while there were mostly moves in the right direction, one or two managed to really upset the rhythm. [Editor’s note: you gotta be proud of yourself if you can spot the three songs Limoncé has referenced in that sentence.]
It’s rather startling that at this stage of the game, Guy Sebastian still hasn’t lost one of this contestants and as a collective, they now make up half of the competition. At this rate, I won’t be surprised if he ends up with two acts in the final three. A feat only two X Factor judges have ever achieved – see: Dannii Minogue circa 2007 on the UK series and Jan Fredrik Carlsen of the 2009 Norwegian franchise.
When our Aussie series reached its final six this time last year, we already had our handful of polished contestants. All the performers had found their place by then and were capable of turning out vocally consistent results. I’m not sure if I can say the same about this year’s final six. This show actually feels like a big budget end-of-year concert thrown by a local singing school. There are some A+ vocalists getting unearthed but there are also some developing singers mingled in the line up. Is this really what the X Factor is all about?
At what point should our mentors stop pushing some contestants into risky song choices when they’re not vocally equipped to do it, and start actually tailoring songs to enhance whatever talent is already there?
Find out the hits and misses of this week’s live show, and which Power Bottom Two act just had their last dance:
1) Declan Sykes: the element of surprise is back.
This is all kinds of A+ effort right here, I can’t even front. First up, there’s the genius pairing of Declan Sykes‘ airborne vocals with Empire of The Sun‘s dreamy synthpop. Then there’s the ‘Sometime Samurai’ stage get-up, which isn’t exactly a stretch from Luke Steele‘s make-up inspiration.
Declan‘s head voice isn’t quite ready to take flight in a chorus like ‘Walking In A Dream’ just yet but thanks to some clever support of a backing track, it actually worked quite nicely.
Watch the Melbourne teen dazzle with ‘Walking In A Dream’:
2) Nat Bass asking the question we’ve wanted to know for weeks.
Gurl has arrived a little tardy to the party on this discussion. The head-scratching debate that is Why’s Johnny Ruffo Still On The X Factor? continues to pick up pace with every week the Perth labourer stays in the competition.
As I said last week when Johnny wound up in the Bottom Two, I think the lad brings some much needed entertainment value to the show. He’s the only contestant left who’s capable of handling a proper song and dance performance, but I feel like too much is focused on his makeshift vocal abilities and not enough has been done to play on his strengths.
Here’s a dose of realness. There are loads of semi-capable vocalists in the music industry. Not everybody’s gonna have a five octave range nor is it necessary for every singer to. The key is finding the right songs and highlighting the best of your natural vocal abilities.
Johnny is consistently caught with pitch problems and appearing to be biting off more than he can chew. Guy, with his background as a singing teacher, seem to approach every song assignment with the value of how it can further push Johnny. This doesn’t always make for an on-point performance. It’s time to quit practicing and start putting on a show with what you’ve got.
Watch Johnny Ruffo‘s rather pedestrian performance of David Guetta/Usher‘s ‘Without You’:
3) Three Wishez: two dance classics and one hit performance.
And you thought Three Wishez would force feed us some David Guetta, Pitbull and LMFAO tripe this week. I mean, it would be the expected and most fitting choice given their artistic style – but no, Ronan had them pull out two retro hits from the vault and it was kitschsticks, baby.
Check out Three Wishez turn out Chaka Khan‘s ‘I Feel For You’/ Salt N Pepa‘s ‘Push It’:
4) Andrew Wishart: bulletproof and apparently with nothing to lose.
I wish I could say I made this up but all week, I’ve been fantasising about Andrew Wishart singing ‘Titanium’ for dance music week. [Editor’s note: “all week, I’ve been fantasising about Andrew Wishart” – this could’ve been a great story].
The grey old bear had me cringing and fist pumping in the space of two minutes. It just dawned on me how impossible it is to pull off a song made famous by a vocalist as distinct as Sia. Apart from the borrowed drum spectacle seen merely a few days ago on Craig Colton’s UK X Factor performance, Andrew‘s rendition of ‘Titanium’ really felt quite original for a dance song.
Watch Andrew rip through a patchy cover of David Guetta/Sia‘s ‘Titanium’:
This week’s Power Bottom Two: Christina Parie and Reece Mastin.
Y’know, for a largely uninspiring series incapable of rousing any real excitement during the live performances – X Factor Australia sure knows how to cause a stir with their elimination crunches.
Wigs were left spinning on heads this week when two of the competition’s young, A-grade performers were rendered with the lowest public votes. It’s the third hope-shattering verdict we’ve had to deal with after losing talents like Audio Vixen and Young Men’s Society. As you can see, this singing competition is not always about the voice.
Dance music week posed an interesting road block for our teen rockers – Christina Parie and Reece Mastin – but they both prevailed with the same feisty stage energy they’re known for with two extremely well-known songs. It wasn’t a series highlight for either of them but at least, they have a back catalogue of strong performances to fall back on. Australia knows that they’re consistent performers.
Nothing can quite justify the shock of seeing these two in the bottom, especially when I thought they were Top 3 material from the beginning. Christina Parie and Reece Mastin could well tour together and earn commercial success like Jessica Mauboy and Stan Walker. There is very much a place for these two in the Aussie pop market – and fingers crossed, they’ll both be snapped up by a major label to be developed into proper recording stars.
Having said that, in the confines of the competition, I can understand why all three judges voted to expel Christina over Reece. The guy has literally never given a bad performance in this competition. Sure, his hard rock edge and one-dimensional performance style is not terribly exciting to watch most of the time – but you can’t fault someone with a consistent track record like that. Not on a series like this where every other performer struggles to stay on point.
Christina Parie – on the other hand – really feels exhausted. As a performer and personality on the show, she started off with such great potential but under Mel B‘s guidance – the sparkle appears to have dulled to a mere glimmer after a string of sub-par performances. Australia had a rock chick in Sally Chatfield all the way to the finals last year – shit all has come out of that.
Perhaps in a world that has evidently moved on from the likes of Avril Lavigne and The Veronicas, this brand of spunky girl rock’s not as workable as it was any more?
It would’ve been great to have seen Christina expand on the show and taste-test different styles, just to see if she’s more than a one-trick pony. The girl served a genuine highlight when she stripped it back with an acoustic cover of ‘Zombie’ – that should’ve been Mel B‘s clue to take more risks with this child.
The thrill is gone with Christina Parie, sadly sooner than it should have.