X Factor Australia: Live Shows Week Eight

Do you like the below amazing compilation of serious game faces, y’guys? I am now accepting congratulatory pats on the back. It’s been two whole months of hit and miss live shows in Australia and I think we’ve seen enough to know whose careers we’ll be following from here on out.

This was not the final five I picked back in September but I am glad the ones I had initially overlooked got to stay and prove themselves a little. Don’t get it twisted, I’m no Andrew Wishart and Declan Sykes apologiser. But the least I can do is give snaps where snaps are due for the times they’ve unexpectedly come through with the goods.

None of the final five that remain have enjoyed a flawless track record. We’ve got the predominantly consistent performers – Reece Mastin and Papa Andrew Wishart – and then the dubious ones like Johnny Ruffo and Declan Sykes who have both given us some of the best and worst performances in the series.

I think what people don’t get about the X Factor is that, although it’s a singing competition, it is still just a bloody TV show. Y’all need to remember that it’s just family entertainment and these contestants are like reality TV characters. The beauty with reality TV characters is that often the ones that succeed don’t necessarily have to be the most beautiful, talented or creative. They just have to be addictive and/or endearing. Now take a step back and review the current final five and tell me what you see.

Johnny Ruffo plays the classic underdog – as a young labourer who’s never had any singing or dance lessons, he’s actually not doing too shit a job entertaining millions on live TV. Over the weeks, we’ve seen the pungent cockiness of his first audition wear off to reveal an incredibly resilient young man who keeps fighting back week after week to elevate himself. Now, that’s a good story.

Most suburban, middle-aged viewers can relate to Andrew Wishart. Apart from being an undeniably powerhouse vocalist, the man’s also witty, likeable and just all around endearing to watch. I don’t see papa as a “hit singles” artist chasing paper with the rest of them, but that’s not to say that he can’t sustain a future in the music industry. Andrew – being a talent show darling – could potentially develop a hard core stan base like Guy Sebastian and Altiyan Childs. That in itself should be enough to keep him gigging for a few years to bring home bacon.

Reece Mastin is another kick arse vocalist in the top five but unlike Andrew, the kid is dead pan as a TV personality. He’s got no heartwarming life story and no real spark to his character other than the spirit you see come alive when he’s on stage. The Reece factor is simple: youth, cracking vocals, and them cute dimples.

Three Wishez would actually fare better outside the X Factor. I feel like Ronan’s starting to fuck with their vibe and muddle them with daggy song choices. You hear them constantly name checking “Three Wishez” in their live performances but the question is, after two months of fronting does anyone actually know who Three Wishez are as artists? I can’t wait for them to be free to construct their own material with fitting vocal parts, rather than flap about week after week covering songs that weren’t made for their unique mixed group rap/sung flavour.

Here is the real tea on the best and worst moments of this week’s X Factor Australia:

1) Johnny Ruffo: enter me.

To answer your question last week Nat Bass, this is why Guy Sebastian put Johnny Ruffo through to the live shows. This is a moment of utter vindication for Johnny Ruffo – he’s never sounded more original and more vocally in control. Even when he’s had winning contemporary R&B performances, it never felt like he was owning it because of all the immediate comparisons to present pop acts like Jason DeRulo and Usher.

Guy Sebastian is finally switching off tutorial mode with Johnny and he’s going hard now, playing to the lad’s strengths. The cover of Stevie Wonder‘s funky as fuck ‘Sir Duke’ was just what the doctor ordered. Although, I could’ve done without the faux Janelle Monae back up dancers.

2) Judging the judges.

I am singling out RoRo for this week’s screen cap but really, the dumbfuckery is not limited to the verdicts he’s given. Forget the whiney contestants. Our X Factor judges are the most annoying people on the show. Obnoxious, thoroughly inconsistent with their feedback and painfully incapable of spitting out coherent, constructive criticism – this just grates week on and out.

Watch the panel erupt into five minutes of frenzied shit after Reece Mastin‘s out-of-character cover of ‘All By Myself. Bitch, stop acting like it’s the apocalypse. It’s not the end of the world.

3) Andrew Wishart:

This performance was another rock awakening of Andrew Wishart. Y’all know it’s the furthest thing from what I would voluntarily listen to but there’s no denying that the man is capable of doing dutiful U2 covers. Was it predictable and pub rock-ish? Yes, but isn’t this what most red-blooded Aussies want? If there was ever a market for Andrew Wishart music, regardless of whether he found fame Down Under or not, it would be the Aussie soft rock market.

Watch the old timer’s cover of ‘Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For’:

This week’s Power Bottom Two: Declan Sykes and Three Wishez.

For the first time since week one‘s cull, the Power Bottom Two acts came as predicted. I am mildly relieved but at this stage of the game, nothing shocks me any more. Nat Bass could be going home and I ain’t even bovvered.

Declan Sykes should’ve been dropped off at so many stops before but I actually feel like he came into his own in this last three performances. The indie/alt teen was billed as the token quirky contestant of the series, even though nothing he’s offering is really out of the ordinary for people with a general enough understanding of the alternative music scene. The only people who would find Declan to be wildly original and quirky are probably Kyle and Jackie O listeners.

I feel like, because Declan‘s prone to showing a more vulnerable side in his performances, I need to protect him a little. There’s something very endearing about a near-albino, awkward teen being earnest on stage. Unlike his stablemates Reece and Johnny, this kid’s not all about the extroverted show stopping wails or dance moves. He’s done exceedingly well to have made Top 5 on a prime time show watched and voted by Top 40-mongering teeny boppers.

When Declan was pit against Three Wishez in the final sing-off, it was a clear cut decision from the three judges to vote in favour of the one most likely to turn out hits everywhere. Sophia and The Wishez have a realistic chance of making something relevant and current for today’s Aussie pop market that only allows for a certain style pop groups to succeed. You’ve seen the formula of the Black Eyed Peas, LMFAO and to an extent, The Potbelleez. You know Sophia and The Wishez could follow suit if they get the proper material.



    • Haha, oh honey. Nothing new to report there. She’s still rolling her eyes every time Guy Sebastian waffles on for five minutes at a time!

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