THE X-FACTOR UK - SO WHERE IS THE X??
I know reality shows are to present "entertainment" at any cost but surely, the best, most original artist must win?, I'm afraid not. Here are my perceptions and opinions about certain non-winners.
Curiously, I watched this new show from series 1 in 2004, the two most talented singers Tabby Callaghan (real name Trevor John O'Callaghan) and Cassie Compton. I was so impressed by these two I actually picked up the phone and voted for them both (mistakenly thinking it would help!). As with the "puppetry" of Simon Cowell that I loathe Tabby was advised by producers to drop the "O" in his name to become less Irish and more commercial and to drop his Rock band. Reluctantly he went solo and came third but his "Rock" roots were almost destroyed. He has since returned the "O" in his name and took to guitar session work and producing after being disillusioned with the music business for a while. Tabby was a proper guitar rocker and definitely had the "X".
Cassie Compton was 17 at the time and the youngest contestant, she had such a powerful voice and I thought could be the next Charlotte Church. Ironically, Simon Cowell thought she was "too West End" to be a star. Well she did, she has since appeared in Dirty Dancing, Les Miserables and Wicked musicals in the West End! As with other non-winners I don't think Mr Cowell could puppeteer enough from her to make himself money. Steve Brookstein won this year, and I believe he's singing in bars now!
Although disillusioned with the first series I gave the second series a look. Shayne Ward won this year, and personally I thought he was dreadful, he was only voted for his good looks from little girls possibly. Only one contestant stood out for me and that was Maria Lawson. A pretty Londoner with a big voice and was one of the favourites to win. Typically, she was voted off and finished in 8th place. Thankfully, this didn't stop her and since the controversial rejection the singer-songwriter has released her own albums, been a model for lingerie companies Brastop and Bravissimo, sung backing vocals for Kelly Clarkson and Anita Baker, and had a lead role in Thriller-The Musical.
Ruth Lorenzo was your typical Spanish senorita, stunning but with a voice to match. I remember her final performance of Prince's "Purple Rain" and it was one of the best covers I'd heard as I'm a big fan of the man and usually very critical of his work!. Ruth was down to earth and came 5th in this series. She has since released singles in Spain and sung for her native country in 2014's Eurovision Song Contest with "Dancing in the Rain". Her debut album "Planeta Azul" will be released soon.
Stacey Solomon was the stunning Essex girl who won everyone's hearts with the mad style and exuberance and hilarious laugh! The fact is she had an amazing voice and although seemed nervous beforehand just belted out the songs with effortless ease. She has since been a top TV personality winning the Queen of the Jungle title in the reality show I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here. She has also been the face of Iceland commercials and appeared in various shows such as Celebrity Mastermind gaining the lowest score in the competition and presented Sing If You Can with Keith Lemon. Always up for fun, the endearing lady is due to release her debut album soon.
Lucie Bethan Jones was a lovely Welsh student from Cardiff. She had vocal training from Charlotte Church's mentor Louise Ryan and was a popular favourite on this year's series. A great voice and cutesy Welsh drawl. More controversy in the show as she was voted off in favour of Jedward, which sparked a storm of protests by viewers but Ofcom refused to investigate. Lucie has since signed up with Select Model Management and has been the face of Wonderbra's Full Effects campaign. She has appeared on stage in the musical Les Miserables playing Cosette and also in an episode of children's fantasy series The Sarah Jane Adventures. An album was scheduled to be released in 2012 but no news as yet as has appeared in the new musical American Psycho and also We Will Rock You. She has released her own lingerie line called "Loved By Lucie". Again an artist who couldn't be a puppet for Cowell I guess.