Last night, for some reason which is still unbeknownst to me, I tuned in to Channel 7s’ hit reality television series, The X Factor. I repeat, I still, as I write this, have no idea what came over me.
But whatever it was, I’m kind of glad it did.
No, I’m exceptionally glad that I did.
Because I’ve finally come around to enjoying some of these shows for what they actually are.
Now don’t get me wrong, there were certain parts that really irked me. The fact that Mel B tried to steal the focus of the show for the majority of it’s overly long time slot. The fact that it feels as though the judges or mentors or whatever they are manage to pick songs for people that should never have been sung by them in the first place makes me cringe sometimes. And indeed, the fact that the public decide, more or less entirely, who wins makes me wonder whether or not the programme really cares about the truly talented performers amongst the group.
Whilst last night’s episode contained all of these things, it also displayed within it, a shimmering light, a real prospect for a change in the nature of this, previously, meaningless distraction. I say previously because it feels as though one performer I watched last night, had the ability, should she continue to perform the way she did, to change the scope and focus of this widely successful program.
Whilst I’m sure her mentor Natalie Basingthwaite would claim some credit for her production, young starlet Bella Ferraro has managed to peak my interest.
Her rendition of One Direction’s undeniable smash hit ‘What Makes You Beautiful’, last night was gorgeous. In every respect. I’m not sure how much involvement she had in its production, I’m hoping for both this prose’s sake and indeed her own benefit, it was considerable.
Whilst the theme was ‘Party Week’, bleck, Ferraro brought the party with her. She extended the notion of party to its fullest, the parties I attend tend to be filled with Radiohead, Animal Collective, Neutral Milk Hotel and, in all honesty, interesting covers of One Direction. Well. Occasionally.
As we rolled through the agonising performances from some out of their depth cowboys and adolescent males who hadn’t quite hit puberty (you could tell, because they were happy singing a Jonas Brothers song whilst bouncing around), it was refreshing to hear someone hit all the notes of a given track AND make it an interesting listen.
Admittedly I was completely unawares of her existence, indeed alongside the rest of the cast of The X Factor, prior to last night so I’ve had to do my research here. For the large part the rest of the show are filling their roles nicely, as pop singers. Well, what more can you expect. I guess the new guy, who did his first performance last night, and his swing routine is the only other act worth really noting.
I’m really backing Ferraro and her Bon Iver covering repertoire to take this out. It feels as though if she wins the whole show may be in for an ‘indie-fication’. That is to say, the focus may shift from shameless, manufactured pop into a sphere of music that speaks for the individual performers, not for the world.
By the way Mel B, don’t even try and convince anyone that the Spice Girls weren’t manufactured. A group of five women don’t just assign themselves stereotypes.
Of course, if she doesn’t win, I still hope we see something come from her. She’s only young, 17 or 18 I believe, then again so am I and no doubt so are you reading this. Well. Maybe.
There are of course other tales of success to be brought to mainstream attention, thanks to similar programmes. Matt Corby is the obvious retaliation. The charting sensation came in as the runner up in Australian Idol many moons ago. Throughout the competition, he didn’t give in all too much to the, for lack of a better term, mainstream popular culture.
Not all that unlike dear Bella.
Irrespective, I’ve got to extend sincere thanks and applaud Bella for her, not only thought provoking, but wonderful performances. You may be able to change my perception of this show yet.
Thank you, Bella, for allowing me the opportunity to change my previously stigmatised disposition regarding this franchise, which has so much potential.
If anyone from the X Factor, for some reason, reads this. Look after this girl. It’s clear to me, even from the limited performances I’ve seen, that she has talent. Don’t constrict her into a manufactured sense of pop music, but give her the assistance she needs to make it further, god knows she deserves it.
I might even watch another episode at some point.