X-Factor: The Final, ITV1

by | Dec 16, 2006 | All, Reviews

Did we like it?

All we can say is well done that we had to wrack our brains, not to mention our soaring hearts, to plump for one or the other. That is a testament to how fabulous and perfectly both Leona and Ray sang and performed. And all we can say is well done to Simon, Louis and Sharon – hilarious heroes one and all!

What was good about it?

• All we can say Kate Thornton take a bow! As you said, Kate: “Ray or Leona will win the £1m recording contract and a shot at the Christmas number one!” and “Ladies and gentlemen – it’s Ray!” And just these simple phrases perfectly summed up the mood around the nation.

• The crazy crowds in Liverpool and East London. All we can say is Liverpool was especially mad for it with the gallant Jeff Brazier surrounded by a bunch of teenagers who were buzzing more than a colony of bees. While in East London, it looked like Santa had made an early pass overhead with some crazy biscuits as there was rampant chaos and disorder with Myleene Klass failing to cope in the middle.

• Simon even quoted Ant and Dec. “Let’s get ready to rumble! It’s Ray!” All we can say is what a perfect way to kick off proceedings.

• Of the two candidates, Ray made the stronger start with the classic My Way. Close your eyes and it was possible to imagine little old Ray throwing shapes with a gauche insouciance of Ol’ Blue Eyes himself. The perfect start to the show.

• Little Ray was bursting with excitement at the whole show, and all he could say was: “No words can describe how I feel about people out there voting for me.” At times he looked so cute and innocent he looked like he’d just stepped out of a nunnery so we dubbed him Sister Ray. And it’s stuck.

• The way lovely Leona’s face summed up in one smile the perfect joy at realising every teenager’s dream. All we can say is, enjoy your success Leona you deserve it.

• The judges almost stole the show with their antics as they watched the precocious talents performing. Sharon was the funniest, sometimes when she applauds it looks as though she’s lost control of all her bodily functions, while laugh-a-minute Louis provided one of the most unusual sights as his applause with the silhouette of his arching arms looked like a shadow play of a huge beetle chomping down with its oversized mandibles.

• The rejects’ cover of Michael Jackson’s Earth Song was a perfect tonic to ease the tension of the main contest. One of our favourite talent show Titanics was there, the heavy-browed woman who shuffles from foot to foot, and all we can say is that she and the rest of the rubbish ones made it an enjoyable atrocity. Exhibitions featuring the elephant man and bearded women contained fewer freaks than this.

• The idea of getting Ray and Leona to perform with the top pop acts of the day was a masterstroke of perfection. And all we can say is that we had one billion goose bumps standing to attention all over our body when Westlife walked in line down to the stage to join Ray.

• What can we say about Take That! All we can say is that it was a privilege to watch true masters of the pop perfection – Gary, Howard, Mark and Jason are glittering facets of the pop Star of Africa each one shining with redoubtable, unique charisma and star quality – to which Leona, when she sang with them on A Million Love Songs was a welcome addition.

• Leona’s version of I Will Always Love You. Wow! All we can say is that Whitney and Dolly enjoy the shade while this astounding young lady takes centre stage with her perfect voice. And for her version of A Moment In Time, Simon came up with one of his moments of genius insight when he correctly predicted: “That final note could have won the X-Factor.” Wise words, mate. That note lasted so long, arcing and soaring just inside the line of perfect beauty you thought something must break in the studio before it would come to an end, and we were a little surprised it didn’t even shatter the judges’ drinking glasses.

• Gary Barlow also offered advice to Leona, as well as Simon and the other ones who will be in charge of her career. “Don’t waste her talent,” Gaz warned, almost as a threat to kill if it should be thrown away. He wrote the book about how to make it as a pop star and exercise one in the book is How To Make Sure You Make The Most Of What You’ve Got, and Leona has it in spades.

• And with a vocal talent like hers that’s so prodigious you almost feel God is taking you by the hand and leading you to heaven, her career won’t last just the twenty-four hours it took for her CD to hit the street, it won’t last just decades like so many of her heroines like Mariah and probably Christina – her voice is an eternal, perfect gift.

• We’re so glad that Ray took his ‘defeat’ with dignity, like a man. We’re sometimes a little disturbed that finalists in reality shows are pitted against one another sometimes as enemies. Yes, it is a means to an end to generate excitement, but the X-Factor managed to get the balance about right – competitive but fair. All we can say is that Ray may have lost, but Simon will just put him in incubation ready to unleash on the British public at a later date.

• For all the detractors who say it produces flash-in-the-pan pop stars for a disposable market, we think the X-Factor is still the coolest, hippest gunslinger in town. All we can say is that it’s still far too quick on the draw for the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing or any show that panders to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s efforts to stage the Sound of Music.

What was bad about it?

• On the one occasion on which Simon had the two finalists, the producers persisted with using that grumpy-chops photo of him when telling the British public who to vote for. All we can say is, for this unique transmission of climatic, festive euphoria couldn’t they have changed it so he looked a bit more cheerful?

• Apparently some viewers with Telewest cable missed out on most of the final. The perfect way to ruin the one perfect night of the TV year. All we can say is we hope it was fixed for the repeats.

• We think it’s kudos for the judges, and the voting public, for definitely, definitely picking the perfect finalists. We think it’s fair to say we remember nothing about some of the other finalists, who already seem to have been cast out into the wilderness of manufactured pop alongside Lisa Scott-Lee and Liberty X.

• And we didn’t get to see Simon’s furious stare when the MacDonald Brothers popped up again. We bet it was so frozen with rage it was colder than the last ice age.

• Taken in isolation, Ray’s performances were probably the equal of Leona’s. However, the drawback was that while Leona was belting out perfect power ballads with all her heart and soul, Ray’s swing numbers seemed to lack a little poppy atmosphere. All we can say is that this was the only mistake Ray made, and as this new dawn fades for his pop career we can still see him making one big splash in the swing market.

Luke Knowles

Luke Knowles

16/12/2006

Editor of the website and host of the podcast. A general TV obsessive. I've been running the site since 2008 and you can usually find me in front of the TV. My Favourite show of all time is Breaking Bad with Cracker coming a close second. I feel so passionately that television can change the world and I'm doing my little bit by running this site. You're Welcome!

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