Thursday, October 13, 2011

Destiny's Child

Q: What do Amelia Lily and the other contestants summarily dumped from The X Factor last Sunday have in common? A: Absolutely sod all. (Heck, I'm not gonna even mention their names in the same blog post.) And I honestly trust that music industry execs recognise that.

According to news reports in the aftermath of the show, Amelia herself has described the 'surprise twist' as unfair (true and then some) but doesn't hold any grudge against her mentor, judge Kelly Rowland (gracious and yet more evidence of this talented young girl's maturity).

My own take? Well, for what it's worth, I felt that soul sister Kelly didn't have too big a clue as to what to do with a talented 'rock-chick' like Amelia, hence the unnecessary re-branding with the pink hair and giving her a rocked-up version of a Jacko song to perform on Saturday's live show. For my money, a poor choice of song, for all that Amelia then went on and aced it in spite of the 'unsuitability' factor. Seriously seriously good and if she hadn't been announced as a contestant, you couldn't have told her from some of the professional guest acts they have on the Sunday results shows. Come to that, she was *better* than a lot of the guest stars.

But that's part of the problem with The X Factor, in any case, isn't it? This week-by-week urge to hammer contestants into roles and songs where they don't fit. Fact is, there was no need to mould Amelia Lily. She struck me as an original from the get-go, a genuine talent.

At her audition, judge Tulisa was bowled over and told the (about to turn seventeen, then sixteen-year-old) girl, there were people in the business who'd been at their trade for years and still weren't at the level she, Amelia, had reached. (Never mind that in Saturday's show, Tulisa then attested that she hadn't really seen Amelia as a contender until her opening performance - er, a little less hippo in your crit there, Tulisa.) Also, back at the audition stage, Kelly and Gary were appropriately awed and Louis was heard to declare "A star is born." Well, yes and no. This star was born sixteen years previously - a real natural, gifted and so mature for her age - and was only waiting to be discovered.

In retrospect, it's interesting that the producers chose to play Beyonce's Best Thing I Never Had as a soundtrack to the tail end of that audition segment. Not because she's been denied her X Factor opportunity, but rather that she is, in my opinion, the best thing the show has never had. I do still love lil Janet Devlin and her enchanting vocal style, but Amelia Lily was the competition. There are other kids in there who might be moulded into something, but there's nobody left in there who so obviously had everything the show is always allegedly looking for. I can't think that they've ever had anyone who was so obviously a ready-made star.

All I can say to Amelia is, you're free of the circus and you can go on and write your own material and totally be yourself. Of course, I'm only sorry I miss out on 10-12 more probably stunning performances, but you're clearly so much better than the talent-show level already. Watching and listening to the few videos Amelia has posted on YouTube (see just one example, above), that much is patently obvious and a poor webcam mic in the bedroom is completely inadequate to show off her vocal talent.

And I hope Kelly Rowland's sincere about her offers of support. Because now that the Destiny's Child singer has seen fit to send her star home, I think the least she could do is open a few studio doors for her. And on the plus side I hope this might mean we get an Amelia Lily debut album all the sooner.

This girl's destined for great things.


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