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This weeks X Factor theme was Club Classics. Possibly the most tenuous and useless theme for any contestant looking to forge a fruitful career after Christmas, but one of the most entertaining nonetheless. Marvel at the ‘urbane’ acts as they become more malleable than chewing gum! Chortle as Rylan does a mash-up so mashed-up it redefines ‘liquidation’! Cheer as Ella Henderson is hailed as ‘the new Adele’!

Fight For Your Life Award: Jahmene, ‘father was a bit of a bellend’

This week’s FFYL award goes to Jahmene, whose watery soft-jazz performance would surely have earned him criticism were it not for the worryingly convenient truths about his home life emerging in the press. This contestants juddering mouse-gasp of a vocal range might not hold up against Ella or Jade, but because we now know Jahmene’s dad battered his mum with a blowtorch *Benny Hill face * there’s a feeling that he HAS to win this competition not because of his talent, but to escape the clutches of his Dickensian family life.

‘You Remind Me Of A Young Bond Villain’ Of The Week: Louis Walsh

When people who aren’t very good dressers hire a stylist, the results can be downright sinister. As was the case with Louis ‘Evil Plan’ Walsh, whose turtleneck and suit combo made him look downright devious. Runner up: Nicole Shirtswinger, for her ‘is there a dagger concealed in my hair? I’ll never tell!’ ponytail.

Medical Malady Of The Week: Jade, ‘bad throat’

I had a nasty bout of tonsilitis during university. I’m quite sure it helped shape my degree into the ugly, tangled, vomiting mess that it ended up being. Worse than having to breathe through my eyelids and trying not to kiss people (harder than it sounds) was the lack of sympathy from people when I complained.

Thankfully Jade, AKA Familiar-Sande, has lots of sympathy thanks to an award-winning VT where an Actual Qualified Doctor shoved a camera down her throat to check her throat was swollen. “It’s definitely swollen,” he said confidently. Because her throat was fucked (maybe because she’s belting out power-ballids every fucking week?) she didn’t practice much, and communicated with Brian Friedman by writing on the new Samsung touch-pad iPad ripoff. I wonder if I could have done my dissertation on one of those.

Backhanded Insult Of The Week: Nicole, to Kye S(c)ones

The unfortunate distribution of consonants means Kye Sones has been cruelly denied a place in the diabetetics seventh circle of hell that is The Great British Bake-Off. Instead, the all-singing, all-pouting chimney sweep – the Topman to Matt Cardle’s Burton, perhaps – sang the song he did in his first audition atop a giant pile of metal. Deep. Nicole’s comment ‘that could have been Chris Martin singing up there’, while sincere, proved that the show can deal deadly blows from which contestants may never return. Reports that Sones dealt with the stinging remark by hiding up a chimney are as of yet unconfirmed.

The ‘That’s The Spirit’ Award for Lying Through Song: James Arthur

Buck-toothed James Arthur – who may or may not be referred to as Plan C – has an unusual stature. He has some good tattoos, but also some bad tattoos. He has Deirdre Barlow’s glasses, but plays the guitar. He also speaks with the clarity and eloquence of someone stripping bamboo leaves from a tree. So it was surprising, then, that he chose LMFAO’s ego-stuffed sonnet to wanking ones ego ‘Sexy And I Know It for his song, mainly because his backstory was that he lived under a bridge for a brief period as a homeless heroin addict. That’s the spirit, James, but if you sing ‘I’m in my speedo trying to tan my cheeks’ again I’m going to pretend to have a heart attack backstage so a paramedic can get me the fuck out of here.

Empathetic Judge Of The Week: Tulisa Constantlyfuckingmeoff

Tulisa’s remark that her favourite thing about James Arthur was the pain in his voice, forgetting, like everyone else, that most that pain comes from his stint as a heroin-riddled bridge-dweller and his health is probably in serious decline. Stop taking him to Mahiki! He cannot handle the nutrient-rich cocktails 😦

‘Tenuous Link To The Theme’ Award: Lucy Spraggan

Sporter-of-hats Lucy ‘Spraggo’ Spraggan decided to take a David Guetta song and sing her own verses over the top this week, earning praise for being clever, creative, amazing and oh fuck can we just get rid of her please. There are several problems with Spraggo, chiefly that she is on the X Factor but doesn’t want to do things the X Factor way and trolleys out her own ‘stories’ about people with the odd Northern phrase thrown in so people can mawk on about how fucking authentic she is. Hey record labels! Leave her alone, she’s doing her own thing, she’s keeping it real, she’s wearing leather fucking trousers, I mean really. Anyway she could have sang Titanium fine enough as it is without her twee-to-the-tits ballad about someone finding a coin at the laundrette being crowbarred in like an unwanted uncle at a wedding.

Word-Pedant Award For Incorrect Context: Judges, ‘storyteller’

All the judges agreed Lucy’s strength is her ‘stories’, heaping praise for her ‘storytelling’ while Rylan spent his time wearing four fifths of a white two-piece suit gyrating his prosthetic bottom in Louis’ general direction. Guys, storytelling has already lost all meaning after Spraggo’s ‘sincere’ performance.

The Marcus Collins Award For Inevtiable Rush-Release Of An Album: Jahmene

While Jahmene will not win, because he is not Ella, James or Jade, he will do well enough to release an album of buttery-soft jazz music that may or may not include an Eliza Doolittle cover that will be on the shelves of ASDA before Dermot has changed out of his X Factor Finals tuxedo.

NEXT WEEK: maybe some images, with clever captions.

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The original Sugababes are making an album! This is amazing if you think corporate pop can go fuck itself. This is real music, written by the founding members of what has effectively become more of an engorged club than a band. How amazing.

 

HOWEVER let’s be honest, if MNEK and Emeli Sande and those other acclaimed people were making music for the current crop of ‘Babes it would be just as exciting. In 2008 when it was announced the band signed to Roc Nation there was this whole thing about how amazing it was that the Sugababes were finally going to crack America. With the right producers and stuff they’d manage to become a global phenomenon. They didn’t, as it happens. And in retrospect, songs like ‘Get Sexy’ (‘If I had a dime, for every single time, these boys stopped and stared, I’d be a billionaire!!’ stand out as particularly oppressive and sad) felt like a step in the wrong direction.

 

Anyway the nostalgia surrounding what the original members did is astonishing. Because commercially the band weren’t a huge  success until Heidi stepped in in 2001/2. Of course, that’s not to say the band’s first album wasn’t amazing, it was. Overload was incredibly clever and brilliantly bolshy without seemingly lifting a finger, while Soul Sound and New Year was alright I suppose. Yea, they were OK.

Going back to Heidi for a moment, she has been in the band as long as Keisha, if we’re being statistical. And anyway, I was only 9 when the original lineup were being all brilliant, so if there’s any misguided opinion here, and you feel like posting a letterbomb, remember that I was 9, and when I was 9 SMTV: Live started showing Pokemon, and that was kind of a big deal, so I was a bit busy to be getting moist over the Sugababes, OK? Heidi is a good member, both in the fact she had a nice voice, and the majority of the songs she’s worked on have been good.

 

There can’t be any doubt the Sugababes Mach II – that’s Mutya Keisha and Heidi – was actually kind of amazing. Freak Like Me, Round Round, Stronger (ehh) but also Too Lost In You and Caught In A Moment. It was an amazing time to be in a girl band because you were honest and innocent and didn’t have to compromise your sexuality because most the time you got to wear Adidas in some form (or, see Mutya’s schexy puffa jacket in Too Lost In You).

 

People are yearning for the original line-up more as an act against the current, regurgitated, recycled, redundant crop than anything else. Heidi, Amelle and Jade haven’t done anything exciting. Their music isn’t particularly interesting; it sounds inspired by 2007’s Timbaland craze and considering the band were originally quite open, honest and un-sexual it’s a shame the brand has gone on to re-record ‘Here Come The Girls (Girls, Girls, Girls Girls)’ and a song which talks about wearing your kiss all over your body with the defeated spirit and lacklustre confidence one may find synonymous with sporting an STI (all over your body).

The appeal in the new line-up might come from two things. One, a hark back to older, less sexually aggressive ways. And another that the artists working with the OrigiBabes are trendy, forward-thinking and less perverse than previous writers. MNEK is all about the MUSIC, man. He wears geek specs. He’s YOUNG. Young people aren’t perverse save for Tinchy Stryder, who recently rapped about Holly Willoughby running him a bath. Which is a bit weird, and childish, and weird again. You get off on someone mothering you? .

 

Also  quiff-bearing Emeli Sande is not pandering to overly-sexual things, which is really awesome for the original redone Sugababes. She’s a real wimmin. I know this because I saw her perform at a Samsung gig and she wore comfy clothes instead of a crop top and stilettos. Sensible, sensible Emeli. She will guide the new-but-original-Sugababes wisely.


This is MNEK. TAKE HIM IN. He is 17, and a song writer/producerman.

What is appealing is what these new producers and thinkers bring to a brand that has grown weary with intense over-thinking and deflating opinions on female sexuality. GONE are the belly rings and suggestive dancing. REVOKED are the flirty glances and applying-lipstick-in-the-car pouting. REVIVED are the sitting on shag carpets, thinking about bigger issues and writing in diaries.

 

So basically, the new old redone Sugababes are exiting because they’re working with fresh talent and amazing song writers. This could, in theory, make the current line-up of the Sugababes exciting, too, because they’ve proven to be as malleable as a jacket potato left under a radiator. HOWEVER part of the huge appeal of this reform is of a band of rejects being reassembled into a new, but familiar, pop outfit. Like The Avengers, if the metaphor wasn’t clear enough. They are cool. Comparatively, the current crop, despite being able to hold a tune, were all brought in at some point at the behest of producers to ‘spruce things up’. Heidi was an Atomic Kitten, Jade was a Eurovision ‘star’ and Amelle ran a successful crime syndicate in Wood Green.


It will be very exciting to see the new, old, redone ‘babes release music because despite the fact people are gooey-eyed and stuff about the Sugababes, unless they’re way older than me they’ll probably have the longest, most stable memories of a band that had already chucked Siobhan out for being a bit mental. Listen to Overlord. Listen to Siobhan singing. It sounds weird, although not bad.

 

So yea. Apparently they sound amazing. But think about THIS. Someone has to have a strop or a fall our or quit eventually. It is probably going to be Mutya, if you’d like my unpaid opinion.

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