Monday, December 15, 2008

The loneliness of an X-factor winner - or - Hallelujah! X-factor is over?

I wasn’t too sure which post title to use! The early rounds of X-Factor bore me. The ritual humiliation of people who should be able to assess their own singing talent better is a sad spectacle. The whooping and crying gets tedious as the venue and accents change, but all the rest stays the same.

Even the live show gets to me. In the first few weeks of the live show, time is tight in the running order, and contenders only get to sing for a couple of minutes. The comments from the judges take longer than the songs.

So I’ve tended to ignore the main show and just fast forward through the live show, stopping to hear the snippets of the songs, and listen to the sing-offs. Even on Saturday, bedtime stories took priority over the final.

But watching the results show from half nine on Saturday, there was a moment that caught my attention near the end.

“The winner is ... pause ... pregnant pause ... pause delivered ... pause grows up and starts school ... Alexandra”

Surrounded by the presenter Dermot, camera, judges, other contestants. Alexandra Burke was an emotional wreck, in shock, unable to control her breathing to converse.

Video capture by Harvey Dogson/Flickr from X-factor final 2008

And then seconds later, everyone walked away, leaving her standing alone in the centre of the huge stage, expected to perform the emotionally-charged Hallelujah song. There was wide shot, showing a miniture Alexandra standing in a sea of flat stage and lighting.

Shock, euphoria, and then complete and utter loneliness.

What must go through the winner’s mid as they stand solitary waiting for the backing music to start and hoping that the adrenaline will kick in? How long do those moments feel? How awful is that part of the winning experience?

A final thought or two about the lad from Dungiven. As a sixteen year old, he’s represented himself, his family and Northern Ireland well. But is there any chance that the media can now leave him alone? I don’t want to know if he’s love struck, if he’s kissed Diana, or if he’s forlorn and rejected. He’s sixteen. She’s seventeen. I know he’s put himself out there in the media, but that doesn’t mean that they have to invasively report his every sixteen-year-old breath.

For anyone feeling hard done by that the boy from Dungiven lost out by coming third on Saturday night, Lisa over at local Unreality TV blog brings the news that Eoghan Quigg topped the phone poll on six out of the ten live shows.

And I wish we could see his rehearsal performance of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah! to hear and see what kind of arrangement they’d dreamt up for him. Given that his voice isn’t as strong as someone like Alexandra, it might have been a lot less power-ballad and closer to the original?

(Video capture from Harvey Dogson’s Flickr stream)

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