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Happy Chinese New Year!

Happy Chinese New Year

Less than 30 days after the passing of Etta James, one of the greatest vocalists of all time, Whitney Houston, suddenly passed away as well. She was one of the biggest-selling female artists of all time and had tremendous success throughout most of her career, and despite her troubles, still left a legacy behind her. Whitney‘s rich, smooth and soulful voice was what made her standout star and her practically impeccable technique was unparalleled during her peak and she inspired a legion of many other singers who came after her. Here is a list of top 10 favourite Whitney Houston songs (singles):

10) Queen Of The Night

9) Million Dollar Bill

8) I Have Nothing

7) So Emotional

6) I Will Always Love You

5) When You Believe (with Mariah Carey)

4) Run To You

3) I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)

2) One Moment In Time

1) How Will I Know

Last month we lost of the music industry’s most iconic and influential singers of all time, Etta James. She was traditionally a church, jazz and blues singer but she mixed those roots with funky, soulful, rock’n’roll sounds and was considered a sharp-tongued, bad girl in her time. Etta had a very distinctively deep, raw and raspy, gritty, growly tone to her voice but could also keep it smooth and sultry when she wanted to. Here are my top 10 favourite Etta James songs:

10) Security

9) Tough Lover

8) A Sunday Kind Of Love

7) Tell Mama

6) Pay Back

5) I Prefer You

4) I’d Rather Go Blind

3) Something’s Got A Hold On Me

2) I Just Wanna Make Love To You

1) Tighten Up Your Own Thing

Wow, so we are finally at the end of 2011 – a year that has been… well, like every other year really, with its ups and its downs, which I won’t go into… So this is just going to be a quick look back at my life throughout the last year month-by-month – complete with some of favourite pictures so I don’t have to write one big, long essay! But in short I completed my four year degree at the Univeristy of Manchester and graduated, but lazed around for most of the summer, then decided I’d return to Manchester again to do a Masters degree at the University of Salford, and now here we are back in December at the end of another year! Anyway, enough that boring crap, here are the piccies:
 
January

Spending New Year's in London! This was technically 31st December 2010, but oh well...

 February

I think this was actually March, but nevermind, because I can't find any from February...

 March

My glasses are actually brown, not red by the way!

 April

Yes, it was actually sunny in April!

 May

Aww, I loved my hair like this...

June

My friend's wedding! JulyWoohoo, graduation!

 August

When the extended family came to visit...

 September

Celebrating daddy's 60th birthday with family and some "randomers"...

 October

OMG... Halloween as a corpse groom was so much fun!

 November

This is actually from December, but I don't have any pictures from November, so this'll do...

 December

Christmas times with friends!

Stay tuned for the next and final blog post of this year (or first of next year) which is coming soon… My “Best/Favourites of 2011”.

Ok, so next week is finally the final of this year’s turbulent series of “The X Factor” and with just four contestants left and only three places available, this is undoubtedly the tightest part of the competition… One tiny slip-up, be it bad vocals or wrong song, and it could cost one of these acts big time! With the majority of the rubbish contestants having left, it is probably the best four out of the original sixteen who remain to fight it out… This week’s theme was “Motown” (although for Marcus, it’s just a normal week) so each contestant could show us the soulful side of themselves, while for the second song they were meant to pick a song they feel could take them through to the final. So did any of them make a mistake and do something that might inevitably prevent them from being in next week’s final? You bet!

Misha B

Misha looking like a young Diana Ross perhaps? And wearing a dress made of... broken records?!

The majority of contestants in previous shows and series who have performed first have always been in trouble of having a higher chance of leaving the competition that week, but hopefully that will not happen to Misha this week. Although it was a bit disappointing that she didn’t do similar performances to that of her first audience where she sang “Respect” and also “Survivor” in boot camp, she still did well. I wasn’t too crazy about her first song choice but doing a cover of P!nk‘s “Perfect” for her second song was a good decision.

First song – Vocals: 4/5

First song – Performance: 4/5

Second song – Vocals: 5/5

Second song – Performance: 3/5

Overall: 16/20

Amelia Lily

Did Petula Clark invent a time machine? Oh no, it's Amelia.

In her first audition, Amelia sang “Piece Of My Heart” and pulled it off pretty well, and so could have done a similar kind of thing this week, but instead went for a rather bland, karaoke-ish performance of “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” which was not so great to be honest… Not good enough for a semi-final, in my opinion! She did however, up her game by singing Avril Lavigne‘s “I’m With You” for her second song, proving she’s quite the rock chick everyone seems to be branding her.

First song – Vocals: 3/5

First song – Performance: 3/5

Second song – Vocals: 4/5

Second song – Performance: 4/5

Overall: 14/20

Little Mix

Little Mix seem to have completely used up their wacky wardrobe in recent weeks...

The girls are still pretty good but again, their performances and vocals seem to be yo-yo’ing up and down each week – one time they’re really, the next they’re not so great… Both of these performances overall were not bad, but not mind-blowingly amazing either. Their first song was a Supremes track, another one after they did a little from another last week, although the arrangement of it was a bit strange. They then did a Beyonce song, which was vocally better but not that exciting really!

First song – Vocals: 3/5

First song – Performance: 3/5

Second song – Vocals: 4/5

Second song – Performance: 3/5

Overall: 13/20

Marcus

Marcus singing about his "girl"? Something ain't right there! Who's he trying to fool?

In what was meant to be the perfect week for Marcus, where we could finally do something that would surprise us all (not!), he actually seemed to have out-Motowned himself, if that’s even possible… After about six or seven past consecutive weeks having performed Motown songs, it seems Marcus could not out-do himself and hence both of this week’s performances being pretty weak in comparison to his previous ones. His vocals are still good but his novelty is wearing thin – poor song choices (I mean, the title “My Girl” for the first one says it all really!) and rather karaoke-ish performances may mean he could be in danger this week…

First song – Vocals: 3/5

First song – Performance: 3/5

Second song – Vocals: 3/5

Second song – Performance: 3/5

Overall: 12/20

Who should go: It is a tough call, but based on overall performances, Marcus! Or maybe even Little Mix?

Who will go: If the public agree with the majority of the judges’ comments, then Marcus. But then again, Misha has also not always been a favourite of the public it seems, unfortunately…

One week until the semi-final and two until the final of “The X Factor” and now is the time when contestants should not be fucking up! But then again, if none of them fucked up, it would be harder to think who should go and not go the finals stretch… This week, the finalists get to sing two songs each for the first time and the theme is “Guilty Pleasures” and “Heroes” – for the first, you would expect them all to sing really cheesy songs, but then again the definition of what song can be classed as a “guilty pleasure” is all down to opinion; and for the second half, the finalists get to try and emulate the artists they are most inspired by and look up to most! Oh, and sometimes whose style they try to copy most too…

So anyway, as usual, here are my ratings for each finalists, but this time for both their performances to give an overall rating out of 20:

Little Mix

Little Mix take it down a notch or two and attempt to sing "Beautiful".

For their first song, Little Mix did, well a little mix-up, of Justin Bieber‘s (*groan*) “Baby” and The Supremes. While the Bieber part was unsurprisingly cringe-worthy and definitely something one should be ashamed of liking, their attempt at The Supremes part was pretty good. For their second song, they attempted Christina Aguilera‘s “Beautiful” – always a risk – but while it wasn’t great vocally, they at least put a lot of emotion into it.

Song 1 – Voices: 3/5

Song 1 – Performance: 4/5

Song 2 -Voices: 3/5

Song 2 – Performance: 3/5

Overall: 13/20

Janet

Janet fucks up again... For the last time, hopefully!

Janet is really not faring well recently. In her first song, she was rather dire and forgot the lyrics once again, and looked quite uncomfortable performing it. For her version of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, it was not as bad as her first performance but definitely not great… She’s really finally got to go now, surely?!

Song 1 – Voice: 1/5

Song 1 – Performance: 2/5

Song 2 – Voice: 2/5

Song 2 – Performance: 1/5

Overall: 6/20

Misha B

Looks like Misha raided Little Mix's wardrobe!

Misha B was back on top, SLAYING form again this week for her first performance of Cyndi Lauper‘s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”, giving the 80’s look a funky twist and adding her own rap to it – something we’ve been waiting for her to do again for a while. She then sang “Killing Me Softly” and didn’t do a bad job – it was quite reminscent of her performance from last week.

Song 1 – Voice: 4/5

Song 1 – Performance: 5/5

Song 2 – Voice: 4/5

Song 2 – Performance: 2/5

Overall: 15/20

Marcus

Marcus sings yet another Stevie Wonder song...

As good as Marcus is, he still needs to realise that not every week is “Motown Week”. Although for the first performance he did a Wham classic and put on a good show, it was still quite karaoke-ish and does not live up to the original. For song number two, he shocked us all by doing something completely different and sang Stevie Wonder! Ok, that’s not a shock… Was not a bad performance overall but at least he did a ballad for once.

Song 1 – Voice: 3/5

Song 1 – Performance: 4/5

Song 2 – Voice: 3/5

Song 2 – Performance: 2/5

Overall: 12/20

Amelia Lily

Amelia sings her heart out.

Amelia nailed it with her first performance of T-Pau‘s “China In Your Hand” – although I noticed she had been taking pointers from Janet and didn’t wear shoes (or at least looked that way)…? Anyway, on her second song she took on Kelly Clarkson‘s “Since You’ve Been Gone” and while the vocal wasn’t amazing (it is a hard song to sing though), it definitely wasn’t bad either.

Song 1 – Voice: 4/5

Song 1 – Performance: 3/5

Song 2 – Voice: 3/5

Song 2 – Performance: 3/5

Overall: 13/20

Who should go: Definitely Janet!

Who will go: If all is right with the world, then Janet

So we are now down to just six contestants left on “The X Factor” and the competition is really getting quite tight. This week’s theme was “Songs From Films” so cue a number of songs from random soundtracks heard (or not heard, as the case might be) on obscure films that not many people have seen or heard of, plus a couple of more obvious ones. Once again, the same acts managed to do well – Misha B, Amelia, Little Mix and Marcus, but unfortunately Craig and Janet are really continuing to wear out their one-trick pony appeal. This week I’m gonna do a very quick summary of each this week’s performances for you:

Craig

Boring Craig.

Craig sings yet another woman’s song this week, this time from a Bond film and while his voice is not too bad, his performance was rather dull as usual.

Vocals: 3/5

Performance: 1/5

Overall: 4/10

Janet

Janet, the one-trick pony.

Janet managed to find another song that fits her unique voice quite well this week, but again it’s nothing exciting at all really to be honest.

Vocals: 3/5

Performance: 1/5

Overall: 4/10

Amelia

Amelia sings a song everyone on the planet except Tulisa has heard.

Amelia Lily took on the Aretha Franklin classic “Think” (a song that Tulisa has never heard of before… like, seriously?!) but slowed the tempo down ever so slightly, lowered the key to fit her voice and range and gave it a rocky edge… Not sure if it was that amazing given the twist she put on it but it was definitely pretty good!

Vocals: 4/5

Performance: 3/5

Overall: 7/10

Misha B

Misha does her best Whitney Houston impression while looking like J-Hud.

Although choosing a Whitney Houston was quite a big risk and also quite predictable, this was probably Misha‘s best vocal performance to date (if a little raw and not 100% perfect) and was good to see her stripped down and given a good song that could really show off what she is capable of. Still waiting for her to repeat the same kind of mind-blowing, unique performance she has pulled off a few times before though.

Vocals: 5/5

Performance: 3/5

Overall: 8/10

Little Mix

Little Mix get rid of the ugly clothes for once.

Little Mix moved away from doing poppy R&B and club-like songs with ridiculous clown outfits in previous weeks and gave a good attempt at pulling off a song by En Vogue, a girl group with some very tricky and tight harmonies, so kudos to them. And also for looking rather slick instead of wearing wacky pajamas.

Vocals: 4/5

Performance: 3/5

Overall: 7/10

Marcus

Marcus looking so not gay in a pink suit. Not.

Marcus is definitely good within the niche he has found himself in – old-school, Motown and soul songs, but now it is getting rather predictable! Good vocals and nice performance, but needs to change it up again really…

Vocals: 4/5

Peformance: 3/5

Overall: 7/10

Who should go: Craig or Janet please!

Who will go: Hard to call but here’s hoping the voters have gotten tired and bored of Craig and Janet now as well…

Another week of drama on “The X Factor” has flooded the nation’s media – and this time, attention has been zoomed in on Frankie Cokeupthenozza. The talentless, ugly dickhead has finally been booted off (or quit) the show after he had “broken a golden rule” – which was revealed to be taking drugs, as most had suspected. Now the hate for him as significantly increased (and rightly so in my opinion), as has the number of deluded people who have stuck up for him… He knew the consequences of his stupid actions and should not be felt sorry for, no matter how bad he feels! Yet Gary and the show’s producers should also feel partly responisble for allowing his bad behaviour to spiral so far out of control already in the first place. But anyway yes, let’s rejoice that he is finally out of the show!
Talentless tramp Frankie is finally off the show… 

 

And onto this week’s performances, where the theme was “Queen vs. Lady Gaga” – yet another stupid idea… With only seven contestants (including the now reinstated Amelia Lily) remaining, the competition is really heating up. While Kitty, Little Mix, Marcus and Misha B put on good performances as usual, it was in fact Amelia who probably had the best overall performance – showing why she was put through in the first place, baffling us as to why Kelly sent her home in the first week, proving why she deserved to return and outshining the other contestants! Craig and Janet however, were unsurprisingly predictable and dull. Here are my usual ratings and comments:

Kitty

Kitty tries rocking the 80's punk hair look...

I wasn’t feeling her hair but she put on a good show as usual and it was a great opening to the evening. The song is quite karaoke-ish but at least she didn’t cement the already perceived idea that she is simply just a Gaga impersonator… One Gaga is more than enough already!

Vocals: 3/5

Performance: 4/5

Overall: 7/10

Craig

Craig and his fat, ugly, annoying face!

 What a suprise. After last week when he made a good, uptempo song sound crap, Craig is back to doing boring ballads, this time singing a slowed-down version of “Paparazzi”. Yawn…

Vocals: 2/5

Performance: 0/5

Overall: 2/10

Little Mix

Last week Little Mix were not that great, but this week their medley of songs was pretty good – their vocals were better but their performance was not that exciting. And their style is still not easy on the eyes!

Vocals: 4/5

Performance: 3/5

Overall: 7/10

Janet

Boring!

Vocals: 2/5

Performance: 0/5

Overall: 2/10

Marcus

Marcus‘ big band version of “Another One Bites The Dust” was both intriguing yet strange. It’s still hard to decide whether it was a good idea or just a little off… Also not too sure on his wannabe Bruno Mars moves…

Vocals: 4/5

Performance: 3/5

Overall: 7/10

Misha B

In my mind this may have been Misha‘s weakest performance overall, and simply because she slowed “Born This Way” down. Her twist on the song was interesting however because she could have been in danger of making it too much like a karaoke performance. Still, what may be her weakest performance still beats the best performances that Craig or Janet could ever give!

Vocals: 4/5

Performance: 3/5

Overall: 7/10

Amelia

Amelia Lily's back!

Let’s face it – as good-looking as James and Jonjo were and as “fun” as 2 Shoes were, Amelia was the most talented out of the original four that were sent home in the first week. Despite some controversy over it being a fix that she came back, I believe the right decision was made – whether the decision was made by the public or the producers. Her voice is still just as good as it used to be and she is just as great as the other top contenders are… Still wish she’d get rid of the pink rinse hair though!

Vocals: 5/5

Performance: 3/5

Overall: 8/10

Who should go: Craig or Janet hopefully!

Who will go: Same as above, and maybe, dare I say Misha might be in trouble…

Week 5 of “The X Factor” is upon us, and this time the theme is“Club Classics”, a thee which once again seemed like it was a loosely followed one. Most acts chose songs one more mainstream dance-influenced pop and R&B songs as well as some old-school Motown-inspired tracks… It’s not “Big Band/Motown Week” just yet! Surprisingly, only Craig‘s song choice seemed the most obvious club classic tune out of them all.

Yay, Kelly's back!

And once again, it seems to be confirmed that there is a definite pattern forming here each week in who seems to be the most consitent with good performances and who continues to suck badlyMisha B bounced back well, Kitty is still going strong, Marcus is getting better and The Risk are doing well, while Frankie and Johnny are still lagging way behind in being anything interesting or good! So here’s the routine breakdown of each contestant’s performances:

Johnny

Johnny: He toned down on the outfit but not the rest was still crap.

Awful. Simply awful. Extremely bad vocals, especially on the Madonna part… But still, quite suprising to see him hit some low notes. And many low notes he did hit (metaphorically speaking)! At least he wasn’t wearing some god-ugly outfit.

Vocals: 0/5

Performance: 0/5

Overall: 0/10

Janet

Poor Janet was definitely way out of her comfort zone this week… even more so than she was in “Rock Week”. But at least she didn’t look like some hippy child from the middle ages and looked quite nice with trendy clothes and wavy, layered hair. Kudos to her for taking the risk and doing something surprising and different, but unfortunately, it wasn’t that great!

Vocals: 2/5

Performance: 2/5

Overall: 4/10

Craig

Despite having the only real obvious club classic song to sing this week, Craig was still just as unexciting as usual. Hardly any movement from his one spot in the middle of the stage, he said he had fun but it certainly didn’t look like it.

Vocals: 3/5

Performance: 1/5

Overall: 4/10

The Risk

This was pretty good and Derry‘s rapping (let’s face it, he’s probably the weakest singer in the group) made a nice change to the things they have done before and made what would have been an average performance, better.

Vocals: 4/5

Performance: 3/5

Overall: 7/10

Marcus

Marcus is obviously not that comfortable with all those women dancing so close to him...

Although the song Marcus sang was technically more ballroom floor filler than club floor filler, he still did a very good job of it. His voice is still great and much better (less shouty) than previous weeks, but his dancing is still rather non-existent.

Vocals: 4/5

Performance: 4/5

Overall: 8/10

Kitty

Kitty showed Johnny how a Madonna song should be sung without murdering it. She toned down the performance compared to previous weeks but still did well, despite being a little pitchy in places.

Vocals: 3/5

Performance: 4/5

Overall: 7/10

Frankie

Just a load of shit.

Vocals: 0/5

Performance: 0/5

Overall: 0/10

Misha B

Maybe a change of style for Misha is what will help save her this time?

She still had the funky hair (although not as funky as previous weeks), but Misha toned down the Grace Jones-style outfits and went for something more classic this time. She really worked the stage and did a good rendition of “Proud Mary”, even with some of her strange sounds she randomly makes when singing… Would have been nice to see her get back into putting her own unique urban, rapping twist into it again though!

Vocals: 4/5

Performance: 4/5

Overall: 8/10

Little Mix

Last week, the girls did rather well. This week, it was not as good. Individual vocals were not great and their harmonies were off. They also looked ridiculous randomly dressed in tin foil. Maybe the tore apart Johnny‘s outfit from week 1 and shared it out?

Vocals: 2/5

Performance: 3/5

Overall: 5/10

Who should go: Frankie, Johnny, Janet and/or Craig.

Who will go: Same as my predictions.

I think I’m spotting a predictable pattern in “The X Factor”: the same contestants are always the ones who shine (Misha, Kitty and Marcus) and the same ones also are way below the mark (Frankie, Johnny and Sophie)… This week was “Halloween Week” and most acts did well to fit into the theme – some were creepy in a good way and others in a very bad way! At least overall it was a slight improvement from last week’s dire “Rock Week” I suppose.

More drama took place in the last week: The Risk lost a member and replaced him with the lead singer from Nu VibeRhythmix changed their name to the naff Little Mix and the fat, ugly one talked about her insecurities of being bullied and not being as pretty or slim as the other girls; Misha admitted she used to be a bully; Frankie spent yet more time partying and sexing than rehearsing; and Kelly Rowland was absent due to illness (not because of her anger over last week’s arguments with Tulisa and Louis though, despite those rumours…) but was replaced by the just as feisty Alexandra Burke instead! So, let’s get down to the ratings of how good (or bad) the remaining 10 finalists were:

The Risk

The new lineup of The Risk. Not much different and not better or worse.

Boring song choice and not much of a performance except for the backing dancers but they sounded alright at least. Not much of a difference (good or bad) between the old and new line-up though.

Vocals: 4/5

Performance: 3/5

Overall: 7/10

Johnny

Everyone seemed to love Johnny ‘s slow ballads and stripped down performances, but unfortunately the truth is, he is just as shit as usual. Tedious performance and below mediocre vocals.

Vocals: 1/5

Performance: 1/5

Overall: 2/10

Sophie

Boring song, boring vocals, boring performance, boring girl. Nice outfit though.

Vocals: 1/5

Performance: 1/5

Overall: 2/10

Marcus

Far better than his previous performances, Marcus was sharper in his moves and more on point vocally this week. I liked his take on a soulful classic which is more his thing that other songs he has been given to sing.

Vocals: 4/5

Performance: 4/5

Overall: 8/10

Misha

Again one of the best performances of the night… Not much more else to say, really!

Vocals: 5/5

Peformance: 5/5

Overall: 10/10

Janet

Looking creepy and a rather dead performance by Janet Devlin.

She looked creepy and she sounded boring.

Vocals: 1/5

Performance: 1/5

Overall: 2/10

Frankie

Oh, stop asking a stupid question you tit and JUST GO! Awful singing yet again which unfortunately wasn’t distracted by the average performance…

Vocals: 0/5

Performance: 2/5

Overall: 2/10

Kitty

Overall a great performance.

Vocals: 3/5

Performance: 5/5

Overall: 8/10

Rhythmix… Oh no, “Little Mix”?!

Rhythmix... I mean, "Little Mix".

A bit like Janet‘s performance, this was also a little bit creepy, but in a good way!

Vocals: 3/5

Performance: 4/5

Overall: 7/10

Craig

Craig trying to look cool! And failing.

Very much like a male Adele, but not as amazing and far more annoying. Also not a very Halloweeny performance or a particularly great performance either. And by the way, that song would still be classed as a ballad…

Vocals: 3/5

Performance: 2/5

Overall: 5/10

Who should go: Frankie, Johnny or Sophie

Who will go: Frankie, Sophie or Craig