We begin this week’s show with a group number – “Don’t Rain On My Parade.” The only problem is that this song has been turned into a barn-stormer by Lea Michelle in the hit show Glee. So it’s either Barbra or Lea, as anything else sounds dull and uninspired by comparison, including this watered down version.
In terms of weeks, it is now past the “halfway stage” as Graham reminds us all. In terms of American Idol and X Factor this means one thing – Big Band Week. Someone at Dorothy Mansions has been taking notes, as each farm girl has to sing just that.
Steph Fearon is first and her V.T is about versatility and she has it in spades. She has confounded Andrew and many viewers, as she is still here, delivering classy performances. Jenny is also singing in the first pairing and her V.T again exposes the fact that she has never been to the West End. She is treated to a performance of Mamma Mia! I still find this strange. You would not enter X Factor claiming not to own any CDs. Anyway, she is lit up by the performance and it increases her resolve to star in the West End. Good job she didn’t hate it then, eh?
Steph: “Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend”
Steph sings the Moulin Rouge version of the song and it’s not her best. She can act and usually her vocals are very good. But this song is all over the place. Her American accent is overdone and it leaves you feeling totally disconnected from the song. This is not her best performance. I have a feeling she could be in the bottom two after this. She has raised the bar so many times and this one is forgettable.
Jenny: “Feelin’ Good”
Although Jenny gives this one more clout than usual, it does feel the equivalent of giving Kylie Minogue an Opera song to sing. Jenny does not have the power or range to belt this one out. You should feel something as you listen to this classic, as should Jenny herself. But she looks emotionless. Granted, she is better than previous weeks but she is not Dorothy.
John calls it a “cracking opening.” He says that The Scarecrow and the Lion will be her new B.Fs and tells Jenny she has “got her mojo back.”(Clearly, I am watching something very different!). Sheila is always honest, so maybe she will agree with me? Our Sister Act star claims that Jenny “could have gone further” and that Steph “could have used the lyrics more.” Charlotte likes them both, “like.”
Sophie‘s V.T is about (Quelle Surprise!) what it’s like to be in the bottom two. Her dad says that “Wales has let her down!” Isn’t it the other way round? Sophie watches a vid from her hometown showing there is support there. We know this because see a shot of about 15 locals singing her praises. She will need more than that voting for her. I hope she doesn’t leave her mic on after the performance! “Thanks for nothing, Wales. Who sent that video over, was it Sue?”
Sophie: “Wonderful World”
Sophie is stronger this week and certainly pushers herself vocally. But there there is so little emotion that you could make some tea and return to the telly, none the wiser. The song is “Wonderful World” yet Sophie sings with a expression which hints that the world is finished and that there is no point recycling or switching your lights off because we’re done for! Her diction is all over the place. It’s time for this one to follow Emilie. She is sweet but she is being out-sung and out-acted weekly.
Charlotte says Sophie has a “gorgeous vocal” but she “could have pushed it further.” Sheila wants Sophie to “give us your heart.” She then says “I want to kick you!” (Amen, Sister!). John sums it up also: “You forgot to act.” But this is not like forgetting your pen when you are at school. This crime needs more than a detention or suspension.
Danielle‘s V.T is about her birthday. The other lasses throw her a party and they all dress up as West End characters. If Danielle delivers the goods again, she may as well keep the Dorothy outfit. Lots of West End stars wish her Happy Birthday. Could this be a sign that she could be joining them soon?
Lauren says that she has been too “mechanical.” We then see her take a trip to the fair to show how zany she can be. Woop, Woop! Will she snog a fairground worker, eat a hot dog on the waltzer or maybe sing on the big wheel? No, she runs around the fair, as we cut to friends telling us we are not seeing the real her. In a minute she will say: ” I have the X Factor!”
Danielle: “Mambo Italiano”
All I can say about this performance is that The Lord smiled throughout. As much as this is uncomfortable to watch sometimes, on this occasion – it proved that this Dorothy has grown. With each song, she now gives a mini performance as she sings, acts and dances and delivers all three with conviction. This may not be her best song but she showcases her versatility and to be honest, she could perform the role of Dorothy standing on her head. Maybe Lauren will try that move with her number because “I’m zany, me!”
Lauren: “The Man That Got Away”
This song shows us that Lauren can do intense (again!). I would love to her have more fun. I know this song is supposed to be poignant and very performance led but there is a lack of warmth for a viewer to connect with. She is a very internal performer. I have seen good singers and actresses fail to connect with an audience on stage and my worry with Lauren is that she seems to perform for herself, not us.
Sheila says that these are “two knockout performances.” John describes Danielle as “Sensational” and Lauren as “Absolutely fantastic.” Charlotte says that Danielle has “grown the most.” She then describes Lauren’s turn as “one of the best I have seen in my life!” Has she seen anyone else perform live? Surely, there have been better? The Lord does not go that O.T.T but he likes them both.
Stephanie‘s V.T is all about Liverpool. She goes home and a neighbour tears down her wallpaper to provide her with a yellow brick road! Couldn’t they have purchased some? Seriously, they love the girl and we get it. Cue shots of the docks, The Beatles Museum and other rose-tinted elements.
Jessica is suffering from a strained voice. I refer to this as “The Diana Vickers narrative.” You either see a doctor, vocal coach or judge looking worried, then you cut to the contestant saying that “I need this to come back more than anything.” Or “I will give it my best shot as I feel like I have so much more to give.”
Stephanie: “Mr Bojangles”
For one of the first times, I feel that Stephanie is acting a song. She is a great storyteller but she could bring more poignancy to the song. It’s a credible performance but there could be more to it. She does well with what essentially is a man’s song but she needs more narrative, as she is too reserved overall. Nice vocals, though.
Jessica has often left me feeling a little bit underwhelmed and tonight I can see why. Her posture is all over the place, she reminds me of Jessie from I’d Do Anything. This slouched manner and bad styling mean that often she looks like a drag queen. Before anyone goes mad saying that WOS standards have gone down as it’s the singing I should be focusing on, the mix of her running across the stage bent over double and awful clothes that do not suit her = the drag queen comment. She is aggressive tonight rather than assertive and needs balance in her performance.
John says that Stephanie “did not get the feeling of the song.” Charlotte disagrees and says she “bought something new.” John praises Jessica as does Charlotte. Sheila plays the caution card with Stephanie by saying that Mr Bojangles “is a jolly difficult song.” Re Jess – she says “the overall colour was right.”
Group Number: “The Trolley Song.”
This number shows you the actresses and they are: Danielle, Lauren and Stephanie Fearon. Jess stumbles, Jenny conveys very little and I don’t even remember Sophie!
Who is not Dorothy?
Sophie, Jenny and Jess
Tune in tonight to see who goes home. But, in the meantime – what did you think of Saturday’s performances?