The X Factor Final 2013

Daniel Wren

Best Performance: Sam Bailey – Skyscraper

Worst Performance: Katy Perry – Unconditionally

Key Changes: 1

Judge Highlights:

Sharon: “Sam Bailey’s going to put Leicester on the map.”

Nicole: “You are SAM-mazing, honey.”

And so it is. The final of the X Factor 2013 has come and gone. AND WHAT A YEAR IT’S BEEN. (A fairly average year, actually, compared to the previous series.) We’ve had some pretty fab performances though, and some pretty wonderful moments in ‘The Room’. We’ve seen some car-crash concepts (like those weird white seats at Boot Camp, and the ‘Flash Vote’.) Best of all, we had a pretty amazing judging panel (the women, anyway.) SO THERE YOU HAVE IT. Let’s begin.

Dermot entered on a large pole, which was quite fun. Usually I picture him entering with his large pole, but there you go. Nicholas McDonald performed first, singing ‘Candy’ by Robbie Williams. It’s hard to critique vocals in the final, because they’re always going to be pretty solid. What I can critique, though, is Nicholas’s sheer vanilla-ness. Despite trying to sing a fairly fun song, he still donned a crown of beige. His voice is just so dull. The tone just isn’t interesting. He’s headed the same way as Joe McElderry. And he’s bound to start appearing on Iceland adverts sooner or later.

Next up was Sam Bailey, singing Lady Gaga’s ‘The Edge of Glory’. This was quite good. One needs a serious amount of power if one is going to perform a Lady Gaga song, and I thought Sam delivered, despite not having a meat dress or a telephone hat or a handbag made from a foetus, or something. There were a lot of topless men in red PVC trousers, which is obviously the key ingredient to any good performance. The vocals themselves were made seriously extreme, which was a total risk but paid off. Sam definitely isn’t just here to sing a ballad or two – she’s got the power.

“There are no deadlocks, but there are dreadlocks.” Man-size cabbage patch kid Luke Friend performed third, singing ‘We Are Young’ by Fun. This was a bit out of Luke’s lower-end range, which was a shame. He nailed the big shouty notes, but his throat got caught a bit on the low parts. I also thought this was a bit mainstream for Luke’s usually edgier sort of performances. Gary agreed, saying “I hope everyone votes for the choruses and not the voices.” Burrrrrrn. Someone’s bitter about having no acts left, clearly.

Luke got the long straw this year, and got the only decent celebrity duet with Ellie Goulding. Sam was fobbed off with one of the judges. Nicholas was fobbed off with one of Louis’s retired acts (as some finalists always seem to be, poor things.) But Luke got a properly good pop artist to perform with, which was nice. It was a really sweet performance of ‘Anything Could Happen’. They had a great rapport onstage, had some really quite good harmonies and hugged at the end, too. This duet is why I thought Luke Friend was going to win. It was that good.

Nicholas was chucked one of Louis’s retired flop-stars, and duetted with Shane Filan from Westlife. Yes, I was disappointed too. They, of course, sang ‘Flying Without Wings’. This performance couldn’t have been more typical, really. Nicholas has gained a habit of singing crap British boyband songs and has somehow managed to make them even duller. This wasn’t helped by Shane Filan’s dodgy vocals, either. I suppose the tactic was to make Nicholas stand out in front of Shane. It worked.

Sam Bailey duetted with judge Nichole Scherzinger (presumably every other good popstar in the world was busy this weekend.) They duetted on ‘And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going’ from Dreamgirls. While both their vocals were powerful… Nicole really outshone Sam Bailey. There was a lot of thunder-stealing going on. Nicole had the best, most powerful vocal lines in the song. Sam Bailey had few chances to show off, poor thing. And isn’t that what the duets are meant to be about? The finalists proving they’re as good as world-class superstars? Poor choice of duet by Sharon, there. It was more like Nicole showing off what she can do rather than highlighting Sam’s progression.

It was at this point that Luke Friend went home, and my prediction for the winner went out the window.

Sunday arrived, and there was a plethora of bizarre past X Factor contestants storming the stage. Kitty Brucknell, Jonny Robinson, Wagner, Rylan… What more could we ask for, really? Apart from a shite performance by Katy Perry, of course. Katy Perry shouldn’t sing anywhere except inside a studio. The two finalists had to sing their favourite songs from the series, and Nicholas and Sam sang ‘Angel’ by Sara McLachlan and ‘The Power of Love’ by Jennifer Rush, respectively. These were obviously quite good, but Sam really should have sung No More Tears (Enough Is Enough), because her performance of that was truly ‘shamazing’.

To top it all off, they performed their potential winners’ singles – ‘Superman (It’s Not Easy)’ by Five For Fighting for Nicholas and Skyscraper by Demi Lovato for Sam (told you.) After a pretty intense final sing-off, we were brought to my favourite bit of every series – the REALLY BIG PAUSE before they announce the winner. This year’s pause was 17 seconds (yes, I timed it), and was subsequently followed, quite rightly, by Sam Bailey’s win.

Sam Bailey was the right winner for many reasons. She had knockout performances like this and this (oh and this.) She is the first Over-25 contestant to win since Steve Brookstein from series one (except Sam is actually likeable) and she finally helped Sharon Osbourne to win a series, without bloody Dannii Minogue or Cheryl Cole getting in the way. Above all, Sam has a powerhouse voice, an extreme talent, and a total grace towards winning. Her first words after winning were “I really love that boy Nicky McDonald”, which I thought was really sweet.

That’s the end of DobleVision: The X Factor for this year, friends. Have a great Christmas, and here’s to The X Factor 2014.

About Daniel Wren

Vada Magazine staff writer. Interested in travel, news, politics and dating.