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Reality TV Dek's TV Diary

Ben Rocks Off

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A themeless semi-final meant that there could be no excuses for a poor performance this week. At this stage though, it could all be as much as about charisma as it is talent in the quest to get enough votes to make the final show.

When I should have been shackled to the telly and the desktop to write this column, I was actually at Little Britain Live, so I watched this week’s events early on Sunday morning, which may or may not have an impact on my perspective:

Ray – ‘Smile’

I remember Steve Brookstein doing a great version of this a couple of years back and Ray’s version was nowhere near up to that standard. I thought it was an awful song choice for Ray and did him no favours whatsoever vocally while he did little to put across the emotion in the song.

It was a performance that was below par in comparison with some of the better efforts he has managed to produce but I wouldn’t blame the lad, I’d blame the mentor.

Leona – ‘I Have Nothing’

It’s a funny thing but I get a lot more negative email when I’m nice about someone than when I stick the boot in.

Is Leona a poor man’s Mariah Carey? Not in my book though some of her vocal styling obviously leaves her open to that sort of criticism. I would be certainly true to say that when she gets her record deal, she’ll need producers that can take her talent and drag it into the 21st century.

This was a good performance but it didn’t have the magic that we’ve heard from her in recent weeks, it was almost as though some of nerves were back.

I still loved it though.

Ben – ‘Everything I Do’

Brave song choice. I wonder how many people were reminded that Robin Hood was on the other side and switched over.

With a song like that you should really make it your own and not leave people thinking that they’d rather hear Bryan Adams which is how I was left feeling.

To be fair it was a decent rendition though there were moments when he overcooked it prompting my girlfriend to shout, “It’s not a karaoke mate” at the screen.

Half Time Report

I had Leona streets ahead at this stage but that would be guarantee that she’d pool enough votes to get through. I felt that Ray would need to pull something out of the bag to stay in.

Ray –‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’

Ever hear Mario Lanza do this? It’s so good it makes your hair curl. Ray’s rendition made my toes curl but for different reasons.

I felt it needed more oomph and he certainly gave it some towards the end.

It’s been a valiant effort by the lad but were he to win the show, are there enough grannies out there willing to actually fork out to buy his music? I’m sceptical.

Leona – ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’

Just how unimaginative have Simon’s song choices been? Rowetta and Shayne both took this one on in previous years. I hope they broaden the range in future seasons.

Leona was good of course but it really didn’t give her the chance to soar and I haven’t been able to take that song seriously since Kenny Everett’s Metropolitan Police Judy Garland Appreciation Society version back in the eighties.

Ben –‘I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For’

You should never try and out-Bono Bono and to be fair Ben didn’t and put his own stamp on the song, unfortunately taking an original that should burst with energy and managing to make it pedestrian.

On the plus side there was far more of an effort to connect with the audience than we’ve seen up until now and he may well have half a chance of a successful career after this.

The Verdict

Fair play to Ray for getting to the final but it does pose serious questions about any remaining credibility this competition has, though it remains a marvellous piece of entertainment.

A Leona-Ben final could have been a marvellous nail-biting event, but now we’re left with something rather strange.

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