Saturday, 21 December 2013

An Excellent Final: Pt 1 Carlito Olivero makes it a real competition after all.

This is it, The Final. Jeff Gutt v Carlito Olivero v Alex & Sierra.

They start with Queen's We Will Rock You which rather favoured Jeff, Alex & Sierra looking slightly out of place. They did have the look of someone who had already won, though. Whatever the votes, judging from the download figures for their recent performances, Alex & Sierra have established themselves as a future act that we'll be hearing a lot more of. Indeed, they're already being played on UK radio and that is something, apart from Phillips Phillips' Home official release and Carrie Underwood's official releases of course, that hasn't happened before. Adam Lambert has been doing good things here with the remaining Queen members but not record success here yet.

Carlito winds up the emotions in his recorded set piece. His first song is Impossible and I so much prefer his version to the one James Arthur won in the UK with. Funny how there is almost a closed circle of tracks that we go round. At the time of writing, this year's UK winner is about to take No.1 spot with Demi Lovato's Skyscraper. That was a good solid first performance which will keep him in the running. For several weeks he could have been the one that was going home and now I can seriously imagine him winning if the Latin vote is strong, although we do have to remember that it is really how the Country states vote that decides the winner. They'll be on Alex & Sierra's side I should think, though, which ought to mean the duo have this thing in the bag.

And now it's their turn. Give A Little Time To Me suits them, if being a little bland compared to some that they've done. It became a bit more passionate near the end but throughout the beautiful Sierra shone through. She sounds great and they are both confident. As Kelly said, any label would take them now. Demi almost said how she really hoped that they would win but I felt that she might think Carlito's appeal could do it for him after all and she turned the phrase to hoping that they'd continue to do this. Interesting choice of words.

Sierra having an Irish Dance named after her won't do any harm either. Not sure how many mafiosi vote but they might just have a word with the phone company bosses!

If it were just a singing competition then Jeff Gutt should win. With lasers and an elevating stage almost as impressive as his voice this was quite a performance of what I presume must have been called Dream On. That was some show. Well done, Jeff and his stage managers. The audience went wild. Maybe he does stand a chance? This certainly keeps the competition open when I had a feeling that he might succumb at this point. Simon says that this is the first time that he believed that Jeff believed he could win. Good point.

Now I honestly do not know how this will work out.

Paulina finally gets a chance to show us what she does. Boys Will Be Boys. Hmmm. More performance and tight leather than live singing but she looked pretty good and the recording was good. She looked about ten years younger standing next to Mario on stage.

Carlito is singing with Prince Royce, whoever he is. Nice song, Stand By Me, Latin style. Opposite to the UK show, the star introduces the contestant. They go well together and I do see Carlito in that mould and doing quite well in it. He's not Enrique Iglesias but could invade some of that territory too. Apparently Price Royce, according to Mario, has a No.1 album - out now. Must have sold before it came out. Surprised we haven't heard of him if he's No.1.

Next come the duets.

Simon plays a trump card by pairing Alex & Sierra with Leona Lewis. The song is Bleeding Love and Leona has to be careful not to overshadow Sierra. Alex doesn't get much of a look-in, to be honest. That's the first time I've seen the pair looking a bit uncomfortable. I just think Sierra was over-excited at being with Leona. Her album gets a plug too. Her Christmas single is one of the best Christmas singles for a long time.

Demi notices too that it wasn't their best performance. Whether that'll affect things I don't know. Simon picks his word carefully and probably agrees.

Jeff gets to sing with John Rzeznik, from Goo Goo Dolls, doing their biggest number Iris, perfect for Jeff. I did feel that he didn't take it as far as he could and it didn't get the emotions flowing quite as much as I'd expected. Good, definitely good, but that could have made more impact. Jeff looks better with more beard now. I reckon Demi was too influenced by the star to think of anything to say.

So no real movement in one direction or another in my view for any of the acts.

Lastly, they each get to sing whiechever of their previous songs they (or more probably the producers) feel will represent them best.

Carlito reprises Maria Maria - at least I think that's the title. Great track for him and plenty of attractive girls in floaty red dresses to help us remember later. Nice job, Carlito.

Alex & Sierra reprise the near-perfect track Say Something. Without candles this time. But the crossover of voices is superb. That song alone may be the reason they do, in the end, win.

The links to home towns don't seem to be working terribly well! Carlito had to wait a while while some strange-looking couple started talking. A one-eyed Chinese lady won't have done him many favours. At almost the opposite extreme, Alex & Sierra got a gigantically fat bloke making odd signs and grinning stupidly while an announcer tried to be serious, proclaiming it to be Alex & Sierra week in Florida! Weird, to say the least. Jeff's Detroit followers can surely only appear dreadfully normal after those VTs.

Jeff chooses Creep and does it superbly too. If anything, that was the best performance of the night. The set, lighting and staging were very, very impressive. He could not have done better tonight. All three acts deserve to win and I simply can't call it tonight. He gets better audio with his Betroit town connection and, actually, quite a bit longer too. He gets the odd person too - this time an attractive woman who insists on dancing into the shot despite the best efforts of some bouncer trying to pull her off!

That's it for Part 1. I shall announce the winner later today.