Saturday, 21 December 2013

And The Winner Is... Yes, You Guessed...

After auditions, Boot Camp, the 4-Chair Selection and the Live Shows this is Final. Americans like to put an e on the end and call it Finale but, whatever it is called, this is when we finally do learn who gets the $1 million contract. (It was $5 million last year but that didn't seem to do a great deal more for Tate).

The show starts with everyone looking a bit silly in white. Only Josh and Sierra actually looked comfortable in the supplied outfits. It was sing-a-long time and you had to feel sorry for Jeff who is definitely not a sing-a-long fellow.

The usual this would change everything for me responses to Mario's scripted but still annoying questions.

Carlito sings again. It's a Christmas song. He seems to be doing a lot of thinking while he's performing - including deciding when to open some doors and let out a delightful girl dressed in not a great deal. Later a whole load more girls appear around him but I'm not that sure that matched the lyrics which I could have sworn were about a guy missing his girlfriend at Christmas time. His mother was caught by the camera with a slightly disapproving look on her face but I am sure that was unintentional! His family look pretty cool and don't seem to match the image that he has been 'on the streets' for some time but I suppose they must have benefitted somehow and had some support from the show too. That was a pretty average performance but I don't think it matters now.

Mary J Blige has been appearing quite a bit recently. I'm pretty sure she appeared with Tamera on the UK show and someone on an earlier USA show too.

Jeff next. Does he have a Christmas song too? Yup. Oh Night Devine. Done his way. I'm not sure that worked much better than Carlito's effort. Eventually some drums kick in and he seems to feel more at home. Quite nice change from the usual carols and crap.

Lastly, Alex & Sierra do the Mariah Carey number. Risky as it's not an easy one. They put their own spin on it and do an almost a capella version. That worked quite well. A bit forgettable, unless you have become a big fan already. They do look like winners - very smart and very professional and immensely marketable too. They will be the winners, whatever the votes and may even finish up with a deal worth more than $1 million anyway!

All very emotional stuff with the family set pieces. Gosh.

Now we get to know who is in 3rd place.

Lea Michele sings really well, bring a touch of Glee to the night. She is superb and her new release is Breakdown, probably not something we'll hear much here though.

Mario announces that it's Carlito in 3rd place after all. He'll do fine and will probably get a contract as Simon had said that he had been the one act he would sign earlier in the season, presumably when they were just reviewing the guys or something. Carlito had made a lot of noise about wanting to get his family a stable life and provide for them and all that. To be honest, even if he had won, that wouldn't in itself do more than help them have a year during which they could share his income - probably a bit more than what the Tour Group will get. So maybe they could have a grand or two a month for a while but that is by no means guaranteed to continue and even big acts don't make much from their record deals in the early years. And few survive much longer. So, yes, he'll have a bit to share but they'll still need something else.

So it's down to Jeff Gutt v Alex & Sierra. More silly questions from Mario. Is he being told to fill? It does get a bit tedious. And if I hear once more How will winning change your life? I may have to fast forward my recording. For some reason I have no idea why we then get a pile of the rubbish performances.

Leona Lewis gets to perform One More Sleep and does so fabulously well. love that song and it could become her defining track for some years ahead as I can see it becoming a Christmas Classic. She genuinely looked as if she was really enjoying herself and totally confident, apart from descending steep steps in heels but that was something she got out of the way fairly quickly. Brilliant act.

The Final really does get drawn out as there are still two big acts to come. Pitbull next. A lot of attractive girls with very short denim shorts. Timber, It's Going Down. Yeah, right. Odd bloke but that was more commercial than I'd expected. I half expected Miley Cyrus to appear and I am sure there was a wrecking ball at one point. Some pretty provocative dancing that might have Sierra's grandparents (who we's seen earlier) wondering quite what their granddaughter has let herself in for. The three girls are up and moving around. Simon isn't. Thank goodness.

Alex & Sierra and Jeff Gutt sing again. Weird mix. Jeff Gutt sounding like someone else whose name escapes me. Lou Read maybe. Not a song I would have any of them singing really. Competently performed, however, showing that both acts have developed a smart degree of professionalism. That has all been quite a lot to learn in less than a week.

Sony get an ad as the boss tells us how one will get a 'life changing' contract.

One Direction are on again. They've had a good run on this programme this Season. As always, a great job done. The three girl judges are up and dancing again. Simon stays put. Just as well.

I think that means that, at long last, we get to see who has won. Surely, it's Alex & Sierra? The Country vote has surely gone their way and should have sealed it. This could be a Fifth Harmony moment, though. If Jeff wins we'll still hear more of Alex & Sierra!

It is Alex & Sierra. Well deserved. Well done.