Victoria Coren Mitchell - Writer, Broadcaster & Poker Player

I Was Wrong

Saturday, 13 December 2008

about Alexandra. Thankfully, I was right about Diana, so it all turned out profitably after all. And having just sobbed my way through the final from start to finish, I’m glad I was wrong. Alexandra totally deserved it. Her last performance, stopping and starting as she lost and regained control, then singing on while she hugged the other contestants, was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen on TV.
  And seriously - START TO FINISH. Sobbing. Trading and cold finance aside, sometimes I forget that I really am the total target audience for these shows.

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Andrew at 12:21 pm on December 14th, 2008

I only saw bits of X factor, but I believe it was all over when Beyonce appeared on stage ‘supporting’ Alexandra.  The other 2 didn’t stand a chance (Westlife and Boyzone, I ask you).

Tom at 12:23 pm on December 14th, 2008

A couple of points to make Vicky,

First of all, if you watched the Strictly Come Dancing results show, you will know how much of a disgrace it was. Making us sit through 40 minutes of bad gags and repeat performances for what? To tell us they are all through to the final? What a joke!

And 2nd of all they had a massive racial complaints thing going with Strictly Come Dancing this year, like to point out in the X Factor final there were 5 black singers and 1 irish kid and no one has said a word.
Saturday night TV is seriously in need of its backside kicking.
Thanks Vicky and merry christmas

MarkP at 11:30 pm on December 14th, 2008

It seems the choice of song has caused some controversy on the internet (well, in the corner of it I’ve been reading). The uproar has led to a call to buy the Jeff Buckley version and try to oust the X-Factor from the Christmas number one spot (an impossible task). I’ve just watched your linked version and I’d have to say I’m in the Buckley camp.

Victoria Coren at 9:21 am on December 15th, 2008

Absolutely, there’s no competing with Jeff Buckley. I spent the rest of Saturday night listening to Grace. An X Factor version will always be more anodyne… but what blew me away about that last performance is the way she could lose it completely and stop singing because she was in tears, then come back in again without a problem; and how she’s note-perfect and improvising musically even when the others are on stage and she’s talking to them/ hugging them at the same time. I’d expect an experienced singer to be able to do that, but for a 23-year-old on the biggest night of her life, I thought it was incredibly impressive and quite moving. Fond memories though I have of the money won on Steve Brookstein, he wouldn’t have been able to manage that….

  She also did an amazing job of keeping up with Beyoncé - watch the last bit; Beyoncé has a huge voice but Alexandra completely holds her own. I’m a convert!

Andy the Dealer at 9:29 pm on December 15th, 2008

I’m glad I wasn’t on the sofa with you. I too was having a quiet weep which would have been full blown blubbering had you been sat next to me.
Alex was terrific. I just hope she can keep her feet on the ground.

Ken Ward at 3:46 pm on December 17th, 2008

I didn’t watch a minute of this year’s X Factor past the early stages, which I find mildly amusing. But I did follow your link to Alexandra’s performance and I was really moved by it. It was slightly spoilt by the cuts to Cowell, his face displayed no real emotion. You could almost see the $ signs in his eyes.

David Young at 5:41 pm on December 17th, 2008

I’ll call bullshit on this and all these talent shows. I don’t doubt that Alex has a terrific voice, but in aggregate, are the people who progress on this show better off for it? By the time they have ‘made it’, there is no mystique about them at all. A singer needs a little mystery. It’s totally lacking when you’ve seen their entire family and their ‘ordinary life’ thus far. When I was into music as a kid, I thought people like Meat Loaf, Robert Plant and David Bowie were from a different galaxy. They seemed more than mere mortals to me. But if I’d watched them for two months crying to their mothers it would have destroyed it.

Where is Steve Brookstein? Ditto Michelle McManus. Voters aren’t always concerned with finding someone who’s good. They want a cheap shot to feel good about themselves - hence the support for fat contestants who fail completely when punters actually have to part with real money.

I know there’s a need for water-cooler TV, but for much of the time on these shows you’re watching a pub act doing a cover. Why not just go to the pub then? Anyway, the song for me will always be associated with the close of West Wing series 3 when CJ loses the only man she’s ever felt something for:

Now that really was moving.

John at 6:22 pm on December 17th, 2008

I’ve been flicking through the ‘Hallelujah’  versions and still keep coming back to Leonard Cohen’s. Not to everyone’s taste, I know, but what a presence he has. And often referred to as ‘Morrissey’s dad’  too… could the praise rain down any harder?

Dave P at 8:41 am on December 20th, 2008

My personal vote would go to k d lang with Cohen a close second. But no doubt at all that Canada wins the team prize.

Victoria Coren

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