Sunday, November 17, 2013

Swedish Idol 2013: Friday Finals Week 8 - 15.11.13

This week's theme was 'unplugged' which, along with 'acoustic' usually has me running for the hills.

Elin: “Freedom” (George Michael)

Crop tops and bad styling - yes it's Elin time again.  She continues to have bags of attitude and throws herself into performing the song, but yet again, this was at expense of the vocals.  Like Jens, she still has the rough edges and we wouldn't want to polish them too much, but she needs to learn how to harness them and not let her performance get in the way of the singing.  That also seemed to be Miriam's downfall earlier in the series.

Jens: "Layla" (Eric Clapton solo version)

The original Derek and the Dominoes version is one of the best songs of all time, and I have never been a fan of Mr Clapton's decision to rework his own song in unplugged style.   That aside, I thought Jens did a great job.  He has a world-weary voice beyond his young years and you forget how young he is.  Whilst his voice is well suited to the old rock songs, I would be interested to hear how it would sound on some original, modern material.

Kevin: "Don't Look Back In Anger" (Oasis)

I better not let my mum hear this, as this is her favourite Oasis song and I don't think she'd be too happy. Kevin's USP is delivering a sanitised, easy-listening version of everything he sings, and a granny-friendly covers album is inevitable. But I think we all know by now that he can't raaaaawwwwwk so if they did a rock week (are they doing one this year?) he could be dead and buried on that one, were it not for his army of obsessive fans.

Sandra: "Fast Car" (Tracy Chapman)

A poor song choice for her vocal style. This completely missed the hopelessness and desperation of the original and replaced it with you-go-girl diva attitude and vocals to match. Shame really, as her diva-vocals were back on track and she gave a good performance, but it was just the wrong song for it.

Erik: "Kiss From A Rose" (Seal)

I was a massive Seal fan in the early stages of his career but I thought this was one of his weakest songs despite being one of his biggest hits. Unfortunately Erik gave an even more sanitised version, although he sang well. Erik seems to be the anti-Elin - he focuses exclusively on his vocals to the detriment of his performance, and maybe comes across as a little too 'cold'.

Elin: "Wrecking Ball" (Miley Cyrus)

Current hit by the tiresomely overexposed Ms Cyrus...yawn. Thankfully Elin had more clothes on, however she would be the frontrunner if this series had a Barbara Dex award. Messy vocals as always, but an incredibly emotional performance which I'm sure would have connected with the viewers. Elin is looking like a definite finalist now.

Jens: “Radioactive” (Imagine Dragons)

This is one of those songs which has turned up in ads/trailers etc over recent months and turned out to be a shrewd song choice to allow Jens to prove that he wasn't just the guy who is good at the old rock songs. The rough edges are still there, but the consistency is finally beginning to come good. Like Elin, he is becoming a very serious challenger for this year's title, and I think he has the edge.

Kevin: “Hall of Fame” (The Script)

Sanitised - or should that be 'Kevinised' version of the song. He may still be the fans' favourite but IMHO he still doesn't have the greatness or special quality which is required of an Idol winner. If he does win, it will only be for the 'shallow' reasons, and that would be wrong.

Sandra: "No One" (Alicia Keys)

This is just Sandra being Sandra really, with her punchy diva vocals, which lack the subtlety of Alicia Keys' style. She did it well enough, but she is in a limited vocal niche and lacks the versatility and uniqueness which we would demand of an Idol finalist/winner. 

Erik: "Shake It Out" (Florence and the Machine)

Aww, I liked his wee lurex polo neck. I like the idea that he goes for more left-field song choices and tries to put his own little soulful stamp on them. Again, maybe a little too sanitised, yet unlike Kevin, he has the vocal capability for it to work.

5 contestants remain: who will go this week?

Bottom two: Erik and Sandra, with Sandra exiting the competition. 

Probably the right decision, as although her singing was improved this week, Sandra can only sing one style and she paid the price for lacking that versatility. But Erik? He didn't deserve to be in the bottom two. Although we are now at that someone-decent-will-always-be-in-the-bottom-two stage, so that's it. Notice who wasn't in the bottom two, but who should have been.....

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