Let’s be brutally honest, a lot of you struggled this week. The task was (in my opinion) pretty easy: nominate one song by anyone who made the finals of X Factor. Some of your choices were… well… not brilliant. A lot of good and/or great songs were missed. Nobody picked Polaroid by Jonas Blue, Liam Payne and Lennon Stella (which is a tune) or Familiar by J Balvin and Liam Payne (which was the sound of the summer 2018, for goodness sake). And speaking of ex-One Direction members, where were the nominations for ZAYN? Dusk Til Dawn? Pillowtalk? I Don’t Wanna Live Forever? That last one was a duet with Taylor Swift. I know you’ve heard of her.
If you wanted to go for something a little less mainstream, how about Koska et oo täällä enää by Saara Aalto? Or K(NO)W MORE by 4th Impact? Looking for something who’s very existence bends the mind? Well, Lucie Jones did a song for ITV’s Midsomer Murders with Seth Lakeman. Honestly, it isn’t terrible. It isn’t great either, sure, but, you know…
And of course there’s Tears by Clean Bandit (featuring Louisa Johnson), Rosa Parks Flow by Misha B, Toy Friend by Gifty Louise, Whatcha Gonna Do by Hi Fashion (feat. Maria Lawson), Heartbreaker by Laura White ft. Miss Banks, Don’t Want You Back by Rebecca Ferguson, Once by Diana Vickers…
Or, and I can’t emphasise this enough, you could have picked Step On by Happy Mondays (because, as everyone knows, Rowetta came fourth in the first series of X Factor).
Anyway, let’s do this…
Graeme recommended When a Man Loves a Woman by Steve Brookstein
…presumably trolling me for doing an X Factor week by making me watch the shitty YouTube post that proves this happened. Maybe not. Maybe he likes it. I don’t know. I also don’t know if Brookstein is singing like that on purpose or because he has a cold. Either way, it’s a performance that is approaching outsider art (though probably not in a good way). Obviously, I can’t give it any more than one point, but (on the understanding that you made me listen to it out of some visceral hatred for the task that was given you) I’m awarding ten bonus points for sheer bloody mindedness. So, eleven points in total.
James Beck recommended Fighting Butterflies by Steve Brookstein
It’s possibly the shittiest song I’ve ever heard but I’ll forgive James for that because by his own account, it isn’t a song he’s ever actually listened to. I’m giving it one more point than the other Steve Brookstein song because it solved my dilemma about whether he had a cold when he sang When a Man Loves a Woman. He did. He should get them more often imho. Two points.
Plashing Vole recommended Siúil leat by Mary Byrne
Which I eventually found on YouTube, hiding at the end of a crappy version of You’ll Never Walk Alone. Or was the whole thing a crappy version of You’ll Never Walk Alone? I dunno. I think it might have been a Christmas single (and, presumably, part of a larger campaign to get Christmas banned permanently). It’s ungodly, is what it is. Three points.
Dan Edmonds recommended Feel the Fire by Joe McElderry
Four points. How can a song called Feel the Fire manage to be so unremittingly wet?
Graham Cox (sort of) recommended Best Song Ever by One Direction
Getting your four-year-old to pick your choice is adorable but, ultimately, unwise. Five points.
jummo70 recommended Troublemaker by Olly Murs
Six points. Quick tip: There is no question in life that should be answered with the words ‘Olly Murs’.OK. Fine. There’s “Who’s that guy who seems nice enough but still manages to annoy me for some reason… you know, the one who’s got a face a bit like Jamie Oliver but not really?”
Donna Morris recommended Mercy by Marcus Collins
When I put these posts together, I listen to everything and then I rank it all. Occasionally (especially now I’m listening to loads of stuff each week) I forget what something sounds like and have to stick it back on again to remind myself. This week I had to do that with this song. Fifteen times. It’s so unmemorable it’s uncanny. Honestly, I’m typing this trying to remember anything about it and I can’t. My mind is a blank. I couldn’t even tell you if the chorus contains the word mercy or not. Seven points.
Nicholas Royle recommended Girls by Lucy Spraggan
A song choice that was always going to struggle for points, largely because it doesn’t exist. Royle had six albums worth of songs to choose from but he decided to go all a la carte instead and pick something that hasn’t been written. As tactics go, its flawed. Still, as Teresa May said during her somewhat disastrous run as an X Factor judge during series 7, no song is better than a bad song. Eight points.
Georgia Boon recommended Beat Again by JLS
Beat Again is quite an unusual song in that it is about seventy-five percent middle eights, perpetually building but never really getting anywhere. It isn’t an especially good one though. Sorry. Nine points.
Rebecca Holland recommended Kiss You by One Direction
Another One Direction song picked by a contestant’s child, albeit slightly better than the last one. Ten points.
Zaacc recommended Amsterdam by Grace Davies
Which is ok but not really my sort of thing, so… eleven points.
Bruno Di Gradi recommended Everybody in Love by JLS
Pleasingly cheesy but, after thirty seconds or so, a bit tiresome. Twelve points.
Adam Farrer recommended Dimelo by Ruk-Su
This wades surprisingly deep into ‘brainstorming vaguely South American stuff before you write the words’ waters. Stuff like ‘she’s hot like Cuba’ is, in most cases*, weak lyric writing. Twelve points.
*Like, if they had sung, She’s hot like Cuba / when she plays that tuba / she’s world class / rare like a subcontrabass, or something, and the song was called ‘You Phonin’ ‘Em?’ I’d have had more sympathy, but they didn’t, so I haven’t.
David Hartley recommended Lucky Stars by Lucy Spraggan
Unlike Nicholas Royle, David Hartley picked a Lucy Spraggan song that exists? Even after I had marked it down for implying that Venus and Mercury are close to each other (the actual distance varies, obviously, but you aren’t getting change from 30 million miles at the best of times) it still got fourteen points.
Dan recommended Sunflower vol. 6 by Harry Styles
It’s the wrong Harry Styles song, but fifteen points for effort
Desmond and David Coates both recommended Want U Back by Cher LLoyd
I don’t really like this song, but I do like the helicopter bit at the end, so sixteen and a half points for that.
Em and Adrian Slatcher recommended Sax by Fleur East
Which is alright, I suppose. Eighteen and a half points.
Tom. and Picky Bastards both recommended Ghost by Ella Henderson
Decent choice picking Ella Henderson but, three words guys: This is Real. How did you forget This is Real? I can’t really offer you any more than twenty and a half points if you are going to just ignore bangers like that, can I?
William Mallin recommended Break Up Song by Little Mix
Solid choice. Twenty two points.
Benjo recommended Never Meant to Be by Foor and Chenai Zinyuku
Definitely the least poppy thing on the list, and arguably worth more points, but as this week was all about the pop I am going to limit it to twenty three points.
Neal recommended Bang Bang by Acacia and Aaliyah
A couple of you searched for a performance on the show instead of a record and while it wasn’t really what I was looking for, this is a good performance. Twenty four points.
Hannah Hunt recommended When My Train Pulls In by Kevin Davy White
The guy can sing. Twenty five points.
Mat Pringle recommended Black Magic by Little Mix
Everyone likes Little Mix*. Twenty six points.
*If you read that thinking, “Well, I don’t like Little Mix, and…” that’s lovely, mate, but keep it to yourself, yeah?
Geisterhaus recommended Shout Out to my Ex by Little Mix
I think this is probably the correct Little Mix choice. There’s definitely no arguing with that chorus. Twenty seven points.
Dan Carpenter and Sleepy both recommended Bad Boys by Alexandra Burke
Twenty eight and a half points is a remarkably high score for something that features Flo Rida, but here we are. Here we are.
Nick Rayney recommended Bleedin’ Love by Leona Lewis
And so quickly that a couple of other people changed their choice to something else instead of following his lead. Schoolboy error really. This was always going to score well. Thirty points.
George Sandison recommended Dreamer by Livin’ Joy
Which (as it features vocals by X Factor contestant Janice Robinson) was a very smart move. One that I am going to award forty points.
Beth Woodward correctly recommended Sign of the Times by Harry Styles
I mean, one nomination for this? One? It’s clearly one of the best pop songs of the century. What is wrong with you lot, eh?
And so, as a thank you to first-time-recommender Beth for taking you all to school, I am going to give her one hundred points. Yeah, that’s right, one hundred points. She also gets a guaranteed place in the second round of the cup (see last weeks post if you missed the stuff about the cup).
Next week we are back to the regular alphabetical stuff. An album by a band or artist beginning with Y.