Countless classic one-liners (‘You’re what this competition is all about’ being a particular fave) and pyrotechnic displays later, Joe McElderry is the X Factor victor of choice for 2009.
Admittedly it was a well-fought finale. Olly Murs’ performances were amazing this weekend, and he certainly showed up Robbie Williams during their ‘Angels’ duet, but for consistently perfect performances from Week 1 to the Final, the best (and shortest) man won in the end. Still, Olly will doubtless have a fantastic music career ahead – look at JLS’ album sales and Alexandra Burke’s and it isn’t clear which one of them actually won. As long as Stacey doesn’t do an Eoghan Quigg and release The Worst Album Of All Time before getting a lucrative recording contract ripped up, she should be fine as well. Her duet with Michael Buble was brilliant.
But for now, it’s obviously all about Joe. As per usual for any ‘X Factor’ champ he’ll have a Christmas of backlash to look forward to, with the annual grumbles about ‘X Factor’ ruining the Christmas chart etc etc, but he’s also got a pretty much guaranteed 6-figure sale for his single to look forward to as well as a long-awaited album (it will be by next year, anyway). Joe’s career could really veer either way – he’s going to be a difficult one to market. To stop him being another Leon Jackson, Simon Cowell has to make sure he has the right sound, the right image, and the right marketing team behind him. For Leona, contemporary power-ballads seemed natural, just as pop/R’n'B was for Alexandra Burke; but for someone like Joe they have to make the right decision. He could be moulded into a new Will Young or a new Gareth Gates depending on how they play it, he could be a new George Michael, he could join the ranks of Mr Hudson… who knows?
As for the winner’s single… ‘The Climb’ does at least avoid ruining a classic. The Miley Cyrus single may have been a pretty big smash earlier this year, but by peaking at No11 wasn’t too big a hit for this decision to be completely ludicrous. Still, for all the backlash, last year’s ‘Hallelujah’ was at least the most listenable winner’s single to date, so ‘The Climb’ is definitley something of a backpedal. It’s cheesy, it’s hilariously unoriginal, but at least Joe pulls it off with ease. Admittedly the production is better here than on the Miley version and, to Joe’s credit, it sounds alot better on record than it did live on the show. Still not a classic, but at least with Joe it sounds suitable.