The themes for this Saturday’s X Factor semi-final are, as usual, boring: “songs to get you into the final” (well, duh) and “songs for you” (eh?). And every week, the show has a major problem with constantly sticking to very well known songs, for fear of alienating viewers – remember when Tulisa thought Respect by Aretha Franklin was a bit obscure?
We’ve decided to ignore that completely and choose the songs we want to hear the final four sing, with no Rihanna or Coldplay in sight. In a lot of cases, it involves a bit of a change of style…
What he should be singing: Working on a Building of Love by Chairmen of the Board
Why: Jahmene desperately needs to loosen his tail feather, stop standing stock-still and sing something with a bit of gumption. This 1971 Holland/Dozier/Holland stormer takes care of that, while giving Jahmene plenty of freaky high notes to hit, but without too much of his silly, difficult-poo wibbly stuff. It won’t fall foul of his famous moral censorship either – it’s about love for one’s fellow man, as inspired by Bible teachings.
What he should be singing: The Beautiful Ones by Prince
Why: Despite his successful cover of Let’s Get It On, and tabloid reports that James is on the verge of having to set up some kind of roster to cope with the groupies flooding his hotel room, his voice and tear-jerking back story make him much more suited to slightly angry songs about loves lost. This one would obviously need to be taken down an octave, but it has a great screamy finish.
What he should be singing: Ferry Cross the Mersey by Gerry and the Pacemakers
Why: Christopher’s chances of winning – and let’s not be complacent here, Christopher very much could win The X Factor – rest on him being the only contestant with a strong regional identity. Christopher needs to play on that mercilessly. Alternatively, he should focus on pleasing his other core support: nans. This song does both, horribly well. Be afraid if he sings this.
What they should be singing: Borderline by Madonna
Why: Union J are by far the most difficult to pick for, because they barely have any identity at the moment. They need to be much more fun and – why not? – a bit camper. A bit of Rylan style. Lose the clothing-catalogue stares and the leather jackets, get some colour on and do some early Madonna. Any 80s single will do, but Borderline’s the best one so let’s go with that.
If the Nionj insist on sticking with ballads, at least do a great one: this Northern Soul end-of-the-night classic would get their girl fans all warm and gooey and ready to ring a premium-rate phone line repeatedly.
Look, we’re trying anything now but: the Stones are everywhere at the moment and we can see Union J having a crack at something from the hand-clapping, peacocking-around-the-stage disco era. It’s po-faced but silly, which would suit the boys. George could pretend to play guitar. Actually, we’re coming round to this. Lads! You’ve got nothing to lose!