Who Will Prove That They Were The One Who Really Had The ‘X Factor’ Afterall? Let’s See What Simon Says!

Posted: December 16, 2013 in Entertainment
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Photo from The X Factor USA “Final 6 Showdown” 12/4/2013

I was forwarded a link to an article from the TV section of Examiner.com entitled “Restless Road, Alex & Sierra, Ellona Santiago, Jeff Gutt: Sony Music deals ahead“, which outlined the possible future prospects of some of the performing acts/competitors on this season’s ‘X Factor USA’ competition, and I felt compelled to write about it.  Or gloat, perhaps.   I’ll quote from this article and add my own comments.

But first, let me say that from the very beginning I believed, and I still do believe, that Ellona Santiago was the very best performer on this season’s show, by far.  Let me reiterate that: By Far.  I’ve proven this from the first article on this blog, “Ellona Santiago Will Win The “X Factor” Competition. Here’s Why:“, to the most recent, “The ‘X Factor’ Final 6 Showdown – Two-Hour Special“, where I critiqued all of the performances during that show and concluded by saying:

My opinion is that Ellona Santiago distinguished herself wonderfully both times that she sang and out-shined all of the other acts.

And now I’m reading an article which states that several of this season’s ‘X Factor’ acts will receive Syco Music recording contracts.  Without further ado, let’s see what Examiner.com’s opinion of these performers is and see if it compares with my own thoughts.

To start off with, the article states that aside from the winning act on ‘X Factor’ each season, “five or six contestant acts” will also receive a recording deal from “Syco Music (the record company co-owned by Simon Cowell and Sony Music)”.  Okay, that sounds reasonable, if the contestant acts are worthy and if they’re considered to be the “Top 6”, or perhaps the six “Most Marketable” acts from the show, they should be good enough to make a recording deal with and sell music.  Then, they list, according to “several insiders”, as the first four:  Restless Road, Alex & Sierra, Ellona Santiago, and Jeff Gutt.

Mind you, these are not the “Final 4” on the show according to fan voting, which was trimmed last week to the Final 3.  The Final 4 was Alex & Sierra, Restless Road, Jeff Gutt, and Carlito Olivero.  In the prior week, Ellona Santiago and Rion Paige were eliminated from the show due to having fewer fan votes.   And, every one of the judges on the show, Simon Cowell, Demi Lovato, Kelly Rowland, and Paulina Rubio, were completely shocked when Ellona’s name was announced first.  In fact, Kelly Rowland was visibly shaken by the announcement.  And afterwards, Demi Lovato expressed her shock by a tweet which said, “What the f  k?!?!?! She should have won!!!”

But, this is about who Simon Cowell/Syco Music thinks is worth a recording deal and Ellona is at least in the Top 4 in his eyes.  Let’s see what else Examiner.com says regarding Simon’s thoughts on the matter.

Restless Road

“Cowell created Restless Road by putting together three teenage male contestants (Colton Pack, Andrew Scholz and Zach Beeken) who originally auditioned for “The X Factor” as solo singers.”

“As Cowell likes to say, there is a “gap in the market” for a new male heartthrob country singing group. Restless Road is basically going to be marketed as One Direction meets Rascal Flatts, regardless of what people think about Restless Road’s singing abilities.”

I like that, “regardless of what people think about [their] singing abilities”.  It’s not about how well they sing, he thinks they’ll be “heartthrobs” for the pre-teen and early teenage girls.  Oh, how cute!  Older people, like late teens and young adults will probably write them off the same way I have, “predictable” and “not inspiring“.  I would add “boring” to my personal list of descriptions, only because they seem to have to have every song they sing with the same “deep toned voice” lead somewhere in the song.  Okay, if I’m part of a band, does that mean that every song MUST have a lead by my bass player?  Enough said.

Alex & Sierra

“With the Grammy-winning male/female folk duo the Civil Wars currently on hiatus, Alex & Sierra will be marketed as the next Civil Wars, but a younger, hipper version.”

“Alex & Sierra have already proved that they have enough fans who will buy their music”.

I have always said that they’ll have a music career, though I’ve also wondered just how far they’ll go.  As one of the judges once said, “Sonny & Cher”, and I also felt they were cute like Donny & Marie.  I’ve also said that they might appear on variety shows or entertaining vacationers on Caribbean cruise ships.  I doubt they’ll make a big splash with their own music because it’s one thing to be spoon-fed music and coaching and a big, national audience on TV where everyone can see you weekly and it’s another thing to be off that stage and without all those advantages and doing original music.  But, they’ll have something.

Now, here’s where Examiner.com discusses Ellona Santiago, but I’ll reserve “the best for last”.

Jeff Gutt

“Cowell and other people who work at major record companies normally don’t like to sign new artists who are over the age of 30, but the fan base of 37-year-old Gutt is too significant to ignore. Insiders say that Gutt is hard-working and extremely likable behind the scenes, so that counts for a lot in Cowell’s world. Cowell also likes a comeback story.”

“Gutt is considered much more marketable than Josh Krajcik” and will replace him because “Krajcik’s Sony Music releases (an EP and an album) have been flops.”

And that means that Jeff’s future releases won’t be flops?  Throughout this entire ‘X Factor’ competition, I have consistently stated that Jeff Gutt was not inspiring and, with one exception, was no better than a cover singer.  He has consistently reminded me of the originals when he sang, therefore, he did not distinguish himself.   The one exception, in my mind, was when he sang “Feeling Good” by Muse during the “Big Band” week, which I felt was outstanding.

And, I have always said that since Jeff’s goal is to be a singer with a rock band, he should FIND a rock band that needs a good lead singer and connect, preferably a band that already is established and has a large enough following.  He could be that good.  But, if he’s thinking of being the “name” of the rock band, with not much established following in the Rock world, will he actually make it?  I’d say “no’.

The Examiner.com article then goes on to briefly discuss the remaining acts who made the final 13 and I’ll only make a few brief comments about them.

Carlito Olivero

The article says that Simon is interested in signing him due to another “gap” in the market and I’ve felt all along that Carlito was talented enough to make a splash in the Latino music world.  My opinion hasn’t changed and I think he might actually get more help from Paulina Rubio in this regard.

Josh Levi

Then the article says that Simon may have some interest in Josh Levi, who could bolster sales in certain markets.

Regarding the remaining acts, Rion Paige, Lillie McCloud, Tim Olstad, Khaya Cohen, Rachel Potter, Sweet Suspense, and Carlos Guevara, the article says that Simon has no interest in signing them.  In almost every case, Simon’s reasons, according to this Examiner.com article, agree with mine.

Rion has a great voice, but no real stage presence and she’s too young at this point.  But, several years in the future she could prove that she’s got a music career ahead of her and that depends on her personal motivation.

Lillie McCloud has a great voice, but she’s too old to sign to a big recording deal at age 54.  She should, however, be able to sing in nice jazz clubs or, as the article points out, “in Broadway musicals or doing the cabaret circuit”.

I always felt that Tim Olstad was “boring”, like “elevator music”, and “easily dismissed” from the start and according to the article Simon agrees.

According to the article, Simon thinks that Khaya Cohen is “boring”.  I was never wowed by her and always felt that she was trying to sing as though she was a 35ish woman rather than a 17-year-old girl and I felt that she just didn’t have any stage presence.

Examiner.com says that Cowell thinks that Rachel Potter is “too old to market as a new country music singer”.  I’ve always wondered if the Country Music establishment would accept someone who “learned” a country voice rather than be born with one since she moved from New York to Tennessee and I doubted that she’d have much of a music career in her future and I still do.

Now, I’ve always thought that Sweet Suspense was better, even much better, than Restless Road and I still do.  However, in terms of marketability, the article says that because Cowell already has “Fifth Harmony”, another group he put together last season, he feels that they “might cannibalize sales for Fifth Harmony”.  And, I wrote that I felt that Sweet Suspense wouldn’t have much of a music career after the show and I still don’t.  At least not yet anyways.

And from the beginning, I felt that Carlos Guevara, regardless of how well he could sing, just didn’t bring anything special to the stage and wouldn’t have much of a music career in the future.

And now, for the pièce de résistance:

Ellona Santiago

The Examiner.com article says, in part:

“She’s considered the most versatile of the “X Factor” U.S. contestants who will get Sony Music deals, and Cowell thinks she has broad international appeal …”

“And don’t be surprised if Santiago gets marketed as an actress too, since she has the makings of being a “triple threat” entertainer who can sing, dance and act.”

“Santiago is also a very hard worker, which is a quality that Cowell loves and … Santiago’s age (she’s 17) is also a major asset”

Well now, I think I see things that I’ve stated all along, right from the beginning.  The main title of my blog is “Ellona Santiago Has The ‘X Factor’” and the title of my first article is “Ellona Santiago Will Win The “X Factor” Competition. Here’s Why:“, so you can imagine that I believe that Ellona is/was the best performer on the show.  But, I also explained in detail why I felt this way.  For example, in my first article, I concluded with:

Ellona Santiago has the voice, the stage presence, the energy, and the Wow Factor to have a truly STAR future in the music business.  Her voice is excellent enough to truly grab your heart when she sang “Clarity”.   She truly makes you stronger when she lifts you up with her “Titanium”.  And, she truly makes you want to be dancing along with her in “Till The World Ends” (and what a great finish!).”

When I wrote, “If You Had To Invest $1 Million On A Potential Music Star, Who Would It Be?“, my third entry in my blog, I concluded with:

Ellona Santiago has the following:  a dynamic voice, a great stage presence, energy, and expressiveness.   In my opinion, she’s proven that she’s not only comfortable on the big stage, but that she owns it.   She is absolutely dynamic and understands how to really use it to bring her audience in.    She’s shown that she can sing and perform, meaning she can dance really well while she’s singing.   And, she’s got the look of a Star, sharp features that sparkle and a winning smile.   Of all of the contestants on the X Factor, only Ellona Santiago seems to be the one who would be worth the investment.   She’s got the drive and the commitment to do what needs to be done.   She’s got the style to garner mass-appeal and that means sales, ROI.  And, from watching her interviews and when she speaks with the judges on the show, she seems to pull people in with her friendliness, a real advantage when speaking with others who have pull in the music business.   As the saying goes, “It’s who you know”.  And that means more positive publicity which then helps drive the fans to her, meaning, of course, more sales.”

Is it possible that Simon Cowell agrees with me?  I think I pointed it out in my second article, “Does Simon Cowell Think That Ellona Santiago Is “The One” With The “X Factor”? Let’s Review The Videotape!”  Maybe he’s been secretly reading my blog … and I wouldn’t blame him.  If he’s interested, he can hire me as a talent consultant, for a not-so-nominal fee, of course!

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