Don't know if you've been following this season's X-Factor – the UK's version of American Idol – but you can catch highlights of the show on the X-Factor channel on YouTube. The contestant making headlines this season is a 24-year-old classically-trained Welsh opera vocalist named Rhydian Roberts. However, he's no Paul Potts clone. He's really unlike anything you've likely seen before. Decked out in sequined suits and a platinum-blonde pompadour, and channeling, at once, Pavarotti, Liberace, and Blade Runner-era Rutger Hauer, he singlehandedly turns X-Factor from a cheesy talent show to a Vegas-style Aryan pep rally whenever he performs. (Leni Riefenstahl would have simply creamed her knickers over this lad.) Check out his "is-he-serious?" version of Pink's dance hit, "Get This Party Started." Not even Dame Shirley could rock a white fur coat like that!
And if you expected the likes of Simon Cowell to be appalled by him, guess again. He loves him, contrary to press reports. Simon says that Rhydian’s talent is almost "world-class." After Rhydian's commanding performance of "The Phantom of the Opera," co-judge Louis Walsh raved, "There are one or two people in this competition who are head and shoulders above everybody. You are one of them. You've got star quality, you've got stage presence, and this show is gonna change your life!" Wow, why not just ordain him the winner already?
Like most winners of this show, he'll likely sell a sh*tload of records in Europe and be totally irrelevant here in America. We tend not to like schtick over here, as Jake Shears will admit. Moreover, we like our pop stars to be "one of us," not some self-satisfied twerp stalking the stage like a military dictator. (It's the reason why we ignored – and will continue to ignore – Robbie Williams.) Rhydian has an incredible voice, yes, but he's also a classical singer slumming it in pop, and his disdain for the music is evident every moment he's on stage. He makes for entertaining TV, though. And as long as he keeps taking pops at Sharon Osbourne in the press, he's good for something.
Oh well, we can laugh and point until he goes away.
Last year's X-Factor champ, Leona Lewis, maintains her hold atop the UK's singles chart for the second week. Take That continues to maintain pace as a runner-up, and their Irish rivals, Westlife, debut at No. 3 with a remake of Michael Bublé's "Home."
In other news:
- Dame Shirley Bassey was mugged in London!(Daily Mail)
- The underwhelming new Spice Girls single now has a video. Reportedly, a sequence involving Victoria Beckham was edited out because it was "too sexy," which I find hard to believe. Meanwhile, The Mirror says that Posh has been ordered to put some meat on her bones. Also: preview the 2008 Spice Girls calendar!
- A sober Pete Doherty says he's "mourning" his drug habit."I think I miss it [drugs] a bit. After years of entrenched drug abuse, you have a mourning period. I know it's a bit sad, but I'm in mourning. I'm in mourning for an armful." (NME)
- Photos of Amy Winehouse as a teenager, i.e. before she was a junkie. She resembles the young Laura Nyro.(Daily Mail)
- OK, Kimberley Walsh from Girls Aloud is quite literally becoming Mariah Carey. (Daily Mail)
- Radiohead's first six albums will be released as a box set on December 10th.(NME)
- Imagine paying, I dunno, thousands of dollars on flights to London and hotels just so you can see Led Zeppelin…only to have the show pushed two weeks because of Jimmy Page‘s mysterious “finger injury.” Fans are letting their fury known over at NME.com.
- Duran Duran's collaboration with producer Justin Timberlake has resulted in "the strongest thing they have put out since their 1992 comeback smash, Ordinary World." Or so says The Times' Rober Sandall.