So, ‘The Voice’ has thrown its hat into the proverbial ring of reality powerhouses and appears intent on removing the shallow attitude and comic spin seen on similar shows, but is this really the first time we have seen true, relevant talent come through such competitions? I take a look at some previous contestants that have managed to buck the trend and even stir the hips of the hipsters themselves.
The seventh season of the X-Factor produced the likes of One Direction and Matt Cardle, but drowned out by the likes of the very talented Wagner and the much-loved Katie Waissel was the slightly haunting and demonic Aiden Grimshaw. From the off it was clear Grimshaw didn’t quite fit into the generic X-Factor mould of pub singer with cheeky good looks, he was far too busy being a very impressive vocalist and devilishly handsome bugger to boot.
A few years later, One Direction have taken over the planet and Matt Cardle is still painfully average but Aiden Grimshaw has sprung up from nowhere and released an absolute barnstormer. His first single ‘Is This Love’ blends Grimshaw’s spellbinding vocals with a drum ‘n’ bass backdrop, which could squirm its way into the charts. The track is so far removed from the usual mindless pop released from his reality show counterparts (which I love by the way), and for that reason it will be hard for even the most ardent ‘haters’ to look down on this rising star.
Now, there are not enough superlatives in the world to describe how much I love Lisa Mitchell. Appearing on season four of Australian Idol, she finished sixth with her confused mix of Billy Idol tracks and Coldplay numbers. Her fragile stage presence and clear passion for writing represented an individual that was probably a bit lost in the world of national television. Flashes of pure brilliance were too few are far between and Mitchell’s exit reflected her inexperience rather than a lack of talent.
Since the show in 2006, the English-born singer/songwriter has found her own identity and has produced singles and EP’s of utter brilliance. Although she has struggled to gain any real chart success in her homeland or overseas, Mitchell continues to churn out delicate, melodic numbers that charm their way deep into your brain, nestling in for a substantial stay. As well as her incredibly haunting rendition of Dire Straits’ ‘Romeo and Juliet’ you may also like to look up ‘Coin Laundry’ and ‘Neopolitan Dreams’. Smashing.
Rounding off the big three of the Idol, X-Factor and Got Talent trio is reggae singer Cas Haley, a contestant on America’s Got Talent season 2. Finishing second in one of the world’s biggest talent competitions should mean he is shunned by everyone who believes they are above the lyrical genius of Cher Lloyd but Cas Haley is much more than your usual variety show star.
His perfect rendition of Sting’s ‘Walking on the moon’ was enough to show the world how much raw talent he had and his duet with UB40 in the final is television gold regardless of performance quality. Haley has continued to write, cover and record tracks since his exit and as his star dwindles, I thought I would remind some people of just how good he really is. His dulcet reggae tones and expert guitar playing is enough to prove he is one very talented, and somewhat rotund, man.