Well this was a surprise! Third-placed in last year’s X-Factor, Amelia Lily made herself known in the show for her powerful voice and penchant for Kelly Clarkson covers. As a wildcard, voted back into the contest by the public, she outperformed expectations and made it to the final.
Success for the winners of X-Factor is far from guaranteed, longevity of their careers even less so. This guarantee dwindles yet further as you get further from that winning position. Still, there are plenty of exceptions to that rule, and it’s often the case that a runner-up is the biggest act of the series (e.g. Olly Murs – 2nd to Joe McElderry, JLS – 2nd to Alexandra Burke, One Direction – 3rd to Matt Cardle).
So on this thin ice, sullen-faced but colourful-haired Amelia Lily makes her debut. The striking thing is how dancey it is, considering her apparent leaning towards pop-rock. Not that it’s going for a dance anthem, it’s more of a subtle synth-heavy wash of a pop song. Think a vaguely dancier sound to The Killers.
Her voice sounds oddly familiar though, in fact the whole thing feels a bit like latter-day Girls Aloud now I think about it. Maybe that’s why I like it so much. Much like Nadine’s foghorn vocals, she doesn’t have a lot of subtlety to her voice, and seems to belt out the vocals to keep afloat in the busy soundscape.
The verses could easily be from a Kelly Clarkson record, even if the music doesn’t quite match up. But the chorus is where it all comes together, even though it’s very repetitive. You can get away with that sort of thing more with dance tracks, people aren’t paying much attention to the lyrics I suppose. It’s got a bit of a sad tone to it all, not QUITE a relationship failing, but all is not well. Gives a bit of substance to the track anyway, and the overall effect is surprising and catchy.
I’ve certainly heard worse from X-Factor runners-up, and after its surprise debut (which outpeaked 2nd place finalist Marcus Collins), I wonder what the plan is from here. Hopefully she’s not going for a kamikaze album release in the busiest time of the year, that really WOULD be a recipe for disaster.