It's time for me to shamefully admit to something. Every year, I pretend that I couldn't care less about The X Factor/Britain's Got Talent/I'm a Celebrity, but every year I become hooked on at least one of them. This year was the turn of The X Factor (and I'm a Celebrity. Can't recall a bit of this year's BGT). Last Sunday saw Little Mix crowned the show's eight winning act, and first winning group, and they look a dead cert to be number one tomorrow with their not-as-awful-as-expected cover of the beautiful 'Cannonball' by the stupidly underrated yet amazingly brilliant Damien Rice.
Plenty of people have been quick to cry fix this year. From Kelly Rowland's amazing sick voice, to Amelia Lily-gate, there have been plenty of headlines made this year by the ever revolving PR door at Syco HQ but the win by Little Mix has probably topped them all. Yes, a group (a girl group no less) has finally won, but does it really need to have been a fix? Watching all of Little Mix's performances back (I admit that I only got invested on Sunday nights, the main shows went on far too long) it's quite apparent to see why they won. They delivered consistently good performances each week, didn't sound completely dreadful in the vocals department, looked like regular, normal young girls, and won over the elusive teen girl crowd. Although not a fan of their take on EnVogue's 'Don't Let Go' (I realise I'm in the minority here), I was completely in awe of their performances of Nelly Furtado's 'I'm Like a Bird' (a song that has been done to death on reality shows) and especially Katy Perry's 'E.T.'
In my personal, humble, and unwanted opinion, it was their performance of 'E.T.' that won them the show. The vocals were spot on, the dance routine was of a high quality, and the general staging of the performance was, quite simply, breathtaking. Despite favouring Marcus Collins, I was desperate for Little Mix to win. As a group, they would be best suited to the Syco/major record company mould: they would consistently put out catchy songs, fill a niche in the market (there hasn't been a UK number 1 by a girl group since the truly amazing 'The Promise' by Girls Aloud in 2008) and capitalise on the success of the show. Marcus, on the other hand, needed to lose in order to be free from the Simon Cowell chains. He needed to lose in order to prevent himself from becoming the next Steve Brookstein, Leon Jackson, or Joe McElderry (I didn't even have to Google those names! That's true X Factor dedication right there!). I have no doubt that Marcus will follow in the footsteps of JLS and Olly Murs and become highly successful. I just think that Little Mix needed to win in order to succeed.
Having read various interviews featuring the four girls, I've warmed to them quite rapidly over the past two months. Like many, I was absolutely horrified at the sheer outpouring of vile hatred towards Jesy Nelson who, in my opinion, is a perfectly normal looking, healthy individual. The four girls - Jesy, Perrie Edwards, Leigh-Anne Pinnock, and Jade Thirlwall - have an edge about them that The Saturdays et al don't have. To borrow a cliche from Louis Walsh, they're likeable. They don't dress like whores. Each one of them can sing (yes, some better than others, but who cares?! They'll get better as time goes on). Each one of them can dance. They have - from what's been portrayed - excitable, bubbly, down-to-earth personalities. None of them seem the type to send an ex-boyfriend to rehab, or proudly declare that they are the best thing since sliced bread when only two-thirds of them can sing. I'm proudly rooting for Little Mix to do well. So much so, that I actually went out and bought their CD single.
Looking at the other prospective girl group that's been thrown in our faces at the moment - Mathew Knowles' From Above - it's not hard to see where my allegiances lie. From Above recently launched their debut video for their debut song 'Not The Same Girl' and I was ever so slightly horrified. I won't post the link (you can search it up if you're desperate) but I will say one thing: If the roles in that video were reversed and it was a group of men doing to a woman what those five girls are doing to that one man in the video then there would be an uproar. I've grown tired of the girl bands we've had lately: all dolled up, gyrating around in stilletoes and singing pointless drivel. I want a down-to-earth, consistent, talented group that I wouldn't be ashamed to hear my little cousin singing along to on the radio. Yes, Little Mix are a manufactured group, but they're the best hope we have right now. And I, for one, can't wait to see them succeed.