Diary of an old cheeser

Hi there! Like other blogs, this is my chance to wax lyrical (some might say talk utter cr*p) about a) what's happening in my life b) all of my pet obsessions in particular music, tv, movies, books and other generally connected things, quite often of the retro, old and "cheesy" variety. Hence the title of my blog. Feel free to leave a comment if the mood takes you. There's nothing like a good chinwag about one's favourite topics and besides I love to meet new people! Cheers, Simon

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Hackney girl

So, Leona Lewis is the winner of X Factor. A justifiable victory in my opinion. I've watched the show quite a bit over the last few months, although my hubbie is the biggest fan of the both of us - he loves watching all the divas belting it out across their multi-octave ranges. Leona seems to fit very much into the Mariah Carey school of vocalists but has an undeniably impressive voice. In the Final tonight, she performed some very good renditions of a few old favourites. Her version of "A Million Love Songs" was I think even better than the original and an added bonus was the surprise appearance of Take That with whom she shared vocals. It worked really well. Leona also did "All By Myself" a song that surely appeals to drama queens everywhere. She used a good technique of starting off with a quiet, understated vocal before erupting into a final, ball-busting "DON'T WANNA BE ALL BY MYSEEEEELF ANYMOOOOORRRREEE!!!" that almost blew the roof off - yet she held every note perfectly. Personally I didn't understand all the fuss about fellow contestant Ray, who couldn't hold a candle to Leona in the singing stakes. Okay, so he's quite cute and has a certain charm that probably appeals to housewives and grannies across the country, but his performances just didn't have the impact of Leona's, preferring to go for old-fashioned Rat Pack type tunes. He's safe, conservative and pretty dull.

Having said that, I can't help wondering if Leona will be moulded into just another Mariah clone. With a voice as amazing as her's, she needs original and challenging material, not bland, insipid love songs with cliched lyrics that you've heard a zillion times before. Unfortunately, her debut single, which premiered at the end of tonight's show, wasn't anything particularly special and was a classic case of the record company wanting to quickly capitalise on her success. Hopefully with time Leona will get better material that really allows her shine as a singer. After all, Will Young managed to rise about his bland beginnings and is now producing some quite good stuff.

One promising thing about Leona (and something the judges and everyone else kept commenting on) is how down-to-earth and self-effacing she seems. A NICE girl. It's a refreshing change to see a great female vocalist who is not a stuck-up prima donna or diva, in the vein of J-Lo or Diana Ross. Let's hope that success doesn't go to young Leona's head and she starts demanding that her hotel room is entirely redecorated for a one-night only stay, or expects rose petals to be strewn in her path, wherever she goes. She's from Hackney and it would do her good not to forget her roots. Then again, Naomi Campbell was from Streatham and look what happened to her ... But somehow I think Leona is different and genuine. Hope so, anyway.


  • At 12:38 am , Blogger matty said...

    I miss Miss Ross. I wonder what she is up to these days?

    Has DREAMGIRLS opened in the UK yet? It features a great performance from an "Amerian Idol" drop-out. ...the US version of Pop Idol missed the boat on that young woman. She is awesome!

  • At 8:13 pm , Blogger Old Cheeser said...

    Matty - Miss Ross' musical output seems minimal these days, I think she's more or less retired from the scene. As far as I can remember, the last time she made major headlines was that occasion when she accused airport security staff of going to far with their "body search". Probably the most exciting thing that had happened to her in a long time, poor cow.

    Aaaah, I've heard all about "Dreamgirls". I would love to see it (would have liked to have seen the stage version too!) The whole girl-band rise to fame thing appeals lots to me and I hear it's based on The Supremes! No the film hasn't opened here yet, I hear it's just come out in the US? I will watch out for the American Idol woman - what is her name?

    There's one song from the musical that I love - "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going". A song for all divas everywhere with totally amazing vocals!

  • At 6:12 am , Blogger matty said...

    I saw the play back in the 80's when it toured to Texas. I loved that one number, but I thought the play was kind of weak. However, the film "sparkles" as they say.

    It is currently showing here in limited release. Tix are really high for a movie. Here in San Francisco it is playing in one cinema and it $25 a seat -- only showing 3 times a day. It opens limited in the big cities on the coasts Xmas Day.

    I was thinking it might have already opened in the UK.

    Poor, poor Miss. Ross. ...this is what she gets for holding up the DVD release of MAHOGANY and denying of all that grande camp!

  • At 1:08 pm , Blogger Old Cheeser said...

    I'm pretty sure it hasn't opened here yet, US films normally premiere in their home country don't they? But it will be on my list of "must see" films, definitely.

    Have never seen "Mahogany", I heard it was a bit of a trash classic. I really enjoyed "Call Her Miss Ross", the unauthorised biography - a real, juicy read. Your estimation of her goes down rapidly when you read it - she was such a bitch to the other Supremes!


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