Tim: Turns out that X Factor winner Joe McElderry’s spent the past nine months turning into Mika, as demonstrated by his first proper single Ambitions (a cover of Donkeyboy’s song from last year), which debuted on Radio 1 on Sunday evening.
Tom: I have to own up here: I haven’t heard the original version, so at least I can’t complain that he’s ruined a song.
That’s not a Mika-style introduction – I was expecting some deep gravelly voice to kick in, or perhaps even Gerard Way in Black Parade mode. Once I got over the fact that he’s a few octaves higher than I expected, it started to come together.
Tim: I think it’s rather brilliant, over all. Obviously not Hera Björk brilliant, but very enjoyable nonetheless. Also, unlike Alexandra Burke’s Bad Boys, it hasn’t got…oh, I won’t go into that again.
Tom: Huh. “Flo Rida”. “Florida”. I just got that. There’ll be a female version of him called “Miss Ouri” soon, you watch.
Tim: Seriously? Wow. Anyway, now I’ll go into Simon Cowell mode, because it’s appropriate. Is it the best song ever? Of course not. Is the ending a little bit drawn out? Perhaps. Could it do without the rather irritating hissing that permeates most of it? Definitely.
Tom: The hissing is probably YouTube compression, to be fair.
Tim: Afraid not – I’ve checked the original broadcast (which yes, I know is also compressed, but not as much), and it’s on there as well. Anyway, is it the best X Factor debut song for quite some time, possibly even bettering Bleeding Love? One million per cent yes.
Tom: It seems very much by-the-numbers, which I suppose is a strange complaint from someone who generally likes by-the-numbers music. So I went and listened to the original Donkeyboy version, and that doesn’t trigger this complaint in my head: perhaps it’s not so overproduced as, well, everything that disembarks the 3:45 from Cowellville.
Tim: See, I love the overproduction on it – I did like the original a lot, and what they’ve added on top here just, well, adds to it, brilliantly. I will accept, however, that the video for Donkeyboy’s version is very very good indeed, and that Joe’s is very unlikely to match up.
This version just seems… empty. I can only assume that Simon Cowell has feasted on Joe’s soul.
It’s what the man does best.