Last night saw pop contest X-Factor pay tribute to seminal post-punk band Joy Division, as each of the remaining finalists sought to impress judges and public alike with interpretations of their favourite tracks by the influential Manchester combo.
One Direction, the last remaining group, kicked things off with what the judges agreed was a ‘modern, relevant, and tasteful’ version of Love Will Tear Us Apart, finishing with each of them climbing onto a stool as nooses were lowered from above – a nod to the circumstances surrounding the suicide of Joy Division’s lead singer, Ian Curtis, in 1980.
‘It was a heart-breaking performance, and not a single doo-wop out of place,’ said Simon Cowell. ‘As you stood on those stools and sang, I think everyone watching would have understood just how Ian Curtis felt that night.’
The Ian Curtis leitmotif continued in the choreography of the next number with Rebecca Ferguson applying her likeability factor to Transmission, surrounded by two dozen dancers simulating synchronised epileptic seizures. She was followed by Cher Lloyd making She’s Lost Control her own, bringing the track right up to date with her inimitable rap stylings. ‘I could see that being a hit record tomorrow,’ said Cheryl Cole, ‘at least in the miserabilist-rap crossover chart.’
‘The one to beat’, Matt Cardle, then wowed the audience with a slowed down 11-minute version of Atmosphere, receiving a standing ovation from all four judges. But controversy followed Mary Byrne’s operatic rendition of In a Lonely Place, with Simon Cowell accusing Mary’s mentor, Louis Walsh, of bending the rules in his song choice by using a New Order track on Joy Division night.
The evening was rounded off in style, first by Katie Waissel delivering a restrained version of Dead Souls which Dannii Minogue felt ‘captured perfectly Curtis’s toneless baritone’, and then Wagner ‘nailing’ his reggae medley of Atrocity Exhibition, Leaders of Men and These Days. ‘I think even Ian Curtis would have been tapping his foot to that one,’ gushed his mentor Louis Walsh.
With the music of an alternative British group making last night such a success, producers have wasted no time in announcing the theme of next week’s show. ‘Next time: it’s Bauhaus!’
20th November 2010