Backstage With Bella

Ahead Of The Game

So Lucy Spraggan did well on the X Factor didn’t she? All she needed was one audition, a moment in the spotlight, and now her single’s number two on the iTunes singles chart. No wonder X Factor is making her take the album down – she did in five minutes what Britain’s biggest talent show sets out for a whole series.

Remember how I said there’d be a Twitter storm? After Saturday night’s X Factor performance Lucy Spraggan’s Twitter follower count ten folded, going from around 2,000 to 21,000 and today she boasts another 20,000 on top of that. Celebrities like Cher Lloyd, Gary Barlow and Professor Green tweeted their love for the girl who got #BeerFear trending worldwide (the song is actually called “Last Night”) and she zoomed straight into national news (The Mirror even discovered she is gay, well done!).

It’s been one crazy, yet well deserved, weekend of praise for the 20 year old from Buxton who updated her Facebook status with the single word “anxious” hours before the show. “What The Fuck” was the status to follow the overwhelming reaction.

With the X Factor auditions having been filmed months ago, I know Lucy had been looking forward to the airing of it with great nerves and expectation. (Knowing Mel B loves you must be a pretty hard secret to keep.)

The music industry is notoriously tough and the general public is worse. Still, a public response like this no one could have anticipated, not even X Factor.

I remember when Lucy first told me she might go on the show. Having seen previous show contestants get moulded into something they were not, I must admit I was sceptical to begin with.

Going on the X Factor can be quite a risk to take for a young artist. Right now the audience loves Lucy’s originality (my email app is constantly notifying me of new YouTube messages for her) but will they still do so tomorrow?

In Lucy’s case it is clear she just needed that short time in the limelight to get all the recognition that she deserves but having signed up to X Factor she now faces Rock Week, 80s week and whatever else the show decides to throw her way.

Traditionally talented artists get a lot of stick for being unable to perfect Hanson, Alice Cooper and Mariah Carey songs after a week’s worth of practise and favourites come and go as the show hunts for the artist likely to sell most records.

Speaking of which, many were shocked to hear that Lucy already had an album out.

“Surely X Factor is meant to be all about new talent,” is what people seemed to say whilst her album climbed the iTunes chart. Landing on chart spot number two, just under last year’s X Factor winner Little Mix, and that within just two days, Lucy ran a tad ahead of schedule.

Good call, Lucy. Ouch, X Factor.

But looking at the transformation that the show has had this year, the development is hardly surprising. Not only are more established artists appearing in the auditions (how many of the finalists actually spend a long day queuing before getting through, I don’t know) but there is more focus on fewer individuals already from start.

We’ve seen an even greater increase in sob stories, mockery (the cynical part of me wants to think that the girl singing P!nk last week actually was told to do just that) and what looks like scripted or at least arranged conversations between contestants*. You know those pre audition clips, shot from different angles, showing contestants having coffee backstage (“Hey, what’s your name? I’m so nervous!”). Yeah, those.

Now the show comes across more like LA Ink than a talent show and watching Ryan Clark’s performance last week even made it feel like TOWIE wasn’t that far off.

In the usual flow of “comedic”/terrible and half decent contestants wailing their guts out, Lucy and her handwritten song appeared like a light of hope in a night of tone deaf crickets. Although it was a correct portrayal, this was clearly intended from X Factor’s side with the fairly talented girl going on before Lucy being given a heartbreaking no. Still, I doubt the producers counted on Lucy’s hard work with constant touring previous to the competition paying off so well.

Climbing radio charts across the UK ever since her TV performance, Lucy yesterday told Facebook users she would have to take her successful album down:

“Oh dear :( the album is coming offline guys, in preparation for some things coming up… Not my call to make, get it while you can!”

A tweet confirmed it today.

”My album will be removed in the next 48 hours my friends. Thank you so much again.”

Something clearly didn’t go to plan when a nation decided they loved the clever songwriter more than they did the show she went on.

The question now is whether X Factor will be able to showcase Lucy’s talent, writing witty, clever songs, or if they will make her sing Rihanna covers, making her and a nation with her resent the show altogether.

Could it be that X Factor has bitten off more than it can chew?

*I don’t know that this is true. But it sure looks like it.

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