I have been sitting here tonight in tears.
I don’t cry generally. Not about ‘real stuff’, not with pain (well it has to be pretty bad) and rarely for myself … but I am afflicted with a gene which sees me howl like a baby at the most inane things. Like horse races where a rank outsider comes home to pip them at the post. Or in a kids’ cartoon movie, where the hero comes through. Or in blinking reality shows, where some dude who seems like he can barely string two words together suddenly comes to life on stage…
Someone like this guy…
If you haven’t seen the Australian X-Factor show this season, you may not know of whom I speak. This bloke is a 30-something year old who unashamedly lives with his parents, who hit the wall in many sections of his life, and had given up his musical dreams five years ago. As he says in his own words (in his blog):
“I had to shake off 10-15 years of constant rejection.” (Read the rest of his profile – it’s quite a story).
This guy forgot the lyrics of his songs almost EVERY time he sang in the early episodes of the show. How the heck he got through those first few rounds, I’ll never really know.
But he did – and a gent called Ronan Keating had a lot to do with that…
Ronan (an X-Factor judge and mentor and a superstar in his own right) BELIEVES in Altiyan – it’s a belief that has endured through lots of false starts and seemingly strange behaviour (he retreated to a cave on night and no-one could find him for rehearsal). Ronan’s single-minded belief has lifted his protege so far above what he THOUGHT he could do. It infected Altiyan. And then it seems to have infected everyone else. Certainly me. The guy inhabits a song.
Don’t get me wrong – I adore Sally Chatfield with my entire heart. The girl has a VOICE and she is so sweet in her punk way, I could literally bundle her up and take her home. She melts me.
And 18-year-old Andrew sings like James Taylor – I will be among the first to line up for his album when it comes out. I could listen to his voice all day long…
But the sheer unabashed passion, rock appeal (I am a closet rock chick from WAAAAYYY back) and – you know I am going to say it – the X-Factor (in my humble opinion) is owned by the man above. It made me feel so weirdly proud that this week – the final – he just seemed to relax and OWN the applause at the end of the song. He always seemed on the verge of breaking down til now. In utter disbelief.
He even sang with the great INXS tonight – a match made in heaven, maybe? (There are rumours flying around but those shoes of the late MH are awfully intimidating to fill – and I reckon this guy needs some gentle encouragement along the way…)
Tomorrow night is the Grand Finale with the naming of the winner. I’ll be interested to see who wins, but honestly all three finalists appeal to very different corners of the market… I would be amazed if they don’t all go on to great careers. And whether Altiyan ends up as lead singer of a legendary rock band, or leads his own band on stage, I just know the world will find a special place for this man who had (not so long ago) given up.
It’s just a great story.
How about you?
- Have you watched the show?
- Who do you love? (Or as my American friends would say: Who’re you rooting for?)
- Who would you prefer to watch perform live?
- Whose music would you choose to play at home?
Totally interested in your answers…
NB All photos from the official X-Factor Australia site.