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X Factor Finalists 2010 - 'Heroes'

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:45 UK time, Sunday, 21 November 2010

X Factor

Simon Cowell is a very literal man, isn't he? When he wanted to get the X Factor finalists to sing a song of support to the children at Great Ormond Street hospital, he went with 'You Are Not Alone'. When the following year's crop got behind the Help For Heroes charity - which supports the needs of servicemen and women who have been injured in the line of duty - they chose Mariah Carey's 'Hero'.

Now we're getting David Bowie's 'Heroes', and presumably next year we'll get either 'Time for Heroes' by the Libertines, 'Search for the Hero' by M People, 'Weak Become Heroes' by the Streets, Enrique Iglesias's 'Hero', Chad Kroeger's 'Hero', 'Calling All The Heroes' by It Bites or 'Help!' by the Beatles.

A LOT to look forward to there, I trust you'll agree.

(No video. You'll see it tonight.)

And credit where credit is due, even though this does feature the classic Westlife key change, even though it does start relatively small and intimate and grow into something huge, like always, and even though it is essentially a big-hearted bit of spinoff merch from a TV show - if you don't watch it, you've no idea who is who and no reason to care either - this is one of the better re-imaginings of classic old rock tunes that Mr Cowell has been involved in.

Granted, that's like saying the Fondant Fancy is one of the better sunday roasts that Mr Kipling has been involved in, but still, no sense in being snippy unduly.

It's partly the lyric, which really does demand a restrained delivery in the verses. You can't go melisma crazy all over the shop with a line like "I, I wish I could swim like dolphins can swim", people will be rushing to bring you flippers because they think you're that desperate.

And even when the bomb does go off at the end, it's not with all the pomp and ceremony that usually happens. Yes it's big and blowy and show-offy and muscular, but some punches have been pulled, and for this we really should be grateful.

And also, it's nice that they left that swooping, seagull-like e-bow guitar in from the original. That's a lovely bit of tasty "axe-work", right there.

Three starsDownload: Out later on

(Fraser McAlpine)


  • Comment number 1.

    I'm of the feeling that if your gonna do a cover of a song let alone a classic such as this you should be a standout artist in your own right to come even marginally close so this years average to say the least attempt is ovbiously a total and utter disaster i know its for charity but my god its literally like a form of torture please simon stop ruining really really good song because you dont understand the importance of songs or good music.

  • Comment number 2.

    "supports the needs of servicemen and women who have been injured in the line of duty - they chose Enrique's 'Hero'".

    They released Mariah's 'Hero'. And am I missing something? I can't find this song anywhere?

  • Comment number 3.

    Grrr... Fraser... there's a song I want you to review.

    I'll give you a clue, it's currently number one on iTunes.

  • Comment number 4.

    No Nicolo, so I'm not happy.

  • Comment number 5.

    And here was me thinking 'Your song' could possibly reach number one next week because it's number one on iTunes.

    How was it not number one on the real chart this week? It was number one on itunes from Wednesday to Sunday and it moved up from 4 on the chart update... to 3 on Sunday.

    And now it gets replaced by 'X factor Finalists 2010 Heroes'. I don't even watch the show and can tell it will be some absoloute rubbish.

    They did the exact same song 2 years ago I swear?!

    Forget this. What the hell does Ellie have to do to get a number one single?

  • Comment number 6.


    It's back at number one!!!!

    Seems imposs-i-bal-i-lal-i-lal but a number one could now happen...

  • Comment number 7.

    I don't think iTunes is fully up to date. Even if it is, X Factor will have tons of physical sales anyway so it's still pretty much guaranteed no.1.

  • Comment number 8.


    Seriously, I didn't mind the other charity singles but this is just a step too far, doesn't help that I'm a massive David Bowie fan. My biggest is problem is the fact that the lyrics don't even feel revelant to what they're raising money for, the original song was entitled 'Heroes' with quotation marks for a reason because it was ironic, a song about a couple meeting secretly by the Berlin wall doesn't really scream 'HELP THE SOLDIERS' does it.

    My other problem is how cheap the backing track feels, in the original version Bowie and Brian Eno spent time carefully crafting a wall of sound that gives the song the force it has, instead Cowell & Co simply through on some strings and a chior to create the same effect. It makes the song sound weak and lame in comparison.

    I'm actually generally shocked and disappointed that Bowie allowed this to even be recorded. I fully support raising money for charity but they surely could've done it in a more dignified way.

    0 STAR

  • Comment number 9.

    Also, with no input from Wagner, Paije's exit from X Factor last night has officail comfirmed it to be a joke in my eyes. The repeated saving of Katie was bad enough but at least she sang reasonably well in the sing offs, there is no way that Paije sang worse than Cher in that sing off and it's sad to see him go.

  • Comment number 10.

    I no but harry paije isn't as marketable as say cher even though shes a complete dweeb shes still gonna appeal and i no Ellie for number 1 down with Xfactor

  • Comment number 11.

    Welcome to my world, Harry! When Aiden left, I was seriously shocked at how it affected me!

    And I concur wholly with your sentiments on this song, I think Simon seriously mistook the meaning of the song, and decided to record it just because of the hook line "We can be heroes".

    The original is far better in my eyes, and whilst this is easily the most tolerable cover X Factor have ever done, you do get the feeling it's because of the original artist's efforts and absolutely nothing to do with the finalists, don't you?

    Mind you, Aiden sounds great on it. 8D

  • Comment number 12.

    Back at number one on iTunes :(

    Come on Ellie... we want you to get a number one and we also want X factor to Fail.

  • Comment number 13.

    The people on X factor don't really have the names for singing either if you know what I mean.

  • Comment number 14.

    I agree, but in all honesty, this time two years ago you could have the same thing about Susan Boyle, and look where she is now.

  • Comment number 15.

    How much money is this likely to raise for charity? Probably about 0.1% of Simon Cowell's bank account. But he just loves to pull a big stunt like this because he wants to be seen as a hero, and of course to give his X Factor puppets an easy no.1, which is what the show is all about.

    And anyway, why should people need a gimmick like this to donate to our armed forces? It's almost insulting. If these now-annual X Factor charity singles really were primarily about raising money, they would agree to make them exempt from the charts. But as I said, we know Cowell just wants to give his puppets a free no.1, and they will get all excited about THAT (rather than the money raised) on Sunday's show after the charts are announced. Just another ego trip for the puppetmaster.

  • Comment number 16.

    It'll be a true test to who the real artists are: those who do not act surprised when it reaches #1; those who know of Simon Cowell's manipulative powers; they're the ones who see what he's doing, and they're the ones who, in the future, will look back and think of '"Heroes"' hitting #1 in the dimmest light possible, because they know that it's not really their #1, it's Simon's.

    I doubt anyone who buys this single could name all 16 acts who performed it (without the help of Wikipedia, of course).

  • Comment number 17.

    I couldn't name any of them without seeing the list!

  • Comment number 18.

    I still don't get how they can use the whole 'Cher's more marketable' to justify their decision this week purely because Cher was in the bottom 2. She's obviously not marketable/popular enough to keep herself safe from harm so why not just put through the better singer. I'm now glad I supported Wagner from the start.

  • Comment number 19.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 20.

    Oh looks like I'm not allowed to insult X-Factor. Well then I'm insulting the Moderators... I hate them!!!

  • Comment number 21.

    That's strange. I've made my (often very strong) views on X Factor clear many times on this blog and still (touch wood) never had a comment removed! I did read your comment, can't remember it all off the top of my head, but I don't recall anything jumping out at me as being over the mark. Maybe I missed something, I dunno.

    Anyway, regarding said comment, I'm glad you've seen the light :) Up until this series I did watch X Factor for the entertainment of it, and truth be told, when I was a young teenager I did used to see it as a genuine singing contest - then I grew up and snapped out of it. It was a bit of fun for a while, but it's become SO ridiculous and contrived that now it's not even worth watching at all, and what it's doing for music is so shamelessly despicable, and I can't ignore that side of it.

    Anyway, I hope that Wagner bloke wins. That would finish the show off for good. Did you see those stories in the press yesterday about how he's apparently doing on the show? (I'm treading carefully here, don't want to risk getting flagged). Very encouraging, although I can't help thinking they might not be true, and just been put out as a desperate tactic to get people complacent about things. Hmmm.

  • Comment number 22.

    @ 20

    LOL. Genius

  • Comment number 23.

    I don't care if this gets flagged - at least a few will know.

    Wagner Carrilho has consistantly been in the Top 3 for voting numbers since the live shows started.

  • Comment number 24.

    Yeah, that's what I was trying to say ;) But as I said, I reckon it could just be a tactical bit of reverse psychology from Cowell or someone else on the show to make us believe he's safe so people ease off voting for him so much. Hope not though.


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