Alexandra Burke - 'Bad Boys'
It's tempting to imagine that Alexandra was especially well-prepared for her time on the X-Factor, simply because of her name. You see, back in the middle ages, to call someone 'a berk' was an insult (well, okay, it was used when my parents were growing up, though that's close enough), which must have made school interesting. Bullying is hard enough to deal with when it's done by children, but their PARENTS?
Anyway, now this one lady is single handedly redefining what it means to be a burke, and ironically - given the bullying thing - it's all thanks to 'Bad Boys'.
(Here's the video - note, it is terrible and features some VERY questionable dance moves, but man, she looks amazing.)
Yes, it's Alexandra's first 'proper' single. I say proper, because to my mind, no WAY did 'Hallelujah' count (I'm sorry, but no one will ever do it better than Jeff Buckley and more to the point, ummm, did she just do a Leona-meets-Snow-Patrol on us? If I'd voted I would have demanded my money back).
'Bad Boys' is a classic example of the X Factor machine whirring into motion. It's a big pop song, with a sassy R&B vibe, a big production and an even bigger chorus - but with so much to prove, there was no way Alexandra would be allowed to release anything less than brilliant. And, despite its 'oooh, I think I've heard it before' recognisability and its strategic flaws (more on that later), this song is exactly that: Brilliant.
It's also a bit of a safe song for Alexandra. It's very contemporary, fits right in and ticks all the boxes. This can be forgiven, because it not only fits in but raises the bar for the Saturdays, Sugababes et al with a massive, catchy chorus, Alexandra's strong voice and that little twinkly bit at the bridge.
One thing that can't be forgiven though is Flo Rida. Urgh. Why is he even involved? His input is ridiculous and totally unnecessary; it's such a blatantly strategic attempt at breaking the American market it makes me want to barf. Interestingly though, it doesn't ruin the song at all - it's like you can listen to it, switch off at the rap bit, and tune back in for the big fat chorus. Great for Alexandra, perhaps not so much for Flo Rida.
It's impossible not to compare this to 'Bleeding Love' which was 2007 X Factor winner Leona Lewis' first single. 'Bad Boys' is good and modern, slotting neatly into the charts and giving people a good excuse to sing along and dance, but will it be a long laster and the 'modern day classic' that James Cordon called 'Bleeding Love'? Doubtful. But sometimes good songs don't have to be about longevity, they can be about the moment.
And right now, it's Alexandra's moment and no one, not a bad boy, not a Flo Rida, not even a Cheryl Cole, is gonna take that away... 'ooh wah'.