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Alexis Jordan Gig Review

Mark Jorgensen agrees America’s got talent with Jay-Z’s protégé

Written by . Published on July 5th 2011.


Alexis Jordan Gig Review

SIMON Cowell’s Got Talent franchise has multiplied across the globe like an upsetting all-singing, all-dancing social gastro-virus. It usually just provides hundreds of borderline mentalists the chance to realise their life’s ambition of farting Like A Bat Out Of Hell through a kazoo in front of Amanda Holden. However, it’s not without a few success stories along the way, like Susan Boyle.

Being the product of a reprehensibly soulless variety act such as America’s Got Talent, my preconceptions of Alexis Jordan, that she would be the latest pop puppet off Cowell’s conveyor belt, couldn’t have been further from the truth.

Across the pond, the American version has yielded a bonafide pop star in the making through Alexis Jordan. During the show’s first series in 2006, Jordan appeared as a nervous 14-year-old who wowed the nation with her vocal ability and, despite not winning the show, came to the attention of Jay-Z who promptly signed her to his RocNation label.

Now 19 and with her debut single ‘Happiness’ reaching chart success in nine countries, she performed at the Academy Club for the Manchester leg of her tour to promote her self-titled debut album.

The crowd outside was a typical talent show audience, resembling a queue for an under 18s disco. As the doors opened, a wave of teenagers were released, sprinting to reach the front like a drama school battle charge.

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The two support acts on the night were Loic Essien, a clichéd RnB caricature of himself who, despite having a great voice, was all Louis Vuitton belt and little substance. And, the talented and likable Bluey Robinson, who provided a thoroughly enjoyable acoustic set which was almost drowned out by the deafening cacophony of screaming girls.

Between the support and main act there was a long and exhaustive sound check, during which a Johnny Rotten lookalike in the sound booth entertainingly seemed to have his own personal iPod on shuffle with a hilarious disregard for playing any music the majority of the crowd would have ever heard of, let alone liked. Personally I enjoyed the collection of 80s classics and dub but I was in an overwhelming minority. “I wish they’d play some good music, this is doing my head in” the young girl next to me complained to her friend.

After what seemed like eons, I was surprised to see a full live band enter the stage before Alexis appeared, fully clad in leather to a chorus of fans chanting her name.

The rocky, almost Rage against the Machine-like performance from the band to her opener Shout was a million miles away from what I had envisaged the show would be. Her voice was extremely strong and it was actually a bit of a storming opener. Although, I don’t think the backing dancers were really necessary on such a small and intimate stage as their urban ballet style routines were a bit cramped and made the stage too busy.

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After a quick thanks to the fans for their support, she performed album track Hush Hush, which fused straight into Habit and her voice continued to compliment the excellent band.

Jordan continued to interact with the crowd well, commenting in how hot it was in such an intimate venue and seemed to be enjoying the enthusiasm as she moved onto an acoustic version of Say What. It was a stark contrast to the songs prior, slower and more focused around her vocal ability. Although, during this song, a bloke in a gilet and a backwards cap came onto the stage, did an inexplicably bombastic sexual jig around her as she sang, ripped his top off, quick muscle flex, then left never to return. To me it was bizarre but the crowd liked it.

Next, Jordan announced that she was going to tackle Adele’s Someone Like You which I thought was bold if not risky but in using her own slant on the song rather than a karaoke cover it worked well, building up to show her excellent vocal range in the process.

Alexis then brought Bluey Robinson back out, saying that they had been talking during the tour and decided they would like to perform a duet, a cover of Beyonce’s 1+1. Despite the fact I enjoyed both acts individually this was my least favourite part of the night; a slow, lovey and quite boring power ballad which failed to strike a chord with me.

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After a welcome return to the energetic and more rocky approach with final track How do you like me now, she left the stage rather abruptly to coax the crowd into calling for an encore and they duly obliged. After a chanting call for her song, Happiness, Jordan returned with the song which was the most recognisable to me and rounded off the dance number with confetti pouring down over the crowd.

Being the product of a reprehensibly soulless variety act such as America’s Got Talent, my preconceptions of Alexis Jordan, that she would be the latest pop puppet off Cowell’s conveyor belt, couldn’t have been further from the truth. She has all the attributes of being a great all-round pop star with a natural ability to perform and a fantastic voice to boot. Under the astute guidance of Jay-Z’s record label, she has all the makings of a big star.

Throughout this review I’ve intentionally neglected to mention that she is so painstakingly beautiful it was actually annoying. I omitted this detail for the simple fact that it shouldn’t matter, but in the reality of the music industry, it does, and will matter in her favour, like Susan Boyle.

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