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AMAZEPOP Issue 06 Editor & Head Writer SHAUN KITCHENER Contributors ROBIN DARKE NATALIE LESTER ALEX MACGREGOR www.amazepop.co.uk www.twitter.com/amazepop

HOLLER. Welcome to AMAZEPOP. One of the best popstars currently at work is featured on the front cover of this month’s issue, and the corresponding interview makes for a right interesting read. It’s the one and only Diana Vickers - back after a three-year hiatus with a stunning new album and a handful of new acting projects. But she’s not the only pop legend we’re chatting to this month - there’s also the one and only Shane Filan, talking candidly about his next steps after Westlife, his widely-reported financial troubles and his new solo material. With The X Factor back on the go, we’ve also got a poll of the best contestants of all time. Two fanbases in particular were very active in rallying support; with mentions on fan forums, Twitter and Tumblr driving their idols into first and second places respectively. Check out the results - they’re very interesting indeed. Thanks to all who voted and supported their faves. It’s a slightly shorter issue this month, and it’s a joint September-October affair. Being hysterically busy up at the Edinburgh Fringe over August was going to set us right back until next month, but I’m excited that we have managed to get something out mid-month after all. Take it to the bridge, Shaun Kitchener (Editor & Head Writer)

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THE LINE-UP may 2013

Q&A DIANA VICKERS Page 6 SHANE FILAN Page 12

MODERN CLASSICS COLLECTION: SIOBHAN DONAGHY, RACHEL STEVENS Page 30 RELATIVELY POINTLESS QUIZ Page 46

ESSAYS MILEY CYRUS: TWERKIN’ 9 TO 5 Page 27

REVIEWS SINGLES Page 34 ALBUMS: CHVRCHES, ICONA POP, DIANA VICKERS, DANNII MINOGUE Page 37 FILM: THIS IS US Page 42 LIVE: ROBBIE WILLIAMS Page 44

BIG VOTE THING BEST X FACTOR CONTESTANTS Page 18 REGULARS FIRST VERSE Page 4

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FIRST VERSE BRITNEY SPEARS IS DEFINITELY GOING TO VEGAS FOR AGES It’s the worst-kept secret in showbiz since her own appointment on The X Factor USA, but Britney Spears has finally confirmed that she is off to Las Vegas at the end of the year to kick off a residency that will last for bloody ages.

stint, she insisted: “I’m definitely ready. I sometimes have training for five hours a day.” FIVE HOURS, PEOPLE.

She’s signed a multi-multi-multi-million pound deal that will see her kick off on December 27 at Planet Hollywood and carry on for album will sneak on the bill as well. a couple of years. Tickets go on sale She explained: “I love Vegas. The at the end of the week. energy is really good. I’m going to do my greatest hits, but I’m going Making the announcement on to have to put some of my new maGood Morning America, Britney terial in to keep it fresh.” said that the setlist will mainly be made up of her Greatest Hits, but Asked if she was prepared for the some shiz from her upcomng 8th

On her career expectations when she started out back in the late 90s, she semi-humbly gushed: ““When I first started out all I wanted to do was make enough money to buy a house in Louisiana and have kids.” Her new album, incidentally, is finally out on December 3 in the US which hints that December 2 could be go-time in the UK. Her new single ‘Work Bitch’, which is already out in every territory except the bloody UK, is finally released on November 3.

KATY PERRY HAS MATCHED RIHANNA’S RECORD Katy Perry has managed to match Rihanna’s chart record, with thanks to her latest megasmash (definitely a word) ‘Roar’.

making both artists the top-scoring hitmakers in the chart’s 21-year history. In addition, ‘Roar’ is the fastest single to ascend to No1.

The song has become her 10th to Behind them, Pink has had nine top the Billboard Pop Songs radio No1s, Lady Gaga has had seven, and airplay countdown. Beyonce, Mariah Carey, Maroon 5, Bruno Mars, Britney Spears and JusRihanna also has 10 No1s on that list, tin Timberlake have had six each.

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MILEY CYRUS IS EVEN BREAKING HER OWN RECORDS NOW The ‘Wrecking Ball’ video has been viewed a lot

Miley Cyrus has smashed her own ley Cyrus. VEVO record with that subtle video to her new single ‘Wrecking She herself was the last record holdBall’. er, when ‘We Can’t Stop’ cruised to the barrier in a period of 37 days. 37 The song had already accumulated days! Pah! How slow. in excess of 19 million views in 24 hours - surpassing One Direction’s It’s more good news for Miley’s ca‘Best Song Ever’ first-day record - reer in the run-up to the release of and now it’s become the fastest clip her new album Bangerz - out in the ever to top the 100 million mark. US on October 8 and the UK on October 7. It features a duet with BritIt took just six days for the Terry ney Spears, so we’ll see how that Richardson-directed clip to rack up pans out. the absurd view count - breaking the record previously set by, er, Mi- The former Hannah Montana ac-

CONOR MAYNARD ♥ LABRINTH

tress has had quite a busy summer, what with the VMAs performance as well. ‘We Can’t Stop’ also gave her not only a first UK Top 10 single, but her first UK No1 single. Even her brother Trace had been in the Top 10 over here before (remember Metro Station?), but Miles had never ascended higher than No11. Sadly, however, her relationship has suffered from her success - as she has now confirmed that her engagement to Hunger Games star Liam Hemsworth is officially off.

Conor Maynard is a pretty big fan “He’ll push and push you until he of Labrinth after teaming up for gets the perfect vocal out of you. So new single ‘R U Crazy’. it was tough but obviously he wants the best. I’m glad I sat there for 17 The experience was “amazing,” he hours, begging him to let me stop, told Capital FM’s Breakfast Show. begging him to let me go home.” “He wants to get it perfect. TOP BANTER.

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di d r ha 6


She came, she released one of the best pop albums of 2010... and then she buggered off for three years. But the wait is over DIANA VICKERS is back.

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It’s been five years since Diana Vickers rose to fame on The X Factor, and more than three since she unveiled her chart-topping debut album Songs From The Tainted Cherry Tree. Now, finally, she has returned. AMAZEPOP’s Shaun Kitchener met up with the electro-pop siren in a nifty little bar in central London to discuss her comeback, her new record deal and things that have changed since 2010’s debut.

really worked my little bum off on it. I just wanna get it out there! I can’t wait to see what everyone’s response to it is. I can’t wait for the fans to hear it, because I love them so much, and they’re all really excited. So I can’t wait!

How does the whole pre-release feeling compare to first time around? I was in a totally different place, in a totally different part of my life. I think this time I’m a lot more calmer, and this time it’s more about the body of work; how I’ve worked really hard at just getting it out there, because there was a time where I was writing this album and I wasn’t signed to a label and I was fretting; like ‘Is anyone ever gonna hear it?’. Really, for me, it’s excitement of it being out there. It’s finally got a chance to get out there.

Some of the tracks have been kicking around for over a year – how long has this been in the making? God, yeah, two years? Literally feels like 25 years. It has been kicking around, but everyone that Congrats on the album. I’ve been I meet to speak to about it is realwaiting a lot of years for it. How ly positive; they still can’t wait to are you feeling as it’s about to hear the whole album. I’ve been come out? away for a long time, and there’s In terms of the recording proI’m looking forward to it – obvi- still the excitement, like people cess, how drastically different ously it’s been a while since I’ve are waiting for it. was that this time? I’m guessing had anything out there, and I’ve it’s fair to say it was a lot more on

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your watch? well!” and it was all about the Yeah. I took that decision; I was charts and the really commercial with my first label and I took the side. But for this one, I feel like a decision to come new artist! I feel like away from it. Myself “We wanted to do the I’ve gone away, reand Miranda Coop- album we wanted to branded myself and er – she writes for do before we signed come back. EssenXenomania, the big tially, I’ve been away any record deals” pop company with for so long, I’m startall the hits – she is ing from scratch. It’s just an absolute babe and a musi- a new sound and I think I’m more cal genius. We teamed up togeth- bothered about people – really er and decided we didn’t wanna credible people – reviewing it well, sign any record deals; we wanted and the fans hearing it and it getto do this ourselves, work with our ting a good response in that way. producers and get into the bubble In terms of ‘I won’t settle unless and work really, really hard. We it’s a Top 10 album!’, it’s not about wanted to do the album we want- that for me. We just want to start a ed to do before we signed. I was good ground and come in with an 100% hands-on with this album, album that people can say great every single track, and I think – things about, that they enjoy. with the first album – I didn’t have as much input as I really thought I Like starting afresh. did. But I’ve finally done the album Yes. Definitely. I wanted to do. What are your three favourite Just out of interest, looking back tracks on the album? Let’s comon the first album, are there any pare. tracks specifically that you look ‘Mad At Me’. I love that track. It’s back on fondly, or like ‘I don’t ac- got this riff that’s quite bass-y, it tually like that’? repeats… it reminds me of BlondYeah, there are a few. ‘My Hip’ ie, and also a bit Girls Aloud-y. Like was really good. I played the trum- an 80s vibe pet on that. The one I wrote with to it, though, Starsmith, ‘You’ll Never Get To and it’s realHeaven’, I look back on and I think ly tongue-in‘Oh man, that should have been a cheek. It’s got single’. I really liked a track called a trumpet solo ‘Chasing You’ – in the middle, which I love That was my favourite. performing That one was very 80s. I liked that. live. ‘Music And there are a few that I’m like To Make Boys ‘Oh, God. I don’t like that’. Cry’, for me, I loved writIn terms of pressure to ‘do well’ – ing it. It takes critically, commercially, whatev- me back. It er – is this album more relaxed? makes me Yeah. I think with my first album wanna dance, it was more “We want it to chart and it makes

me really… feel? I love those kind of songs. What else? Ooh, I don’t know! It’s so hard. Maybe ‘Lightning Strikes’. OK, well we’ve got two out of three in common. I was ‘Lightning Strikes’, ‘Music To Make Boys Cry’ and ‘Blame Game’. OH MY GOD, ‘Blame Game’, yes! That was actually one of the last songs I wrote. I’ve got a boyfriend of three years, and you know when you play the blame game? ‘It’s your fault, it’s your fault’… and really it’s actually my fault. That’s what it’s all about. How do you kind of ‘create’ these songs? Is it a lyric idea first, or do you get the sounds in and then you write to those…? You get the music; so it’ll be myself, a producer and Miranda in a room, and the producer will come in and be like ‘I’ve got this kind of vibe going, see if you like it’, and it’ll go from being like a dance track… and you’ll be like ‘I love this or that, we want that from it… but we wanna get rid of all those drums and that guitar’.

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And he makes the music and we vibe off it; I’ll start singing melodies all over the place, Miranda will be like ‘Ooh, I like that!’. Then we finally find a melody to go over everything and I kind of start saying words of how the melodies make me feel. It’s very emotional! You’ve got to really invest in a song. You really need to dig deep. I find it really interesting how different artists work; like some just seem to be like a tap, and others are like ‘No, I really need to be in the creative space’… I can kind of write anywhere but I need to be with the right people. I could write a song in here right now with Miranda. If it’s the right chemistry with the person you’re writing with. Just a little side-question. I was stalking your Wikipedia page, and it says Daniel Radcliffe wrote one of your songs with you. Joke or co-incidence?

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Yes! Daniel Rad“I was speaking to in. And it probably cliffe! He’s not Harry Niall about the advert, would have failed. Potter. He actually and he was like, ‘Yes, did the original riff Wow. Well nobody for Mad At Me. But we thought of you!’” would have won yeah, he’s called then, eh. Daniel Radcliffe! I was emailing I probably wouldn’t have been him, I was like ‘LOL’. happy. That wouldn’t have been great. Well what do you know? Going back to the first label – you’ve Well let’s not dwell on that, then. said a few times that you sacked You’ve probably been asked off that deal because of the loads about this One Direction whole creative side. fragrance advert that you sing Yeah. on – how did that come to pass? Well 1D are with my manageIf you’d stayed with them, where ment, and I know the boys. My do you think you’d be now? management rang me, like, ‘hey I have no idea. I feel that they have the boys have got this advert and such big acts on their label, and for they’re looking for a female voice an act like me… It would probably on it, and we mentioned you in the have been pushed to the bottom. meeting, and the boys were realWhen you’re with a big label you ly into the idea’. I think they got a don’t really get the attention that few other people to do it as well. you need. Part of me feels like I And then the boys heard my vermaybe would have done an album sion and they really loved it! It was that would have been rushed, that a really lovely thing to be a part I probably wouldn’t have believed of. I was speaking to Niall about it,


and he was like ‘Yes, we thought summer and that was amazing so of you!’. It was really, really cool. I wanna get back to doing that. I dread to think what happens to your Twitter mentions when one of them tags you. Oh my God, it’s mental. Bless them, they’re really supportive. Harry and Niall have tweeted about my single before and stuff, and it’s mad. You get like 40,000. The other day Harry tweeted my boyfriend and I was next to him watching TV, and literally every second his Twitter was like BING, BING, BING… It was going absolutely mental! It’s crazy. Is there gonna be some kind of tour or live ‘thing’ for this album? Well, definitely. I definitely want to get out there and do live gigs. There’s another project I’m doing with my acting so I need to somehow do it very soon; I’m now juggling and acting and music career! But I really wanna do more live gigs. I played festivals over the

learned from it, it was great… But it feels like so long ago. I’ve done so many different things since.

The acting shizzle, is that all done, ready to go? The TV show, yeah it’s all ready to go. Exciting.

Finally – my standard last question – what makes a good pop song in 2013? For me, a good pop song is someWhen’s that airing? thing that makes you wanna I don’t know, they won’t tell me. dance, and when you feel shit, But very soon, I’ve heard. you can put it on on your way to work, in your headphones, and The X Factor. Five years ago now. get in your own world… And basiHow annoying is it to be asked cally kick start your day. I just love about it all the time? pop songs that make you wanna Really. Really. Bloody. Annoying. dance. And also make you wanna Sometimes it’s OK but sometimes cry. My favourite pop song is Girls it is pretty annoying. You can ask Just Wanna Have Fun by Cyndi me about it if you want to… Lauper. So I think everyone should write songs like that. I just wondered. I guess going away for a while and then com- Diana’s new aling back, it must be the first bum Music To thing people jump to… Make Boys Cry It’s just like when someone asks is out now, and you about, like, I don’t know… is reviewed on school? Or something? Some- Page 40. thing you did years ago, you @ShaunKitchener

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SHANE REACTION WITH WESTLIFE BECOMING AN EVER-DISTANT MEMORY, SHANE FILAN IS HAVING A CRACK AT A SOLO CAREER. WITH HIS FIRST SINGLE OUT AND A TOUR ON THE WAY, NATALIE LESTER CAUGHT UP WITH HIM TO TALK IT ALL OUT It’s so nice to meet you. Can I just say I’m a massive fan? Oh really? Oh, cool! It’s so nice to hear that. When people go ‘I love your song’, it’s just weird. It just reminds you that you’re on your own!

smiling coming to work.

That’s always good. It’s like ‘What news am I gonna hear today?’. Like, I’ve been added to the Magic playlist, the Radio 2 playlist, which is a pretty big deal. It’s just nice to hear that. It must be really weird, because Everything is good, everything is you’ve been with Westlife for so good news. So far, anyway! long… It is, yeah. Honestly, every day The single – ‘Everything To Me’ is new. Every day is fresh. Every – how did it come about? What person I meet is new. Most peo- was the inspiration behind it? Is ple I meet now I’ve never met, there a story behind it? who are interviewing me and There is actually; a very good stuff. But I feel like it’s a new story behind it! The first writchapter in my life; it’s the start of ing session, I was quite nervous it. I know I’ve spent the last six, – because, though I’d written seven months making a great some songs before, it was nothalbum; I’m really happy, proud ing like my life was depending of it. People like the first single on it. The record label were very so that’s obviously a great start. encouraging, they were saying It’s just… it feels like it’s exciting. ‘Would you like to write?’ and I It’s fresh, it’s new – every day I’m was saying ‘Yeah, I’d love to, but

I don’t know if I’d be any good at it!’. They were like, ‘Well give it a try… if not, we’ll look for songs.’ And I really surprised myself! The first session was ‘Everything To Me’ with Nick Atkinson and Tom Wiley… we came up with a really good tune, and lyrically it was funny, because I’d just left Sligo two days before that, and other stuff had gone on – financially, different things had gone on – and one of the things I did was I handed over the keys to the house. That was really hard. And then two days later I was going in doing ‘Everything To Me’, so… I don’t know what happened in that two days, but I really had a lot of things in my mind about what was important. When bad stuff happens to you, you really, really realise what’s important. I’ve got healthy children, a great marriage, an amazing wife, and

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that basically was everything I needed. It was everything to me! It was that kind of vibe. I had the title on my phone for about two months; any ideas that had come into my head I was writing them all down. But the song itself, it was like I was going in there and telling how I was feeling on that day. That’s what it felt like a lot of the songs were. They would say like ‘Talk to me, tell me about yourself, tell me about your life’, and I told them the whole story about Westlife and all the financial stuff, and they were like ‘Woah!’. But I was very conscious to write positive stuff. Everybody has problems. Nobody wants to hear about negative shit. Like ‘whatever mate, we’ve all got problems’. Myself and Nick did the lyrics for the song and we were just bouncing off each-other. I was an open book, I found it very easy to write lyrics about

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stuff that was true; stuff that was important. It is like me talking to somebody and just putting it on paper and putting music to it. It had to be uptempo, it had to be a feelgood song. And two days later, the head of the label rang me, they were like ‘This is really good!’. And I said ‘Really?’. And they were like ‘Honestly, really good. Trust me. We’re booking more sessions’. So then I went down with Paul Barrie, who’s a more well-known writer. He wrote with Enrique Iglesias; he did ‘Hero’, which was pretty big – Yeaaah, pretty big. It was, you know, pretty big. Every day I was going in [to sessions] thinking ‘OK what are these people gonna be like’. Most of them, I’d heard of. But we walked in there and did another song called ‘One Of These Days’, and it’s literally like ‘one of these

days, I know I’ll work it out’. And that’s what the whole song is about! Why do we always stumble and fall down? So we learn to get back up! And it’s a positive song, with a ukulele. Like, *does an impression of a ukulele*… it’s a really uptempo, foot tapping, folky, country kind fo music. I just felt like, I was just talking. Just sitting around having a conversation with a cup of coffee; they were playing guitar. I just started singing melodies and stuff, and within an hour you either have a structure of a song or you don’t, and it’s not gonna go well. We just told a story, and it’s funny how quickly it can come together, if you’re in the right frame of mind and you have a lot to say. And I had a lot to say! In a positive way. I wanted to get it out there. I’d been in Westlife, which was incredible, I’d had the other shit stuff that had happened that


wasn’t good… but I’m alive, I got through it. My wife is great, my kids are healthy. Life is good. I might have no money, but I’m gonna do this! I threw the kitchen sink at it. Every session, I found it really relaxing. They were easy to talk to… The fact I hadn’t talked about any of it, only to my wife… the lads [other Westlife members] didn’t even know the stuff that was going on with me… but I felt like I was talking to people who weren’t gonna judge me. Do you feel like, in terms of the financial stuff, the recording process was healing, in a way? It was therapy. That’s exactly it. The first six months after the band ended I was very scared, very nervous. ‘What the hell, my life is upside down’. When you have kids, you do think about money, and you do worry about having to provide for them.

When the other stuff happened, it was really, really bad. It was a weird, anxious place for me. My wife was amazing and she got me through it, without a doubt. She was great. Louis was great from the business side of things, because he was telling me ‘everything is going to be fine, we’ve got some great record deal offers, we’re going to get the right deal, the right people, we’re going to fix it’. He kept saying to me, ‘it’d be worse if you lost your voice!’. If I lost my voice, that’d be a problem. If one of my kids was sick, that’s a problem. But money can come and go. It’s meant to happen, for some reason – it was meant to happen. If it didn’t happen, I don’t think I’d be as determined now, and I don’t think I’d have any songs! I genuinely don’t think I’d have them. I find it weird, some sessions I went into, people wanted to write about

‘this guy and girl breaking up, and he’s done the dirt on her, and she can’t believe it’… all these stories, and I’m going, ‘that doesn’t relate to me!’. I found it easier to write these songs. It had to relate to me in some way. But it has to be universal enough to relate to other people, because everybody can relate to what’s important to them. There’s another song called ‘All I Need To Know’, which is probably the best song on the album – one of the best songs I’ve ever heard, and luckily it’s mine! It’s a real touching song, that’s basically about me to my wife, saying she’s never gonna be on her own. Like ‘I’m gonna fix this’. Again, it’s a positive love song! The album’s like that the whole way through. I didn’t want any negative stuff. In my life I’ve got so much good stuff, and I’m glad that money was the thing that went wrong.

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the very last concert… What was it like doing it all alone, away from Westlife? The Farewell Tour. I was there! The process was different be- Were you there? Which concert? cause you write the song then you just do a vocal on it. Three or London. four times for a demo. It’s very Ah, the O2! The last tour was different because when I’d go to amazing. In my opinion, Westa studio before, we’d maybe go life were amazing. We broke the in individually, I’d get the song rules, we set records, we did stuff with the lyrics, and I’d know may- that other people could never be a few days before. Sometimes have done, and still probably it was a famous song, so you’d never will do. We have that, and know it already. But this time, we’re very proud of it. But for me, I just had to sing it as I was feel- it had to shock people a bit. If I’d ing it on the day, and how the done a cover of another song, it song was written. If I wanted to wouldn’t really have been that change a word, I didn’t have to interesting. Westlife fans might ask anybody. I’d just change it! have liked it, but I want Westlife I could never do fans to love some“One Direction are thing new about that before. I found that different. And doing it now - they me. It’s that feeling some of the vocals don’t realise how big when you want to I used on the album they actually are” appeal to so many are still the demo people, and appeal vocals. One song, I internationally. I recorded it twice since, but it just want to appeal to every counwasn’t right. Every song I went try in the world. I want to go to through with a fine tooth-comb, every country and try my best every single mix and every single to get my music out there. How thing. They’re my songs, I can’t big and how successfully, I don’t be singing them if they’re not know, but it’s… the music I’ve right! If it’s like ‘I don’t like that done is more international. I get electric guitar’ – that’d annoy me to talk about these songs and tell forever! you stories about each line, and I could never have done that beThe sound, too, is very different fore. When you hear these songs, to Westlife. Is that something you know what I’m talking about. you did deliberately? I did, because I didn’t just wanna Westlife had such a great Numdo a solo Westlife. That would ber 1 track record, do you feel have been easy, I could have under pressure to follow that? gone in and recorded an album When people from boybands go within two weeks. Westlife were solo, there must be quite a bit… that, we did other people’s songs Of course, yeah. I don’t feel a lot, we did a lot of covers, and pressure to get a Number 1 sinwe were very proud of what we gle with my first single. I think did and what we achieved. And that’d be very difficult. All these the fans loved it, right up until ‘Blurred Lines’, ‘Get Lucky’, Avicii

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songs, they sell 200,000 copies a week, it’s crazy! I’d be disappointed without Top 10, because if it’s not Top 10 it’s officially not a hit. But I do feel pressure. I’m going to be cacking myself the days leading up to it. What’s the reaction been like to the stuff so far? It’s been amazing. To get Magic, Radio 2 inviting me down to do an hour special… all these things are coming in, and I didn’t expect to get these things so soon. It doesn’t mean anything with the chart… but I’m gonna give it my best shot. Everything we’ve done, we’ve done right. So whatever will be, will be! Going forward, the album, everything. You just have to wait and see. Has it been great to have the Westlife fans coming with you? They’ve come out in their hundreds. Last week there was like 200 people at a radio station, lines down the street wanting to meet me… when you’re on your own, to have a crowd at all is such a bonus. And they are Westlife fans, but 80% of them I’d never met before! Westlife were so big and so successful, you look back at what we actually did, and it’s mind-boggling! You realise why other bands might have mutual respect for us, even if they don’t like our music. One Direction have it now, worldwide – it’s America, everything, and they don’t realise now. They haven’t got a clue how big they actually are. They’re riding that wave, they’re so used to 20,000 people a night. They don’t realise how amazing that is. I’d love to play an arena again someday, but I’m


looking forward to playing small thing I can do at the moment. venues. I’d like to have any crowd! Even down the line I don’t know if it’s something I would do. I just Do the rest of Westlife all like wanna sing and tour the world, the song? and do the concerts. Whatever They do, yeah, all three of them size, it doesn’t matter. Judging have been on to me. Even Brian’s for me is not something I’d like to been on to me! They text me, do, even X Factor. I don’t think I’d rang me, they were saying ‘great do it. Louis is too good! tune, love it… saw the video!’. Louis might be a bit like, It’s a great video. ‘what’… It’s fun. The whole thing is basi- Louis is amazing. He’s done 10 cally a dream, I’m in this surre- years this year! It’s just not someal kind of world, and I’m singing thing I’d be interested in. I’ve down the lense and I’m just hap- done Judges’ Houses; JLS did it py… but the other stuff, I don’t the year I did it! You never know know what’s going on! But it’s down the line, but right now I’m great fun. It got 100,000 views in focussed on my music. a couple of days! You described your song as perWhy did you decide to release fect for the summer… what’s an EP first before the album? your perfect summer’s day? It was the label’s idea; they want- My family one would be just ed to do a two single strategy, and swimming pool, garden, BBQ… I didn’t want to just do a single or going to a park or something. and an album straight away. So Just really relaxed and chilled out they said ‘We’re actually thinking stuff. The kids are getting into about doing an EP to give the fans swimming now which is great. a taster of more than one song’. I My own one would be going to think that’s very important. Be- play 18 holes of golf with my cause now I’m talking about 2 or three best mates and going to 3 different songs, they’re all very pints afterwards! different, but they fit together. It’s a great move from the label, I Lastly, what do you think makes think. Already people are excited a great pop song in 2013? about the album. So when I heard A great pop song is, number 1, that idea I was delighted. They about melody. Melody gets it on might not even be on the album, the radio first. The lyrics come at the moment I have 13, 14… second. If you have great lyrics they might go on as bonus tracks. and a bad melody, you’ll never hear the song. Maybe that’s why The Voice UK is still looking for I wanted more upbeat songs on a new mentor… would you ever my album; it’s more 80% upbeat. do that? A great melody with a great tune. Right now, no. If I was offered it, I would probably turn it down. It’s @NatalieLester1 an amazing thing to get offered, to anybody, but it’s not some-

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) G N I H T E T O (BIG V

ultimate x factor finalists

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you may or (probably) may not be interested to know that more than 110 acts have made it to the x factor’s live shows since the first season back in 2004. with that in mind, and with the tenth series beginning to gather momentum, we presented a comprehensive list of every single live show contestant there has ever been and asked the army of voters to select their faves. the top 50 - complete with tesco mary and the immortal rachel adedeji - appears over the page...

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BIG VOTE THING

ultimate x factor finalists 50 KATIE WAISSEL (series 7) Televisual magic from the moment she first auditioned, Katie Waissel became the ultimate X Factor love-to-hate contestant when she took part back in 2010. The poor girl, who was subject to a LOT of media crap, made it quite far into the live shows, and now records with her band Red Velvet.

49 JOHNNY ROBINSON (series 8) The thing with any good X Factor ‘novelty act’ is that they have to be fundamentally likeable - and Johnny Robinson certainly had that going for him. Genuinely thrilled to be there, he bought the glitz every week he was in the running - and, leaving in week five, he didn’t hang around for too long either.

48 LEON JACKSON (Series 4) Poor Leon may now be the poster boy for flop winners, but back in

2007 he was a sweet-hearted contender with an endearing nerves problem and a desire to be The Next Michael Buble. Obviously that didn’t really work out, but at the time he was a gem.

47 DIVA FEVER (Series 7) Each judge had four acts in the live shows in 2010, which meant that the first few weeks were an onslaught of constant double-knockouts. Diva Fever didn’t manage to hang around for long at all, but they were fun while they lasted.

46 DANYL JOHNSON (Series 6) The man behind one of the most popular first auditions ever, Danyl looked unstoppable until about the half-way mark in the live rounds. Reports in the press of diva-ish behaviour and the lack of a good old reality TV “journey” ultimately kept him from reaching the final.

45 CASSIE COMPTON 20

(Series 1) The only competitor from the show’s first series to make it to the list (though G4 and Rowetta are just outside the Top 50), Cassie was a likeable and sufficiently able competitor when she represented Team Osbourne way back in 2004.

44 BRENDA EDWARDS (Series 2) With a big voice and buckets of personality, Brenda was robbed of a place in the 2005 final when Journey South (!) and Andy Abraham (!!) crept through in her place, alongside runaway winner Shayne Ward.

43 RHYDIAN (series 4) The man Simon Cowell claimed should have won the 2007 series, Rhydian attracted Sharon Osbourne’s wrath in the early stages but had her on-side come the live finals. One of the strongest male singers the show has ever seen, he’s enjoyed some success since.


BIG VOTE THING

ultimate x factor finalists 38 LUCIE JONES (Series 6) 42 MARY BYRNE (series 7) Often referred to as Tesco Mary, Ms Byrne has released a couple of moderately successful albums since polling fifth in the 2010 series. There was a point, however, where she looked like she might have given Matt a good race to the winner’s crown.

41 WAGNER (Series 7)

Sensationally chucked under the bus in favour of Jedward in the fifth week of the live shows, early favourite Lucie was a victim of one of The X Factor’s biggest controversies to date. But she’s had a strong career since, particularly on the stage.

37 KYE SONES (series 9)

Kye was the poster boy for Gary Oh, Wagner. What were you? He Barlow’s No Seriously The Overs was a reason for people who hated Category Is Good This Year camThe X Factor to Pick Up The Phone paign in 2012. Something didn’t And Vote, he was allegedly a bit of quite connect with the masses in a nightmare behind the scenes, he the end, but he evidently gathered was a beautiful disaster on stage... enough support to place inside the and he hung around for far too Top 50 in this poll. long.

36 JAMIE ARCHER (series 6) 40 SAME DIFFERENCE (Series 4)

still, he seemed to make a good impression.

35 CRAIG COLTON (Series 8) The guerning ballad-faces, the stylish coats... Craig Colton was a favourite among the older viewers when he competed in Gary Barlow’s category in 2011.

Jamie ‘Afro’ Archer chose an odd platform to get himself noticed when he tried out for The X Factor, 34 2 SHOES (Series 8) Before there was Jedward, there as he obviously had a decidedly was Same Difference. Compet- rockier interest than the likes of Knocked out in the first week of ing at around the time that High Jedward and Stacie Solomon. But the live shows, 2 Shoes were absoSchool Musical was beginning lutely robbed. ROBBED! Perhaps to blow up, Simon Cowell was two of the funnest contestants of convinced he had the Next Big all time. Thing on his hands. Not quite. Nearly, but not quite.

33 THE RISK (series 8)

39 RUTH LORENZO (Series 5) Most well-known for her Save Me performance of ‘Purple Rain’, The Lorenzo was in the Bottom Two far too often, but had a good innings for Team Minogue in the end. She’s still quietly releasing music today.

Week Five traditionally brings with it a controversial elimination, and The Risk’s unexpected departure at that stage in 2011 was no different. They have a new single coming out soon.

32 RACHEL ADEDEJI (Series 6)

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BIG VOTE THING

ultimate x factor finalists *Peter Dickinson voice* RRRRRACHEL ADEDEJI!!!!

31 MARCUS COLLINS (series 8) Touted as Britain’s answer to Bruno Mars when he competed in 2011, Marcus - along with Janet Devlin - was tipped as a potential winner throughout the run, but eventually had to settle for 2nd place. His hastily-released album was arguably an ill-advised move.

30 LLOYD DANIELS (Series 6)

Mad as a box of frogs, yes, but Kitty properly went for it in every single live show, and was missed when she was eventually booted out about half-way through the 2011 live rounds.

28 JANET DEVLIN (Series 8)

When Amelia Lily was knocked out of the 2011 live shows in the first week, many looked angrily at Sophie Habibis - but, for the first couple of weeks at least, she did knock it out the park. Her sweet version of ‘Teenage Dream’ remains one of the series’ best.

Janet started strongly but quickly fizzled out when her song choices lost their spark and she developed a habit of forgetting words.

27 JADE ELLIS (Series 9)

After two strong weeks last year, Jade was quickly taken down an Bless Lloyd. Popular as the eye odd route artistically and eventucandy in the 2009 run, his vocals alyl bowed out in week four. She proved to be a tad more limit- could have been so good!! ed than initially expected, but he proved himself worthy of a place in 26 DISTRICT3 (series 9) the later stages of the contest and 23 LAURA WHITE (Series 5) finished a respectable fifth. Pitting them against Union J was

29 KITTY BRUCKNELL (series 8)

an odd move from Louis Walsh, but this pre-formed trio still managed to come out of last year’s series with a strengthened fanbase and reasonable career prospects.

25 MATT CARDLE (Series 7) Matt effortlessly won the vast majority of the public votes during the 2010 series, and was one of the most dead-cert winners in the show’s history. He also allowed Dannii Minogue to leave on a high note.

24 SOPHIE HABIBIS (series 8)

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Laura’s shock exit in 2008 was one of the most controversial in the show’s history. Earmarked as an early favourite since day one, few expected her to wind up in the bottom two - let alone leave so soon. The curse of week five, people...

22 JAHMENE DOUGLAS (series 9) Beloved not only for his sweetness but for the fact his presence resulted in Nicole Scherzinger donning an ASDA uniform, Jahmene’s soulful vocals made him a deserving runner-up last winter.

21 SHAYNE WARD (Series 2)


BIG VOTE THING

ultimate x factor finalists

released his brilliant (yet under-ap- Tulisa’s accusations aside, Misha B preciated) album last summer. made her mark as one of the most creative contestants on the 2011 series of the competition, and ar19 REBECCA FERGUSON guably would have progressed fur(series 7) ther than the quarter finals were Initially fading into the background it not for her perceived lack of a behind the likes of Cher Lloyd and “journey” or big personality. Katie Waissel, R-Fergz soared front and centre with her perfor- 17 ALEXANDRA BURKE 20 AIDEN GRIMSHAW mance of ‘Make You Feel My Love’ (Series 5) - and she’s gone on to become one (Series 7) of the most critically-acclaimed Laura White, Diana Vickers and Eo2010’s victim of the dreaded fifth alumni the show has produced to ghan Quigg may have hogged the headlines for the first few weeks week, Aiden’s trademark moody date. of the 2008 series, but comeback performances gave him a definite queen Alexandra Burke comfortaedge - an edge that he built upon 18 MISHA B (Series 8) bly became the show’s second feand used to his advantage when he male winner when the time came. The last time Louis Walsh won the show was way back in 2005 with Shayne; at the time touted as Britain’s Justin Timberlake. With a falsetto that melted hearts the nation over, he was an easy choice for victory over runner-up Andy Abraham.

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BIG VOTE THING

ultimate x factor finalists That duet with Beyonce was pretty cool, too.

perhaps not the most natural of platforms for MK1 when they com14 UNION J (series 9) peted last year, but their fanbase They may have wound up in the were clearly willing to stand by 16 LUCY SPRAGGAN Bottom Two too many times to them regardless - and it’s testa(Series 9) make it to the final (damn you, ment to them that, one year later, Maloney!), but Union J’s fanbase they are able to place this highly in Her first audition got one of the swelled dramatically during their the poll despite being knocked out warmest receptions the show has time on last year’s series - easily so early on. ever seen, so it was a shame when securing them a post-show record personal circumstances meant deal. 11 JLS (Series 5) Lucy Spraggan had to bow out of the show way before time last Oh, JLS. Imagine if they had been year. Still, at least she got to leave 13 JAMES ARTHUR (sERIES 9) eliminated that time they were on a high. His sing-off survival against Ella in the Bottom Two? Then where Henderson seemed to really give would we be?! The quartet were James - and the voting public - a one of Louis Walsh’s rare success 15 ELLA HENDERSON kick up the backside, and when the stories when they took the silver (Series 9) 2012 final rolled around he was by medal in 2008, and they’ve been a Looked at as the bookies’ favour- far the most logical choice of win- staple of the British pop scene ever ite for several weeks, it was a right ner. ‘Impossible’ is one of the big- since. shocker when Ella was eliminated gest-selling singles the show has from last year’s show a few weeks ever spawned. 10 AMELIA LILY (series 8) before the final. With a great knack for songwriting and a gorgeous, 12 MK1 (Series 9) She blew everyone away with her classic-sounding voice, she was audition, she stunned at Judges’ sorely missed after she left. It was clear that The X Factor was Houses, her first live show performance didn’t go so well... and then she was out on her ear. But when Amelia Lily made a sensational return at the back end of the 2011 process, she made a seriously strong challenge for the title.

09 DIANA VICKERS (Series 5) Her hiccupy-yelp ultimately divided too many viewers to see her all the way to the finish line, but a “quirky” voice like Diana Vickers’ had never been seen on The X Factor before, and she became an instant fan favourite when she competed as one of Cheryl Cole’s hopefuls five years ago.

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BIG VOTE THING

ultimate x factor finalists

08 ONE DIRECTION (Series 7) You may have heard of these boys once or twice since they came third in 2010. Looking back on them now, they were never really going to win - their voices got lost in massive production, Niall and Louis hadn’t really come into their own by that point, and Matt Cardle’s popularity with the wider demographic was unstoppable. But with careful treatment by management and label bosses, they casually became the biggest boyband in the world within a year. Their stadium tour kicks off in 2014.

strutted onto the stage in the seventh season and delivered a spin on ‘Turn My Swag On’. A disasterous stint at Judges’ Houses and self-confessed diva-ish antics behind the scenes ultimately made her too divisive to make a serious challenge for the title, but there was absolutely no denying that Cher had Chart-Friendly Popstar written all over her.

nal in 2006. Were it not for Leona’s triumph, who knows if the show would still be going today?

05 RYLAN CLARK (series 9)

Oh Rylan. Rylan, Rylan, Rylan. The awful first audition. The dramatic reaction to being told he passed Judges’ Houses. The controversy every single week when he sailed through to the next round. Rylan 06 LEONA LEWIS was initially not bad enough to be (series 3) funny or good enough to be a contender, but as the weeks went by Every year or so Louis Walsh will he actually became something of a single out a contestant and say hero. He was fun, he gave as good “You could be better than Leona as he got with Gary Barlow and he Lewis”. But they rarely are. Leona’s really bought out the hilarious side voice was so powerful, her person- of Nicole Scherzinger. Rylan, you ality so unassuming and sweet came good in the end. 07 CHER LLOYD (series 7) and her competition so weak that “You are RIGHT up my street,” it was laughable that Ray Quinn cooed Cheryl Cole when Cher even bothered to turn up to the fi- 04 OLLY MURS (Series 6)

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BIG VOTE THING

ultimate x factor finalists Like JLS before him, there was a week during the 2009 live shows when Olly Murs received the fewest public votes. Luckily for him, the vote didn’t go the Deadlock on that occasion and he survived - going on to win masses of fans and a plethora of hits. His voice was never strong enough to make him a winner, but it certainly hasn’t affected his career since.

03 LITTLE MIX (Series 8) Little Mix - then Rhythmix - were the 100/1 outsiders when the live shows commenced in 2011, but with some likeable VT packages, some slick performances and some endearing support-rallying from Tulisa, they quickly became the first successful girl band to come out of The X Factor.

02 JEDWARD (Series 6) They enraged as many people as they entertained, but Jedward were a crucial part of the show when they competed for Louis Walsh in 2009. Since then they’ve proven themselves to be continually popular; maintaining a huge fanbase (just look at their position in this poll if you don’t believe it) and, against the odds, churning out some top quality pop music.

01

JOE McELDERRY (series 6)

Despite auditioning strongly and wiping up the floor with the competition at Judges’ Houses, Joe McElderry stayed relatively under the radar when the live shows kicked off in 2009; the likes of Danyl Johnson, Stacey Solomon, Olly Murs and Jedward stealing the limelight for most of the opening weeks. But soon people began to realise that he had yet to turn in a single less-than-faultless vocal, and by December he had become the only realistic contender for the winner’s crown. His cute rapport with Cheryl, his friendly modesty and his endearing Geordie accent certainly didn’t hinder him either. Since the show ended he’s man-

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aged to keep hold of a fiercely loyal fanbase; securing three top 10 albums, another talent show victory (Popstar To Operastar) and regular victories in polls such as this one. In fact, he won a similar survey by Digital Spy at around this point last year. One of the most techincally skilled winners the show has produced to date - perhaps second only to Leona Lewis - Joe has kept up a healthy career and proven that not all victors need to ace gigantic sales figures with their debut albums to survie in the long run. Although, incidentally, his debut album was pretty ruddy good.


twerkin’ 9-5 Where were you when you first worry about Lady Gaga singing saw Miley Cyrus grinding up in her undies. Don’t worry about against Robin Thicke’s crotch? Katy Perry performing from under the Brooklyn Bridge. Don’t That now infamous MTV VMAs even worry about *NSYNC resing-song is well on its way to uniting for one night only as going down in history as one of Justin Timberlake picked up the ceremony’s most provoca- the biggest prize of the night. tive performances. Ever. Don’t Nope - the 2013 VMAs were all

about Miley Cyrus, Robin Thicke, some scary teddy bears, a flesh-coloured teeny-tiny outfit, and an unfortunate foam finger. Oh, and her tongue. Everyone has an opinion of some sort on the whole ‘episode’ - which is probably why

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Miley herself and the MTV bosses are over the moon with it.

you’ll get criticism. I think she’s doing her thing and being herself so I give props to her.” Let’s take a moment - or 3 pag- (Good Morning America) es, to be precise - to analyse who thought what. LADY GAGA A fan

in a wedding dress humping the stage, we’re talking about Britney doing a striptease.This cycle is not uncommon”. (Hot 97)

PINK

Not a fan

ONE DIRECTION A fan... Maybe?

“Am I into it? No, I think it’s tacky. She’s really freaking talented. She’s beautiful. She can sing her ass off and to go up there and do that? She’s cheating herself and she’s cheating the rest of us… She can do what she wants. People can like it if they want. I’m not going to buy it. She can do better. I’ve seen her do better.” (E! Online)

BRITNEY SPEARS A fan

“I don’t understand the incessant need to constantly go on and on about hating things all the time because, what, she’s 20 years old? And if anything, I give her props. You know, she’s growing up in front of the entire world and maybe she’s not so happy with stuff she did in her career when she was younger and she wants to be free, so let her do what she wants.” (Watch What Happens Live)

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE A fan

Louis: “We were shocked by how much coverage there was. I think she was shocked. I don’t think she knew she would get so much attention from that.” Harry: “It was very reserved. I think she’s quite shy and it’s about time she came out of her shell a bit.” Liam: “My thought was that it was very nice. It was a nice performance. It was cute… timid.” (Yahoo!)

“It’s the VMAs. You know what I BROOKE SHIELDS “I think anytime you do a perfor- mean, like, it’s not the Grammys... Not a fan mance that’s that memorable We’re talking about Madonna

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about Miley Cyrus. Some of us CYNDI LAUPER have been twerking for years...” Not a fan (Twitter) “That was girl gone wild. So sad, so sad. She’s in a song that literally ALBERT BROOKS says that the blurred lines allowed Not a fan you to—when a woman says no, “Alan Thicke and Billy Ray Cyrus she means yes—and that’s frightful because that’s date rape. And KELLY CLARKSON now under genetic arrest.” there she is, a young twentyNot a fan (Twitter) something trying to prove she can hang with the big boys and girls, “Just saw a couple performanc- SELENA GOMEZ you know, basically simulating a es from the VMA’s last night. 2 A fan Girl Gone Wild video onstage. And words…. #pitchystrippers” (Twitter) “I really thought the collaboration I just felt like that was so beneath her and raunchy, really raunchy.” with Miley was amazing.” (Gold 104.3) JOSH MALINA (Metro) Not a fan “I was Hannah Montana’s mother! Where did I go wrong? ... I just want to know who’s advising her, and why [the racy display] is necessary… Our children can’t watch that.” (Hollywood Life)

“Say what you want about Miley Cyrus, but she is very disgusting” (Twitter)

PIERS MORGAN A fan

“Don’t understand all the fuss

ADAM LAMBERT

BILLY RAY CYRUS

A fan

A fan

“Listen if it wasn’t ur cup of tea— all good but why is everyone spazzing? Hey—she’s doin something right. We all talking” (Twitter)

“She’s still my little girl and I’m still her dad regardless how this circus we call show business plays out. I love her unconditionally and that will never change.” (Entertainment Tonight)

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THE AMAZEPOP

MODERN CLASSICS COLLECTION

Released: 29th September 2003 Chart Peak: 113 Label: London Producer: Cameron McVey Singles: ‘Overrated’, ‘Twist of Fate’

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P

op moves quickly, doesn’t it? In a genre where artists like Pixie Lott can go from label’s finest to In Desperate Need Of A Hit mode in one swift album and Jessie J can be offered a judging role on a big-budget talent show after four singles, it’s easy to forget the classics-to-be that pass us by. But that’s what the AMAZEPOP

Modern Classics Collection is for. The mid-00s may not seem like that long ago, for example, but it’s four albums’ worth of time in JLS terms. Heck, Conor Maynard was probably only about 5 years old in 2007, right? So we’ve picked out a trio of masterpieces from bygone years for you to wipe the scratches off and play in a tatty old CD player. Or, y’know, look up on Spotify.

REVOLUTION IN ME Siobhan Donaghy Re-evaluating the solo efforts of former girl group or boyband members, particularly ones who fell apart so spectacularly to then reunite, as the original lineup of Sugababes - sorry, Mutya Keisha Siobhan - have now done, is always a tricky one.

emerged with her debut solo set.

beyond her ex-Sugababes tag at the time, would have (and should Her second album, 2007’s have) been far bigger than they Ghosts, is the record most fans ended up being. of hers flock to but I’d argue this is the stronger album in many However, this album’s true highways. At once melodic and soul- lights are the single that never ful as it is haunting and moving, was ‘Iodine’ and the second track the diverse but cohesive sound of ‘Man Without Friends’, as they Revolution in Me is owed in part represent the meeting point of Usually, said solo albums of pop- to her choice of producer, the both the styles of pop that she stars once a part of a huge suc- award winning Cameron McVey, tackles on here. The ending of cess and now newly devoid of who had helmed that first Sugab- the latter track in particular is their sell out tours and unending abes album ‘One Touch’ as well delightfully wistful with its goshit rate are populated with the as both the first two chart top- pel like hook: ‘I’ve been trying kind of ‘Geri-speak’ in their lyrics ping albums by All Saints. to travel, but my ways are going of finding your inner self, or (God nowhere/Knowing that someforbid) making unconvincing at- The album’s opener, ‘Nothing where’s hard to find’. tempts to be ‘grown up’ that are but Song’ and ‘As You Like It’, almost always cringe inducing in match grimey breakbeats to glo- It’s her subdued yet powerful dehindsight. riously stacatto piano and acous- livery of these songs that made tic guitar riffs with wonderfully her such a critical hit (at least) And whilst this is true with a lot layered harmonies, evocative of and what made her, in all the of the solo class of 2003 - Kym her beginnings with her former lineup changes that were to come Marsh and Lisa Scott-Lee for colleagues. the way of Sugababes, one of the instance - this was as happily most redeeming aspects of that far from the case as possible for The two singles, ‘Overrated’ and original lineup. There’s no doubt Siobhan Donaghy. After going ‘Twist of Fate’ offer, on the op- therefore, that this will be highfor a loo break and never return- posite end of the spectrum, a lighted even more when MKS reing during the girls’ promo tour genuinely convincing contempo- lease their new album next year. of Japan in 2001, it was a full 18 rary adult sound and lyrics that, months later when she finally were she seen more objectively @ThePensmith10

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THE AMAZEPOP

MODERN CLASSICS COLLECTION

COME AND GET IT Rachel Stevens By ROBIN DARKE

Pop music hasn’t been so focused on diluting what electronica constitutes. There was a time where you could find some choice electro pop without expecting to find some on every single album out on the market. It was long before Chris Brown decided to ruin synthesizers, and Justin Bieber was only 11 and no one knew about the oncoming blight that he would bring with him.

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2005 wasn’t a choice year for pop music, however. Kylie Minogue was diagnosed with breast cancer and Destiny’s Child announced that they would disband after their World tour ended. It was a sad time for all involved.

from the second album from S Club alumnus Rachel Stevens.

For those of you who don’t know, S Club 7 were/are one of the finest pop bands of all time. The veritable army of talent that was consigned to the front line of bubblegum pop during the early 00’s was a force to be reckoned You had to find what solace you with. Flip flopping from androgcould wherever you found it; the ynous ballads to upbeat summer bottle, loose women and men - anthems, there wasn’t much that both were good choices for that the S Club Army couldn’t conlittle bit of attention that we all quer. But when they announced craved. I found it not at the bot- they were to split, no one would tom of a Ben and Jerrys tub, but have wagered that Rachel Ste-


To suggest an album for the Modern Classics Collection, or if you want to write about one yourself, tweet us @AMAZEPOP

Release date: 17 October 2005 Chart peak: 28 Label: Polydor/19 Producers: Richard X, Xenomania, Fraser T Smith Singles: ‘Negotiate With Love’, ‘So Good’, ‘I Said Never Again’

vens would have been the member who made the most name of herself (Jo O’Meara racist taunts don’t count).

Anthemic tunes like ‘I Said Never Again (But Here We Are)’ (the person who I was seeing at the time was convinced it was about She was always the pretty dark anal sex) mingle with songs like one that everyone wanted to ‘I Will Be There’ and ‘Dumb have as their girlfriend or hag. Dumb’ - which could have easiShe always had stunning hair, ly been from one of Will Young’s but didn’t really come with much Yazoo-inspired albums. How do vocal talent to speak of. Which songs mingle, I hear you ask? is why it was surprising when Well, have you ever been to a Come And Get It became one party where there are groups alof the greatest albums to come ready formed when you turn up? from the S Club Camp. There’s not much chance that you’re going to get a massive Veering away from the tried and conversation with someone, so tested pop reinvention route you just get congenial tittering that many try and run down, out of them. They don’t want to Stevens hired some of the more talk to you, and you don’t want progressive producers and cob- to talk to them, but you don’t bled together an album with a want to seem rude. sound that wouldn’t make it big for a few years in the future. That’s pretty much what Come

And Get It is: a mish mash of Goldfrapp-lite (before Alison Goldfrapp ate what was left of Electric Light Orchestra between two slices of brown bread) combined with the more accessible aspects of Human League, but all the while with enough focus and synth beats that you can still dance to it while you’re on the toilet. Which is certainly not what I’m doing right now. That would be ridiculous. On a final note, the video for I Said Never Again was also filmed on the same set as Bad Girls, and fought the fight for sexy fingerless gloves, which has to count for something, right? @robin_darke

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THE REVIEWS BIT

frain is a bit repetitive though, isn’t it? 

SINGLES Azealia Banks ft Pharrell Williams - ‘ATM Jam’: It’s been a long time since Azealia dominated the charts with ‘212’, and following a lot of Twitter spats she’s faced accusations of being all bark, no bite. But ‘ATM Jam’ is another slickly-produced ace for her. That Pharrell re-

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rus going for it. 

Conor Maynard - ‘R U Crazy’: This first cut from Maynard’s upcoming second album grows with every listen. It’s not Labrinth’s (producer, co-writer) finest work, but for Maynard it’s a solid transition into his next era. 

Diana Vickers - ‘Music To Make Boys Cry’: D-Vix sees in her second album with its title track; a song that was originally released in demo form a year and a half ago. It remains a bright, wispy delight. Her voice has never sounded better. 

Demi Lovato - ‘Made In The USA’: Breezy pop production and big vocals make ‘Made In The USA’ one of Demi’s most accessible singles to date. It doesn’t have Global Smash inked all over it like ‘Heart Attack’ did, but it’s got one heck of a cho-

Eliza Doolittle - ‘Let It Rain’: ‘Big When I Was Little’ didn’t quite break the Top 10, and it’s uncertain whether or not this follow-up will either - but, unlike its predecessor, ‘Let It Rain’ is definitely a slight shift in sound for Eliza - and, actual-


DIANA VICKERS

It won’t literally make boys cry, but the star’s second album is still pretty special [Page 40]

ly, after a few spins, it really works.  HAIM - ‘The Wire’: One of the year’s most critically touted new arrivals continue their string of great singles with ‘The Wire’ - another simply-produced indie-pop treat.  James Arthur - ‘You’re Nobody Till Somebody Loves You’: Male winners of The X Factor have struggled to find their feet once the fanfare of the finale died down, but James should have no trouble invading the airwaves with this jumbo-sized TMS-produced giant. 

DANNII MINOGUE

It’s time for another ruddy hits collection from the international X Factor mentor [Page 41]

‘Domino’.  Jason Derulo - ‘Talk Dirty’: “I know what the girdem need,” Jason seems to declare on this rather annoying follow-up to the surprisingly enjoyable to ‘The Other Side’. Its slick production and brass-led chorus mean its No1 status is guaranteed, but Christ is it annoying. 

John Newman - ‘Cheating’: He secured one of the biggest debuts of the year with ‘Love Me Again’, and ‘Cheating’ continues along similar lines. Despite the subject matter, this actually feels a lot more playful. The busy chorus doesn’t feel as instant, but it’s fairly safe to asJessie J - ‘It’s My Party’: A few sume that this will be another hit. months after the brilliance of ‘Wild’,  Jessie takes a small step back with this slightly grating, ultimately limp Katy Perry - ‘Roar’: After scoring follow-up. The sentiment’s all well unprecedented success with 2010’s and good, but Jessie - a technical- Teenage Dream campaign, it’s a rely brilliant vocallist - comes across lief that Katy hasn’t changed tact a little on the screechy side. It ain’t too drastically for the first cut from

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REVIEWS: SINGLES literal wrecking ball and inexplicably making out with a sledgehammer may have got in the way of what is actually a very, very strong single. ‘Wrecking Ballad’ is dripping with angsty emotion; the verses are a little Lana Del Rey-like in their delivery and the chorus is Dr Luke at his best.  The Saturdays - ‘Disco Love’: The Sats are re-visiting pop of generations past in this latest cut; their third ‘sound’ in as many singles but arguably their best since ‘All Fired Up’. 

Album 3. ‘Roar’ takes on the easily botched message of self-empowerment and does well with it; coupling a big chorus with a satisfying “woah-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh” chant. Overall it’s a big, massively satisfying pop song with a sentiment that’s more relatable than overwrought.  Lady Gaga - ‘Applause’: Like many of Gaga’s releases, the full genius of ‘Applause’ takes a few listens to get to grips with - but this is absolutely another masterstroke. She still knows exactly what she wants to do, and how to do it. 

Lorde - ‘Royals’: This unlikely US super-smash achieves great things despite its particularly sparse production - with great harmonies and an inexplicably dark feel to it, it marks out its vocalist as a real One To Watch.  Lucy Spraggan - ‘Last Night’: The track that propelled Lucy to instant legendary status on The X Factor last summer, ‘Last Night’ has been given a glossy makeover in time for its single release. The only problem is that, in trying to be radio-friendly, it’s kind of lost its charm. Spraggers doesn’t sound like she’s having as much fun as she usually does, and the 2min 15sec runtime actually feels a lot longer. Following ‘Lighthouse’, it’s a little disappointing. 

Lawson - ‘Juliet’: The next single from their repackaged Chapman Square LP, ‘Juliet’ actually feels like a step back for Lawson. The Police influence is all well and good, but the song feels more like an also-ran album track than a big new single. Miley Cyrus - ‘Wrecking Ball’: Im ages of Miley swinging naked on a

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Union J - ‘Beautiful Life’: The boys are commiting themsevles to the very serious acoustic-guitar-driven sound with ‘Beautiful Life’; a self-esteem-based ballad created with the sole purpose of melting teenage girls’ hearts. It’ll probably work, but for the rest of us it’s a little on the dry side. 


REVIEWS: ALBUMS

CHVRCHES

THE BONES OF WHAT YOU BELIEVE By SHAUN KITCHENER

Chvrches have been quietly creating a remarkable buzz around them for some time now. Don’t be fooled by their lack of gigantic hit singles or commercial radio-friendly hooks - The Bones Of What You Believe is one of the most anticipated electro-pop releases of 2013.

ing tuneage is the order of the day throughout; vocalist Lauren Mayberry’s light but confident voice blending perfectly with the polished but kitchen-sink-free production behind her.

The four singles (the other three being ‘Gun’, ‘Lies’ and ‘Recover’) set a decent precedent for what’s found on the rest of the set - but that doesn’t necessarily mean everything else is inferior. ‘We Sink’, for example, is a magnificent Opening with ‘The Mother We beast, a perfect track to follow the Share’, their twice-released mas- understated euphoria of ‘Mother’ terpiece of a single, the pace is and one that would sound just as set fairly early on. Simultaneously good on the Radio 1 playlist as anheart-warming and heart-wrench-

ything else they’ve put their name to. The band’s secret seems to be matching a certain instrumental fizziness with a generally melancholy ‘vibe’, and the variations in the balance between the two are what keep The Bones Of What You Believe consistently interesting. Its ability to appeal to the ‘cool’ indie crowd put it in the same general ballpark as the likes of AlunaGeorge and, to a lesser extent, Disclosure - but there’s a warmth to this trio that just puts them on their own playing field. 

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REVIEWS: ALBUMS

ICONA POP THIS IS... ICONA POP Time by way of nifty electro-may- ‘natural’ instrumentation on that hem and brilliantly un-subtle vo- track really sets it apart from the Icona Pop’s cal performances. pack in general. ascent to mainstream Although that general ‘feel’ con- Vocally speaking (odd phrase), s t a r d o m tinues for much of the rest of the Caroline and Aino are capable of has felt a lot LP, it doesn’t really run out of ide- reigning it in themselves as well, longer than as much as you perhaps think it if only a tad. ‘Just Another Night’ was really will. The growling guitars and al- is the closest that This Is... ever necessary. While many pop bof- most yazoo-like hooks on closer comes to ballad territory, and fins have been clued up on them ‘Then We Kiss’, for example, give even that would sound like a riot for quite some time now, it was that track an extra kick, the ode to on, say, an Emeli Sande album. only in July of this year that the friendship on ‘Girlfriend’ is huge- It’s also a great chance to hear the global enormohit ‘I Love It’ was ly likeable, and the first verse of girls’ voices separately - there’s unleashed on the UK. It hit No1, ‘Light Me Up’ doesn’t sound a mil- an endearing almost-crack in the deservedly, but it’s good to now, lion miles away - production-wise, vocal on the first “Just another finally, have its parent album on at least - from Avril Lavigne’s re- night, on the other side” lyric that the horizon. cent ‘Here’s To Never Growing Up’. proves they can put in an emoAnd, actually, the prominence of tionally-charged turn as strongly The duo’s trademark sing-chantas the party shouting they perfect ing on that all-out banger is what elsewhere. permeates throughout most of This Is... Icona Pop, but the ballsStill, This Is... Icona Pop is an upout aggression is largely reigned beat album more than anything in. Next single ‘All Night’ for exelse - and it’s an effortlessly cool ample, is just as hands-in-the-air onslaught of bangers with more amazing, but in a much more upenergy than anything else you’re lifting, euphoric manner. Slated likely to hear in a long while. It’s for release on our shores on Octobeen a long time coming, but this ber 13, it stands a good chance of album was absolutely worth the being just as popular as its predewait.  cessor. ‘We Got The World’ follows in much the same way; celebrat@ShaunKitchener ing their knack of Having A Good By SHAUN KITCHENER

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REVIEWS: ALBUMS

DIANA VICKERS

MUSIC TO MAKE BOYS CRY By SHAUN KITCHENER

- cliche as it sounds - a lot maturer. It’s playful, cheeky and strong, and much more loyal to one subgenre. Where its predecessor went from Ellie Goulding-penned bleeppop to folk to electro-raves to piano-ballads, this LP has made its 80s-influenced electro-pop bed and is quite comfortably lying in it.

It's an album that I feared would never see the light of day, but - at long last here it is. Three and a half years on from Songs From The Tainted Cherry Tree, D-Vix has thundered back with this unsurprisingly brilliant Its two singles - the title track and sophomore collection. ‘Cinderella’ - set the pace nicely, but there are equally good offerA lot has changed, career and per- ings elsewhere. ‘Lightning Strikes’ sonal-wise, since she was last re- is gloriously bright, ‘Mad At Me’ leasing music, and that’s pretty has a kind of cheekiness that evident in the music. Where SFT- would have sounded right at home TCT housed a lot of young heart- on Girls Aloud’s Chemistry album, ache-focussed angst, MTMBC is and finale ’Blame Game’ explores

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a dark side of relationships with incredible production and a fantastic set of lyrics. Think Gabriella Cilmi’s ‘Love Me Cos You Want To’ and you’re along the right lines. At only ten tracks long, the set doesn’t outstay its welcome at all and there’s absolutely no time for filler (though, if a weak link were to be singled out at gunpoint, it would perhaps be ‘Mr Postman’). Creativity wins over commercial viability here - MTMBC isn’t the kind of album that will be certified 73-times Platinum, but it’s nothing short of spectacular nonetheless.  @ShaunKitchener


DANNII MINOGUE

THIS IS IT: THE VERY BEST OF By ALEX MACGREGOR

Until the latter part of the last decade it was easy for most people to sum up Dannii Minogue as the rebellious, less successful sister of Kylie who was just as, if not more, famous for her messy divorces, controverstial changes of image and disastrous record sales as she was for her dance pop driven music. Alas, since her four year stint on the UK judging panel of The X Factor, she’s not only won the heart of the nation, but musically has undergone something of a positive reassessment from her former detractors, who’ve since secretly hoped for new material over say, a new line from her fashion range. It’s only now she’s back on The X Factor panel - this time in Australia - that she’s taken the chance to release what is not only her third best of album following 1999’s The Singles and 2006’s The Hits and Beyond, but also to showcase her first new or previously unreleased material in 6 years. It should be pointed out however,

this is the first time that all of her singles from her four studio albums have been together on one album. Starting in chronological order with 1990’s Love and Kisses, this new compilation allows the casual pop listener to see not only how Dannii has evolved as an artist and weathered out her personal and professional disasters, but also how great she can really be when at the top of her game.

Forget About Me’, Dannii’s back catalogue is far more enjoyable then most would have you believe.

As for the two new tracks that are here, you’re probably better off not bothering with the so-so duet with Kylie, but ‘Cos’ You’re Beautiful’, a part hair rock, part radio friendly pop monster of a track co-written with her former X Factor protegee Ruth Lorenzo is a real treat. Though it’s hard to judge what In fact, you can split this album success she’d have in today’s pop neatly down the middle, with her climate on just one track, if Dannii material from Love and Kisses were to come back with songs all and 1993’s second album Get Into of this standard in 2013 she’d have You highlighting her period of dis- a fighting chance at least.  covery as an artist, to then finally hitting the mark with her 1997 al@ThePensmith10 bum Girl and 2003’s Neon Nights, where her finest moments really lie - from the frenetic Xenomania helmed breakbeats of ‘All I Wanna Do’ via the heady European electro house of ‘I Begin to Wonder’, ‘Who Do You Love Now’ and ‘You Won’t

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REVIEWS: FILM

ONE DIRECTION: THIS IS US

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By SHAUN KITCHENER

They’ve conquered the planet in less than three years, so it was only natural that One Direction would eventually turn their focus to the cinema - and with Morgan Spurlock in the driving seat, their concert-based doc This Is Us is more promising than similar efforts from their contemporaries. There’s absolutely no doubt from watching the movie that the lads are a nice bunch of ordinary people doing extraordinary jobs. Everywhere they go, masses of screaming girls follow. Every time they release a new video, the YouTube view count flies into the multi-million figures within a matter of hours. Every time they step out

with an unknown girl, they suddenlt have a Mystery Girlfriend. But if This Is Us achieves anything, it’s proving that their egos don’t seem to have changed too much because of it. They’re a charming and often funny group - perhaps not entirely self-aware (Zayn Malik’s monologue about how they’re Not Your Average Boyband will raise eyebrows among cynics) but grounded regardless.

but that ALL love interests have been banished altogether. It’s not that it needs salacious gossip to be improved, it just feels far too glossed-over; far too sugar-coated and packaged as an advert for their brand rather than a truthful insight into their lives. Spurlock has reportedly admitted a couple of times that he didn’t have the Final Cut power, so perhaps that explains it.

It’s a shame, though, that This Is Us is actually pretty boring. Aside from missing home, the negative aspects of the boys’ fame is never really explored. Their personal lives are left 100% untouched - proving not only that rumours Taylor Swift got cut were accurate,

Still, the concert footage is nicely shot, and if you think their back catalogue is anything less than infectious then, frankly, you’re lying to yourself. Fans will lap it up, but everyone else can get the jist just fine from the trailer. 

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REVIEWS: LIVE

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ROBBIE WILLIAMS By ALEX MACGREGOR

Back in 2006, when Robbie Williams had come to the end of his Close Encounters tour, there was something of a question mark over whether he’d even tour again as a solo artist - no less because at the time his former colleagues in Take That were coming back to a rapturous response from their reunion tour and soon to be released Beautiful World album. And indeed, when his two solo albums in between that time and last year - 2006’s Rudebox and 2009’s Reality Killed the Video Star - were met with average sales and failed to be toured due to his interest in alien and UFO study taking more precedence, that seemed to be the case. Of course, after he finally patched things up and reunited with Gary Barlow - and the rest of Take That - for the record breaking ‘Progress’ album and tour in 2010/11, it seemed to reignite Robbie’s desire to perform as a solo artist. Which is what brings us up to now, with this, his first tour in 7 years for last year’s chart topping comeback album ‘Take the Crown’ which has been playing to sold out stadiums in both the UK and Europe all summer, and when yours truly went to see the live cinema screening

of it, Williams was on the penultimate show of the juggernaut, at the 30,000 capacity Tallinn Song Festival Grounds in Estonia. Take the Crown however, on reflection, seems a bit of a poignant name for both the album and this two hour extravaganza I saw. On the one hand, Robbie absolutely proved why he was still on top form and ready to take back his crown as pop’s original showman, zipwiring down to the stage out of a massive LED-screened Robbie head cowering over his 10 piece band, before launching into ‘Let Me Entertain You’ with the amusing war cry, “I am Robbie fucking Williams, you are Estonia, and tonight, your arse is mine!” And entertain he did, as he quipped many a side splitting joke and cheeky sideways wink, along with a setlist that mixed excellent new album tracks like ‘Be a Boy’ and ‘Not Like the Others’ with old classics like ‘Strong’ and ‘Come Undone’.

eral, “the answer and cause of all life’s problems”. The wear and tear of a summer long stadium jaunt taking its toll on the soon to be 40 year old Williams was highlighted all the more when his ‘showbiz brother’ Olly Murs opened up the show for him with an equally energetic 45 minute set comprising some of his greatest hits thus far and a spirited medley of Earth, Wind and Fire songs, before rejoining Robbie half an hour into his set to play the ‘Kylie’ role for his performance of ‘Kids’. A little later on, when singing part of the chorus from ‘Never Forget’ (to the indifference of the Estonian crowd who obviously hadn’t heard of Take That), Williams changed the ending line to “Someday soon, this will all be Olly Murs’ dream.”

And indeed, by the time he left the crowd baying for more with a rip-roaring encore of ‘Feel’, ‘She’s the One’ and (what else?) ‘Angels’, it seemed that, if this was indeed Robbie’s final outing into these very stadiums, he’d done it as all But whilst Robbie was sounding good pop stars should exit - on a and performing the best he’s done high, and handing his crown down in years, a few cracks showed as to someone like Olly, who I feel will he revealed to the masses that the be more than capable of entertainshow nearly didn’t go ahead that ing these very same stadiums he’s night due to a back injury he sus- entertained for over two decades. tained, but he insisted would, giv-  en the right amount of painkillers. “Drugs,” he told the world in gen@ThePensmith10

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RELATIVELY POINTLESS

POP QUIZ 12. In what year did Mutya Buena walk out of the Sugababes? 13. When did Jamelia’s ‘Superstar’ come out? 14. Which member of Take That has competed on Celebrity Big Brother? 15. What was Justin Bieber’s concert movie called?

5. With whom did Sophie Ellis BexThe prize? Absolutely nothing. tor collaborate on ‘Groovejet (If The point? There isn’t really one. This Ain’t Love)’? The fun value? Average at best. 6. In which year were The MacdonALAS. Test your pop geekdom ald Brothers a thing on The X Facwith the below questions. tor? 1. In which year did Brian McFad- 7. What was the name of Madonden leave Westlife? na’s last studio album? 2. Who was JB Gill’s professional 8. What was Bananarama’s biggest dance partner when he took part selling single? in a Christmas edition of Strictly Come Dancing? 9. How many UK No1s has Lady Gaga had? 3. Which TV talent show was Geri Halliwell a judge on in 2002? 10. How many UK No1s has Katy Perry had? 4. Name Nicola Roberts’ last single release as a solo artist. 11. What was the name of Rihanna’s first album?

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Look out for the answers in the next issue. Or just look them up on the internet. Last issue answers: 1. Haim, 2. Strip Me, 3. Bulletproof, 4. My Crazy Beautiful Life, 5. The Wanted Life, 6. Don’t Stop Believing, 7. The 411, 8. Caroline, Jim, Andrea, Sharon, 9. A Thousand Miles, 10. The OC, 11. Jordin Sparks, 12. Chaotic, 13. 2008, 14. Jon Lee, 15. Britney Spears


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WWW.AMAZEPOP.CO.UK @AMAZEPOP Catch up on back issues at issuu.com/amazepop

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AMAZEPOP - Issue 06