Cher Lloyd – Sirens
Remember Cher Lloyd?
She’s that annoying bubblegum brat from the estate with the hi-tops and tracksuit who thought she was going to waltz her way to the X Factor title in 2010. The one we really hated.
Cher is one of a long line of X Factor hopefuls who have riled the public for knowing they’re good; we can certainly drop Misha B, Tamera Foster and Danyl Johnson into this category too, plus perhaps several others who failed to reach the business end of the competition.
Appearing on The X Factor was, of course, Cher’s undoing. We live in a culture that celebrates the underdog. Whether that began with Winston Churchill’s ‘we will fight them on the beaches’ speech, or Margaret Thatcher encouraging us to ‘let our poppies grow tall’ (a surefire way to guarantee we do the exact opposite), we Brits have railed against the capable and the ambitious in support of someone – occasionally anyone – else. Call it the politics of envy if you like, but as a nation we actively seek out ways to bring down those who refuse to season their ability with a hefty dollop of humility. Just don’t be so humble you come across as wet – right, Janet Devlin?
The evidence exists. In the age of the talent show we have seen the likes of Andrea Begley, Jermain Jackman, Joe McElderry and Leon Jackson take home the prize ahead of Leah McFall, Christina Marie, Olly Murs and Rhydian Roberts. Even Will Young was considered an unlikely victor at the time. In Cher’s case, we apparently preferred Matt Cardle. Matt. Effing. Cardle.
Would the utterly ruthless Madonna have won Pop Idol back in 1981? Beyoncé as a precocious teen from Houston in 1997?
Hell no. They’re brilliant but you never hear them apologise for their talents. Yet for some reason – perhaps because we feel so powerless in so many other aspects of our lives – when 16-year-old Cher’s dream was within her grasp, we revelled in the chance to snatch it away from her. Because we are bastards.
You could understand this, perhaps, if she thought she was the nuts without having the skills to back up the bravado, but Cher had good reason to be confident. Let us not forget that La Lloyd pulled one of the best talent show performances in X Factor history out of the bag when she covered Shakespears Sister’s Stay for Halloween Week.
Sirens is her Stay. Obviously it’s a little more uptempo (we live in an era of six-second videos and 140 character blogging, for heaven’s sake), but as emotive lower-mid-tempo ballads go you’ll be hard pushed to find one this good anywhere near an album by one of your faves.
Despite the absolute brilliance of this song, the British public bears a grudge. As well being young and talented – and knowing it – Cher also had the temerity to point out that Designated National Sweetheart, victim-of-public-shaming-by-love-rat-husband and former X Factor mentor Cheryl Was-Cole might, maybe, occasionally, possibly rely on… uhh… ‘recorded vocals’ and AutoTune to ensure she puts on the best performance. Where was her respect, eh?
So, of course, when Sirens was released in the same week Chezza inflicted Crazy Stupid Love on the charts, we let the latter romp to number one despite being absolutely awful, and this peach peaked just outside the Top 40.
Crazy, stupid Brits.
Entered chart: 02/08/2014
Peak position: 41
Weeks on chart: 2
Who could sing this today and have a hit? Rihanna is crying out for something this good on her upcoming album.
Much though I admire Ms. Lloyd, I do wonder if a little of the public’s antipathy has arisen from her ‘doing a Joss’ and adopting a distinctly American accent.
No, it comes from the blatant changing of the rules in the X-Factor semi final that year which got Little Miss Ripped Jeans to the final instead of Tesco Mary (who would have got there on the public vote). It just wasn’t cricket, and we’ll never forget that.