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Sam Bailey – Tracking a class act on X-Factor

Sam Bailey the unexpected class act of X-Factor 2013

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I’ve never written about X-factor before but this year it has been very interesting to watch one persons journey through the show towards the final. X-Factor is an interesting TV show, and ultimately it’s about stereotypes. I always get the impression it’s a battle between the producers and record company execs behind the show and the voting public. They often have different views which makes for occasionally interesting TV when the contestants and the public veer strongly in a direction that the producers don’t really want to go. The show’s producers must have loved Jedward from a performance and ratings perspective but the record companies must have been in a panic!

What the producers want?

Ideally the producers want to reveal the next teen singing sensation, the person the think will appeal to a mostly young audience as they think that’s their sales market. The irony is that all the other demographics actually watch the show. It’s a family show and no doubt that affects the voting each week.
This explains why someone like Sam Bailey is in the running to win the show. Family’s, kids, parents and grandparents alike will all love Sam Bailey. She can really sing and she looks great on stage. It’s a visual transformation that people love, ordinary over 25 working class mum getting a unique chance at stardom.

Sam Callahan – perfect popstar image?

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It also explains why Sam Callahan survived so long on the show when perhaps when he should never have been in the final 12. Visually he was a record companies dream, looked great, would appeal to youngsters and upwards alike and no doubt technology could have auto-tuned him to perfection for the record companies. Unfortunately while Sam is able to sing somewhat it was rapidly clear he does not have the vocal talents of many on the show and ultimately and correctly that led to him leaving.

Luke Friend’s interesting voice

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At the other end of the scale we have Luke Friend, visually interesting and with a voice that while not unique (anyone remember Seal?) stands out and he can sing a bit too. Potentially he’s the new choice for the record companies. He doesn’t have the candy floss appeal that Sam Callahan did but he is interesting and clearly is a musician with ideas. Ending up in the sing off in the semi final is proof that Luke maybe is quite what the public want, having said that I think choice of song is very important for Luke to succeed.

Nicholas McDonald – x-factor winner in waiting or not?

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Nicholas McDonald is a bit of a square peg for me. He sings well but appears quite one dimensional. He is only 16 and perhaps the days of teenage singing sensations are a thing of the past. Today’s media is in our face all the time – there is no time to breathe between seeing an act numerous times and frequent exposure like that unless they are very talented is likely to dampen audience enthusiasm and this is potentially what is happening to Nicholas. He’d have been better entering the show in a few years time when he is a more mature performer who can adjust to the demands of a show like X-factor. Nonetheless he has to be a possible for the record companies – he can sing and they can market him but probably with more effort then they’ d have required with Sam Callahan or Luke Friend. Despite this Nicholas sailed into the final after what wasn’t his best performance so who knows! After all we don’t know the exact differences between the votes. The producers clearly do and I wonder do they update the judges on singer votes after each week?

Hannah Barrett – a gifted voice

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I do feel sorry for Hannah Barrett and here’s an example of where things don’t make sense. Hannah is clearly an outstanding vocal talent, she’s truly gifted and we’ve probably not seen a singer with her type of voice for a long time. However as previously pointed out, today’s deal is about the whole package and Hannah for whatever reason did not capture the public’s heart, which is a real shame. Talent and the personality behind it can take time to develop and record companies never seem to learn, they don’t like investing in long-term talent like Hannah could be. It was a pity to see the judges cast her aside in favour of less impressive singers.

Rough Copy – X-Factor strength in numbers

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Rough Copy played to their main strength in that there are 3 of them. None of them are good enough to stand on their own as an individual performer, perhaps with the exception of Joe. He may have enough charisma and vocal ability to perform on his own. As a group they have worked very hard and turned out good performances every week. It will be interesting to see if they get a contract and if they can make it work for them.

Sam Bailey – X-factor Star Act 2013

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That brings me to Sam Bailey, she is by far the best act on X-Factor this year, she has enough of all the ingredients to make her a success, the only real question is whether or not that is the kind of success the record companies wish to exploit. In a harsh mind she doesn’t fit their stereotype of what a female singer should be, young, slim very beautiful and able to sing. But she is marketable, she can look great and of course she can sing amazingly well. Sam can put soul into a song which some of the other contestants can’t yet do because they are too young.

When the show started it was clear the producers didn’t think Sam could make it and they presented her in as drab a fashion as they could, mumsy and little overweight and quite ordinary. You can see this clearly in the progression of outfits that Sam has worn through the show. As the talent has dwindled someone has realised (reflected in the voting perhaps?) that Sam Bailey can win and they shifted up a style gear and dressed her in a more classy style for her performances, someone is packaging her up for victory.

That’s as it should be, after all as Gary Barlow frequently reminds us this is a singing competition.

So Go Sam Bailey!

In my next post I’ll talk a little more about the dresses Sam has been wearing and why they really work for her from a style perspective.

Sophie Davis

Quality plus size clothing and designer fashion For Women Size 14 – 28

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The Killing Series 3 | Sarah Lund in Blue Sweater

The Killing Series 3

The Killing Series 3

The third series of the killing started last week on BBC four.

We enjoyed series 1 and 2 of The Killing and Sofie Grabol’s character Sarah Lund is a particularly interesting character. Series III looks like it’s going to be just as good as the previous two become off to a good start last night with a double episode.

Apparently they’re not going to make any more after this particular series and I can understand why. The success of any show is due to its repeatability and they’re probably running out of ideas at this point.

The Kiling Series 3 : Sofie Grabol as Sarah Lund wearinh her new sweater

A Successful TV Series Formula

The killing does have a formula and it’s pretty evident as we starting to watch the third series. Series 1 and two have the same forked hyper formula. Effectively they consist of a political plot, a murder, in various happenings England’s personal life. One of the interesting things about the political plot is that generally there appear to be two political protagonists at loggerheads throughout the series right until the end episode. This is perhaps what makes the problem little bit more interesting than some of the traditional detective series we get in the UK.

It’s a bit of an odd quirk you wouldn’t expect to find a political miniseries inside a murder drama on television. In actual fact the political activity usually has very little to do with the murder itself. The political drama inside the series provides a useful break from the investigation of the case. The extra characters keep the interest going and provide more depth than you usually find in detective show.

Story Continuity

The fact that the TV series is a continuing story every week is quite different to what we usually have in UK detective shows. A continuing story of this nature allows the characters to be developed fully, and the lead character in particular we started about some empathy with and that’s quite unique. UK TV shows typically roll around the character of the story each week in the hour-long episodes is generally unrelated the ones previously all going forward.

Our best variation on this is something like the DCI Banks TV series where we get programs with a story that are generally shown over two episodes. This works to send extent but unlike The Killing Series (which has 10 episodes) it doesn’t really allow for the regular characters to be fully developed.

Popularity Despite Subtitles

The killing has been immensely popular in UK and this despite the fact that it’s actually a subtitled show. Another quirk of the show that has caught people’s imagination is the development of the Lund character. Sarah Lund is a mysteriously interesting character, she is distant, generally unemotional and quite curt with her colleagues. Overall she is not that animated and yet we remain fascinated.

Sarah Lund’s character is that of a Maverick this is compounded by the fact that she isn’t the typical stereotyped female character that you could expect to find in such a show. She doesn’t wear dramatic clothing and she never looks like she’s wearing make-up. She’s far from the well turned out female lead you would expect to see in such a show.

The Killing Sweater!

Sarah Lund typically wears a jumper and jeans and some sort of three-quarter length coat for her job throughout the series. In fact the sweaters have become something of a trademark of the show and are followed around the world. We’ll have a further post soon about Sarah Lund’s sweaters and how iconic they’ve become. We can’t help wondering whether or not this was intentional on the part of the producers!

Joanna

Shop at Vida Moda for Knitwear | Quality fashion For Women Size 14 to 28

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Vetono Chocolate Tunic at Vida Moda

Chocolate Tunic Dress – Your New Best Friend

Every woman needs a great jersey dress, and our Chocolate Tunic by Vetono is a perfect example and is available up to a size 22.

It’s super stretchy and perfectly weighted to drape beautifully for truly effortless chic.  Add this little beauty to your wardrobe and you’ll soon realise how flexible it is – dressed up or down, it’ll always look bang on trend.

Vetono Chocolate Tunic at Vida Moda

For a daytime look, keep it simple, team with your favourite jeans or leggings, some great boots; add a chunky beaded necklace & an oversized shoulder bag and you’re good to go.
For work, just add opaque tights and some patent court shoes.  For a splash of colour, style with a bright scarf – left loose or tied in a quirky pussy bow depending on your style.  Choose a bold Aztec style print to tie in with one of this season’s big catwalk trends and you’ve got instant office-chic.

When you’re looking for more glamour, the tunic’s gorgeous chocolate brown shade lends itself beautifully as a blank canvas to accessorise with this season’s Afrocentric trends.  Think chunky ethnic style jewellery, earth tones, wooden bangles, and of course, don’t be afraid to throw a splash of animal print into the mix.  Fashion’s long standing love affair with playful prints shows no sign of ending any time soon, so why not invest in some leopard print pumps or heels to really set off the look.  Add a coordinating clutch to stash the essentials and get ready to party!
This great little dress will soon become one of your wardrobe staples – have fun experimenting with it!

This designer tunic is available at Vida Moda now in 3 sizes catering for size 16 to 22.

 
Joanna
Vida Moda | Designer Fashion For Women With Curves Images ©Vida Moda 2012

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Do You Love or Loathe Red Carpet Opulence?

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Image: David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The film and television industry award season is in full swing. It’s the playground for designers and fashion queens to make a statement and, in some cases, make history with that all important strut down the red carpet. The main event being, whether we like it or not, the Academy Awards, 26th February, 2012.

Everyone remembers an Oscar fashion story. Usually it’s the big mistakes, Björk’s unfortunate swan outfit, Cher’s several attempts to show us she’s defied age and gravity not to mention Helena Bonham-Carter’s apparent lack of a stylist (or at least a good one). There are some important lessons to be learned. But when the stars of the moment get the glamour right, they can define an era and set the high street on fire with replicas. In reality, none of us dress like that every day, some of us only dress like that a few times in our lifetime. So why do some of us subscribe to this extreme theatre of chic? It would be totally unrealistic to get the sewing machine out and sport a floor length chiffon number à la Michelle Williams in the local nightclub but the colour inspired a whole range of orange for Spring/ Summer 2012.

For those of us who are red carpet junkies, it’s not envy making us drool over the conveyor belt of gowns floating down the runway (well maybe a little). It would be totally unrealistic to get the sewing machine out and sport a floor length chiffon number à la Michelle Williams in the local nightclub but the colour inspired a whole range of orange for Spring/ Summer 2012. are the fashion choices the film and television professionals have made in the hope they may be picking up a prize on the world stage. A well crafted, well styled dress and overall look can make careers. Not only for the actress or designer but for stylists, publicists and just about everyone who had a hand in putting together the look. Collectively, these teams of fashionistas are artists in their prime and an insight into their creative world is fascinating. It’s not totally unreasonable to pick up nuances of style for ourselves, things most of us can pull off, a bejewelled clutch bag, nude patent heels, the latest ‘up do’ for our hair.

The trends on the red carpet this year, so far, have been slightly understated. As in Kate Middleton’s style choices, the colours are neutrals or dark, the cut’s simplistic. This is most likely to emulate the precarious economic times we are living in, vulgar displays of luxury would appear distasteful. Which begs the question, what will the Oscars bring? Maybe someone will revive the ‘safety pin’ dress to demonstrate thrift.

Vida Moda
Vida Moda | Designer Fashion For Curvy Women

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Go glow! Complete your look with spectacular skin

The secret to a great look is healthy looking skin. Winter is a cruel season, icy winds, central heating and fatty comfort food. Spring is round the corner, so here’s some tips to kick the winter look and bounce into a better season. Continue Reading →

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Black-Stockings-Vida-Moda

How do you like your Hosiery?

After some thought I’ve added a small collection of Hosiery to our collection. Have you ever bought supermarket tights in what you thought was large or extra large only to find that the waist only comes up to your hips or the crotch is half way down your thighs?

Plus size tights are a definite must have and I’ve sourced a make that caters for larger hip sizes, which I am pleased about. My other major consideration is what price range to offer. For me there is nothing more annoying that donning a new pair of tights that have cost me £12.00 only to stick my fingers through them. Therefore, I’ve gone for lower priced tights that are suitable for every day wear.

Also, at this time of year when we’re all wearing longer length skirts and boots we want comfortable, well fitting tights that do the job. I hope you are pleased with my selection. We have plain 15 and 20 denier tights, Opaque’s, Fishnets and Hold Ups – all in plus sizes. If you’d like to see us stock more variety please do let me know! As always, I welcome your comments.

Joanna

Vida Moda | Designer Fashion For Curvy Women

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The Artist, a self portrait in oils.

“Drawing Inspiration” an exhibition of Art by Diana Probost at the Cambridge Art Salon

Diana Probst, a Cambridge artist, opens her first show, Drawing Inspiration, on Friday, at the Cambridge Art Salon. This post is about her experience of setting up the show. Diana is a talented artist and we are pleased to provide her with a guest post on our blog. Everybody gets to see the the finished work of artists but few see the effort or trials and tribulations that people go through to achieve that end product. The piece below, in Diana’s own words reflects the challenges we all face in “making something happen”, often these challenges are where we get pushed out of our comfort zone and dealing with them, while stressful does help build our experience. So read on to find out what it is like to go through setting up your own art exhibition for the first time. If you are in Cambridge between the 11th and 16th of November do come and view Diana’s work and look out for the invitation to the private viewing at the end of this post.

“I have been a professional artist for a little over a year now. In oil paint terms, that means that things I started last year are now framed and ready to sell. Oil painting is slow, and gives you plenty of time for thought. By contrast, the show date has come crashing in on me, with the speed and unblinkingness of headlights on a rabbit. If it were not for the support around me, I would be facing an empty room on opening night.

Bottles on a Blue Cloth in Oil by Diana Probost

Bottles on a Blue Cloth

The first thing I did was make a blog post and ask my friends to comment. Artists I did not know I knew dropped by. There were plenty of advice sites on the net, and I added things I had skimmed to a huge spidery brain-dump. With my husband’s help, and a donated ten minutes by a friend who advised on software, I got everything onto my computer and scheduled from there.

It cut down the mountain into smaller bits that were hardly rocky at all, and I was able to separate my painting time from my preparations. I went back to the suggestion lists again and again, for moral support as much as for the ideas.

The last couple of weeks were surreal. I did not have any more painting I could do for the show itself, and I found myself worrying about my lack of expertise in marketing. That was where my friends shone through. There was a lot of support and just knowing it was there got me through the tough parts. Today I will be walking around Cambridge distributing postcards advertising the show. It’s all coming together, and I’m really chuffed.”

The Artist, a self portrait in oils.

The artist, a self portrait

For your invitation to the private view please click HERE.

The show starts on Friday 11th, and runs until 16th, with the gallery closed on Monday. Opening hours 10-5

Cambridge Art Salon: 29 Cromwell Road, Cambridge, CB1 3EB
Diana’s URL: dianaprobst.com
Twitter Feed: @dianaprobst

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Crikey! What’s happened to Downton?

Crikey! What’s happened to Downton?

Downton Abbey Ladies

"Downton Abbey Ladies"


I enjoyed the first series of Downton Abbey but feel the second series has become somewhat of a parody of itself (maybe it is supposed to be like this). Why has it gone downhill? The actors playing the characters all seem reasonably well suited to the parts they play and the premise is there for a good yarn But this series is lacking. Perhaps it is the way in which we hop from scene to scene, there is too much going on, too many individual story lines being covered, and all of them without satisfactory endings.

In the last few episodes an injured solider turned up who could have been the legitimate heir to Downton but was physically unrecognisable due to his injuries. Now this story had potential for intrigue, drama and full blown confrontation. Instead the character wimped out and scuttled off (we didn’t even see him scuttling), presumably never to be heard of again.

What is the point of “Ethel’s” story? Yes it shows how difficult life was for single mothers with illegitimate children, but then why is there a new maid in residence who is also a single mother but who is a war widow. (we now know, she is likely to be naughty with Lord Downton) We’ve never seen her child and she puts a pained face on whenever it is mentioned. (I’m desperately seeking skullduggery of some kind in this small story)

Richard Carlisle From Downton Abbey

"Carlisle"

The only character with a hint of proper devilment is Mr Carlisle who issued a threat with some menace to Lady Mary who didn’t really bat any eyelids at all. Oh, and Matthew seems set to recover, his wheelchair went over a bump on Sunday night and low and behold he clearly feel something downstairs, and no it wasn’t a maid. Most of all I have felt some dismay for Lord Downton, Granville or whoever. He has had to strut about in a uniform at home for weeks and he didn’t even have anyone to have Luncheon with this week. He also appears to have lost any real story lines as does the whole programme.

What of the youngest daughter, Sybil (aka Lady Florence), what on earth is she doing with the Chauffeur? Nothing, absolutely nothing, for weeks, mind you he did put a hand on her waist this week. (shocking). Anytime there is potential for drama they snuff it out straight away, what about the tractor driving Edith kissing the farmer? Bang! Letter from the farmers wife telling her she is no longer required. Story over. Instantly, she was demoted to concerned librarian for the next two weeks.

Mr. Bates from Downton Abbey

"Bates"

What about BATES, and Anna. Anna seems ok and has the odd good line or two. But BATES seems to have overdone it with the Botox, he’s permanently canted over to the right with a look on his face that implies he has recently sat on a very large blunt thumb tack. Oh, and who the heck buys arsenic and leaves it lying about in the kitchen?

It is such a shame, this series is not a patch on the first and all it goes to show is that ITV cannot manage period drama in quite the same way as the BBC even though I’m pretty sure Julian Fellows is an excellent writer – he doesn’t seem to be allowed the freedom to develop story lines properly over the series. The costumes remain excellent (I don’t know how authentic they are to the period) but it all goes to show that window dressing is nothing without the story.

Update from last weeks episode!!

Did you see it? Matthew’s miraculous recovery, he sprang from his wheelchair to catch Lavinia to prevent her falling. He did this after months of not being able to move his legs and with no rehabilitation. Yes I know it’s television, but really some of it is so far fetched! It lacks the sense of space and time that would make it anywhere near credible and detracts from the reality.

Its the last episode of this series tonight, will there be a third? I fear it is too late to properly conclude any of the current story lines. Oh and there is a Christmas Special coming… maybe that will be better. Mind you I did like some of their jewellery!

Joanna

Joanna Davis | Vida Moda | Couture for Curvy Women

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