Creative Blog- Creative Direction, Branding and Design Projects
For transparency I don't have Danish TV so I sat for many hours scouring all the performances on YouTube which I think is actually a good thing because it means I know none of the judges comments or what the public opinion was for each act.
I also noted some main differences between X Factor DK and UK, you lucky potatoes:
1. Denmark XF uses a live band! As far as I know UK have backing tracks which is never as magical.
2. The Danish budget is LOW compared to UK, which is kinda obvious but it really slaps you in the face when you see the contestants getting the bus home after rehearsals.
3. There is no judges houses in DK. Sad face.
4. Denmark has ABSOLUTELY NO CENSORED SWEARING. Anything goes, even for kids.
5. The DK winner doesn't win a record deal but a tour of the shopping malls.
Right, on to the meaty stuff; I've only covered Kristian, Live and Echo because those are most likely to have a future career as an artist, in my humble yet kinda professional opinion. I've linked each performance so you can go check them out for yourselves.
For me, this performance put him on the map. The song choice was absolutely spot on and that colour palette was sent from the Gods. DID I SAY I LOVE THAT COLOUR PALETTE?
The background animation was simple but sometimes simple works outrageously well and this is an example of one of those times. The spots and the lighting coordinated and brought it all together for the audience.
The camera angles captured the performance as if it was a well thought-out music video and more personality started to come out; not too much, but enough to draw the viewers in and cement this performance in their brains, continuing the 'getting to know me' process that X Factor does so well.
My guess would be that his votes would have dramatically increased this week.
He stuck to a rock/indie/britpop niche and constantly sung in english which I think is a Good Thing, as he was able to connect with both Danes and expats and is building the foundations of a career outside of Denmark, as well as in it. (I've been told no one has ever had a music career post X Factor, so I'm talking theoretically at this point.)
The last point I want to make here is that the tone of his voice really compliments his style and the song choices; it does remind me a bit of the wispy, kooky 2010s vocal trend, you know the one I mean. Ellie Goulding in 'Love Me Like You' and Diana Vickers display it perfectly. But hey, for me all these elements work flawlessly together as a united family.
The creative for this was a step backwards in my opinion. It was 'fine' but didn't blow me away and I can't imagine the audience remembering this one as much as Common People. Song choices are so important in reality shows; the contestants really have to captivate people within a couple of minutes and a fabulous song choice is the first stepping stone to doing that. To be super safe, I would stick to universally known, classic songs.
I think the styling got a bit lost here as well, Kristian suits a quirky suit much more than those sparkly green trousers!
BLOOD IN THE CUT
This was implemented well but not sure if it worked great for him as an artist. The full-on cowboy outfit made it a bit cheesy which is great for entertainment value but not great for the artist brand. A different outfit could have made this a really stand-out performance. Saying that, the lighting and backdrop were phenomenal, nice work there yo.
YOU GET WHAT YOU GIVE
I was not a massive fan of this one. There was too much going on, too much text and the 'movie' effect at the edges was tacky af. After a while the whole thing made my eyes water.
It was, what I call, a creative disaster. I kinda get where they wanted to go with it but the vibe was in no way achieved effectively. The monochrome optical illusion style had so much potential. Sad face.
If it had been me, I would have simplified the background animation to a basic optical illusion; Seven Nation Army style and made the outfit less stripy.
Kristian forgot the words a bit on this one, but as this happens even to the best of us AND he's singing in his second language AND this song is very word heavy, we can forgive and forget.
WISH YOU WERE GAY
This song choice was completely flawless and the flashlight scene at the beginning was ingenious. It captured an old classic, almost silent film feel while maintaining the delicacy of the instrumentation and lyrics. Their voices blended together beautifully and the quirky movement choreography further into the song was super cute. Top marks there, lad.
Although X Factor UK has a much bigger budget and bigger production values, the use of movement and choreography in XF DK is really inventive and feels Scandinavian in a way. It's subtle but suits the show and makes a low production performance much more interesting, while seeming to evoke more emotion as well.
DO I WANNA KNOW
Oh look, another perfekt song choice (lovehearts as eyes emoji). There were some interesting things going on here; one being the backing dancers. I've already mentioned the style of 'movement' over dance that appears in this series but it's even more apparent here. They have this kinda zombie style thing going on and I don't hate it. It adds some meat to the performance (nothing dodgy intended) and I think as the song builds up, it's really effective.
The opening frames work really well for this; starting on the guitar and then the flood of flashing orange lights, beeeeautiful! The lighting and dancer's movements really build with the momentum of the song and I'm a big fan of the yellow spotty animation (maybe I just like spots?).
Also, how's about this fancy double microphone thing? He's got one regular mic and another one in which he sings a high harmony with some effect (distortion?) on it. It's a quirky alternative to using backing singers, although I would not want to be the sound guy!
The only main downside for this performance for me is the leather jacket. I feel like leather jackets are thrown around too much on X Factor. 'Be more edgy', put them in a leather jacket. 'Act younger', put them in a leather jacket. It's a niche thing and I don't think it works for Kristian and his artist image.
Omg I LOVE. The colour palette, the movements, the hippie-inspired vibe, it's all wonderful. The song slots right into his previous repetoire and the dynamics really compliment the changes between the verses and choruses.
The white laser lighting in the chorus paired with the dancers on the little blocks superbly brings it all to life and assists the chorus hooks in creating a super uplifting feel. The focus of the camera on the backing singers works great, as a transition between the upbeat chorus and the more subtle verse, which grabs the audience and brings it right back in.
The camera angles and overall creative work in absolute perfect harmony here, yay! I would have loved to have seen this live to see if the experience was as impressive as it was on screen.
One little gripe is the dancers wearing caps; I don't think they're needed and they don't fit the general vibe here. Sad face.
LOST AND PROFOUND
I think this started well but lost authenticity throughout. What we actually got was very different to what we were sold at the beginning.
The song has real potential and I think it's great to showcase artist's own songs at this stage to allow the audience to really get a feel for the kind of music they'd release. The outfit worked for me as well, going fancy for the final is always a fabulous idea!
The background animation was where things started to slide. It started well and complimented the song but kinda lost its way throughout, with no real theme. I'm not sure if there was less production here due to multiple performances (as it was the final) or whether there were different reasons for it.
The choreography seemed way too forced as well, it lost all the natural performance/charisma factor. The whole thing felt like it had been planned in a rush, apart from the song which was great and there was even a hint of a beaut colour scheme in there too! I feel like the whole thing just needed more work and planning.
Phew. Kristian's a wrap, onwards to Echo!
SECRET LOVE SONG
This one's not a live show performance but I had to include it because it's so pure and beautiful! I thought it would be a good introduction to the group as well. They were manufactured from four unsuccessful solo artists so this would have been one of their first performances as a group.
There is so much I love about this audition and it really shows their potential. I love how their voices are all so delicate but each has an individual tone, resulting in such a gorgeous blend of sounds. They remind me here of a younger, wholesome, Scandinavian Little Mix... Adorable!
Their outfits show their culture and individuality yet all unite together as well as their voices do to create a pure yet youthful group.
I do think if they'd have been auditioning in the UK, Mr Cowell would have told them to go away for a couple of years to gain confidence and experience but we're not in the UK so through they went and they improved so much over the course of the show. Obviously taking a risk with acts like this can completely pay off.
Enter that difficult stage with a manufactured group when you've seen potential in them but actually they don't know each other very well and have no idea where they're going or who they want to be.
Oh hi hello, I can help with that!
I LOVED the opening shot of this performance but the song choice was wrong imo. The things that made them so loveable in their bootcamp audition was their connection and the harmonies and the introduction displayed neither of these. It's those first few seconds that either grab the audience in or push them away so it's crucial to get that right. The song and/or arrangement felt a bit empty as well and wasn't suited to a group.
The choreography felt like a completely unnatural fit to the song and showed their nerves. The bits where they had some freedom in movement were much easier to watch and allowed confidence to bloom.
Right, styling, oh my. It was an absolute disaster! Matching outfits and hairstyles in 2019 are a BIG no-no and that decision meant losing all the authenticity from their bootcamp audition. The most successful girl groups have members that embrace who they are and differ from each other, not clones.
I would have put them in four different outfits, each inspired by their individual style but using the same colour palette to bring it all together. Same with hairstyles; I would stick with more natural, wind swept hair looks rather than overly styled ones. Although they're young, they do have a classic and kinda elegant image so putting them in really young, dated clothes ruined the whole vibe for me.
There is so much room for development here, let us pray that it all comes together by the end!
I feel like this was half spot on and half completely missed the mark. The song choice was great and the backdrop worked, however, I would have gone further down the 'clean, shiny industrial' route and used metallic chairs.
The styling didn't work AT ALL. I'm not sure if the intention was to be ironic but nothing says 'fun cheerleader' less than Coldplay. I would have kept it a bit more 'neutral classic' as the choreography was the main focus here and the pom poms distracted from that.
For the middle eight section I would have focused more on the harmonies than the mosh pit style activities but I see where they were going with it. I just didn't quite believe it enough for it to 100% work.
The opening frame and the intro worked very nicely though, big fan of that. The lighting was fab throughout as well. Whoop.
Oh, just gotta mention the eye shadow. Please, no. No, no, no.
Ok so I'm totally feeling the glitter theme, you can't go wrong with a bit of glitter, am I right? The instruments didn't work imo, solely because when someone doesn't play an instrument but they hold one, it just looks super awkward and unnatural. The drum, however, with the glitter confetti was fab; really nice effect that was. I think having some more 'arm choreography' would have worked nicely, especially together with having mic stands. It would have given the whole performance a bit more 'oomph'. Regardless of all this, their confidence seems to having really grown this week and that's amazing to see!
The outfits were a big improvement as well, I think they should always be different for each girl, with something tying them all together (ie, jeans). The glitter eye shadow fits much better for this performance than the previous one, although I would have made it silver rather than the brightest colours I've ever seen in my life.
I've got to start this by saying fair play to singing in your second language here. I can't even imagine how difficult that must be, especially with particularly wordy songs. Their pronunciation/enunciation is flawless as well.
The opening staging was friggen awesome, loved that. It worked so well and completely complimented the song. Although, it was the wrong song choice for me. It isn't the sort of song they'd release as artists and it's SO important to stick to your niche in order for the audience to learn to love you.
These outfits hurt me a little. It was such a massive (awful) change from their bootcamp audition and omg those tights. NO. It looked dated and tacky. Mega sad face.
I'm unsure if this was a sing-off or a second performance, but it was quite nice to see all the production stripped back a bit. It gave their vocals the chance to shine and the whole thing had a very natural feel. I wouldn't have said this song was an obvious choice for them but actually it genuinely worked.
If the outfits were more current and grown up then it would have been a beautiful performance.
WHEN I GROW UP
This, to me, felt most like their own gig. I loved the intro, starting near the judges and making use of the whole space of the stage. The forest backdrop created a more grown-up feel, which worked for them, while their outfits and the choreography complimented it all.
The hair and make up was much more flattering, the song was really on brand and everything gelled well like a complete and happy pie, yay!
ALL THE THINGS SHE SAID
Hi hello and omg this was absolute perfection. The opening frame, the background animation (both colour and composition), the outfits, movements and camera angles were a dream. It all gelled immensely well together and was the ultimate match for the song (which was also a perfect choice, NAILED IT).
The outfits were adorable and this is what I'm talking about; they were different but aligned, cute, current with a Scandinavian influence, mwah.
Their confidence had grown even more for this I reckon; they performed extremely well and really sold it to the audience. The choreography was on point.
And that's a wrap for Echo; I loved seeing their growth throughout the show, they did good!
WHEN THE PARTY IS OVER
This was a great song choice, other than it being a little bit too high for her voice in places. Live is another act who I think Simon Cowell would have sent away to gain confidence and experience; she's only fifteen and does appear nervous in the earlier performances.
I love how stripped back this was though. That, along with the changes in camera angles and panning, really suited the song. Her 'thing' is all about the voice so I definitely wouldn't overdo the production otherwise it would steal focus from it.
The background visuals and outfit were on point as well; it all had a Scandinavian singer songwriter vibe and I'm totally down with that.
The opening frame was beaut, starting out of focus and then slowly focusing is super effective for soft, pretty performances.
The movements matching the background visuals worked beautifully as well, so elegant! I feel like Live's brand identity has already been established at this point and has been excellently maintained so far. Yay! Saying that, these two performances have been very similar so I do think some slight variation is needed going forward.
Oh, not forgetting the song choice which was absolute perfection. The ideal song for her voice, huzzah!
GOD IS A WOMAN
I think she gained some confidence here which is fab to see! There was more use of the stage and sitting amongst the candles was a really nice touch. I'm glad the production picked up a little from the previous two.
I'm loving the styling; it's totally 'singer songwriter but with a bit of youth' and it works flawlessly for Live.
There was a lovely use of yellow lights in the middle as well which helped to create the ambience to go with this gorgeous performance.
LIFE ON MARS
A big song to take on this is! A brave but suitable choice I reckon. I think the beginning was great but it did start to lose it half way through.
The opening shot was stunning; the space background, styling, hair and make up all complimented each other perfectly and aligned well with the song.
I don't think the dancer was needed though. Having a dancer in the background vid worked for the other performances but I think it was over used by this point and the 'real life' dancer was too distracting from the vocal and the rest of the performance. It would have been great for a dance piece but was too much for this imo.
I think the background animation should have stuck to a general space theme as well, rather than focus in on Mars. It was too much of an obvious choice and the stars and midnight blue sky were v beautiful.
ALLE SKUFFER OVER TID
This, to me, was one of those performances that happens after a young person is told to do something 'younger because they're young'.
It lost all authenticity and the walking around at the beginning seemed a bit awkward and uncomfortable. The styling and splashes of neon didn't match Live's brand and it was all a bit off.
It's great to show diversity and the ability to adapt to different styles but for the show and in order to build an audience and career in the outside world, I would stick to what you know and want to be.
Live had this nailed so I wouldn't have veered this far from it.
STAND BY ME
A truly classic song yet I think this choice was a bit dated sorry not sorry.
A stripped back performance and the addition of the ukulele was a great touch but the styling was also a bit dated for me and the fire visuals were a very weird choice.
I felt this production was all a bit mismatched and we lost the old Live; the quirky, young singer songwriter with a beautiful voice. Boo.
The use of them floaty hanging curtains worked wonders! Loved it. The dancers utilising the shadows and the fabric was inventive and a perfect 'Live production thing'. However, I was not a fan of the background animation, it was a bit brash and oh so orange.
The styling was spot on though, I love the dramatic vibe of the dress but with the trainers peeking through; fabulous.
I don't think the song choice was the best; it was kinda unexciting and it didn't bring out the best in her vocals. There are so many songs out there that would have been better suited.
FINALE PÅ ET FILMSET
This was quite the surprise! The background was fab, totes on brand, loved it. The rest seemed like more of a theatre performance and I guess that's good or bad depending on the intention.
I wouldn't have chosen it for this stage of the competition though. The dancing in the middle was proper weird but kinda cute. I just think the whole thing was very theatre and didn't suit Live's brand at all.
What an odd one to end it all on!
So there you have it. I chose these three artists because I think they had the most potential and all got to the top four but as of next season I'm planning on doing a rundown of each live show (lucky you!).
Depending on time I might even discuss some Britain's Got Talent shenanigans as well! Huzzah.
That's all for now though <3