The Grand Finale began promisingly enough with Cody Frost giving an adorable self-deprecating shrug during her big introduction, as if she still couldn’t quite believe the audience were applauding her name. But where was Paloma Faith? As the only coach without an act in the running, her chair was left empty, and sad music played as the presenters grimly broached the subject of her absence… but, of course, it was all a big fake-out, as she appeared behind them with a big grin on her face (and an even bigger skirt on her frock), insisting that she was hanging in there to the bitter end, if only to set a positive example to others concerning grace and good humour in the face of failure and/or rejection. Bless.
Once again, Cody’s performance was saved until last… and when the opening bars of “Mad World” started playing, I wondered if I was dreaming… but, no! I’m not delusional enough to believe that she (or anyone from TeamGeorge) actually read my post last week and were swayed by my suggestion… but it was still kinda nice to feel vindicated, however vicariously. I thought the band spoiled it a little bit with some unnecessary instrumentation, but our heroine was on great form, and the backdrop and staging were all suitably spooky. Hurrah! After making her way to “The V Room” for a post-performance chin-wag, she could barely get her words out through a croaky cough, prompting the ever-chivalrous Ricky Wilson to dash in with a glass of water (and lending credence to the previous reports that both she and Lydia Lucy were feeling rather poorly in the run-up to the big showdown). Thankfully she wasn’t too ill to enjoy her pre-taped treat, courtesy of coach Boy George, sharing some sweet and supportive quality-time with the legendary Cyndi Lauper!
After the phone-lines opened for voting (and, yes, I did my duty), each of the finalists returned to perform a duet with their coach. I know it’s traditional for the audiences to clap the first line of a song they recognise on these sorts of shows, but it was rather amusing/unsettling to hear the crowd enthusiastically applauding the notion that there might not be a Heaven, as Boy and Cody launched into their version of John Lennon’s “Imagine”! Although you could clearly hear (and enjoy) her contributions around the edges of Boy’s more dominant vocals, it might have been nice if he’d let her have a verse to herself, considering the situation she was in… I mean, the phone-lines were still open at that point, and every vote counts, right? Either way, despite my petty nit-picking, I think Cody really did herself proud this week, and we couldn’t have asked any more of her. The fact that she didn’t even get through to the final two is no reflection whatsoever on her talent, charm, stage-presence, or star-potential… she simply wasn’t destined (or doomed, depending on your perspective) to win a mainstream, Saturday-night singing contest, judged by the general public. She was clearly meant for better, stranger, and cooler things!
When Boy snarked that he wasn’t bothered that she’d lost, because neither of them were too keen on the compulsory “winner’s single” (which all four finalists recorded a separate version of, for immediate release after the show), Cody didn’t disagree with him… she just grinned and threw up a defiant Devil’s Sign! In the article linked above, she admitted: “It would mean a lot to win because I’d be able to show to other people who are alternative like me that we are worth something just as much as everybody else even though a lot of us got bullied, or whatever, just for expressing ourselves.” Personally, I think she’s ably proven her worth, acting as an incredibly engaging and endearing representative of the alternative/punk scene… and ultimately this “loss” will only enhance her underdog status, and strengthen the commitment of her aggrieved supporters! Clearly, this isn’t the end of her story… it’s only the end of the beginning…
Speaking of which, I was cheered by Will.i.am’s commitment to realising Lydia’s musical dreams, contest-results-be-damned! He’s going to keep on performing and recording with her regardless… and there’s no earthly (or un-earthly!) reason why she and Cody can’t have successful and creatively-fulfilling careers, alongside the show’s actual winner, dammit!
Oh, and the half-time entertainment was provided by Meghan Trainor, performing “No”, the lead single from her forthcoming album, Thank You. It wasn’t really my kind of music, but I enjoyed the feisty lyrics, and found her very “easy on the eye” (to put it mildly).