Review: James Arthur 'Impossible'
Jeremy Williams-Chalmers, Arts Correspondent
Over the years Yorkshire has produced a long list of sensational musical talent - from Bradford's Kiki Dee to Sheffield's The Human League, from Doncaster's Lesley Garrett to Batley's Robert Palmer.
While a fair few Yorkshiremen (and women) have succeeded on television talent shows over the years - notably Bradford's Kimberley Walsh and Gareth Gates - in 8 series of The X Factor, Yorkshire had failed to score the crown.
All that changed in 2012, when Middlesborough's James Arthur pipped Swindon's Jahmene Douglas to the crown. As with every X Factor winner, the winner's single is revealed during the final - with Douglas' overblown cover of The Beatles' 'Let It Be' pitted against Arthur's unlikely cover of Shontelle's 'Impossible'.
With 'Impossible' released in the immediate aftermath of the final, and almost guaranteed for the Christmas number 1, The Yorkshire Times decided to take a closer listen to the single and sum up the reaction.
While arguably one of Series 9's 'sob' stories, Arthur seemed far from keen to dwell on his laborious rise to fame. Having overcome his demons and seen his family reunited in a story that tugged heartstrings, it was not Arthur's back story than won viewers over but rather his determined presence.
While Lincolnshire's Ella Henderson may have come a cropper to Arthur in Week 7's bottom two, the recently revealed tallies show his fanbase voting for him in droves as he topped the poll from Week 8 on.
While you could argue that The X Factor allowed artists to perform their own material - Chico scored a number 1 single with the abominable 'Chico Time' which was showcased shortly before his X Factor departure - no artist has been allowed to use their own material as their lead single.
With each live show, Arthur rose to the challenge of covering yet another artist's back catalogue while adding his own spin - while all the time hiding any frustration at being prevented from showcasing any of the material from his John McGough collaboration,The James Arthur Project.
Meanwhile Sheffield-adopted Derbyshire lass Lucy Spraggan was allowed to tempt listeners with her unique comedy ballads.
As it stands, instead of unveiling a truly tempting slice of heartfelt r'n'b infused pop - perhaps 'Last Time' - Arthur has been forced to cover the truly unremarkable, and till now mostly forgotten, 'Impossible' (a number 9 hit for Barbadian songstress Shontelle in 2010). Written by well-respected duo Arnthor Birgisson and Ina Wroldsen, 'Impossible' is far from offensive, but does little for the soulful Arthur.
Though Arthur managed to portray hidden depths in Tulisa's 'Young' as he auditioned for The X Factor, his rendition of 'Impossible', while true to his guitar driven sound, lacks emotional depth. It feels like Arthur is just going through the motions, rather than allowing his inner beauty to shine through the pop fodder.
There is little doubt that Arthur will score his first number 1 with 'Impossible', but with his head firmly screwed on, here at The Yorkshire Times we believe that Arthur will stand his ground when it comes to album material.
He may have made allowances to win a TV talent show, but the true Yorkshire talent is going to hit headier heights when he is allowed to show his true colours.
Review: James Arthur 'Impossible', 17th December 2012, 13:42 PM