Monday, 20 April 2009
Top 8 - Mad World
My eyes were on Adam once again, and he was wearing a much softer look with light colours, with a Beatles-like hair styling. He looked cute but I wasn't too keen on the scarf.
The introductory clip showed photos of Adam as a young, blonde, freckled child wearing multiple costumes. It revealed that as a child, he loved dressing up and was quite hyperactive, to which his parents responded by getting him involved in theatre. His father wryly mentioned that he wasn't into sports and revealed a very dry sense of humour. I was hit by Adam's honesty in openly admitting that he liked to dress up, perform and be the centre of attention rather than do the usual alpha-male sporty activites.
I didn't know what song he was going to sing until he came on to perform. When it was announced, I was gleeful in anticipation. I really love the Gary Jules version of Mad World, which I remember was a Christmas number 1 in the UK. It's a beautiful song with a very haunting vocals set against simple piano chords
When Adam appeared, he was sat on a chair on the middle of the stage bathed in an ethereal blue light from behind. I couldn't work out what was going on to begin with, because his legs and the seat seemed to merge with the stage. It looked like his whole mid-section was missing, and the top of his torso was perched on two extremely skinny and short legs that were very far apart. There was also something a bit Close Encounters about the blue spotlight.
At the start of the performance, his voice sounded quite breathy and a little restrained, with a very faint echo effect. His face was in darkness for most of it with the focus being on his vocals, but you could really feel the emotion emanating out of his well-controlled, chilling voice and what little of his expressions you could make out. It sounded very much like the Gary Jules version so far, so I wondered how he would put his stamp on it. My question was answered when he sang 'nervous', a truly spine-tingling moment and one that caught me off-guard. He slowly built the song up and gave me a goosebumped heart-stopping moment during his crescendo 'Look right through me'. That 'me' was such a powerful moment which I didn't expect, and didn't exist in the original. The end of the song tailed off in its haunting manner. Even though the last note was ever so slightly sharp before he corrected it, it was a truly mesmerising, moving performance. It felt like a culmination of everything coming together for him on the night. A perfectly chosen song choice that wasn't obvious, not quite mainstream, which suited him. He changed enough of it and improved on the melody and emphasis to make us remember it. He captivated the audience by taking us into his world by understanding and feeling the song. I felt like he sang it from the depths of his heart and he made us empathise with the alienation the song painted, making us believe he felt like an outsider and was never fully accepted. I saw his performance as reaching out to the area of his audience who felt like that, and I thought he became a role model for them.
He gave his bright smile after the performance and seemed happy with it and the audience reaction. When Simon gave him the standing ovation, he seemed a little overwhelmed by it all, taking a few deep breaths. He seemed very earnest in his thanks in reponse to the comments which increased my respect for him. This was a performance that I wanted to watch again.