[16] Alexis Jordan, ‘Happiness’

Alexis Jordan

See, this is what needs to be done with perky X Factor contestants – hook them up with Norwegian ultrapop production doyens Stargate, who can conjure up the sort of inspired decision that slaps a pretty pop vocal over Deadmau5’s ‘Brazil (2nd Edit)’. What do you get? Trance&B. Come to think of it, last time we let Stargate loose on a UK talent show contestant we got a rubbish Hear’Say single. Let’s call that inexperience.

Over here we don’t care if you’ve come from America’s Got Talent or whatever. Look at Kelly Clarkson, who appeared to turn up in the UK bearing some semblance of cred. To us, Alexis Jordan is a cute little poppet with a knack to make “hurry, hurry, hurry now, quick, quick, quick” sound poignant. She’s come out of nowhere straight into our hearts. Bless.

Just ask Junior, who’s affected by those plangent synths. “There’s no such thing as ‘happiness’,” is her alarming response, until I explain it’s “being happy” and she concedes that happens quite often. You have to work for kids’ trust, you know. We consider why Jordan’s in such a hurry: “She wants to meet her friends.” It’s something like that.

[5] Annie, ‘Heartbeat’

Annie from Norway was the first artist Junior saw live. The second was Saint Etienne, about half an hour later. Junior was minus three weeks old at the time but, with poetic licence, I can imagine that she was watching through her mum’s bellybutton. I’ve never asked her what she thought of Annie. I thought she was rubbish. You could barely hear the vocals and she spent her whole set standing at the back of the stage with the bloke who was making all the music come out of his computer.

On record Annie makes sense. Her voice is still wafer-thin but every song is an icy pop gem, with all those keyboard pulses, strokes and effects and crisp percussion, and that Scandinavian ear for a hook. She sounds flimsy in the old Camden Palais; in the living room she shimmers like the Christmas tree.

The fifth best single of the year, ‘Heartbeat’ sees Junior flying around the room, laughing, dribbling in her dad’s eye. No, I’m not crying at Annie’s tender memories of a fleeting love. I’ve got dribble in my eye.