[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.

[11] Dirty Projectors, ‘Stillness Is The Move’

So Junior preferred this challenging little time signature-defiling tune-meshing number. I should introduce her to Pitchfork. She did a rather alarming Beyoncé tush-shaking routine to it, laughed at the word “Dirty”, joined in with the “Oh oh oh-oh oh-woah-oh”s and rounded it all off with a game of musical statues – which is probably what the Projectors were aiming at. It’s pretty clear they weren’t trying to be covered by the X Factor winner.

I don’t know whether DPs are massively ahead of the game, or just have the compositional skills of cheesecake. They’re prodigiously talented, happen upon the odd moment of real beauty and doubtless nark off pop classicists everywhere. Bravo? Bravo.

Isn’t life under the sun just a crazy dream?

[10] Gwen Stefani featuring Akon, ‘The Sweet Escape’

Gwen Stefani featuring Akon, ‘The Sweet Escape’

Woooo-hoooo. Yeeee-hoooo.
I thought it seemed throwaway at first, even annoying – certainly annoying – until I realised that these were its lasting qualities. In a pop world about to succumb, yet again, to some insultingly dreary X Factor pap, we should hold platinum-plated Gwen to our hearts and, for once, thank the Lord for Akon.
Most importantly, this is a record that Junior loves like a brother (or sister – she changes her preference every day) and gets palpably excited about whenever she hears the opening clanging chords. This time, she punched the air with her fists, sang along to the obvious bits and even attempted the tongue-twisting bits, and stood in front of the right hand speaker for the duration.
So if you don’t understand the song, find a youth that does. I gather that it’s effortless pop gold.