Yesterday was the first time I'd been aware (thanks to my fellow Lambrits) of WWFM getting played on UK radio via BBC Radio 2's 'The class of 2009,' a show where Paul Gambaccini presented his choice of the breakthrough artists of 2009. For those who can't listen to the segment that starts at about 20:30, I've transcribed the comments:
“The year's best selling album by a UK artist in the US was 'I Dreamed a Dream' by Susan Boyle. This made a mockery of the year-end polls that attempt to predict who the stars of the following year are going to be, because at the end of 2008, Susan Boyle was on nobody's radar, not even the United States' early warning system. Her life and apparently ours, changed on the eleventh of April this year when she appeared on Britain's Got Talent. Within a week, her talent triumphs over prejudice video had been viewed millions of times around the world, and the 48 year old Scotswoman was a household name in America. Such is the power of modern media, and such is the influence of Simon Cowell. He is, in this phase of popular music history, the most significant single figure. There always is one, but usually it's an artist, like Elvis, the Beatles, or Michael Jackson. But beginning with Pop Idol, which he started with Simon Fuller of 19 Management, Cowell has built an empire of reality talent shows, that is the public's favourite mode of packaging and delivering ready-made, if usually short-term, pop stars. But no matter how strong his commercial sense, Simon can't control who the public votes for on his reality shows. This year, the two most obvious record-sellers came second. Susan Boyle lost to Diversity in the Britain's Got Talent final, and in the States, the dynamic Adam Lambert was beaten in American Idol by a more middle of the road artist, Kris Allen. Rarely am I musically impressed by reality show winners, but this year, both Lambert and Joe McElderry of X-Factor convinced me that they could have lengthy careers. Sure enough, when the new albums by Adam Lambert and Kris Allen were released at the end of the year, the man who made the top 10 debut was, Adam Lambert.► Whataya Want From Me?Whataya Want From Me? by Adam Lambert. The young Californian came to prominence this year via TV, which has also been the medium that has made Ingrid Michaelson. Granted, it's been a little slower for Ingrid, but her method of exposure was to get her songs featured in drama series popular with young viewers such as Grey's Anatomy and One Tree Hill.”
As you can gather from the title, this post compares all the different versions of WWFM as I did for MW. I'd been holding out for a video of the Vevo performance of WWFM to turn up before making this post, but decided to go ahead because we might be in for quite a wait.
The debut performance of WWFM was a live one at The Early Show, a last-minute booking after the GMA cancellation. This was before the magnitude of the over-reaction of drama-queen proportions had really sunk in. Vocally it's very strong and has my favourite 'don't' high note to date, which he nailed better than in any others as it's both powerful and full of grit. When I watch it now, I feel a little different about the presentation than I did at the time. I think the sassy outfit and look is the one that's least suited to WWFM but works better for Music Again.
The David Letterman one was the next to be broadcast but was actually the first performance of WWFM. This was filmed shortly after the AMAs and just after the news that the GMA performance had been cancelled. It feels much less polished than The Early Show one and is my least favourite of them all. There's too much echo and the timbre of Adam's voice doesn't sound as pleasant or as well-controlled as usual, even shouty in places. Anger and passion over the AMA fall-out probably played a significant role in the delivery. The vocals and expressions remind me of BoW.
The Ellen performance came after a rather depressing week which may have influenced how I perceived it. It was sad and breathy with slightly dissonant backing vocals. More cancellations, tweets that seemed to show he was shaken enough to shift his direction and his crestfallen demeanour all made this the softest and most vulnerable of his performances.
The View came at a time when I was buoyed by the fact that Adam's recent critics all did a U-turn, in effect looking like idiots while spraying him with the fragrant scent of roses. This was my favourite set design and he was dressed all in black, merging into the background a little. The soft glow from the lighting gave it a floaty glam dream-like feel from a different era, much like the album cover. This wasn't the tightest but very solid and felt quite relaxed. Circumstances probably made me project an atmosphere of serenity to this rendition.
The mix on Conan sounds a little thin to me, and Adam didn't hit the 'don't' but there was the introduction of the beautiful falsetto 'me'. This is quite a physical performance where he's comparatively animated with his movements and expressions, clad in plenty of leather to add a little spice.
I was a little nervous going into SYTYCD because there had been a few shaky notes in each of the performances so far. I didn't need to be though, as its my favourite one. The instrumental mix sounds much better and the voice is at its most dynamic, with the inclusion of the falsetto and showing plenty of lightness and shade. This is a near-perfect vocal and the best visual performance with fitting expressions, and make-up and styling that represent the song very well.
The universally positive reception on SYTYCD I think must have contributed to the the most polished and assured rendition on Leno. With a casual, almost grungy look like a loner being left out in the cold, the visuals are my favourite out of all the talk shows and come a very close second behind SYTYCD. Vocally, it's the cleanest yet with a new, low 'Please don't give in' but with the omission of the falsetto that I love.
I still feel that the song lacks punch and excitement, but it has grown on me because it's a fitting narrative to Adam's real-life situation. It does help to really be able feel it as you sing. There is one thing that I miss from these performances though, and it's the 'Ahh' at the synth break that's included in the single which is beautifully tender. Being obsessive, I've tried overlaying the different versions and synching them up to play simultaneously. I have to say I'm very impressed that the band is very tight. The timings are all remarkably precise as every single one stays exactly in time from start to finish. Try it!
And just because it's available, I've also included Ferras's cover which makes me very excited to hear an acoustic version from Adam sometime:
Which version of WWFM do you like the most?