Rebecca Ferguson - Heaven

It's no classic but Heaven is far and above the kind of bland confection The X Factor usually sends down the conveyor; once again, not winning seems to be the best option in terms of securing a sustainable career. Rebecca Ferguson, the young Scouser who eventually lost out to Matt Cardle, came to the show seemingly unaware of her half-formed talent but now steps out into the real(ish) world with a likeable first effort. If her confidence only really started to grow as the series ended, she's clearly shoved aside any remaining self-doubt. That voice, deep, resonant and flecked with the kind of authority that brings to mind a young Shirley Bassey, is as impressive an instrument as we've yet seen from the past decade's worth of talent shows.

Of course, no matter how much, like every other Saturday night wannabe, she might really, really 'want it', without a decent clutch of songs, Butlins (at best) beckons before the initial pressing can hit the bargain bins. The songs, for the most part, bear scrutiny and an authentic soul backing gives life to the slick groove of 'Nothing's Real But Love' and 'Glitter And Gold'. Is it a little too smooth at times? Well, ballads like 'Teach Me How To Be Loved' demonstrate variation and they show that Ferguson has technique and skill beyond mere showboating. But will that be enough? It's a concern that she was hardly the most charismatic performer. That said, recent TV performances suggest she can act that steely 'lost in music' persona well enough to keep her audience's focus on the tunes - and not the nervous giggles.



out of 10

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