Will The Real Stacy Francis Please Stand Up?

This is how we, the unassuming public, were introduced to Stacy Francis on The X-Factor.  Francis claimed to be a 42-year-old single mom who had never been given a chance.  Not so fast whoever you are!  What the streaming tears and the runnning mascara covered up was a singer with quite a diverse and a substantial resume’ in the music business prior to stepping on that stage to land a spot in X-Factor Boot Camp, then land an invitation to be part of the “over 30s” category, and now, she has landed in the finals which officially start tomorrow night. 
Okay, is Stacy Francis the first person to enter a competition and not be honest about her past? No, but it seems everyday lately, a new story surfaces about Francis’ real career path.  I see a bit of a double-standard in Francis’ situation.  Both Javier Colon, who won the first season of The Voice and fellow finalist Dia Frampton both had had record deals prior to the competition, yet the press is continuously crucifying Francis for her past gigs.  Is it because Simon Cowell is involved?  Is it because there is so much at stake? As you are aware, the winner of The X-Factor will receive a $5 million recording contract.  And surely, Francis has never been paid that much money in her professional career, but still, for someone else, like Melanie Amaro for example, this may or may not be her chance of a lifetime. 
So, here is a list of Stacy Francis’ gigs:  she was a member of 90’s R&B girl group, Ex-Girlfriend (I don’t remember them), Francis has done both Broadway and West End musicals (both Footloose and Dreamgirls have been confirmed), the weird one: she was asked to perform at Tom Cruise’s birthday party in 2004, and the fresh rumors allude to Francis may or may not have performed with Whitney Houston, Madonna, Chaka Khan (probably true), and Madonna. 
I’m not sure how upset we should be about this.  I’m a little deceived, but in reality, now that all of this has come out, and since there are more talented folks in the competition, Francis probably won’t win.  The pressure on her to come clean is increasing everyday, it will be interesting to see what factoids will be revealed next.  She probably has a SAG card, so hell, what else can fall out of her closet?  Just stay online and you’ll find something.

Handicapping The Voice Final Four

The finals are set for the inaugural season of NBC’s The Voice and really, there are no surprises; I guess Team Cee-Lo’s representative Vicci Martinez barely beating out Nakia was the only mild surprise, and yeah, I was hoping Frenchie Davis could pull out the victory over Beverly McClellan, but McClellan was too strong and she deserves to be in the finals.  
That said, let’s take a look at the finalists:
Team Blake-Dia Frampton
 Okay, yes, Dia has been able to score the highest sales figures on iTunes with each passing week (downloads count as votes on The Voice, something another singing competition show should consider), she has the youth factor AND guess what, she was once part of a major-label act, Meg and Dia.  OMG, I’ve heard of them, but I don’t think I ever heard their music; plus Frampton has several YouTube performance videos out there, so her momentum is very good for the win.  I’m not sure she has the best voice in the competition, but she has a very eclectic style; she’s not your typical pop singer…always a win in my book. 
Team Adam-Javier Colon
I admit when I first heard Colon’s rendition of “Time After Time” in the blind audition rounds, it brought tears to my eyes, really.  His soulfulness made Cyndi Lauper’s 1984 hit seem so fresh and so moving.  If Frampton doesn’t pull off the upset, Colon is the winner.  He had a record contract at one time, he released two albums with no success on Capitol and he was also a member/vocalist for The Derek Trucks Band.  So he has the experience in the grind of writing, producing, touring, and promoting music for a living.  In my opinion, he has the best shot at becoming a commercial success.  Who knows.
Team Cee-Lo-Vicci Martinez
Seattle’s Vicci Martinez is my dark horse in the finals.  However, I don’t think she has the best voice, she has the performance ability and the personality.  Oh, and she’s one of two out contestants in the finals, check!  I wasn’t sure she would make it past the blind auditions; if you recall, even the tv audience didn’t get to see Martinez until the coaches’ chairs started swinging around.  She took on “Rolling in the Deep” with much fearlessness and it was okay; I just wasn’t sure, but now, she has a shot.  Martinez has released several independent albums and she has opened up for major artists like Annie Lennox, Avril Lavigne, Jonny Lang, and, Christoper Cross?!?  Feisty!
Team Christina-Beverly McClellan
(Here looking like Linda Perry in her 4-Non Blondes days) 
Beverly McClellan can also win, but is she commercial enough?  She has so much raw talent and her voice, it’s bluesy, it’s rock n roll, it’s ballsy!  I’m sure at this point, McClellan has the “fan favorite” moniker taken and quite appropriately.  Being the other out competitor hasn’t stopped her and she has nothing to prove.  She’s done it!  McClellan has also gone the route of independence in getting her music out there.  Can she pull off the upset?  Maybe.
So there you have four very able artists ready to take over the world, but which one will?  Final live performances next Tues. night and the winner will be announced live next Wed.  Again, the winner of The Voice will receive $100,000 and a recording contract with Universal Republic.  WATCH IT!