Jack Cullen

Boy Factor: Rihanna ‘Stay’

What happens when you mix boys, X Factor and Rihanna? Judgemental Jack finds out...

I was going to write a blurry intro paragraph about the power of YouTube and how it can propel you into stardom without having to suck off an old man, but let’s cut to the chase, we haven’t got all day. So there are five boys here, all reaching out to the world with their own cover versions of Rihanna’s hit ‘Stay’. But who’s the best?

Get ready for some depressing piano plodding…

Before we start though, can we just say - there's so much shit out there on YouTube that we trailed through lots of videos in order to find these five. So just being in this blog post means they've at least passed the first test of being A) a competent enough singer, and B) Reasonable to look at.

Right. Let's go! > > >

Contestant 1: Barnaby Thomas

Views: 3,032

We say: Ooh. Thomas gives quite a serious and earthy cover here. We like the wintry dulcet tones of his voice, and how his English dialect seeps through (come on team GB!) That's an adorable jumper too - is it from Topman by any chance? And full marks for the big ice-creamy One Direction hairstyle. Thomas (can we call him Tom yet?) manages to hold interest throughout but could do with a little bit more energy, like we never actually see his eyes? Keep it up Thomas and there could be a John Lewis advert deal flying your way! 7/10

Contestant 2: Josh Standing

Views: 970

We say:Josh has a nice husky twist to his voice, like we’re sat on a wagon with him swigging whisky, which obviously compliments an acoustic Rihanna ballad. We also love how this is a proper shoddy bedroom affair, classic YouTube style and more interesting to look at than Thomas’ studio set up, like what are those turned-off fairy lights? Love it. If he could just do this once more without the vest then we might have a star on our hands. Grrr. 7/10

Contestant 3: Kloz Antonio

Views: 976

We say:OK, is his name Kloz or Antonio? We’re not sure. Brand confusion. And also - where’s the video? It’s a perfectly fine cover, but maybe overmixed a bit with that echo effect. Good effort Kloz but by not having a video we feel you've missed the full potential of YouTube as a medium to propel yourself and so we’re deducting heavily for that. “Something in the way you move” sings Rihanna - take note and get your groove on! 6/10

Contestant 4: Rodolphe Ctu

Views 449

We say: Hmm. Little bit flat at the start but then it picks up. Is he old enough to know what a cassette tape is or did he just find that on Dalston market? Rodolphe’s certainly handsome enough to be a pop star. Those buttons are just asking to be unfasted, we need to see that olive-skinned chest before making a full verdict. Only kidding, it's ALL ABOUT THE MUSIC. But sadly Rodolphe’s deep register comes a cropper on “Funny you’re the broken one but I'm the only one who needed saving” - probably the best line in Rihanna's song too, so that's a shame. Maybe start in a slightly higher key next time? 5/10

Contestant 5: Kieran Alleyne

Views 21,504

We say: Kieran’s clearly a talented singer, although again we can hear that echo-effect in the mix going on which makes it all a bit too Akon-y for us. Very cute though. It’s nice that he’s made it into a bit of a music video too with shots of him wondering aimlessly in the street and swinging in a wheelie chair - we have a Spielberg on our hands! It's possibly a little bit self-indulgent, but we'll let him off because that's allowed on planet pop. We fancy Kieran’s pianist more than Kieran though – has he got his own channel? 7/10


So, there we have it. I think Thomas Barnaby is our winner this time: we'll be giving his cover another few listens in the office and his YouTube channel a big fat follow. Whose cover did you prefer? Let us know on Twitter (@GayTimesMag) and help one of these boys move on square further in the board game of stardom.


More from Jack Cullen