I don’t know, you guys. Gala 6 of Operación Triunfo 2018 was lowkey trash and I’m finding it hard to keep watching. On top of the fact that it was 70% awful, news broke the same day that the show kicked out its professor of interpretation. That’s right, Itziar Castro, who replaced Javier Calvo and Javier Ambrossi (jointly nicknamed Los Javis) from last year’s iteration of the show, is out of the picture, and I don’t know how I feel about it.
Clearly, these contestants are having a difficult time selling these songs, and to some degree, yes, that does come down to their way of interpreting those songs, something Castro was in charge of teaching them. But up to this point, there has been arguably an equal if not greater failure in the vocal training department. These kids have great voices, but it seems that they’re not adequately learning how to properly build on that, vocally. If the show is eliminating professors based on how poorly the contestants are performing, then by that theory the vocal coaches ought to be kicked out, as well. This decision was less about Castro meeting the standards and expectations of last year’s interpretive coaches Los Javis (whom, predictably, have been tapped to replace Castro …yeah), and more about what seems to have been a clash between production and crew behind the scenes.
It’s worth noting that Itziar Castro’s coaching had already been undermined very early on this season when OT 2018’s director Noemí Galera brought back Los Javis twice for a series of “master classes,” indirectly suggesting that these contestants could use a little more intensity in their lives. It was a decision that didn’t go over very well among OT fans, who rightly point out that Los Javis damn near pushed one contestant, Alba Reche, to the brink of an anxiety attack (here’s a clip of the disturbing incident). That same week, contestant Sabela expressed concern about Los Javis’ methods.
While I think Los Javis played a key role in the success of OT 2017, partly thanks to their passion for theater, it’s going to be interesting to see them take up the job again mid-season of a show that is seemingly falling apart at the seams. Will their return save this sinking ship? How will the contestants feel about Itziar’s abrupt exit from the show? We’ll find out very soon. But as of right now, watching Itziar Castro be treated as a scapegoat for the failures of OT 2018 has left a very bad taste in my mouth.
Anyway, let’s move on to Gala 6!
Best of the Night
“La Llorona” – Alba Reche
I really enjoyed Alba Reche’s “La Llorona” for two reasons: 1.) the song choice! For once it didn’t suck, and 2.) Alba Reche took it on like a champ. She hit all the right beats and all the right notes. Not only that, Alba found a sweet spot in terms of her singing style. I didn’t know how far she could go with this throaty Alejandra Guzman growl of hers, but she’s proven time and time again that she knows how to adapt, and for that, I give her props.
Way to go, Alba Reche!
“Set Fire To The Rain” – Sabela
The biggest surprise of the night: Sabela, who took on the very difficult task of performing an Adele song. She might have had pronunciation issues, but it didn’t matter because vocally she wowed.
I didn’t think Sabela had a unique enough tone and singing ability to make it far in this competition, I’ll be honest, but she stole my attention (and possibly my heart) with this valiant performance. Sabela has entered the great games, you guys, and she’s ready to play.
Not Bad at All
“Shallow” – Natalia and Miki
Thanks, Natalia, for existing. You’re kind of sort of the baddest bitch in the competition and I don’t know what this season would be without you. Natalia is a star and at this point can do no wrong. She OWNS the stage, and whoever she’s paired with owes her their life because, like in Miki’s case, she elevates their performance dramatically.
I will say though that I think Natalia sounds infinitely better singing in Spanish than in English. She sounds great here, but she’s an entirely different entity singing in Spanish. I hope she performs a solo next week because it’s about damn time she tears up the stage without distractions.
ps: Miki sounded okay.
“Tú y Yo Volvemos Al Amor” – Noelia and Julia
As much as I like Julia and Noelia, this pairing didn’t work for me. For Julia’s part, I think she’s had much better nights than this, and dare I say she’s starting … to bore me? I don’t know, I think she has everything to go all the way in this competition, yet there’s still a bit of a spark missing in her to win me completely.
Noelia, who the judges repeatedly praise for having virtuous vocals, and who I thought would be slaying it by now, has floundered three times in a row. This week, she landed in the bottom two, meaning we could be losing one of the strongest voices in OT 2018, y’all.
“1, 2, 3” – Famous and María
I don’t understand why this season continues to go with (shitty) songs that are half in Spanish and half in English. Firstly, Spanglish is a no. Second, a song loses so much potency when it’s broken up, lyrically and metaphorically, between two completely different languages. Not everything translates smoothly from Spanish to English, and vice versa.
This song has zero impact on its own, but listening to it awkwardly performed by María and Famous in both languages was sheer torture. Of the two, I guess Famous sounded okay, but dear god why did María sound so off key in this? Somebody wake the girl up.
“Leave Me Alone” – Marta
It’s hard to judge this performance without taking into account that it’s a Michael Jackson song. I don’t want to say Marta didn’t do well, because she did fine–not great or remarkable, just fine.
For me, Marta lacks stage presence. She’s an average performer with an average singing voice, and last time I checked OT is looking for something a little more special than that. If Marta has what it takes, she hasn’t shown it yet.
“God’s Plan” – Damion (expelled)
Props to Damion for thinking outside of the box with his song choice, but man was this a mess. Right out of the gate you could tell he was extremely uncomfortable performing this, and that’s kind of the last thing you want the audience to see on a singing competition.
My hunch is that Damion chose this specific version of Drake’s “God’s Plan” because he knew it was an acoustic cover, and the moment you put a guitar in this boy’s hands he’s in his element. Would OT let him perform with one again? NOPE. The show would be damned if they let him get away with performing an acoustic song a second time, and thus we were treated to this disaster.
“Lucky” – Carlos and Marilia
Ugh. I hate hearing my favorite songs torn to shreds by bad singing, and that’s exactly what Carlos and Marilia did with Jason Mraz’s “Lucky (feat. Colbie Caillet)”. Like, HOW DID THEY SCREW THIS UP SO BADLY!?
Up for elimination this week
Noelia and Marilia
Pitchy performances and a shitload of wrong notes are the culprits this week, as both Noelia and Marilia failed to land enough correct notes to save them from nominations. I’m a bit confused why Carlos wasn’t in the bottom four along with María (who also performed poorly, but was saved by peer votes) because the dude is nowhere near the caliber of the rest of the contestants.
Who do you think will be eliminated next week? What do you think about Itziar Castro’s sudden ousting and Los Javis’ return? Let me know below!