Brian Bradley is a 15-year-old rapper from Brooklyn, and he’s been absolutely running away with Fox’s new singing competition “The X Factor.” There are a few other performers who have been keeping it close (Drew, Josh, and Melanie come to mind), but he’s been among the top artists, despite the fact that hip-hop has never truly been represented on a singing competition like this. And despite being younger than most of the contestants, he’s been dealing with a much higher degree of difficulty. While other performers worry about covering famous songs, Astro has been writing original verses each and every week for the show. And to be honest, he’s a pretty damn good lyricist (all of my hip-hop fan friends will now murder me).
Astro’s “Lose Yourself”
He was an obvious favorite to win the show, as well as the $5 million recording deal and Pepsi Super Bowl commercial that come with the title. That is until this week, when something weird happened.
3. Astro performs “I’ll Be Missing You”
Astro gave another stand-out performance doing his take on “I’ll Be Missing You.” His verses turned the song into an ode to hip-hop personified in the guise of a woman (a la Common’s “I Used To Love H.E.R”). It was impressive, and lyrically mature. The judges loved it.
4. Meanwhile there were the typical karaoke-esque performances from other groups.
Could you imagine either one of these acts selling millions of records? Meanwhile Astro seemed destined to be Hip-Hops answer to Justin Bieber and the Disney clan.
6. Then, SHOCK! Astro is put in the bottom two and has to perform for his survival.
7. The “Tantrum”
Now today people are up in arms about how he was unprofessional, as though that’s a surprise. A 15-year-old is upset because he was clearly the best performer and took his low placement personally? This is a shock? The fact is, that Astro is one of three performers in this competition that has ANY chance at being a major recording artist (Drew and Rachel are the other two. I love Josh and Melanie, but they’re not going to sell records). Is he cocky? Sure. He’s a rapper. 90% of rap is about bragging creatively. But can we all not get mock outraged over the fact that a child was upset (more hurt than anything) about a perceived (and in this case, actual) slight? If the point of these shows is to find talent, then they did with Astro. The rest is theater.
8. So how does Astro respond to this?
Oh my god. Not only do I watch “The X Factor,” but I think I just became an “X Factor” conspiracy theorist. I need help.