Alex Alden walked away from the X Factor Malta as the most-talked-about person on the show, but fame certainly hasn’t changed her. Snagging Lovin Malta’s top nod at the Social Media Awards, Alex’s acceptance video proved definitively why she was a deserved winner.
It can be hard to explain the bittersweet cocktail of emotions you get from experiencing second-hand awkwardness, but like your first few bites into a yellow Krips packet, there’s no stopping you once it’s open.
This two-minute (and seven seconds of nothing but black screen and silence) clip is packed with all the things that made it impossible not to pay attention to Alex, and served as the perfect reminder to everyone watching why her name exploded across the scene nationally.
Before we go on, just in case you haven’t seen (or shared) it yet, here you go:
I really wanted to begin this analysis from the sepia-toned start of the video and then power through the rest of the clip, but my thoughts kept being pulled back to the first sign of what makes the speech so #AuthenticallyAlex… and that’s the fact that she couldn’t even get her own catchphrase right.
The jump cut awkwardly juxtaposed between the two ‘really‘s of her now-iconic statement proves she isn’t overproducing the persona you see on your screen. Ironically, the overproduction of the video itself (as seen most clearly in the would-be disbelief cutaways) ties perfectly into her authentic personality as opposed to being used as a crutch or a fake facade to generate buzz.
It’s the same sense of laxity (and perhaps lack of societal awareness) that had her shaming the Maltese public on the island’s most-watched show with a phrase so politically charged everyone (and their mother) took it as a personal insult.
How everyone reacted to Alex Alden saying: “Shame on you!”
But subtle as the volume of her own song casually being promoted in the background, it also showed a smarter side to Alex. Recognising the joy in her individuality she turned a speech into a skit. The outbursts that catapulted her to fame made a triumphant return on her own terms.
Sticking to your guns when an entire country is demanding you change who you are takes a lot of foresight, and in the end the payoff is worth it. It may not have resulted in the love of an entire nation, but it’s certainly an earned respect.
So if there’s any politicians who were tuning in every Sunday let’s hope it’s the authenticity, not the vote-fixing-ease, that is learned from the X Factor Malta.
Along with the unintentional viral potential of the acceptance-speech video, there’s also a lot of unintentional sadness that came with it too. It’s hard not to feel a little blue, particularly after being hit with “I’m not used to winning”.
Alex didn’t intend for us to feel bad for her, but the pang of sorry felt when hearing that line was probably a lot more to do with our own guilt at the harsh welcome given to her at the start of her judging career.
Large TV audiences often mistake kindness as a sign of weakness. And while her brutally-honest comments on the X Factor felt disingenuous because they jarred with our mental image of Alden being Malta’s own kooky Zooey Deschanel, we forget there’s kindness to be had in honesty – particularly on a show that lied to so many contestants about their vocal abilities.
If nothing else this video confirmed one thing. Whether she’s being congratulated for not falling over her dress’ train, shouting at hundreds of thousands of viewers because she didn’t like the outcome of a vote or simply receiving the most prestigious award for social-media domination, Alex will always act as though she’s sitting alone in her bedroom, performing to a bunch of succulents on a window-sill.
And if that’s not the sort of person you want to see on your TV screens at all times, you’re only kidding yourself.
While NDAs may be preventing her from saying it outright, all social media posts allude to the fact that she’s back as a judge next year – and thank god for that. Whatever the cause for conversation, she was easily the most-present person on our newsfeeds, and if the X Factor doesn’t see the value in that I’m hoping she calls them up and shames them too.
Malta could use a few more celebs with a predictable level of unpredictability, and Alex Alden is an expert at keeping people on their toes. So if she’s not back on my TV soon, be prepared to see a lot more beige-toned, bedroom videos in black hoodies and red lipstick all over Instagram.
I may even throw in an awkward Julius Ceaser tribute too.