Melanie Amaro Goes Totally ’90s on First Single

Lyndsey Parker
Reality Rocks (New)

Melanie Amaro is the girl who won "The X Factor" last year, in case the hoopla this week about all the shocking "X Factor" cast changes made you temporarily forget about her. But these days she apparently has the XC Factor. ("XC" is the Roman numeral for "90," fellow dorks.) Yes, Melanie may have sang mostly ballads during her run on the show, but on her new single--a '90s-retro, Hi-NRG, Hi-BPM cover of Aretha Franklin's "Respect"--she's definitely picking up the pace. And now I'm wondering if she was right to stick with ballads before.

Yes, I always wanted Melanie to branch out and try more uptempo tunes on "The X Factor"...but now that she's gone the full-on '90s clubby/remixy route, I'm not really feeling it.

Have a listen here:

Sure, this song would be fabulous if it were a C+C Music Factory/Crystal Waters mashup being performed on Downtown Julie Brown's "Club MTV" back  in 1990. (Wubba wubba wubba!)  Or maybe if it were being lip-synched by "RuPaul's Drag Race" contestants. But for an "X Factor" contestant? Um, I'm not so sure. It just sounds a little dated, and it seems like an especially odd first outing for Melanie considering that the one thing about her that originally earned America's R-E-S-P-E-C-T (and America's votes)--her great singing voice-- is a bit buried in this technotronic mix. It's also weird that her first single would be a cover song, as opposed to an original written just for her.

But hey, maybe Melanie's fans will think "Respect" is retro in a cool way (the '90s are coming back, or so I hear). And maybe the song will grow on me after I see Melanie perform it in her big Pepsi Super Bowl commercial airing this Sunday. Here's a teaser of that ad, which also stars Elton John and the '90s-tastic Flavor Flav (and looks like it's supposed to take place in the 1490s, I think):

What do you think of Melanie's new song? Is this the right direction for her? Or is this just another bad business decision on Simon Cowell's part?

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