Ben Mills may have only finished third in the TV series The X Factor, but going head to head with Ray Quinn, the runner-up, was always going to land him in second place in the charts; in reality his debut album, Picture of You, peaked at number three behind Quinn's still strong-selling self-titled debut. He was described on the show as being like either a young Rod Stewart or Joe Cocker, with a gruff, husky voice unlike many polished boy band clones, and he dutifully covers both "Maggie May" and "With a Little Help from My Friends." "Maggie May" started as a soulful ballad for the first verse, but in the second minute, the Rod Stewart rhythms kicked in, even with the guitar and mandolin solo breaks, although the instrumental portions were considerably more stilted than the original even if his vocals held up well. He sang "With a Little Help from My Friends" on the number ones themed show and of course just as the chart-topping version was by Joe Cocker and not the Beatles. Not surprisingly, Mills' version was based on Cocker's melodramatic hit, even down to the background female vocalists and Cocker's anguished crying. Unusually for an X Factor contestant's album, there were some original songs, written or co-written by Mills himself, but unfortunately these were not of the same quality as the covers, nearly half of which he had sung on the show, thereby making his versions well known in their own right. "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" is a direct cover of the Aerosmith hit but he added a touch of distinctiveness on Queen's "Somebody to Love," which came across as an acoustic ballad, nothing like either the Queen original nor the equally famous George Michael cover, while his audition piece, "Bring It on Home to Me" was closer to the Sam Cooke original than the hit single version by the Animals.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Sharon Mawer