Melanie Amaro's debut single, "Don't Fail Me Now." (Epic Records )
Nearly eight months after Melanie Amaro was crowned the inaugural winner of the U.S. version of “The X-Factor,” the powerhouse diva-in-training has issued her debut single, “Don’t Fail Me Now.”
Let’s start with the good. Amaro’s delivery -- much like her weekly performances on the competition under Simon Cowell’s tutelage -- is flawless. The not so great? Well, everything else.
The single, written by Livvi Franc (Britney Spears, Kelly Clarkson) and produced by urban pop heavyweight Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins, is a complete misfire for a debut -- especially when listeners haven’t seen or heard Amaro since January and other finalists have already made splashes. Between the track’s generic dance groove are bland lyrics that could either be interpreted as inspirational or romantic, depending on the listener. Overall, the song lacks the personality and soul that Amaro showcased.
“I’ve paid my dues, I’ve paid the price, I’ve prayed for you almost every night,” she sings, “I’ve walked the longest road, so don’t fail me now, feet don’t fail me now.”
More puzzling is this need to push Amaro into dance territory, which is currently overcrowded by almost every pop/R&B diva. It was never in her wheelhouse, something her team should have realized after the disaster that was the Super Bowl ad -- another part of the winner’s prize -- that featured her oddly singing a club mix of Aretha Franklin’s “Respect.”
“Don’t Fail Me Now” is a track that could have been best served as her coronation single -- and should have dropped a week or two after she won.
Those songs were certainly forgetful, and issuing an equally underwhelming tune months after snagging the largest guaranteed prize in television history (a $5-million recording contract to Sony Music’s Epic Records) was yet another bad move.
Hopefully, L.A. Reid, “X-Factor” judge, chairman and chief executive of Epic, has bigger tricks up his sleeve for her upcoming debut album, because this song, despite her pipes, fails her.
Take a listen to “Don’t Fail Me Now” below.