The most ‘controversial’ number performed was ‘Freak Like Me’, the controversy relating to the fact that it was released after founding member Siobhan Donaghy had been replaced by erstwhile Atomic Kitten siren Heidi Range, and the New Year’s Eve performance means that ‘Freak Like Me” is now a Sugababes song known to have been performed by anyone and everyone who has at one time or another called themselves a Sugababe.
An honorable distinction, of course. But just how does it measure up to versions of this song that have been performed by all other iterations of the Sugababes? Well, I’ll ‘do the math’ and tell you.
1. MUTYA + KEISHA + HEIDI = UNDENIABLY WONDERFUL
This is the classic. There’s no need to undercut its glory with further palaver.
2. AMELLE + KEISHA + HEIDI = PASSABLE
Mutya Buena is inimitable; she’s a ‘real girl’, as you well know. Which is why Amelle Berrabah’s entrance into the band meant she had the unenviable task of scaling some of the trickiest platforms in the business. Luckily for her, Keisha Buchanan was around to pick up the slack where Amelle and Heidi appeared to falter.
3. AMELLE + HEIDI + JADE = COMPLETELY SHIT
US author Tom Wolfe wrote the book The Right Stuff about astronauts having the wherewithal and acumen – the titular “right stuff” – to survive trips to outer space. In the same way, we can see from this performance of ‘Freak Like Me’ that, sadly, one-time Eurovision ambassadress Jade Ewen did not have the “right stuff” to replace Keisha, let alone convincingly become a Sugababe.
4. MUTYA + KEISHA + SIOBHAN = SLIGHTLY GENIUS
Are we willing to give Siobhan a free pass for singing this song because she does it well? Or because she helped to establish the band through which the song would eventually be released? Either way, she does what neither Amelle nor Jade were quite able to do: she makes the tune her own. Can we also expect MKS to perform such Sugastaples as ‘Easy’ and ‘Get Sexy’ as time wears on? Good lord, I hope not.
Rohin Guha is a man of too many words. He currently writes Flavorwire's Pop For Skeptics column and otherwise labors away at a novel which may never see the light of day. He believes that Girls Aloud's "Untouchable" would've reached #1 if the band had pressed on with the six-minute version; he also believes that the Spice Girls' "Headlines" would've reached #1 if it had actually been a release of "The Lady Is A Vamp" instead. He doesn't have all the answers, but he at least has a full head of hair. Tweet him, if you'd like.More by Rohin Guha