That all being said, I really am digging the X Factor. It’s great to have Simon and Paula back on our TVs. L.A. Reid has been a much welcome voice of reason (most of the time) and his facial expressions are superb. I can do without Nicole and I don’t really understand why they went with her over Cheryl Cole. And how about host Steve Jones’ ability to keep the show moving along? It was hysterical when he cut off a “lost for words” Paula. Although, I was a little sad, because usually whatever Paula would eventually come up with would be pure unintentional comedy gold! Anyway, did I mention that talent on this show? So far it has been incredible! I feel like we usually say that about the Idol contestants at first too but these people seem like legit talent finds. Where have they been hiding?? Well for starters, the age range is completely different for the show (minimum age 13…that’s it!) so some people that NEVER would have been eligible for Idol have auditioned on both ends of the spectrum.
Anyway, I figured I’d list out the top 12 with a little bit of additional commentary for this week’s blog post. And we’ll see how things go from here! More after the jump!
I’ll have to admit, there have been some pretty intense moments in the past couple of weeks with some of the hard eliminations. We pretty much knew who was making that top 17, but there were also some hated contestants among them. And they built up judges’ attachments so much to some of them that I never thought they’d let them go! (Don’t get me started on the whole pre-conceived idea of Simon’s to eliminate Melanie only to get the judges all to agree that she has to come back to the show. If Simon saw the audition that I saw, they would NEVER purposefully eliminate her from the competition! ) 2 of my most despised 3 left the competition tonight, and once again there was meaning to life in this universe. But I’ll get to all of that! It’s going to be a tough competition as there are many contestants that I like. But there are clear favorites too. Let’s break it down!
THE BOYS – L.A. Reid’s Crew
- Astro - Everything about this kid screams that I should despise him. I can’t remember his real name but he even has a nickname for his nickname: The Astronomical Kid. REALLY!?! His attitude is ridiculous and probably all for show. But when he grabs that mic and starts freestylin, I can’t help but nod along in rhythm and root him on. It was halfway through his version of Kris Kross’s “Jump” before I realized he had changed ALL of the lyrics to talk about his rise to “fame” on X-Factor. The kid is entertaining, you gotta give him that. He definitely belongs in this top 12. I can’t see him winning over an amazing singing voice (which there are several), but maybe that’s not important to the voting public or on the “X” Factor!
- Chris Rene - This guy is definitely talented. Maybe his drug addiction story has been overexposed a bit. And I’m sure the X Factor crew have nothing to do with keeping him sober. It’s all on him. But he had us all hooked with his “Young Homey” song he performed at his audition. Apparently the YouTube clip has gotten millions of views, so they’d be ridiculous if they let him go this week. But his live performance? Yeah, I wasn’t too impressed. I think he just needs the right song and with the judges picking songs for them, they should be able to find something.
- Marcus Canty - I loved Marcus’ audition even if his whole overdramatized “collapse” on the floor was…well…a bit OVER dramatized! He is a great singer and has some interesting moves up on stage. A compelling performer. The judges loved his performance last night. Again, I wasn’t too impressed. I think he learned some facial expressions from his mentor because he was creeping me out during the whole performance. But it was probably a no brainer to keep him over Phillip.
Let’s just take a break and let me say that I do think that 4 judges for THIS show makes sense. Since one judge is a mentor to a group, it leaves the other judges available to openly criticize the contestant AND the other judge. Definitely a different dynamic than Idol and has proven pretty entertaining as Simon gets to bash Nicole Schlingydoodle non-stop. And her retorts are flat out awful making Simon come off smelling like roses again. The more obnoxious Simon is, the more entertaining he is, plain and simple. So, I’m not sure why the American Idol producers tried to borrow this 4 judge idea from X-Factor. It serves a completely different purpose. At least they’re back to 3 now.
THE GROUPS – Paula’s Crew
I should start by saying that the groups was (is?) by far the weakest category. The fact that they had to create 2 super groups from other contestants speaks miles for how weak the category is. But, putting choreographer Paula Abdul in charge of the groups was probably the most brilliant idea ever. She did a good job with all of them and you can always tell how much she loves working with the contestants.
- Stereo Hogzz - I just don’t know enough about these guys to even know if I like them. They did the whole Otis Redding’s “Try a Little Tenderness” but they tried to mix it up with the Kanye/Jay-Z song that samples pieces of Otis’ song. Whew. There was way too much going on. But hey, the choreography was good!
- Intensity - Or as I like to call them, “The Mickey Mouse Club/Kids Incorporated 3.0”. What on earth!?! There are just way too many of them. I don’t get it at all.
- Lakoda Rayne - Hey, all you have to do is perform a Dexy’s Midnight Runners song and you have me hooked! (okay, one song in particular, “Come on Eileen”!) This “super group” actually seems to have worked out. The girls have worked out their harmonies and have become a genuine group. They’re bringing a country flair to their song renditions and it seems to be working so far. I don’t know if I see them winning, but they’re definitely the best of the groups.
THE OVER 30s – Nicole’s Crew
It really is a shame that some grouping had to get stuck with Nicole as a mentor. But, I guess better for the Over 30s who don’t need the help as much as other groups. But still, song choices, that’s all Nicole.
- Leroy Bell - Is anyone else still having a hard time figuring out how this guy is 60 years old? He has a great voice and massive appeal with the country I’m guessing. Why Nicole had to stick him with a P!NK song, I’ll never understand. I guess she was trying to make him more “HIP” or something. Why? He’s 60! I don’t think he’s trying to target P!NK’s fans. He just wants to make a living doing what he loves and kudos to him. I think the voters will be in his corner, but Nicole needs to let him do his thing.
- Stacy Francis - Well, we finally got to her. Yes, she is indeed 1 of the 3 contestants that I despise. Every time she cries about how hard her life is, uses her father’s passing as an excuse to sing poorly and advance rounds, or makes an aside to a camera about how her ex-husband/boyfriend/I dunno MAY have laid a hand on her??? I literally gag, throw things at the TV and want to pierce my eardrums. And then she sings and it’s even more painful than anything she could have said. DRAMA QUEEN!! I can’t stand her. I can’t stand any of them (Drama Queens that is). I mean, she actually made me prefer Fantasia’s rendition of “Summertime” to hers in a previous week. Everyone should know how much I despise Fantasia! I think there are some hidden fans of Stacy’s and I might be upsetting a few of them right now. But, I can’t help it. She is not targeting me as a fan, in fact she’s targeting Nicole Shingledingle with both of her index fingers, right now. Ugh, stop pointing woman! You knew you were going through!! UGH!!!! Yeah, this is going to be a fun time.
- Josh Krajcik - Ahh Josh. What’s not to like about this guy? He’s incredibly grateful for the opportunity, he’s nice, sincere and oh right…..AMAZING VOICE!! He is definitely one of my favorites in the competition. His performance of Bob Dylan’s “Forever Young” was absolutely captivating. There is no doubt that he was advancing. Nicole, keep your advice away from this guy. He’s fine!
THE GIRLS – Simon’s Crew
- Rachel Crow - Impossible not to love this kid. 13? And an amazing singer! She has a whole lot of pizzazz. That new hairdo of hers made me think she was the female equivalent of the kid from Jerry Maguire. Did you know he just turned 21 and celebrated his birthday in Vegas? How crazy is that!? Anyway, she could probably sing anything and still be as cute as a button. She proved that with mashing up a Justin Biebner tune with a Supremes tune. She may have an outside chance of winning this thing but there is some tight competition.
- Drew (Ryniewicz) - 14, amazing tone, amazing ability to change up upbeat songs to heart wrenching ballads. She has taken Justin Bieber’s “Baby”, Roxette’s “It Must Have Been Love” and Irene Cara’s “What a Feeling” and almost made all 3 of them better songs. (Oh come on, Roxette’s song is perfect as is! But Drew was awesome with it too.) She’ll probably eventually have to show her upbeat side herself but there is no doubt that this kid’s voice is amazing. On Idol, I’ve usually been against giving the 15/16 year olds a shot, but I’ve never seen 13 or 14 year olds with the kind of talent on display on X Factor. Amazing. Definitely a front runner.
- Melanie Amaro - I’m sure it was all for show, but Simon had me convinced over 2 weeks that he might actually do the unthinkable and send this girl home. Her audition with Beyonce’s “Listen” was absolutely flawless and had the Mrs and I just staring with our jaws dropped in disbelief of how good she was. It made absolutely no sense that Simon would send her home last week over the 2 we’re about to discuss. I’m convinced it was all an act to get us enraged tonight when we thought it might be a very strong possibility it could happen again. She sang Whitney’s “I Have Nothing Tonight” and yes, it’s overdone on these talent shows. But, that voice. Oh my God that voice! Incredible! If she didn’t make it through and one of these other 2 buffoons did, I would not even be writing this recap. The show would have lost all credibility to me.
So, as always, I wrote more than I thought I would. Basically, I’ll probably be writing quick recaps the “DAY AFTER” the performances. The length of them will probably based on the time I have and the genuine interest there is out there of people watching the show and reading this. Hope you enjoyed my ramblings as always and I’ll most likely see you next week!