The Top 10 takes on ROCK msuic this week on X Factor.
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Simon prediction that “rock week” would be a “trainwreck” was rather prophetic. The troubles began with the theme. What was it exactly? Steve Jones introduced it as “rock songs or songs in a rock style” but I would say that only one of the songs was done in a “rock style” (Josh Kracjik’s take on the Foo Fighters).
Marcus Canty’s “Piece of My Heart” was more Vegas than rock. Takes on songs by the rock groups REM and U2 were done in a decidedly non-rock style. Reggae and rap are NOT rock by any stretch. But to be fair, this sort of fudging happens on Idol too. You can’t expect a country singer to sing like Robert Plant, right? There’s always some leeway. That’s why the endless arguments between the judges about what rock is and isn’t turned tedious pretty quickly.
If the producers wanted to keep it strict, they should have enlisted a true rock band to play strictly rock arrangements for the contestants, similar to what Idol did for rock week Top 4 Season 8. Sure, it would have been a train wreck, but it would have set the ground rules hard.
Tonight’s performances were almost uniformly disappointing. Drew was my favorite, followed by Josh and then…hm. Yeah, I got nothing.
The X Factor…dancers? Gyrate as Steve Jones takes the stage. Oh. They will all sing rock songs OR songs in a ROCK STYLE. Hm. Right. They are clarifying because a few weeks ago? Half the songs on the X Factor UK rock night weren’t rock at all.
The judges come out to the strains of “Living on a Prayer”.
LeRoy Bell – Nicole Scherzinger – The Over 30s – “Why Don’t You Stay” by Bob Seeger – OK. blah bah blah crappy day jobs for the sake of his family. We know you’ve been a successful songwriter for most of your career, dude. LeRoy’s soulful rasp is just PERFECT for this song. He begins the tune promisingly enough, but there’s something really tentative about his singing. At the modulation, at the time when he needed to kick it up a notch, he almost did the opposite. He’s NOT comfortable on the big stage. I see him in a small venue with a guitar singing to an intimate crowd. X factor is swallowing him up. LA: We’re looking for stardom. You look great and sound great, but you aren’t working it like a rock star. I need more. Paula: You have a beautiful voice. There needs to be more of a connection. Simon: Nice song, good voice, hearing a new version? Zero. You’re being mentored like a session singer. You should have been a shark. I want you to have a shot at winning. Right now, you can’t win. Nicole: I believe in you, Tonight was the best you’ve ever sung. LA and Simon think she’s crazy. Poor LeRoy looks completely confused as everyone talks over each other. Steven calls the comments “horrible”. LeRoy is trying to take it constructively, but he’s in it to win it! Nicole was very late getting to her seat for LeRoy’s performance. She’s a trainwreck! – 1-855-843-9301 Text vote to 9301 –
Rachel Crow – Simon Cowell – Girls - “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction” by the Rolling Stones - Simon is watching Rachel grow up before his eyes. Simon picked a rock song with a blues influence. REALLY SIMON? For a 13 year old? REALLY? Oh dear. This is ridiculous. First of all, she’s a tween NOT an adult male who can’t get his rocks off. MMMKAY SIMON? HAVE YOU EVER LISTENED TO THE LYRICS OF THIS SONG EVER? Secondly, the song is totally wrong for her vocal range. She sounds out of breath through half of it, and terrible in her lower range. She’s trying hard, but she’s completely out of her depth. LA: Great song. You brought energy to the room. Nicole: That was the absolute perfect song choice. Favorite performance of all of your performances. You made it look easy. Paula: You are one of my favorites. I love the way you are starting to connect to the audience. Simon: Rachel told Simon she wants to win the show, and Simon can see it. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to win this competition!”People are going to start to respect you as a singer.” Wow. The judges all co-signed on that? They gave her a standing ovation. WTF???!!!? – 1-855-843-9302 Text vote to 9302 –
Chris Rene – LA Reid – Boys – “No Woman No Cry” – by Bob Marley - How is Chris staying healthy? He’s going to meetings, speaking with his sponsor, reading the Big Book, staying in touch with his family. GOOD. And you’re going to have to keep doing that when the circus ends after you are eliminated. Hm. He’s wearing an “Occupy Wall Street” shirt. OK. It’s official. Chris Rene CANNOT sing. The singing parts of that song were REALLY painful to listen to. Throwing raps into every song is beginning to get old. It’s becoming sort of random now. I didn’t get that at all. Nicole: I love that song. Very original. I rocked with it, but it’s not my fav performance by you. I was confused with the hybrid. Paula: Is calling shenanigans on calling Bob Marley “rock”. She doesn’t care that Chris can’t sing. Simon: It would have been great if the theme had been reggae music. The theme is rock, LA. Chis says he thinks they flipped it. Flipped it to what? Simon and LA argue some more. LA says he can’t wait to see what Drew sings on Hip Hop week. LA: You stayed on key (points for that?) LA defends Bob Marley as rock star. – 1-855-843-9303 Text vote to 9303
Stacy Francis – Nicole Scherzinger – Over 30s – “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now” by Meatloaf – Oh God. Stop with the “dark relationship” crap. Oh noes. Meatloaf will give Stacy the opportunity to over-sing her heart out. But not only does she over-sing, but she does it really badly. She’s off-key for most of the performance. There are no dynamics, her phrasing is terrible. She needs to go home. LA: You sang that song really well. I’m going to leave it at that. Paula: That was my least favorite song of yours. Your pitch was under. (It turns out Stacy picked the song). Simon: I thought the song was a horrible choice. That was a pebble. It was soft. Like someone singing at the Hilton Hotel bar with people eating peanuts. This is not a cabaret competition. (Simon likes her outfit better, at least) Nicole: You were glam rock diva tonight. I don’t know if it was the best song for Rock week, but you continue to rise. Stacy says she wanted to get back to what her fans love. Nicole has no f*cking clue what “glam rock” is. Obvs. – 1-855-843-9304 Text vote to 9304
Melanie Amaro – Simon Cowell – Girls – “Everybody Hurts” by REM – No dances, no tricks, just Melanie and a piano tonight, says Simon. There will be arguments over whether this is rock or not. Melanie basically turns an REM ballad into a gospel tune. Although I would have amped it up a little sooner than she did (It took her too long to finally let loose) she sounded fantastic. Still waiting for Melanie to perform a tune that proves that she’s something other than an old-fashioned belter. LA: You’re right Simon. That was rock right. I love you. That was so not rock. Nicole: You sounded beautiful. This is one of my favorite songs, I always cry. But I didn’t. I would have loved if it was a little more raw. Paula: Melanie, you took us to church. I want to see you let go and let loose now. Simon: That reminded me of Adele, Alicia Keys. (LA: Adele and Alicia are rock now?). I’m very very proud of you. – 1-855-843-9305 Text vote to 9305 –
Josh Krajcik – Nicole Scherzinger – Over 30s – “The Pretender” by Foo Fighters – Oh. He looked so much cuter slimmed down with short hair. Nicole is so rock n roll she wants to run naked. Mkay. This is literally the first performance of the night that I would call legitimate rock. I was a little taken aback by Josh’s low growl, and could have used a little more dynamics in his performance–certain stretches of the song sounded like one long mumble–but he held the audiences’ attention amidst the light show and the loud band. He picked his own song– it’s no wonder he seems so comfortable this week. OMG Nicole. Calm down skippy. She’s having what looks like a seizure “rawking out” to Josh. LA: You have the authenticity, stage presence, you picked the right song. Paula: Everything about tonight worked unbelievably for you. Best of the evening. Simon: Never ever listen to a single person again. That was bloody fantastic. Nicole: You took me back. I was in a rock band way back. She thanks Dave Grohl for clearing it. Oh yeah. Doesn’t Dave hate clearing songs for TV shows? Suck it, Glee. – 1-855-843-9306 Text vote to 9306 –
Astro – LA Reid – Boys - “I’ll Be Missing You” by Puff Daddy, Faith Evans, and 112 – HELLO. Sampling a rock song DOESN’T COUNT AS ROCK. And Sting barely rates as rock! The tune was initially a tribute to the late Notorious B.I.G. But a slew of dead hip-hop stars flash on the screens behind Astro. He performs it as an ode to all of them. There’s no doubt the kid can rap. I might be getting bored with the same performance week after week, however. But it won’t matter much when he’s making hit records. He’s the one contestant in this competition whose relevance I feel sure of. Nicole: I think that was a very smart song choice. She believes he’s ready at his young age to win. Paula: Can you just suck for once? You are ready, you are amazing. Simon: You just took on Puff Daddy. You hae more maturity and intelligence than some of the older contestants. You have a shot of winning this. LA: You knocked it out of the park, you have everything it takes to win, and be an international star. Astro gives a shout out to Stereo Hogzz and his sister Regan, who has a birthday today. – 1-855-843-9307 Text vote to 9307
Lakoda Rayne – Paula Abdul – The Groups - “Go Your Own Way” by Fleetwood Mac – This week, Lakoda Rayne abandons any pretense to “country” at all, although I’m a little confused about what they’re going for exactly. It’s very “rawk” AC and cheesy as hell. And it didn’t have to be–Fleetwood Mac excels at vocal harmonies. If the group had just toned it down a bit, relied more on lead singing and made it a little edgy, they might have pulled it off. The silly outfits and dancing made it like a theme park performance. LA: This is the first time I’ve ever seen you have fun. Does it measure up to your competitors? It was better, but it was not amazing. Nicole: I think you found your niche–country rock (THAT was country rock? Ok). I want to see you let go even more. Simon: I thought overall it was a complete mess. I hope America sticks with you. There’s a great performance waiting to happen. The ridiculous choreography was gimmicky. LA scolds Simon “It wasn’t that bad.” Paula: They chose the song, and they owned it. – 1-855-843-9308 Text vote to 9308
Drew – Simon Cowell – The Girls – “With or Without You” by U2 - That was an absolutely stunning vocal performance. Not rock, but in this instance, I’m going to cut her some slack. She’s clearly in her element here. Unlike last week, the performance held my attention. LA: You have the most original voice of every contestant we have. I’m still in that place I was last week. I’m pushing for more, the competition is stiff. Drew says she’s sticking close to the genre she wants to be in, to please her fan base. Nicole: I was waiting for the tempo to pick up. That was the slowest rock song–I’m frustrated. Paula: When you have a big fan base, take advantage of it. An uptempo would be nice. Simon: Tells her to not pay attention. It’s about being unique, appealing to your fan base. And…Simon is right. If Drew has a big fanbase that likes what she’s doing, she should stick with her genre. If she establishes who she is as an artist on the show NOW, she’ll be better off in the marketplace later. – 1-855-843-9309 Text vote to 9309
Marcus Canty – LA Reid – The Boys – “Piece of My Heart” by Janis Joplin – Marcus did NOT want to do sexy moves on stage. And, while he played along, he never looked comfortable. Really? Gyrating with leather clad female dancers = rock? The song, on paper, seemed to be a good fit for Marcus. It would have been better if he’d been set up with a rock band and a microphone. The choreography actually made me laugh. I usually like Marcus, but I wasn’t feeling it this week. Nicole: You took on the queen of roots rock and you lit that stage on fire. It was raw, it was you. I know you rocked your church out tonight! Paula: You are the entertainer of this competition. Amazing. Simon: Your mentor, the devil just put you in hell. I don’t think the song suited you. This is you pretending to be somebody. LA: Don’t listen to any of that! You rocked! – 1-855-843-9310 Text vote to 9310