We’re live blogging X Factor tonight!
Tonight, we’ll see the remaining 16 acts perform at the Judges Houses.
UPDATE: The Top 16 will be revealed tomorrow, according to a tweet from X Factor USA.
One thing Idol has going for it is the live band. These backing tracks on X Factor, both chintzy and too loud, are ruining what could be exceptional performances by some of the contenders. Jazzlyn Little and Chris Rene had the personality sucked right out of them tonight due to badly arranged performances. The groups were just HOPELESS–embarrassingly cheesy and irrelevant. In the case of the 10 person teen group–I can’t see where they’d fit in outside of Disney. Really, I can do without the Ting Tings receiving the show choir treatment (I wouldn’t want the Glee kids doing it either, and I’m a fan).
Having said that, I’m finally coming around to X Factor USA. The Judges Rounds have been entertaining, even with the extra padding (endless recap and that last 10 minutes of fake decision making was a waste).
Not sure what Tuesday’s show is going to be about. More singing? More drama? Will the Top 16 be revealed at the end of the show? The October 25 episode is the first in front of a live audience and is 2 1/2 hours long (YIKES). It’s listed as a “wildcard” show in the TV Guide. But honestly, I can’t see the judges adding even MORE contestants to an already unwieldy group. I think the Top 16 will perform on the 25th with cuts being made by the mentors afterward. This is how the Top 16 on the UK version of the show was instantly cut down to a Top 12. After the 25th, there are only 8 weeks of live shows left. There’s going to have to be a blood bath at some point.
To review: Simon Cowell is in France with the girls, Nicole Scherzinger and Enrique Iglesias are in Malibu with the over 30s, Paula Abdul and Pharrell are in Santa Barbara with the groups and LA Reid and Rihanna are in the Hamptons with the boys.
Once again, every performance is preceded by a Recap Of What’s Already Happened.
Jazzlyn Little – 16 – “I Will Survive” – Girls – She’s still battling her nerves. She wishes her family was with her. Is she doomed? She looks completely freaked out. She’s performing a jazz lite version of “I Will Survive”. Not the song I would have picked for her. She sounds good, but bland. Pleasant isn’t going to cut it. I wish she would have performed something a little edgier and current. This is not as impressive as her audition. – VIDEO
Brennin Hunt – 26 – Boys – “Like a Star” by Corrine Baily Rae – He informs us, helpfully, that he has the looks and the voice. He’s the total package! He’s a good singer, I just wish he didn’t come across as such a douchebag. Now he’s whining about his failures. Over the hill at 26. Oh please. He wants to be bigger than Lady Gaga. Is this dude for real? He’s got a beautiful voice, great phrasing. As long as I don’t have to listen to him talk, I’m good. Rihanna thinks he’s corny like a 90’s boy band. She’s not convinced he’s a star. LA says he’s glad she’s around to help him make the hard decisions. The last thing X Factor wants is an Idol style White Boy Singer capturing all the girl votes in the voting rounds… (By the Way, Brennin tweeted himself to inform me that he actually is a really nice person, “that’s the power of editing. I really am I very humble nice person. Much love to ya!” – VIDEO
The Stereo Hoggs – Groups – “I Heard it Through the Grapevine” – The 5 members of SH are ready to SMASH IT! Geez, these backing tracks are SUPER DUPER CHEESY. Talk about corny? These turn-of-the-millenium boy band moves aren’t cutting it. The soulful lead singer, has an awesome voice. The whole group has the potential to KILL IT with material that’s more relevant. But this Motown by way of the 90’s is not impressive, to say the least. Paula is physically attacking Pharrell. She’s really scary sometimes. Pharrell thinks they have some work to do: “They have to be a constellation.” He thinks the backing singers need to step up. – VIDEO
Josh Krajcik – “First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” – Over 30s – He loves his 13 year old daughter. He’s got a definite Joe Cocker vibe, with his gravelly growl. His style is surprisingly nuanced–a lesser singer would bellow their way through the song. But Josh knows when to ramp it up. He understands the concept of “less is more.” Humbly addressing the judges he says that he has the confidence and the desire to win. Nicole looks like she’s about to cry. But doesn’t she always? She muses, “He’s relatable, personable but is he a star?” Enrique doesn’t think he’s a typical star. “He’s rough around the edges” says Nicole. – VIDEO
2 Squar’d – Groups – “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen – OMG. Paula chose Bohemian Rhaposdy for this R&B girl group? Really? Yes, I know Beyonce covers this in her live show, but from what I’ve seen on You Tube–barely. Again, it’s the attack of the cheesy backing tracks. This was pretty horrible. The end, particularly was off key. Those poor girls are definitely cannon fodder. – VIDEO
Tim Cifer – 30 – Boys – “Dance with My Father” by Luther Vandross – Tim is all about teaching his son to hunt and fish. A perfect segueway to singing a country version of the Luther Vandross classic about his dead dad. Tim has a solid, but generic country twang. I would have a hard time picking him out of a crowd. Rihanna really liked his voice “He’s a real country singer”. Whatever that means. To Rihanna, it probably has something to do with his accent. LA wanted “more.” More what, he never specifies. With Season 10 featuring the Country Idols, there isn’t a chance in hell Simon will let a country act get very far. Cannon fodder, for sure! – VIDEO
Rachel Crow – 13 – Girls – “I Want it That Way” by the Backstreet Boys – All she wants for Christmas is her own bathroom. The girl is obsessed! The song is sung with “live” piano, reset in a minor key. I’m not getting the sense she understands what she’s singing, but she’s got a great voice. Really interesting phrasing and vocal tone. I still wish she’d waited a couple of years to audition. Just think how great she’ll be in 3 or 4 years? Simon loves her risk taking and deep tone. Simon worries that she’ll have a hard time dealing with the pressure. – VIDEO
LeRoy Bell – 60 – Overs – “To Make You Feel My Love” By Bob Dylan – He’s been passing as a 40 something for the last 10 years, apparently. Now he’s coming out as an old man! A very tender interpretation of the Bob Dylan classic. Leroy’s R&B style is tinged with a folksy, nu soul vibe. He’s really pretty damn fantastic. Nicole feels his nerves. Really? I thought he was giving a subtle performance, rather than holding back because of nerves. – VIDEO
Illusion Confusion – Groups – “Let’s Dance” By David Bowie – Jeez another freaking corny group singing horribly to a horrible backing track. Way to murder David Bowie! This whole performance sounds particularly canned. As in-they aren’t singing live at all. They get exactly 2 seconds, and an interrupted performance. CANNON FODDER for sure. – VIDEO
Tiger Budbill – Overs – “Don’t Give Up On Me” by Solomon Burke – He’s lost his house recently and dreams of living in big home with his wife and kid. He cries thinking about it. Tiger has an appealing, soulful tenor–sweet and high with a lovely falsetto. Whoa dude can TOTALLY HIT THE HIGH NOTES. Very impressive. He puts his whole heart into his performance. But, he’s very old fashioned. Not sure where he’d fit in the current recording landscape. Nicole wonders if there’s a market for his style (no, probably). Enrique is siding with talent. All he needs is the right song, he says. – VIDEO
Marcus Canty – Boys – “All My Life” by KC and Jo Jo – Rihanna to Marcus: “Don’t be flirting with me!”. Marcus has a smooth, confident R&B sound that’s very recordable. With the right marketing and songs, he’s got potential. He’s pretty easy on the eyes, too. Rihanna is VERY impressed. She loves his confidence. – VIDEO
Tiah Tolliver – Girls – ““No diggity” by Blackstreet – So…her fellow girl hopefuls seem irritated with her constant bitching. She’s super off key. She’s very average, I think. But Simon is smitten with her. He sees her as someone with “It” factor that he can cultivate. Hm. I’m not seeing it. I can’t figure out if he wants her around because she’s great for drama, or he really thinks she’s got potential. Maybe both. – VIDEO
Christa Collins – Overs – “No Surprises” by Radiohead – Delves a little bit into her past as a child star. She retired when she was 16. She does not mention losing her mother at 12. She says leaving show business was the biggest mistake she ever made. She gets all teary, thanking Nicole and Enrique for a second chance. I don’t know, there’s something about this girl I really like. She’s a stylized rock singer–she reminds me a bit of Bjork or Kate Bush. I wonder if she’s a songwriter? She’s compelling. Nicole wanted to see more emotion behind the lyrics. Maybe Nicole didn’t, but I felt it. – VIDEO
InTENsity – Groups – “That’s Not My Name/You Make My Dreams” – This is one of the manufactured groups. 10 members? Really. I’m thinking this is some sort of Glee knockoff. The members are all teens. Oh it’s a mashup! DEFINITELY A GLEE THING. With a big helping of Disney thrown in for good measure. SO WHOLESOME. Simon’s looking at all the iTunes Glee sells and seeing dollar signs. Too bad Glee tracks don’t sell as well as they used to. But, the kids have that Disney appeal–the Kids Bop crowd could be a viable market. – VIDEO
Chris Rene – 28 – Boys – “People Everyday” by Arrested Development – Oh boy, fresh from Rehab. He don’t want to haul trash no more. Another terrible arrangement/backing track. The canned cheesiness never seems to end. Parts sung/rapped, Chris is overpowered by a track that does him no favors. He’s completely lost that raw flavor that made him compelling in his audition. LA thought he looked uncomfortable. Well, do you blame him, having to sing that shizz? – VIDEO
Melanie Amaro – Girls – “Will You Be There” by Michael Jackson – Wow. This chick has some pipes on her. she’s a very confident singer, even as she reveals doubts in her video package. She’s soulful without being, shouty, and hits the big notes impressively. This gospelly Micheal Jackson tune is a great pick for her. Simon fake faints when she finishes. I don’t see why he wouldn’t advance her to the live shows. – VIDEO
Blah blah blah. Decisions decisions. Fake deliberation. We won’t find out who advances until Tuesday at the earliest.