Someone couldn’t wait for Halloween to pull out the Pocahontas costume.
This week’s baseball-misplaced edition of The X Factor was two hours of suspense, cutting, splicing and surprises. There was no actual music, mind you. But this isn’t necessarily a show about music. Music is just the vehicle to find personalities and sell cars and credit cards. Good gravy were there a lot of car and credit card ads stuffed into what could probably go on record as the world’s longest results show. I thought the show would never end. Yes, it went on and on, my friends.
But as Steve Jones said at the beginning: “It’s time. To face. Tha music.” So let’s get to it!
Steve is still wearing his striped shirt and pervert flasher coat in Paris. He recaps for the 32nd time what’s gone on so far: blah, blah, blah, thousands of American Idol contestants were drugged, loaded into the backs of semis and driven to X Factor auditions. Since three out-of-the-four judges had been on Idol and the fourth judge was an Idol judge look-alike, the contestants unwittingly continued the farce until one day they woke up in homes in Malibu, Santa Barbara, the Hamptons and Paris where they had to sing for judges and celebrities. All except for the girls under 30. They were supposed to be singing for Mariah Carey, but due to a ham overload, she was unable to make it. Steve Jones tried to tell us it because of bad weather, but we all know it was the ham. That lady looks like she loves herself some ham, huh? Little known fact: her hit holiday song was originally called “All I Want for Christmas is Ham.” Though Tommy Mottola agreed with the sentiment, he suggested changing it to “All I Want for Christmas is You” and a hit was born. Although… although sometimes when Mariah is doing her holiday shopping at Kohl’s, the song will come on over the loudspeaker and she’ll lick her lips and shake her head and whisper to herself “it could’ve been even bigger… even bigger.”
“It’s Hamta — I mean Santa!”
So yeah, Mariah’s not there because she’s at home making Nick pick the golden, sugary crust off a Honeybaked Ham and crumble it between her lips. That’s left Simon to make the decision about which four girls to cut himself.
“I had a bit of a wobble last night,” he tells us, but he work up clear-headed. Still, it’s going to be tough because he likes all of the girls. What’s “a bit of a wobble?” Is it British slang? It sounds sexy. Or tragic.
First up to hear the news are Tora and Simone. Not sure why they’re hearing the news together, but they both decided to wear equally awful hats to have their judgements handed down. Tora looks like Bo Peep joined the Hells Angels.
Simone is trying to force me to post my second Milli Vanilli or Blossom picture of the season. I can’t decide which, so I’ll just go with a dumb picture of Simone.
Simone wants “it so bad” and cries. Tora cries and wants “this so bad.”
If it’s between these two, I’m definitely Team Tora.
Simon meets with each girl seprately, although the interviews are inter-spliced to increase the DRAMA! See, if you use manipulative music and editing techniques, you can trick people into being more interested in your two hour Pepsi commercial. BRILLIANT! It’s like internet commenters who TYPE IN ALL CAPS, BECAUSE IT MAKES PEOPLE PAY ATTENTION AND DOESN’T MAKE THEM LOOK UNTRUSTWORTHY OR DESPERATE AT ALL. EVERYBODY LOVES DRAMA!!!!1!!1! !
Simon thinks that Tora always looks like a pop star. She’s current and different. But it’s tough because she’s in the strongest category on the show. And she didn’t make it. W.TF.
He’s been a big fan of Simone from the beginning, but he’s worried about her inability to remember song lyrics. That can’t happen during live shows. But she makes it through. Do not. Understand.
No time to mourn, though. Drew Ryniewicz is up next. Even though she is only 14, she has squat/sung her way to Paris where she gave a chilling performance of “It Must Have been Love.” She tells Simon’s red, leathery skin that she’s been doing her best. He rubs his lips and tells her that he saw an improvement and she couldn’t have done more. But she wasn’t the best teenager. But he’s made a decision. So he’s going to tell her something. Something important. Something that she’s going to be really interested in hearing. Because it’s his decision. You see… she wasn’t the best teenager… SHEWASTHEBESTSINGEROFTHEWHOLEDAY!!!11!1 ! And she made it through!
This is too stressful. Has a reality show contestant ever pooped themselves or vomited from excitement or stress? It seems like it would happen a lot… Once Drew confirms that Simon is both “legit” and “for real,” she celebrates by squeezing her head and asks Steve Jones to verify that she’s speaking English.
She was speaking English and her head didn’t pop, so she handled the news pretty well.
In Malibu, Nicole has moved her giant floating umbrella to a different spot, put on a poncho, and had hot, brown wax dripped all over her face to giver her that flawless, alien look. She is feeling a lot of stress about narrowing down her category because these people and their families are depending on this. This is true. For the first few weeks I thought there was a contestant with three first names: “Single Mom Stacy Francis.”
First up is burrito expert Josh Krajcik. He blew everyone away from the beginning with his filthy, greasy looks, burrito-honed body, and Joe Cocker-esque voice. This is a big deal for him because last year he made less than $14,000 and that’s a little stressful, especially because he has a daughter and he wants to pay for her to go to college. And that burrito money won’t even get you a degree from an online university these days.
Nicole tells Josh he’s so unassuming and like the guy next door but with a great voice and so much soul. But, she says, they’re looking for a super star and the guy next door may not be one. And her decision is… to take him… through to the live shows. He immediately starts crying and they hug, and a little ground beef juice and cheese squirts out of his shirt.
Nicole ignores the stains on her poncho and sends Josh off to Steve Jones. Steve tries to hug Josh, but Josh opts for the double high five instead and when the awkwardness passes, he’s off to call some unidentified woman on the Blackberry.
Up next is Christa Collins who is wearing a fetus on her head and an impressive amount of eye makeup. This is her second chance at the life she was supposed to have; the life that ended when she retired from Disney at the age of 12. That fetus on her head isn’t just an adornment that screams “look at me! I’m kooky! I’m special! I deserve attention!”
It represents her aborted dreams…
Nicole tells her that she’s unique as an artist, but there’s still room for growth. And she won’t be taking Christa through to the live shows. Christa doesn’t seem so surprised. She calmly goes to leak her black eye ink all over Steve Jones, who seems like a genuinely good hugger. He can’t wait to hug people and then he likes to hold them tight. He can be Huggy Bear for the rest of the episode.
James Kenney has been a “pure ball of raging emotion.” He’s tired of having jobs, you see. He wants dreams! Dreams for everyone! Special people don’t have jobs, they get to live their dreams. Yes, jobs are for suckers.
Nicole tells him that most artists can’t be as vulnerable as he can be on stage. They don’t have that gift. But her problem is that she doesn’t know if he’s the solo artist she’s looking for. So he won’t be moving on. James is confused because he wanted it “real bad,” but he heads back to his 17 jobs without any histrionics.
Dexter Haygood says this is the most important day of his life. For this very important occasion, he has toned down his personality and outfit. No longer is he the screaming James Brown impersonator in an airbrushed jean jacket that he picked out at Six Flags in the mid-90s. He’s now a calm, homeless man looking to turn his life around while wearing a velour patterned shirt that he got on sale at Belk’s in the late 90s.
No one in the competition wants it as much as he wants it, he weeps. “They don’t need it as much as I need it.” For once, I’m going to have to agree with one of the contestants.
Nicole tells Dexter that he has an energy and a light about him. Somebody’s reading straight from the Paula Abdul handbook for this one… You have a good voice, she continues. He starts crying and she takes his hand in her lap. She tells him that his performances are hit or miss. Her heart says one thing but her head says another. But she has a big heart, and her head always leads her astray, so she’s going with the heart and taking him to the live shows!
There’s lots of hugging and crying and Nicole tells him to make her proud, because she’s going to be behind him. While I think that Dexter is a hot mess and a middling singer, I like that he made it through on his hard knock story. More people in life deserve a break.
After a hug from Huggy Bear, Dexter celebrates by jumping into Nicole’s pool.
Dexter! No! Your beautiful, synthetic shirt…
Over in Santa Barbara, Paula is having a mental meltdown as she prepares to pare down the groups. Illusion Confusion is also known as the Group That Everyone Forgot. Alls I know about them is that there’s a hot guy of indeterminate ethnicity in there, and that’s my favorite kind.
Paula says that their vocals were beautiful, but they lacked in their showmanship. So she’s sorry, but she’s not taking them forward. They’re “mad as hell,” they say, as they stand quietly in a corner with their hands in their pockets. Meh. I don’t think anyone cares.
2 Squar’d gave up everything to be there. Their jobs, their bank accounts… wait. Did no one explain to them how bank accounts work? You can leave it in one city and then come back and the money will still be there. You can even pick up your money in other cities! It’s great. They must be with a credit union…
Paula says their vocals were spot on. But sometimes they’re going to be asked to sing songs that don’t feel right to them, but it’s there responsibility to make it work. I’m not sure how sound that advice is. If you feel uncomfortable singing a song, why would you have to sing it? Take the banking advice, girls, but not the singing advice. They’re not moving forward either. There’s a lot of weeping and running makeup and trembling hair pieces.
The Brewer Boys were born to do music and take turns twitching their hair out of their faces. Paula is very proud of them. There are a lot of people who connect with their sound and a lot of people who don’t. And they totally deserve to go through to the live shows! Really? I thought that all of the groups were pretty bad, but I was on the verge of not being able to watch these two. They’re adorable, but they were so awkward…
4Shore has had special t-shirts made for this occasion. You see, The X Factor represents their first step into adulthood, and if there’s one thing adults do, it’s wear matching, handmade t-shirts with poorly designed logos.
As they stand before Paula, “End of the Road” begins to play. Is this foreshadowing? Or more tom foolery? Foolishness, I say. Paula compliments them by saying they are “the most beautiful sounding,” but there’s a problem: they have no leader. Someone has to be the leader. And she’s not going to take them through to the live show.
What?! You fooled me with the obvious music, Pauline! That sucks. I liked them. 4Shore… Not so sure.
In the Hamptons, LA Reid and Rihanna stayed up late, lit some candles, had a little wine and narrowed down the boys under 30.
First up is Brian “Astro” Bradley, the rapping, overly confident teenager who wants to be the next Jay X. He hopes that he becomes rich and famous so he can buy his mom a good Mother’s Day present and get lots of girls.
He sits down with LA who tells him that he was the standout performer at his audition. But he’s worried that Brian won’t have the right kind of attitude moving forward. He’s right. This kid’s about as cocky as they come. Can you imagine him with a little fame and money? Worse than Kanye, I’m guessing.
LA is putting him through, and Brian smiles knowingly and then pops the top of his sweater since he doesn’t have a collar to pop. Then he gives finger guns. Yeah. He’s going to be pretty insufferable before he even hits 18.
Next up is Skyelor, who tells us for the 103rd time that he’s known as the black guy who sangs country. I know him as the guy who wears the terrible jewelry and has trouble carrying a tune.
LA is worried that Skyelor’s focus on country music will limit him. So he won’t be going to the live shows.
Nick Voss has been wanting to be a star since he was five-years-old. That’s his first problem right there. He’s an attention whore. His second problem would be that terrible performance he gave in front of Rihanna and LA. Third problem: stupid hair and accessories.
You see where this conversation is headed…
LA is worried that Nick hasn’t found his identity as an artist yet. So he’s sending him and his suspenders home.
At 26, Brennin is the old man of the group and nearing the cutoff age for being in the music industry. He’s going to feel like such an asshole when he hits 30. It’s going to be even worse when his looks go at 40.
Enjoy it while you can, pretty one.
LA thinks that Brennin’s voice is amazing and he has star quality, but at the same time, he’s feeling that Brennin is on a turbulent ride. So he’s not going to take him to the live show. Wow. Really? That’s pretty shocking. I thought he was a shoe-in. Best of luck to you, old man. Don’t forget to grab your prune juice from the fridge on your way out.
Phillip Lomax’s biggest worry is that his style of singing won’t be considered mainstream enough. LA tells him that there were moments of brilliance in Phillip’s voice, but he can’t be Sinatra every night and he needs more time, a new hat, and a better shirt to wear under his blazer. But LA believes in Phillip and he’s taking him and his giant white teeth to the live shows.
“My toothbrush is this big.”
Phillip is genuinely shocked and promises to make LA “so proud.” He gets so excited that he even takes his hat off for a moment.
Holy cripples on crutches… we’re only halfway done. More wine… I’m going to do what my friend-in-my-head Andy Cohen suggests and take a guzzlet every time someone tells how “bad” they want this. You should, too. Even if you’re at work — you know where the office stash is kept and it will make your day go by much faster.
Up next is Jazzlyn Little, the teenager who must have the worst case of ulcers in the world. Simon tells her that he saw grit in her when he first saw her and she’s gotten too polished.
He tells her that he likes her… but this is a competition and he has to let four people go. And he’s made a decision. It is… bad news. She’s not going through. Huggy Bear and Simone give her a pep talk.
Over in Malibu… Leroy Bell may be 59, but that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t want it as bad as anyone else. Most people his age are thinking about retiring, he says, but he’s not even thinking about that. He should give Brennin a pep talk.
Nicole thinks he has a beautiful voice and is amazingly talented. But her dilemma is that she doesn’t know if he wants it enough. Leroy’s mouth stays closed, but his face says:
Not to worry, though. “You are so going through,” Nicole says before clapping her hands and then climbing on top of him.
Tiger Budbill is a 42-year-old who wants another chance at doing what he loves. He’s only working two nights a week now and wedding DJs apparently only make $100 a night, so his family is pretty much about to lose their house. So he wants this pretty badly.
Nicole has seen him grow through the process. But she doesn’t always connect with him as an artist. So he’s not going through. Tiger may have had a tiny heart attack. But you know who’s there to comfort him. That’s right. Huggy Bear’s there to hug the arrhythmia away.
In the Hamptons, Chris Rene is wandering around a pond, wearing ill fitting clothing and reflecting on his recently sober life. He’s ready to quit hauling trash, find a place for his son to live, and live his dream.
LA says Chris has had some struggles and Chris admits that some days are harder than others, but he’s staying clean. Ironically, his sober birthday is 4/20. Wow. He’s trying to make this as difficult as possible.
LA thought his latest performance was really good, but he’s seen better. And it left him scratching his smooth, bald head. He reminds Chris that it’s a competition and consistency wins. Chris assures him that he won’t let anybody down so if it’s a yes, he’s going all the way. LA says he’s concerned about how Chris would maintain. He’s gone back and forth. But he’s made his decision. Chris is going through to the live performances. He immediately calls his sister, who got cut during the group performances, to rub it in.
Over at Paula’s crib, the two groups who were formed from solo acts at boot camp are on the chopping block.
Lakoda Rayne is made up of the hot girls and the cute one who can really sing. Typical girl group. Paula says their energy is off and they need more joy and connection. She thinks they can make history, so they’re going forward.
InTENsity wants is so badly (guzzle) and they’re not ready for their journey to end. They’re a motley crew of youngsters. Paula says that they have 10 different personalities and they need to make it work together. The boys were able to do that but the girls need to work on their vocal blend, because their group is the sum of all parts. She’s going to take a chance on them and make them one of the groups going forward. Huggy Bear is particularly happy with this outcome, because it involves a giant group hug, and his energy is multiplied 10-fold.
He gets his energy from hugs.
Over in gay Paris, there are two places left for the girls. Caitlin Koch is dressed in her finest hooker wear to hear the news. She looks lovely, though. If she doesn’t make it, she’s prepared to go back to Buffalo to play rugby and sing in empty bars. I like her attitude!
“I’ve made a decision, babe,” he says, after leering at her. “You didn’t make it.” As she walks off, he assures us that he didn’t like doing that.
Tiah Tolliver has had a rough time and would be devastated if she doesn’t make it through. Simon tells her that he thought she was a star, but she has pitch issues. Why do you think I’m the only one who likes you? he asks. Um. Ouch.
“I’m a believer. You’re in my four,” he tells her and gives her a hug. He tells her to believe in herself because she has the potential to make it. She calls her mom. “I made it to the live show on X Factor,” she says, just in case her mom wasn’t sure which show she was calling from. There’s a screeching noise from the Blackberry that makes Tiah very happy.
There’s now one spot left in every category and two people who don’t know their fates yet. To the Hamptons! Where Marcus Canty and Tim Cifers are waiting.
Tim’s dream is not to sell beer everyday. It’s to give his family a life they deserve and have a country and western career.
LA has a message for Tim from Rihanna. It’s that Tim’s very humble nature was his most endearing quality. LA warns him that it takes some selfishness to become a star. So he’s going back home to his family. Tim looks very disappointed and he says there’s nothing else he could have done.
You’ll always have a message from Rihanna, Tim.
Marcus says music kept him out of trouble in his neighborhood. His mom gave him two years to make it in the music industry, or he has to pick a new career. He is either wearing one of Simone Battle’s face stickers under his eye, or he got into a scratch fight with one of the roving gangs that are plaguing the Hamptons right now. Believe me, you don’t want to battle Chip and Rusty once their collars are popped and they’ve put on those extra heavy Ivy League class rings.
LA thinks that Marcus’ performance the day before was his best so far, but he’s had concerns about where Marcus sits in the current musical landscape. But he is going to take a chance on Marcus and put him through to the final four, making him the final boy through.
At Paula’s house, The Stereo Hogzz and The Anser are vying for the final spot in the live shows.
To show their commitment to the group and the music, all three members of The Anser are now wearing similar rings on their wedding fingers. Sorry, girls and boys. The Anser are married to each other, now. Something that would only be allowed in their home state of Utah.
They went to Jared!
Paula says they have three solid vocals that don’t always blend together and their performance fell short. So she’s not taking them forward.
The Stereo Hogzz have wisely decided to ditch the matching outfits in favor of coordinated clothing. One of them very seriously informs us that he doesn’t have a back up plan, so it’s this or… whatever happens to people who don’t bother to take control of their lives.
Paula tells Trey that he has a magical voice and the other four need to work on building their vocals up. But she believes that they’re potential super stars and together, they’re going to kill it! The boys get so excited that they jump into her pool and she screams.
At Nicole’s apartment complex in Malibu, the final spot is down to Elaine Gibbs and Single Mom Stacy Francis.
Elaine has been waiting for a better life for 50+ years. And she’s ready to reach out and grab it. She wants it “bad.”
Nicole says Elaine is one of the most talented singers she’s met. But the x factor isn’t just about the best voice. It’s about having the personality and charisma to command the stage. And Elaine won’t be going to the live shows.
While Single Mom Stacy Francis was waiting to take the stage at her first audition, she heard her first husband’s voice telling her she wasn’t good enough. But she decided to turn it off. Because she’s been living her whole life in preparation for this.
Nicole says there’s no question that Single Mom Stacy has a great voice. But what she’s looking for is someone who has the confidence and belief in themself. Stacy sighs, because she does not have that. Nicole says she doesn’t know if she can handle such a hard business. Stacy starts to cry. Again. Nicole tells her that she’s going through, though. Stacy cries into a pillow and then all over Nicole. And then on Huggy Bear’s shoulder. And then in an interview.
Final stopover in Paris where Rachel Crow and Melanie Amaro are waiting to learn their fates. Melanie might be the best singer in the competition. But Rachel has the winning personality.
Melanie says she’d be devastated if she didn’t make it and would just spend her days sitting at home thinking “what if.”
Simon tells her that he likes singers like her. And people might think his decisions are crazy, but he has to go with what he thinks is right. He’s sorry, but she hasn’t made it. As she goes off to hug Steve, Simon assures us that he hates his job sometimes. But then he looks around at his Parisian villa and feels a little better.
Rachel loves to sing and made everyone fall in love with her even before she sang a note at the first audition. She looks forward to buying a house with enough bathrooms in it for everyone and of going to the grocery store and getting what she wants and not feeling guilty about how much money she spent. Ugh. This is so, so depressing. And so typical for so many kids today. I will not get on my soapbox. But I will give you one of these:
She walks out smiling at Simon and tells him that she’s trucking along. Simon says he loved her first audition, but he wasn’t expecting to have so many good contestants and that has changed a lot. She came in as a favorite, but he has to put people through that are going to be recording artists. It’s not good news, he tells her. “It’s fantastic news.” She’s going through to the top four. “How could I say no to you?” he says, giving her a hug before waving her off.
Looks like someone could use a hug. It’s Steve.
“So that’s it,” Huggy Bear says. “The final 16 acts have been de-zided… Or have they?”
Late that night, Simon is sitting around his villa, candles lit, assistant softly tapping away on the laptop beside him. “I think I’ve made a mistake,” he says. He feels in his gut that he’s made a big mistake.
According to Huggy Bear, the other judges agree. So Simon leaves Paris and goes to Sunrise, FL. He’s there to right a wrong. He walks up to a little ranch house. A man opens the door and Simon puts his finger to his lips to keep him quiet. He walks into the living room where Melanie and her mother just happen to be watching X Factor footage on the computer.
He starts out by telling her he’s there to apologize for his mistake. “Apology accepted!” one family member yells prematurely.
Simon continues that all of the judges felt that Melanie should be on the live shows. “What do you say?” he asks. Her family answers for her, and Melanie is headed to the live shows. Loudmouth Uncle assures everyone that Simon has a heart and the Tin Man walks out, leaving the family to high five inside the small, um, eclectically decorated home.
So the first live show — featuring everyone and their makeovers — starts on Tuesday at 8/7 Central. Fingers crossed that this episode will have some actual performances!