I was surprised that there was less of this…
And more of this. Although this looks pretty uncomfortable…
Last night, the producers of The X Factor continued to test the limits of just how long the viewing audience was willing to sit in front of their flatscreens and watch nobodies squeal, scream and moan their way toward a $5 million recording contract. Thank God for Steve Jones. Steve Jones and his ill-fitting suit. Steve Jones who was there to wrap a long arm around us and comfort us while he told the verbose judges to keep their lame jokes, sniping and hippy-dippy commentary to a minimum.
For a 2.5 hour show, we moved along at a nice clip. Each act performed and then the judge who mentored the category had to cut one act from the running. Except for Simon, who had to cut two acts since he’d gone to Florida at the end of the last episode to ask Melanie Amaro to return and compete.
First up was the boys. Brian Bradley is only going by “Astro” now, and while I don’t agree with this, I will grudgingly call him that, only because I’m tired of typing his full name. He did an outstanding job on “Jump,” made it his own by changing up a lot of the lyrics and seemed like a seasoned pro onstage.
Chris Rene did an updated version of “Love Don’t Live Here Anymore” and it was just terrible. I wish that I had been in the audience so that I could boo while he struggled to stay in tune. Just as painful was Phillip Lomax’s shouty version of “I’m a Believer.” It was slightly more bearable because it gave me the opportunity to concentrate on not having a seizure while the extras from one of the Austin Powers movies danced around him.
The final boy to perform was Marcus Canty. He sounded great, as usual, even though his song choice was a bizarre one. He did “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me,” and while he was the best-sounding boy, he was the least interesting to watch.
LA cut Phillip Lomax, who was out of his league, and it was on to Paula’s Groups (TM).
The Stereo Hogzz did a manic but entertaining version of “Try a Little Tenderness” and had Paula crying from the first note, which is — well that doesn’t mean that much when you’re on so many meds, actually. The Brewer Boys did a mashup of “Rich Girl” and “Faith” and were predictably boring. They’re teenagers who have never really performed before, and playing for the dog doesn’t really count, so I don’t think anyone expected too much.
InTENsity had one of my favorite performances of the night, even though they did “Footloose,” which I’m tired of. It shouldn’t have happened the first time, people. If we’re going to remake terrible 80s movies, my vote’s with “Roadhouse.” Anyway, InTENsity was a hodgepodge of wonderful, wholesome cuteness. You could have plopped those kids into the Disney Clubhouse and they would have been just fine.
The final group of the night was skanks-in-training Lakoda Rayne. Their makeovers consisted of several pounds of fake hair, glitter, and anything type of clothing that existed purely for constricting purposes. They did what I guess was a country pop version of “Come On Eileen” and while I enjoyed it, I’m not totally sold on them yet. I’m going to have to think about why and get back to you.
The fate of the groups rested with Paula and she tearfully cut The Brewer Boys, whose fantasies of being the next Justin Bieber ran down Paula’s face along with loads of mascara and HD foundation. Loads… Heh.
Dexter Haygood performed first in the over 30s group. His performance was predictably loud, spastic and frightening. Amazingly, though, he remembered all of his lyrics! Less amazing: he did a mashup of “Womanizer” and “I Kissed a Girl.” I’m not sure what he and Nicole were thinking when she chose that and he agreed to it, but it was wonderfully bizarre.
An equally strange choice was Pink’s “Nobody Knows” for Leroy Bell. Reign it in, Nicole. Reign it in… Leroy did fine, although he’s going to need to step up his performing game to continue on in the competition.
Stacy Francis lurched out in a cloud of sequins and feathers to sing “One More Try” and George Michael is getting some serious play on this show, huh? I hope there’s a guest performance coming down the pipe! Pike? Not sure which one it is.
So, Stacy Francis was very good and made it through the performance without crying, which was a nice change. But, again, I’m not on board with this one. And it’s not just because of all of the rumors and blind items that are flying around the internet about her. She just seems like a genuinely shady person. I’m gonna leave it at that for the minicap.
Final over 30 performer was Josh Krajcik who did Rod Stewart’s “Forever Young.” I’m still waiting for Josh to get his makeover, but in the meantime, I quite enjoyed his performance, which really allowed him to showcase his voice with minimal accompaniment.
Decision time. I think the only person who was surprised when Nicole cut Dexter Haygood was Dexter himself. He told Steve Jones that he’s in a 21st century twilight zone, but I’m pretty sure he’s always there and Nicole gave him a big boost, so he’ll be fine. Or he’ll freak out and show up at Nicole’s place in Malibu with all of his clothes in plastic bags. We’ll see.
Finally time for the girls to perform. Simon said he had the strongest category, but right away, we get Simone Battle who is DOA. She sang Mariah Carey’s “Just Be Good to Me” and I have to say that for such a colorful, grindy, busy performance, it wasn’t terribly entertaining.
Rachel Crow’s mashup of “Where Did Our Love Go” and “Baby” was the exact opposite. Rachel did very little dancing but I could have watched her perform all night. And not just because she was dressed as a cute, hipster Colonel Sanders. She just seems so vibrant and full of life and pure, compared to Simone’s wicked-witch-wearing-a-coat-made-from-clown-scalps.
Simon has forced Drew to cut all ties with her family, including losing her hard-to-spell, tougher-to-pronounce last name, so she’s Just Drew as she sits on stage to do “What a Feeling.” Seriously, people, the Roadhouse soundtrack is awesome. “Mustang Sally…” “Runaround Sue…” “Hoochie Coochie Man…” Puh-lease!
Back to “What a Feeling.” Haunting… sad… ballady… video of birds flying all over the place. She’s a lock.
Tiah Tolliver’s performance of “Sweet Dreams” was what might happen if Grace Jones and Janet Jackson had a baby. I know that this is a biological impossibility, but I’m kind of convinced it could happen. It was strange and terrifying, but at the same time there was something sexual about it. All of the judges except for Simon hated it.
Melanie Amaro had the final song of the night and since she’s probably one of the few in the competition who could pull off Whitney, she did Whitney. Her version of “I Have Nothing” was not the best we’ve heard from Melanie — her main goal seemed to be “loud” — but it was still one of the best of the night, making her another lock in this category.
In the end, Simon cut Tiah and Simone, who announced that she released her new music video last night. Congratulations? I mean, you didn’t even make it to the semifinals of the show and you don’t have a record deal, but I’m glad that you found a way to hold someone’s attention. If there’s one thing people like to do, it’s sit around and watch music videos of people who aren’t actual artists. Is that a thing that people like to do? Maybe Simone will make it a thing! Good luck with that.
So what happens next? According to a press release, the next live show will be on Wednesday at 8pm Eastern time. That’s when the audience gets to start voting. So think really hard, people! This is all going to be on your shoulders soon. Take some time to yourself this weekend, maybe go to the spa; ask your boss for Wednesday off. Let me know in the comments who your vote’s with now and we’ll go into more details in the full recap!