I appreciate when apostrophes are used correctly.
If you were lured in by the prospect of reading about Simon Cowell having a fainting spell, you’re in luck – but you’re also gonna have to read through this entire recap, cuz I’m not telling you WHEN during the course of this episode said faint occurs. GOTCHA!
For anyone who’s out of the loop, here’s where things stand on The X Factor…we are down to just 32 acts, which have been divided into four categories: girls under 30, boys under 30, groups, and the geriatric over-30′s. Each of the categories was assigned to one of the show’s judges – girls with Simon, boys with L.A. Reid, groups with Paula, and oldies with Nicole Scherzinger – and sent to their respective homes to receive further coaching. Of these 32 acts, half performed a judge-selected song last Thursday, and the second half performed on this episode, all in the hope of being one of the final 16 acts to make it to the next stage – LIVE SHOWS!
If you don’t quite get the system, don’t fret – the producers make sure they follow up EVERY OTHER commercial break with a reminder of exactly what’s happening, just in case you are newly tuning in, or maybe in case you’re that dude from Memento.
The 16 acts who performed last week were: (boys) Brian Bradley, Skyelor Anderson, Phillip Lomax, Nick Voss, (groups) The Anser, Lakoda Rayne, the Brewer Boys, 4Shore, (over 30′s) Dexter Haygood, Stacey Francis, Elaine Gibbs, James Kenney, (girls) Tora Woloshin, Caitlin Koch, Drew Ryniewicz, and the detested Simone Battle.
Who was apparently auditioning for “Deer Hunter – the Musical”
We’re given a lot of shots from last week’s performances, followed by a good number of clips of the judges pondering who to cut – but of course, like always, we know better than to expect to see those decisions by the end of tonight’s episode. Like any good reality competition, they’re gonna make us come back and watch this crap on ANOTHER night to see what happens. Sigh.
Teasing isn’t very nice.
Well, I’ll just pack up my broken heart and get on with it, shall I? Our first performance on tonight’s episode will take place at Simon’s house in France, where poor nerve-stricken Jazzlyn Little is having a bit of a meltdown at the thought of competing against all of this high-caliber talent. She’s shaking like a leaf and her throat’s closing up. Shouldn’t someone tell this girl that a life in the entertainment industry will feel like this pretty much every single day? I’m not so sure young Jazzlyn is cut out for da biz of show. But then she shows up for her performance, looking way hotter than she ever did previously, and after a nerve-ridden, breathy introduction, she breaks out this face:
Yeah, you know you want ALL THIS, suckas.
This is Jazzlyn’s M.O., and it’s starting to feel a wee bit stale…be super nervous, act all shy and terrified, then get on stage and blow everyone’s faces off. End performance, cease strut, commence shaking. Not sure I’m buyin’ this ocean-front property in Arizona anymore, sweetheart.
Jazzy sings a slowed down version of ‘I Will Survive,’ which sounds okay but is a little on the ho-hum side. She gets a bit nasally at times, and I have a strong feeling this may be the last we see of DJ Jazzy Little, even though Simon says she ‘put herself back in the frame.’ The vocal coach disagrees, saying he found it all a little bit high school talent show, and I think he’s pretty spot-on.
Also, in case you were wondering, this is how Simon watches the girls perform:
Does the word ‘harem’ pop into anyone else’s mind?
Now it’s time for us to jet across the Atlantic Ocean to the Hamptons, where L.A. Reid and guest judge Rihanna await a performance from overly confident stud Brennin Hunt. 26-year-old Brennin tells us that he’s getting old for this business since obviously 30 is the cut-off age. Well, shiznit, I guess someone should get the producers on the line, cuz they’ve got that whole flock of ANCIENT 30-plus-year-old mummies that should OBVIOUSLY be put out of their misery, Old Yeller-style.
Brennin shares his woes with the rest of the boys, telling them ‘it’s easier to doubt yourself when you’re 26 like me.’ 14-year-old Brian Bradley totally gets it, because 26 is OLD, dude – that’s like when you start forgetting to not pee your pants and all you can eat is yogurt and the memories of your youth.
Brennin thinks he’s got the whole package, so it’s surprising that he wears pants like these:
Restricted blood flow = no Brennin Jr’s.
Seriously, if you thought YOU were that great, wouldn’t you want to pass those genes on? Ah well. He’ll realize his mistake, probably around the time he reaches the REALLY old age of 34 and his testicles have fully retreated inside the safety of his pelvis.
No-Babies-Brennin sings that Corinne Bailey Rae song ‘Like a Star,’ but all I can think about is how creepy it is to hear a dude sing the lyrics ‘just like oil on my hands.’ I keep expecting him to follow it up with ‘just like kleenex on my nightstand.’
The performance is pretty decent – the dude definitely has some clean-cut vocals. Rihanna thinks he’s beautiful but corny, like ’90s boy band-corny. She doesn’t think he’s a star, but unfortunately I’m fairly certain the producers DO.
Time to jet off to Paula’s house in Santa Barbara, where she and guest judge Pharrell are about to experience the magic that is the Stereo Hogzz. The guys in the group tell us how excited they are to be here at Paula’s house, which has lots of trees and NO ANTS. Seriously, dudes? Last time I checked, ant traps were like $0.99 at the grocery store. You can also try moving out of Texas. Until then, you get no sympathy from me.
The guys are singing ‘I Heard it Through the Grapevine,’ accompanied by so many cheesy dance moves that I’m shocked they didn’t just go ahead and get raisin suits.
Of course, the costumes may have hindered their patented dance move, ‘the knob polisher.’
This performance seems less like a singing group and more like one guy that stands in front and sings while four other guys do wacky choreographed slides in the background. Of course, Paula lurvs all of this goofy bouncing around, but Pharrell doesn’t look so sure.
Uhhhh, did they just polish their knobs?
Pharrell thinks the lead singer sounds like an old Motown guy mixed with Ginuwine. Paula agrees, and she’s so happy to have someone voice an opinion that she agrees with that she proceeds to physically pummel poor Pharrell.
Someone’s dosage needs to be checked, stat.
This weird little one-sided wrestling match is reminiscent of the many times my 14 lb dog has tried to attack the FedEx guy. A lot of crazed looks and excited yipping noises.
Pharrell thinks the Stereo Hogzz need to work on being a constellation rather than just one star. The Stereo Hogzz, however, all agree to pass themselves through to the next stage, so I guess the judges’ opinions don’t really matter.
Down the coast to Malibu and Barbie’s Nicole’s Dream House, where Josh Krajcik is about to sing for the Pussycat and guest judge Enrique Iglesias. Whenever it’s time for a little Josh Krajcik retrospective I get happy, because I once again remember exactly why I’m rooting for this guy. He’s humble, down-to-earth, genuinely nice, and a helluva singer. We also find out he has a teenage daughter, Rowan, who’s pretty cute and luckily seems to have avoided getting too many Wookie genes.
Josh Krajcik, before he went Full Yeti.
Josh sings ‘The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face,’ which, coincidentally, British X Factor winner Leona Lewis covered a couple of years ago. On second thought, maybe that’s NOT a coincidence, since this guy is so good I’ve got money on him to win the whole shebang. His rendition is soulful and moving, and both judges love it, Nicole so much so that she goes into the pretty-girl version of a full-on emotional breakdown.
I keep my tears on the INSIDE.
I mean, we can’t expect her to ruin all of that expensive make-up, am I right? Anyway. Enrique thinks that Josh isn’t your typical superstar, full of glitz and glamour (read: shampoo and skinny jeans), but it looks like he still thinks Josh is a real contender. Hooray!
Back to Paula and Pharrell, who I will call P-Squar’d in honor of our next group, 2Squar’d. Which, by the way, may just be my least favorite name of any of these acts. WAIT – no, I was wrong – I forgot about Lakoda Rayne. Ah, pop groups…teaching the youth of America to misspell even the simplest of words in the English language.
The gals of 2Squar’d are given…oh no…’Bohemian Rhapsody.’ Oh, oh, oh…I can foresee EXACTLY how this is going to go.
Yep. The performance is just as atrocious as I had feared it would be. P-Squar’d looks a little stunned by the sheer awfulness that is emanating from the stage, but neither of them is mean enough to admit it. The only thing Pharrell can say is that the girls should have put some more soul into it. I personally would’ve preferred less soul. About four less. An empty stage would’ve been preferable to the musical apocalypse that just happened.
Lucky for me, our next contestant is Tim Cifers, so I get to move straight into my very least favorite music genre of all time – country. Yee. Haw. Tim grew up on a farm and would like his kids to have the same ‘country-ism’ experience.
If he can’t afford a farm, this swamp will do in a pinch.
Tim’s 30 years old, but somehow he’s stuck in the ‘boys under 30′ category. I’m guessing he was a mere 29 when the show began, hence the confusion. Are you impressed by my brilliant leap in logic? I thought so.
Tim is the only contestant ballsy enough to actually walk up to the judges and shake their hands before his performance. This either means he’s a real down-to-earth sort of guy, or else he’s a shape-shifter collecting skin samples for his future disguises. I’m guessing the latter is just a product of my sci-fi nerd brain, so let’s go with the down-to-earth thing. BORING.
‘Dance With My Father’ is Tim’s song, and though Rihanna is unreadable, L.A. seems to really dig the slow jam.
Even though this face screams, ‘Whatchu talkin’ ’bout, Willis?!’
I guess Tim sounds pretty good, for a COUNTRY singer. Rihanna liked his voice and says he’s ‘really country.’ Yeah, no shit, Sherlock. L.A. says he wanted more emotion.
And apparently a windmill.
After the break, it’s time for another one of my favorite contestants, Rachel Crow, who also just happens to be the youngest player left in this game. She tells us that if she wins the five million dollars, she’s buying her family a nice house, complete with a wall of mirrors, her own personal bathroom, and a couch. It’s good to know she has her priorities in order.
They’ve given her the Backstreet Boys tune ‘I Want it That Way’ to sing, and I can’t help but cringe a bit – it’s a cheese-ass song, and don’t we all find it a bit insulting that this very talented young girl is being forced to sing the crappy boy band music that’s always playing over the sound system at my local grocery store?
No matter. Rachel fucking KILLS this song, and suddenly I find that I’m a Backstreet Boys fan…shudder. Her slow piano-accompanied version is heartfelt and beautiful, and Simon goes gaga for it, saying ‘That. Was. Un-beLIEVable.’
Now we’re headed back to Malibu, where we’re all just waiting for that goddamn gigantic umbrella to fall off that cliff.
GUST. OF. WIND…GUST. OF. WIND.
It’s time for the OLDEST contestant left, now-60-year-old Leroy Bell, who used to lie and say he was in his 40′s until this show outed him. Now people are just convinced he’s lying in the opposite direction; that he’s actually 42 but saying he’s 60 because it’s a way better story.
Leroy says this means the world to him, and holy cow, so many people have said the exact same thing, I’m starting to hope the producers have psychiatrists on hand for the next 16 acts that get cut. I mean, they do it on The Bachelor. It’s just not good press for a jilted contestant to go on a rampant killing spree, ya know?
Leroy is right at home singing ‘Desperado,’ but Nicole thinks he was too nervous. She’s worried he’s holding back…but that he’s super cool. Just the coolest. And did I mention he’s cool?
Our next contestant is the group Illusion Confusion, which is a highly appropriate name, since their presence here confuses the shit out of me because I’m 99.9% sure I’ve never seen these guys even once before during the course of this show.
Even THEY look confused.
They perform the song ‘Let’s Dance,’ following the lead of the other groups seen tonight by doing some really crap-tastic choreographed dance moves. They say they wanna be super successful, playing Super Bowl halftime shows and the like, but I have a sneaking suspicion that these guys aren’t gonna find that success anytime soon, judging from the fact that the producers play their interview footage over the sound of their performance. Ouch.
Pharrell and Paula agree that their ambition and drive surpass their ability and talent. Double ouch. Nuthin’ confusing about THAT statement, my dears.
Next up is Tiger Budbill, the 42-year-old professional DJ who’s trying to keep his house from being auctioned off. Man, this whole recession thing is a real bummer. I guess if you’re only getting DJ jobs twice a week you should maybe look into a second part-time job in order to provide for your wife and kid, huh? No? Reality competition show instead? IT’S THE NEW AMERICAN DREAM!!!
Whatever man, I’ve got no room to talk. I write silly recaps and scrape together my spare change to buy lotto tickets, yo.
Tiger talks about maybe wanting to have another baby and starts to cry. That’s sweet and all, but the day a man has to push a giant baby head out of his pee-hole is the day I’ll start appreciating man tears.
Nicole asks Tiger what this means to him, and he responds: ‘everything.’ Original! Tiger’s singing Joe Cocker’s ‘Don’t Give Up On Me,’ which is WAY unfortunate for Tiger, since there are already two far superior Cocker-ites in this very same category (Josh Krajcik and Leroy Bell). There’s a lot of falsetto and uncomfortable high notes in this performance, and Nicole isn’t sure there’s a market for him. But Enrique tells her there shouldn’t be any rules in the music game. Which is why both of them are so ugly and fat.
Also confused and apathetic.
Now it’s back to L.A. Reid and ‘special guest’ Rihanna. I guess it’s good that group ‘Special Guest’ didn’t make it through, because things would be getting REAL confusing right about now.
Marcus Canty is up. Steve Jones reminds us that Marcus is from Merry-Land, which sounds like a really fun place to live. Wonder where it is.
Young Marcus makes a lot of eye contact with Rihanna when he gets to the stage, enough to make Rihanna admonish him with a stern, ‘don’t be flirting with me!’ Of course, Marcus does such a beautiful job singing K-Ci & Jojo’s ‘All My Life’ that Rihanna seems to do a bit of a 180.
I’ll show you da flirting, mon.
Yeah, Marcus is a strong contender in this game. Ri-Ri says she’s freaking out and can’t contain herself…but she’s not sure Marcus is a star. WHAAAA? I’m sorry. Let me see if I understand you correctly – you love this kid enough that it’s freaking your shit out, but you’re not sure if he can be a successful recording artist. Yeah, that makes perfect sense to me. Maybe it’s a Barbados thing.
Rihanna goes on to talk about how confident Marcus was, how he looked her in the eyes the entire time and made her feel like a fan. But yeah, not a star. Whatever.
Tiah Tolliver is up next, and during her montage we’re reminded of her first audition, where the judges were divided over whether or not Tiah was good enough to move on, and Simon told Nicole and Paula that ‘if you can’t see this, you’re deaf.’ Hrm. Methinks perhaps the science curriculum in British primary schools needs to be updated a bit.
Deli clerk Tiah comes to the stage and starts singing…’No Diggity.’ No, I’m serious. No Diggity, she’s singing No Diggity. When this began, my husband burst into laughter til he had to leave the room. The best part is hearing her sing the lyrics, ‘I got to bag it up,’ because I just imagine her wrapping up those ham & swiss sammies.
She does a pretty good job – I actually think this is her best performance to date. Lots of that trademark sassy-pants attitude that gets Simon all hot and bothered.
Simon has never wanted so badly to be a microphone.
But Simon & Co. agree that Tiah’s definitely raw and would need a lot of work – this is the first time we’ve heard Simon voice any sort of criticism of his darling Tiah, so I have a feeling this may not bode well for the hot young thang. I look forward to ordering some fine cuts of bologna from Tiah in the very near future.
Back to the over-30 crowd, where it’s showtime for the gal who keeps the milliners of this country in business, Christa Collins. Christa’s got a surprise for us – this isn’t her first time in the showbiz rodeo! Apparently, she was Disney Records’ first child solo artist, the prototype for what became Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera.
And, I guess, Shirley Temple.
But the workload and pressure was too much for little Christa, so she retired at the ripe old age of 16. She claims it was the worst decision she’s ever made, which may very well be true, since it looks to me like she’s already experienced all of the drug addictions and drinking problems that usually come along with child stardom – if you already had all the bad shit, you might as well stick around for the money, right?
Christa sings Radiohead’s ‘No Surprises,’ and the big surprise is that I actually really dig this performance. I’ve been severely underwhelmed by this chick in the past, so being really impressed by her was not something I expected.
Weirdo dance moves and giant hair button and all.
Enrique really likes Christa and says she really ‘hit’ him. Nicole wanted more pain in the performance. I’d like to see more pain in Nicole the next time she performs that song about being hotter than some guy’s girlfriend, cuz that’s, like, all about infidelity and shit. Dark stuff, man.
Christa’s story of child stardom makes for a nice segue to our next group, judge-formed teenybopper crew Intensity. They’re all cute as a button – well, unless you’re talking about Christa’s wacky head button, that is.
The kids haven’t had much time to work together, but they’re excited as heck to be here. Austin (formerly of Ausem) says they’re ‘ready to grow and explode,’ which just doesn’t sound right coming from the mouth of a pre-pubescent teenager. The gang sings ‘That’s Not My Name,’ taking advantage of the lyrics to shout out their own names during the course of the song – clever little monkeys!! Too bad that Austin kid outshines all of the other kids just as much as he did his former duet partner Emily, back when they were Ausem. Remember that? When the judges said he was a star but she sucked balls? Rough.
Remember when Ryan Gosling was on the Mickey Mouse Club? I bet that was kinda like this.
The kids actually do a really good job – I was impressed. Paula thinks they had a really good time, which sounds like a bit of a death sentence, but I’ll hold out hope for them. Pharrell says there’s a lot of little star morsels in the group cookie, which sounds like the sort of pedophile-ish thing Simon would say, but I’ll let it pass.
Next contestant: former addict Chris Rene, who was told by the judges that he had to promise to stay straight in order to stay in the competition. Yeah, I watch Breaking Bad, y’all. I know where THIS story is headed.
By the way, did you know that Chris Rene’s grandfather wrote the song ‘Rockin’ Robin?’ Fun Fact! Impress your friends! …Hey, does anyone else find it depressing that the guy who wrote one of the biggest hits of the ’50s was so successful that his grandson hauls trash for a living?
There’s a weird super long pause before Chris starts singing ‘Everyday People,’ but the judges eventually get over it and enjoy the performance. They both think Chris is something special – L.A. goes so far as to say, ‘Chris is one of the special ones.’ Whatever that means. He also says it doesn’t matter to Chris if he wins the five million or not, because it’s more about being true to himself and his craft. Sure. Chris just wants to stay who he is and keep haulin’ other people’s empty toilet paper rolls to the town dump…wouldn’t you?
L.A. says he’s never seen Chris so uncomfortable and blames it on Rihanna and her hot Amazon Warrior-ness.
Or maybe it was the whole having to sing on a golf course thing.
Time for our last contestant of the night…Melanie Amaro, the vocal powerhouse from Florida who has wowed the judges at every stage of the competition. For the judges’ homes, she’ll be singing ‘Will You Be There.’ You know, the Free Willy song.
I’m not thrilled about the song choice, but Melanie, of course, knocks it out of the park. She’s definitely got the best and cleanest tone of anyone in this competition. It’s good enough to – yep, here it comes! – make Simon give a little mock faint.
Next time, PLEASE button your shirt all the way.
I think Simon’s pretty sure he’s got this thing in the bag, and he may be right – from what I’ve seen, the girls’ group is the strongest of the bunch, overall.
Now it’s time to throw us a bunch of teasers about who the judges are gonna pick to send on to the live shows. They seriously take up the entire last ten minutes of the show with a bunch of shots of the judges saying vague things about contestants who are never named. With all of the filler this show packs in, this has got to be THE most annoying and unnecessary segment they’ve EVER DONE.
The contestants remind us again of just how important this is to each and every one of them. Dexter says he’s a perfectionist, so he could never do as well as he’d like to, which is unfortunate since he’s been doing a real crap job lately.
We get shots of all of the judges making their final decisions. Simon holds up a picture of an unnamed female contestant and says, ‘this is the one everyone thought was gonna get a yes, and we just said no.’ GODDAMN IT!!! WHO IS IT?!?
Well…all these teasers, but we’re just gonna have to wait until Tuesday (yes, Tuesday!) to see which 16 acts get through and which 16 will need to be put on suicide watch. But for now, it’s time for me (the REAL expert) to give you MY picks!
In my opinion, the easiest call is the groups category. 2Squar’d was awful, Illusion Confusion was forgettable, Lakoda Rayne was boring, and the Brewer Boys are cute and decent but not very diverse in what they can sing…therefore my picks in the group category are: The Stereo Hogzz, 4Shore, The Anser, and Intensity. After all, at least ONE of the judge-formed groups has to get through in order to make us believe that that was a smart move on their part.
Of the boys under 30, I think the winners are Marcus Canty, Chris Rene, Brennin Hunt, and Tim Cikers (who I don’t think is very strong, but they need a country guy and Skyelor Anderson just didn’t cut it). Nick Voss is still a possibility, but I think his over-the-top oddness knocks him out of contention (but if he does go through, expect Brennin Hunt to get the boot instead). Phillip Lomax just isn’t marketable and Brian Bradley, though super adorable, probably needs a few more years of training.
Girls under 30…I love Tora Woloshin, but her judges’ home performance was just really weak and lacked confidence. Jazzlyn Little suffers from too many nerves, and Simone Battle is just sort of typical. Caitlin Koch is a tough one to rule out, but with only four places I’ve gotta go with Melanie Amaro, Drew Ryniewicz, Rachel Crow, and Tiah Tolliver. Caitlin and Drew have very similar soft, pretty voices, but Drew’s is more flexible.
And finally, the over-30′s: Josh Krajcik is the obvious pick here, along with the suddenly popular Christa Collins. The second two choices are tough…I think it’s safe to say that poor Dexter Haygood has reached the end of his run. As much as the judges like Tiger Budbill, there are other dudes in this competition who are much stronger vocally, as well as more marketable. I’ve gotta believe they’ll pick one of the two older ladies, so between Elaine Gibbs and Stacey Francis, I’ve gotta go with Stacey Francis. And for the final spot…ooh, tough call. Leroy Bell is great but maybe a little too pigeon-holed when it comes to the types of music he can pull off – in addition to the fact that Josh has proven to be the stronger soul daddy. In which case, I’d give the final spot to James Kenney.
So what do you guys think? What are your picks? And what night do you think this damn show will be on NEXT week?!? Toodles!