After some exhaustive auditions and an overly dramatic Boot Camp, we’re down to the Top 16 on ‘The X Factor.’ This was the contestant’s time to make their mark in front of an audience but only a handful succeeded and it was most likely their mentor’s fault.
We were also introduced to the show’s new hosts, Khloe Kardashian-Odom and Mario Lopez who didn’t bother me as much as I thought they would. It’s not like either of them really have a problem with speaking. Anyways, how did the Top 16 do?
From Demi’s house, Paige Thomas was up first with Haddaway‘s “What Is Love.” I find myself wanting to root for Paige, but after this I don’t know. Her stage set up was some weird, galactic fetish thing but she really got into her performance. The song worked for her, but I wish it hadn’t been so autotuned. L.A. liked how dramatic it was but wasn’t feeling the song. Britney called it “outrageous,” perhaps she was just choosing to name one of her songs instead. Not a bad start to the show but it might have been better with the ‘Night at The Roxbury‘ guys bobbing their heads along to the beat.
Next from Britney‘s house was cutie pie Arin Ray who sang “You Keep Me Hanging On.” His performance was pure Usher, which I’m sure what he’s going for as a solo artist. Unfortunately the loud blasts of fog on stage drowned him out during some parts but the little I heard sounded ok. I have to agree with Simon that Britney put too much around him and he got a little distracted. I don’t expect to see him going home Thursday night though.
First up from L.A.‘s house was David Correy who sang Whitney‘s “Your Love Is My Love.” The arrangement on this didn’t work for me, the original would have been fine but I guess they felt the need to make it more “modern.” Simon thought David came off “desperate” and that the whole performance was “manic” with his arm waving and shouting out to the crowd. Look, I think the Over 25 group know that it’s an uphill battle against the kids in the competition because well, they’re “old.” So he has to try to connect with the audience some way because even though he has a great voice, he’s “old!”
Simon‘s first group to go was Sister C, who he felt the need to describe as “nice.” Sister C has a problem with likability, which I’m not getting. It’s not that I think they come off as arrogant, as Britney and Demi stated during Boot Camp, it’s just that they’re boring. They perform “Hell On Wheels” which was okay, their harmonies are strong and they have chemistry, but there isn’t anything interesting about them. When Demi called them “stiff,” Simon took the opportunity to remind her that they aren’t dancers. “I’m a singer not a dancer and I still make up for it,” she replied. Well alrighty.
I can appreciate Demi having such a hands on approach when it comes to coaching her group but she might be trying to turn her female singers into alternate versions of herself. Case in point, Jennel Garcia got a little makeover to make her look like more of a rock star, or Demi circa 2010. She does a great version of “I’m On My Way” by Carrie Underwood but her performance overall was a little static. The other judges praised her though, with L.A. saying she was a 10.
I really like Diamond White, but I hate what Britney did to her here. Not only did she make her sing “Hey Soul Sister” but she had to do it in an outfit straight off the Disney channel. I liked how she flirted with one of her dancers, but that was the best part of her performance. She seemed off and the song didn’t showcase how good her voice really is. Simon enjoyed it and Britney said she made her proud, so I guess it doesn’t matter that I thought she looked like a Claire’s Accessories threw up on her.
Ah okay, Vino Alan. So apparently this “Gotta Be Somebody” song is by Nickelback which was the first mistake made with this. Even though this is kind of an uplifting song, Vino made it sound so angry. He should have done something by Soundgarden or Pearl Jam but his real issue is that he doesn’t know what to do on stage. Britney was bored by it all, and Demi said that she didn’t think he could be a pop star. I rolled my eyes at her saying this, but she was just being honest because that is what they’re looking for. I can’t see Vino chatting up one of the dweebs over at E! news on the red carpet. Simon commented that the arrangement was bad for him, and i’m convinced that L.A. might be trying to sabotage his singers.
The most baffling performance of the night came from Lyric 145 who did a mashup of Will Smith‘s “Boom Shake The Room” and Psy‘s “Gangnam Style.” I don’t know what in the 90’s hell all of this was about, but it was bad. L.A. actually loves this group but blamed Simon for taking all of the soul out of them with that song.
When asked if she really liked what they just performed, Lyric dodged the question by asking the audience is she made them like it. They get it, and so does Simon. He’s right, in a competition like that they have to try to make rap commercial but they aren’t doing it in the way that Big Willie Style did.
Cece Frey also got a makeover, going bleach blonde and ditching a bit of her attitude. She gave a very Ke$ha-esque performance complete with neon tribal makeup and crazy lighting. She seemed to enjoy herself on stage but I’m still not clicking with her. L.A. and Britney agreed that the vocals were weak but Simon still appreciates how “fearless” she is.
Tate Stevens has one of the strongest voices in the competition, but he probably won’t win this thing. He’s have a better chance on ‘The Voice,’ but he was solid during his performance, one of the more subdued of the night. Simon didn’t love the song, but knows what type of artist he should be. L.A. said that Simon doesn’t know anything about Country, not being a fan, but he was proud of him.
Beatrice Miller is a talented kid and knows her own strengths, unfortunately her mentor Britney doesn’t. Beatrice wasn’t sure about her song choice, “I Won’t Give Up” by Jason Mraz, because it’s not her style. She starts the song off sitting down, hair crimped and yeah, this just didn’t seem like the same little girl from the auditions. The judges still like her, but I hope Britney makes better choices for her as the competition goes along.
Jason Brock is totally camp but that needed to be dialed back just a bit with this. He also suffered from a bad song choice that didn’t show off his vocal range. “Dance Again” just had him repeating the same line over and over again for the last minute of the song. His set up was like a Las Vegas stage show, complete with girls in feathered hats.
Simon completely ripped the performance apart, saying that everything about it was wrong. Jason didn’t let that get him down though and L.A. told him not to worry about Simon’s comments because he’s a “hater.” Well he wasn’t wrong there.
Frankengroup LYLAS decided they needed to go into the live rounds with a new name, so they changed it to 1432 which according to them means “I Love You Too.” Okay, then girls. They decided to go very current with Taylor Swift‘s “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” which kind of worked as a group song. Honestly, only two of these girls really sound good. The tall black girl especially, sorry I don’t know these chicks’ names!
L.A. thought it came off to karaoke and “talent show,” forgetting that he is getting paid millions of dollars to judge a talent show. Demi said that she only liked one singer in the group but wouldn’t say who. Because the latest episode of ‘Law & Order: SVU’ was pretty good, I changed channel and missed Khloe pressuring Demi to reveal which singer she thought was the best. Apparently it’s Carmella, whichever one that is.
On to Willie Jones, another singer I really want to root for but it’s like he doesn’t want to let himself be great. “Here For The Party” was kind of a mess, he paid more attention to his dancers than he did to the audience. It’s nice that he doesn’t want to do what is probably expected of him but he’s starting to come off like a gimmick.
When you’re competing against a guy like Tate Stevens who does Country right, he needs to bring it or switch it up. L.A. said it was just “adequate” and Simon tells him that he didn’t think Demi did him any justice with that song. With a single mind-numbing ass backwards comment, Demi said that this is what kids these days like. What kids, Demi? WHERE?!
Carly Rose Sonenclar is lucky she has a great voice because Britney’s suggestion that she perform in a schoolgirl outfit like she did all those years ago might have done her in if she was less talented. With the subject matter of that ‘SVU‘ episode still fresh in my mind, this made me a little uncomfortable. Carly Rose does not need to be sexed up or given the same type of image Britney did when she was only 2 or 3 years older than Carly when she started.
Despite that, Carly’s twist on “Something’s Got A Hold On Me” which also included Flo Rida‘s “Good Feeling” which the song samples was pretty good. I’ll just say this, Carly Rose will be more of a Christina Aguilera than she will be a Britney. She just needs to focus on her vocals and forget about short skirts and cafeteria take overs. L.A. noticed that she didn’t seem to be having fun, but hopefully she’ll have a better idea to go off of next week.
Finally, the three douc…errr brothers of Emblem3. I don’t like these boys because they aren’t selling anything other than generic good looks and voices. Of course all the white teenage girls are going to eat it up, so it’s not like they have to even be good at doing that. After Demi swooned over them, Simon reminds us that he has had success with groups and blah blah blah. If they win, it won’t be because of their talent.
So what did you guys think of the first live show? Was it as exhausting to watch as it was for me to recount all of it? Four of the contestants are going home on Thursday night’s elimination show. Who do you think should go and who should stay?