The X Factor Series Premiere: What Was Your Favorite Act? Take Our Poll!

It was the premiere you/we/I (choose one) have been dying for since Lee DeWyze croaked out “Beautiful Day” and ended Simon Cowell’s American Idol tenure back in May 2010. Yes, folks, The X Factor finally reached U.S. shores Wednesday night, and over the course of its two-hour maiden voyage, I counted at least a half-dozen acts who, on first impression, looked like they had a legitimate chance at the $5 million prize — and not one of whom left Paula Abdul flushing out her eyes and rinsing bile from her mouth in a tiny backstage bathroom, either.

Using a complicated mathematical formula, that breaks down to approximately three seriously promising auditions per hour — a ratio that’s even more impressive when you add the roar of an enthusiastic audience and extreme closeups of Nicole Scherzinger’s quivering/immaculately glossed lower lip. Okay, yeah, so a few of X Factor‘s Big Emotional Moments were more carefully orchestrated than a Justin Bieber-Selena Gomez photo op. And yes, I’d rather have spent a month watching Live to Dance reruns than witness that scraggly guy dropping trou and singing “I’m a stud.” But at the heart of it all, Simon Cowell understands that you’re not going to stir souls, activate tear ducts, and convince 20 million people to surrender their Wednesday and Thursday nights without the siren lure of great, undiscovered voices. And that’s exactly what he did.

My Episode 1 favorites included Rachel Crow, who grounded my disdain for under-16 contestants with a scorching rendition of “Mercy”; Marcus Canty, the 20-year-old lawn mower who delivered uptempo Stevie Wonder with a side of funky dancing; sassy, polarizing Simone Battle (pictured); and to my surprise, “Young Homie” Chris Rene. (Still prefer Leneshe Young’s “Nati,” for the record.) (And in the a.m., we’ll need to discuss the ethical quandaries of advancing a guy who’s just out of rehab and admittedly only 70 days sober.) Lastly, even though I thought she kinda oversang her Artetha Franklin ditty, Stacy Francis got me choked up (just like she did when I watched that extended X Factor preview last week).

I’ll post my full episode recap early Thursday morning right here at, but until then, take our poll and tell us who gave your favorite audition, then hit the comments with your initial X Factor impressions. And for all my reality recaps, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Laurien says:

    My favorite act was Cheryl Cole.

    • Chris says:

      Nicole was such a downgrade. Disappointing.

    • xav says:

      It was so dumb of the editors to make her seem so sweet and kind and then have Nicole come in and talk like a child and tell everyone it was her birthday. It made her seem incredibly obnoxious compared to cheryl.

    • brandon says:

      YES. And Slezak, you forgot to put Siamese in the poll. Just kidding.

    • Saulo says:

      I agree. Actually I think Rachel Crow would be a better judge than Nicole! What about that?

    • Rose says:

      I love Nicole. She had more spunk and confidence. Cheryl was so boring.

      • dbaj says:

        Agreed! I think she would have been fine ultimately, but seemed so low energy for the most part. Don’t understand how viewers could have “loved” her after just that 1 hour. The news reports that her accent would have been difficult for Americans to understand was crap. Must have been personality clashes with other judges….

    • Christina says:

      Another vote for Cheryl Cole. Simon find a way to get her back on the show you made a mistake.

  2. Esaul says:

    I really enjoyed Rachel Crowe.

  3. MT says:

    Where’s the option for none? Was not impressed with any of them. Hoping tomorrow brings out some better results.

  4. Kristin says:

    Stacey Francis gave me chills not only last weekend but tonight as well. I can’t wait for the Jersey auditions, I got to be in the audience and there were a few really great singers that got through.

  5. Titina says:

    YES! My favorite act by far was Chris Rene, finally something original in the end. That dude is the real deal just hope he really stays clean through all this process. I am rooting for him.

    Also agreed with the love for Cheryl Cole. She was doing fantastic. That girl has an angel about her and is very genuine and sincere in her comments. Something Nicole Sherzinger lacks big time. I think Simon made a huge mistake in dumping Cheryl.

  6. Clarissa says:

    Wait, so is Cheryl Cole not coming back? Preferred her over Nicole.

    • Clarissa says:

      Preferred her over Paula too.

    • Connie D. says:

      Yes to Cheryl Cole. I can’t stand British accents, sorry, but I understood her perfectly. She is a doll. I would prefer her over Paula because I don’t want to see that Simon/Paula routine. Ugh! So tired of it.

    • jason says:

      U got it Mister. For some unknown reason, Cheryl was fired and NIcole who was originally supposed to be co host (maybe thats why we didn’t see that much of Steve Jones in ep1) was put in as a judge. The one irony is that both Cheryl and Nicole first shot to fame as winners of their country’s version of Pop Star group reality singing show. But i personally don’t like NIcole – She comes across as very stuck up and unlikeable and thats what Ive always heard about her but she conveniently is coming out with a US record release in Nov – For Some reason Simon is in love with her. But I found Cheryl Cole very charming and I didn’t think I would like her as much as I did and I miss her..She would have been a nice breath of fresh air

  7. Clarissa says:

    I loved Rachel. Freakin talented! :) A

    nd I’m inclined to disagree. I love love love Cheryl and I hope she brings her music to the US. BUT to me with Nicole there’s a better dynamic. Cheryl didn’t shine unfortunately.

  8. LindsayS says:

    Aaah, it’s finally here! And I love it. Blatant poking and prodding at tear ducts and all (and yes, I teared up about 3 or 4 times. One or two might have slipped out). I really loved all the ones you pointed out and it’s a little difficult to say, but I think Chris Rene tops it. Incredibly talented and there is just something about him. When I first saw him sitting there, I thought he was some guest celebrity, no joke XD He just exudes a something something.

  9. James says:

    It’s amazing to me that Nicole Scherzinger is a judge when the only thing she lacks is the x factor.

  10. Esaul says:

    This is so much better than Idol too.

    • John says:

      How so? I don’t see anybody who is as good or unique as Haley, Pia, Scotty, Lauren, James, Carrie, Kelly, Fantasia, Adam, Kris, Daughtry, Cook, Melinda, J-Hud, Tamyra, I can go on. Where are the rockers? The crooners? The country singers? There were a bunch of diva voices that lacked diversity.

      • Esaul says:

        Idol has changed since Simon left, and drastically. Adam sucked anyway, so he’s not even considered on that list. Idol wants POP music now, so scratch off rockers from that list. They also don’t want original song writers, so bye bye to them too. And X Factor is better because Simon is there. Plain and simple. He’s the only real person I respected on Idol.

        • John says:

          I think it changed for the better when Simon left. He wouldn’t have let the talented singers like Naima, Scotty, Thia, Haley, or Pia through(he rejected Pia and Haley in previous seasons).

        • Balthazar Remtocoquis says:

          You might not have liked Adam, but he certianlly did not suck. At his very worst, even if you were some sort of homophobe, one must admit he was the Cal Ripken of Idol, making would be-singles in to doubles & triples, never failing to show up on game day and get on base.

          Xfactor isnt better because simon is there. He is locked in a default mode, nothing seperates it from the worst of idol at the moment. And that hokey judge mentoring scheme they have wont put it a hair past Idol’s lackluster celeb mentor. (with apologies to Harry Connick Jr.) Your judgements are a little off kilter in my opnion, but i respect you for presenting them here.

        • Kim says:

          Oh Esaul, Adam sucked? What planet are you from. Not to be rude, but Adam Lambert is the most talented singer to come out of AI. Not to dismiss the other fine singers on AI, but lets be real. His voice is amazing.

        • Jake says:

          Esaul, did you actually watch Idol last season? Not only did they have rock, they had metal (James). I found X Factor to be very manufactured and kind of phoney. Overall, put me among the disappointed.

        • darcy's evil twin says:

          Good night, can we PLEASE get off the “Adam s****d/Adam was great” crazy train? Enough already!

      • maggie says:

        X-Factor just had its first episode. You’re going to judge the talent from one episode against the highlights of years of AI?

      • Okay Buddy says:

        Come on, play fair.
        We’ve only seen the first episode of the X Factor -and it’s only been an audition episode at that.

        Of course you have a huge list of people, Idol has had 10 full seasons!

        Oh please, bud.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      It’s too early to make an assessment, but right now I’d say “X Factor” isn’t better or worse than Idol. Just different.

      • Esaul says:

        It’s not really too early to make that assessment. It’s not like X Factor is a fresh new show. It’s been brought over from the U.K.

    • adamfan says:

      Sorry, have to disagree. This show is not better than Idol. I really like the very intimate feeling of idol auditions, watching the singers progress from being alone with the judges to a small stage and finally the huge stage. the x factor felt and sounded like a hyperactive loud mess. I had to turn it off. Too bad, I was really looking forward to it.

  11. John says:

    There should have been a “None of the Above.” I can’t get that 2 hours back…although I did zoom through some of the backstory thanks to the miracle of DVR.

    • Debi says:

      I agree – I felt like I was trapped in some Vegas carnival sideshow with too much flash with the stage, lighting, etc. The few who actually had some talent just were not as good and the judges tried to build them up to be. I’ll check it out again, but last night’s episode just made me miss American Idol.

  12. xav says:

    I liked Stacy Francis best. Though I ended the show hating Nicole Scherzinger so much I don’t think I’ll be able to bring myself to watch the show again.

  13. Edith says:

    Rachel crow the best

  14. chris says:

    Did that guy who dropped his pants get arrested for indecent exposure?

    • lime says:

      Geez, one would only hope. It was censored and I’m still scarred.

    • Snsetblaze says:

      Before he even got on stage, I had the funniest feeling he was going to do that.

    • Luciana says:

      Is that really all that he did? Drop his pants? You’d think that he had bitten the heads from chickens or something, what with Paula’s ‘sickness’ and the self-righteous blather from the other male judge (forgot his name).

      Get over it!

      • Kim says:

        I know, huh. You would have thought that Paula had never seen male genitalia before. I mean, he shouldn’t have done that, ’cause there were kids in the audience, but I don’t think it was anything to throw-up over. That was just silly.

      • J. May says:

        I don’t consider myself to be overly self-righteous or anything, but that whole thing really put me off the show. I turned my TV to Modern Family and DVR’d the rest of Factor.

      • ruandvin says:

        I did think Paula got a little melodramatic (as usual)…BUT – I do think the producers should have pulled him off stage as soon as he dropped his drawers, if only for the fact that there were a TON of kids in the audience who didn’t need to see that.

      • Angie says:

        It wasn’t the guy’s little wagger that was gross, what was gross was the deliberate inclusion of the mentally deranged guy for shock value that I found unpleasant and repellant. The guy was clearly not right in the head. he clearly couldn’t sing and had no chance.

        It was no different than when AI brings on the mentally challenaged people so that the audience can laugh at them. It’s bullying all in the name of entertainment.

  15. Sue says:

    I do not think XFactor was better than Idol, just different. Being different, it does stir interest, at least for awhile. Having professional backup tracks for auditions made some contestants sound better than they really were. Idol’s a capella auditions give a more honest view. Still hate the bad/crazy auditions and wish time wasn’t wasted on them. They leave a bad taste in the mouth, especially the drop-the-pants guy. You could tell by the looks of him he was going to do something unseemly and sickening. Why do they make us watch that? Saw some contestants with potential, but none that blew me away. Frankly, I was disappointed.

    • Stephanie says:

      No–songs aren’t released acapella so they have to be able to sing with music. I know a lot of singers who have voices that get thrown by music behind them–pitch and being able to follow the music, etc. Having the music to sing to gives a more honest sound than acapella.

  16. agrimesy says:

    I loved Rachel, Marcus, and Chris. Unfortunately true talent like theirs was thoroughly debased by that man who was the first audition in Seattle. The fact that Fox allowed the XFactor to air that taped segment may have ruined the whole show for me. I did not tune in to watch a singing competition to be flashed like a bystander on the street! I had to try to explain what was happening to my two young daughters. I filed a complaint with the FCC. I have never done that before.

  17. Jamie says:

    I found the XF really disappointing and didn’t live up to the hype -a though I bet it got great ratings and might even cannibalize Idol. It basically seemed like if Idol and AGT had a baby with a little Voice added in. The host was almost non existent. We had the requisite ‘joke’ bad acts and t he producers’ pimping of certain contestants and their sob – I mean back- stories. The judges were boring..(Whey did cheryl cole get fired?) – …I just found the whole show boring – esp at 2 hours. I think the live shows will be better- esp with the big stage and backup dancers etc that will make it stand out from idol but we have to wait till November to get there. Im afraid till then its just like an Idol audition in front of an AGT audience and judges. B-O-R-I-N-G and nothing special. (lets remind you that UK XF hasn’t really had a big intl star except for 1 hit wonder Leona Lewis – and they only once had someone over 30 win and that person was barely over 30 – no groups or OLD folks have won. But Simon will try to get a girl or boy band or maybe someone like Stacy win – They will really push the backstory so we’re going to get a real sob story, rags to riches winner. I did see one comment say the druggie maybe should have been told to stay clean for a year and then come back – are we going to let this guy who’s been sober for 2 mos go and then take responsibility for what happens to him? Or are we going to play the drama of he goes back on drugs and gets booted off

  18. PatD says:

    I swore I was not going to get sucked into this, but Chris Rene blew me away. That guy is going to HUGE. Whether he wins or not. L.A. Reid pretty much offered him a contract right there and then. I effin’ loved everything about him. He’s humble, real, natural, and truly talented.

    Simon, you lucky dog.

  19. blingedup.susan says:

    Yay, Simon and Paula are back on my set, and I’m looking for Michael’s recaps again. All is right with the world tonight.

    I’m looking forward to this first season of X Factor. Marcus was my favorite. I was in the audience for the Dallas auditions, and there were some great acts. I’m hoping to see them tomorrow night.

  20. Damion says:

    Um, not one of the acts was terribly impressive….and hello, you’re looking for the next big thing yet let idiots on a stage in front of thousands, wasting time for ratings? That makes sense on AI when hundreds get two minutes, but in this format? Not so much. AI has sucked for a couple of years, but X is certainly not bettering the original concept at all.

  21. Katrina says:

    Stacy, marcus, and chris were amazing! Loved this show! 100% better then idol.

  22. Bruce Kent says:

    I just watched the absolute best reality and talent tv show that I’ve ever seen in my life!

    Yes, parts of all these shows are the same. However, there is a significant gravitas to X-Factor that the other shows have never had. It’s everything about it, from the massive stage and audiences to the degree of real talent. This show is the real deal.

    I was most impressed that both Reid and Cowell took the rapper to task about remaining clean. He shows up 70 days post rehab with his own song and he could put that on the radio tomorrow as a single and have a number 1 hit.

    Simply put, wow! How long until CBS moves Survivor to a different night? This may not win the ratings war at first but in about six weeks, it will be the number 1 show on television and likely for the entire television season.

    Why do we even need another American Idol season after this?

    • John says:

      Why do we need another Idol season? So we can actually have some diversity maybe? I saw none tonight.

    • Eli says:

      1. That home-made ditty is not a #1 hit. Maybe if properly “polished up” it could do well, but not the way it was there. Except if it just gets hyped up to #1.

      2. The best reality show is The Amazing Race, for numerous reasons, but just the emmy wins alone should shut anyone up.

      3. The best Talent tv show is So You Think You Can Dance (or if you are only interested in music competitions, The Voice). Because unlike the hypervapid ubercommercial monstrosity that is X-Factor, those shows actually care a little bit about quality, rather than just trying to sell to the masses.

      4. The talent we’ve seen sofar pales in comparison to pretty much every season of AI and in my opinion even to the Voice. It’s the advantage of that same massive stage/audience + backing track. you get conned into thinking something is better than it is because of the audience/judges’ response.

      5. Any show featuring 12/13/14 yr old competing against adults is just stupid in my book, but I suppose thats personal taste.

  23. Saulo says:

    Television will never be the same without Cheryl Cole. She is the best.

  24. Kelly says:

    I LOVE THIS SHOW! And I hate reality TV so that’s saying something. I was flipping through channels and this came on right when Stacy Francis was starting her audition! Absolutely amazing!!! And I love the judging panel, Paula and Simon together again is a recipe for entertainment!! Definitely won’t be missing this!!

  25. Balthazar Remtocoquis says:

    I thought all the acts were terrible. But in fairness to the siners, who could really shine in such an overproduced and badly paced mess.

    All the effects and backing audio couldnt mask the cold and boring core that is a Simon Cowell show. A lazy man sits in his chair along with a few of noisy c-listers, a parade of the delusional with kick me signs on them, the overworked r&b pastiches and the occasional rushed taste of something different on stage.

    This high energy/low output crap wont keep me watching. I’m probably well outside the demographic as a 30 year old male but I dont have the energy for such a boring format anymore. I suspect im not the only one.

    • Eli says:

      You are not the only one good sir. X-Factor gives overproduced a whole new meaning.

      • Balthazar Remtocoquis says:

        Thank you!

        And where were the good voices. Every singer’s voice was so thin, there wasnt a bit of unique timbre to be found the entire show. Was it all packed away in those 3 red xfactor trucks?
        The USA needs something like eurovision. A musical vote-war between 50 states. Cowell could have delivered it, but instead dusted off the ol’ Star Search format.

        We all know what the culimation of this series will be. Simon will forcibly birth a new Jedward for America. Even if it means making singer-sausage, we will have our quiffs and ghostbusters pantomime every Wednesday & Thursday until December.

        • Eli says:

          You kinda lost me at Eurovision, cause that show is an atrocity in its own right.

          And God protect us from a new Jedward *shudders*.

  26. mike dyson says:

    slezak! will you be doing a weekly recap? scratch that. you MUST do a weekly recap. throw in a couple of unique elements to differentiate from idoloonies and you will be good to go! if you need someone to brainstorm with hit me up.

  27. dotty says:

    I actually liked L.A. Reid way better than Simon. He’s the new Simon! I’ve always respected him, but wasn’t sure how he’d be in this setting. He’s the best part of the show for me, so far.

  28. darcy's evil twin says:

    The best thing about “X Factor” is I get to read Sleazak’s recaps and correspond here with some of the Idoloonies again!
    No one really blew me away – I think there should have been more GOOD auditions during a two hour time frame, and I could have gone the rest of my life without seeing that nut that dropped his pants. I probably liked Stacy Francis the best, although hers is not the type of voice you hear on current radio.

    I guess I’m old – didn’t care for Chris Rene. My comment to my husband was, “This song is boring but he sounds like everyone on current pop radio”. And I agree with Mr. Slezak – this is a lot of pressure for someone 70 days out of rehab.

  29. Lindsey says:

    Hmmm… what happened to the Chicago auditions? They were right after the LA auditions and featured Cheryl. I actually went to one of the shows and while we didn’t see anyone amazing, I heard one of the other shows had some great talent.
    Sad to see the Chi get lost in the shuffle of Cheryl-gate!

  30. scorpo says:

    Such a wise decision to fire Cheryl Cole. She was actually more boring than Nicole. I didn’t have a problem understanding her but I am sure most of America wouldn’t be able to figure out what she was saying without closed captioning.

    • Balthazar Remtocoquis says:

      Its good of you and Simon to want to protect America from something as taxing as learning to comprehend a new accent.

      That arguement is tired, especially given that Cherl has never said a complex sentence.

      If you are going to cut a limey, slice off that vestigial host from the crew. Is he supposed to be the one to capture the Secrestian Family-Show vibe? I dont recall him being even an arms length away from any contestant. Pepsi, Chevrolet, Verison and SONY must be pissed off thinking that that drip will be the one to segue their multi million dollar brand pitches during the live shows. A drab welshman pitching Chevy Equinoxes to southern teenagers! Think of the sales!

    • sarah says:

      Of course she was boring. The producers edited it so anything unique or interesting about her was removed so that viewers wouldn’t miss her.

  31. Sg. Grant says:

    I thought Chris Rene was doing to be another one of those crazies who sucked and had their own original song.

    I was wrong.

  32. Thom says:

    American Idol Redux. Can’t be bothered. I can’t stand Pepsi. Give me The Voice any day.

  33. Tusk says:

    Thought I’d give it a watch. Not enough data to go on as far as ‘yay’ or ‘nay, but had a few thoughts.
    -Simon …looks like he’s been plasticked…can’t figure out where, but looks weird. He also seemed to ‘try’ to be nicer, fairer setting up potential antagonism between he and the new “Big Bad”, Reid.
    -Cheryl Cole…wow! Just as I started to get fascinated by her, BAM! She is replaced with Nicole. Replace sophistication with “Oh ma Gawd!” type of reaction and critique. :(
    -The Open mouthed shots of the Judges (Nicole and Reid) was so obviously forced, as if the antics that inspired them needed that emphasis.
    -I suppose back story is necessary in these types of things to build drama, I just don’t have to like it.
    -Definitely more entertaining than my first impression of the Voice.
    -The talent pool seemed decent, although, I tend to agree that pitting 12 yr olds vs older performers seems untoward somehow.

  34. Zoey says:

    I’m still mad that Leneshe Young didn’t get to semifinals during season 8.

  35. Vetle says:

    I want Michael Slezak to make a web show à la Idoloonies.

  36. patinpa says:

    Completely underwhelmed!

  37. Boiler says:


  38. Beth T says:

    Hmm. Usually I agree with you, Michael, but seriously – at least a half dozen $5 million potential acts in that episode? I’m not even sure about that for the only act I actually liked (Chris Rene).

    I kept scratching my head as the judges praised all the “great vocals” – almost every one of the folks they put through sounded off-key to me. And loud. I was totally underwhelmed by X-Factor’s opening salvo.

    On the judges… I liked Cheryl Cole way better than Nicole. Simon and Paula – same old same old – boring. I did like L.A. Reid, though. He’s about the only thing that would bring me back for another viewing at this point. (Although – not tonight as I’m out and opted to put two other shows on my DVR, fwiw…)

  39. Chrisword says:

    I loved the audience shots when the guy sang with his naughty bits exposed (He was lookin’ like a fool with his pants on the ground!). One man looked like he was gouging out his own eyes, and a woman was shown quickly escorting her child out of the theatre.

  40. Leon says:

    Nicole wasn’t making it about herself. They came in on the audition day when it was her birthday she can’t control the editing of the show. It was simply her birthday and if you look online at the judges intro from that day Simon encouraged the crowd to sing Happy Birthday to her. Nicole isn’t stuck up, it’s simply where the editing team decided to start her off.

    Anyways, the show was great and the talent was good! They didn’t focus all on the crazy and wacky auditions, it was a great mix and X Factor has more of a serious tone. I love the show, I love both Cheryl and Nicole and as the auditions go on you all are gonna see why Nicole is there and that she isn’t stuck up, again they edited the show and they came in on her birthday not her fault. GO X FACTOR!

    To be honest, I can see Idol and X Factor being the only 2 singing shows on tb afterwhile

  41. Ellen says:

    Good things about X Factor: The talent is pretty talented. And not all cut from the same mold, like they are on American Idol, where you invariably wind up with a winner that nobody actually likes and who never actually goes anywhere.

    Bad things about the X Factor: Overproduced, phony, and including the pants-dropping guy was a bad move that the show will have to work to recover from. Also, getting rid of Cheryl Cole, who is a sweetheart and very real.

    I’ll watch the show again in a few weeks and see if they’ve got their act together.

  42. Green says:

    The man just out of rehab had the most moving performance. I am sure someone will buy his song and it will surely be a hit…Way 2 go Rene…KEEP HOPE ALIVE

  43. Melissa says:

    My almost 3-year-old got to watch the first 1/2 hour of the show before bedtime (glad he missed “stud-guy”). Here were his thoughts:

    3-year-old: Is this American Idol?
    Me: Well, it’s like American Idol, but not quite.
    3-year-old: Is this American Idol?
    Me: It’s like American Idol, but it’s a new show.

    3-year-old: Is this American Idol?
    Me: Sure.

    He’ll figure it out eventually.

  44. Nick says:

    Mt favorite was the ones that I didn’t watch, because this show and american idol are crap TV that pander to the lowest common denominator – The Majority of Americans, unfortunately.