X Factor Night Two: Best Act? Take Our Poll!

The first half of Thursday night’s installment of The X Factor felt a little like one of those soul-crushing “endurance challenges” you see on Survivor or The Amazing Race: “How badly do you want to bear witness to the birth of the next great singing sensation, America? The big prize will only go to those of you strong enough to sit through 50 solid minutes of being thwacked about the stomach and face with a musical two-by-four!”

Was it worth it? The jury is still out, but as one of its members, I’m feeling a little restless, perhaps even mutinous, heading into the weekend. Certainly, that deeply unaffected college freshman who sang Beyonce’s “Listen” helped salvage the two-hour telecast, as did the four acts who preceded her: the woman with the green teardrop earrings who stirred Nicole with her rendition of “Almost Home”; the bearded guy who stirred Nicole before he’d sung a single note; the female quartet who brought to life a groove without the help of a track; and the male soprano who L.A. Reid said had the kind of voice that was “the reason great songs are written.” Oh, and the rugby player was pretty promising (and simply pretty), too.

But if X Factor is going to shake clear of the “didn’t do Idol numbers” shadow that’s following it and become a true cultural phenomenon, it’s going to have to deliver a better talent-to-trash ratio for the remainder of its audition episodes. There’s no other way to spin it. Mind-blowing talent is what drives the water cooler, not some unamusing fameosexual in a blond flip wig looking to add to her audition reel.

I’ll post my full episode recap early Friday morning right here at TVLine.com, but until then, take our poll and tell us who gave your favorite audition, then hit the comments with your thoughts and feelings on X Factor. 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. L says:

    The college freshman was Melanie Amaro and how is she not on the voting list? Absolute goosebumps – and made me cry. They can stop now and just give her the prize. Loved that she was so humble. She’s it.

    • Michael Slezak says:

      Sorry ’bout that! Fixed the poll and added Melanie…blasphemous otherwise.

    • TINA MARIE says:

      Melanie Amaro was absolutely one of the best singers by far to be on a talent audition. Melanie is already a star before she ever came to x-factor. I have never got goos bumps from a unknown singer like her before. Beyonce she be so proud to have her song “listen” sung with such inspiration and emotion and didnt miss a tune. Way to go Melanie Amaro …………….

  2. Sybil says:

    None of the above. Melanie Amaro, the girl who sang “Listen.” By a mile.

  3. Leon says:

    I liked today’s show better than last nights because we actually got to see the whole panel together with no changes or anything. Great talent tonight and just as equally funny auditions. A great show and another great episode!

    • I See You There Paid Marketer says:

      It was THAT important for you to see nichole scherwhatever sitting down for the FULL hour. Did it really hurt and confuse you when the made a simple casting change. Do you have trouble opening a cereal box given your limited attenion span?

      Are you even serious? I swear its not real people behind these usernames. Just spit out some all-encompassing simple platitudes and reenforce the concept that XFactor = Liked. OMG GUYZZ GHOSTS!

  4. Tricia says:

    I am already way hooked and I think it blows Idol out of the water when you compare Idol’s audition rounds to X Factor audtions. Love. Love. Love it. And Melanie Amaro – wow, just wow. Can’t think of any Idol contestant who was as flawless and EFFORTLESS as she was. (and I consider myself an American Idol fanatic)

  5. question says:

    Does someone know where can I watch the show online?

  6. LAM says:

    Yeah, I won’t vote until you add Melanie to the list. Did you just forget her?

  7. DaM says:

    Tonight I heard the Whitney Houston (or even better!!!!) of this generation. She was unaffected, pure, singing perfection. I immediately went to YouTube to see if there was more. I’d buy her audition rendition of this song now- that good. Give her the prize now!

  8. DookDood says:

    I’ve never struggled so hard to like a show. They are spending so much time on either bad auditions or people they don’t put through that are only marginally worse than those that get 4 Yes’s. Then they show us a collage of 4 or 5 “Yes” acts that we never really got to see. The Boot Camp and Judge’s House rounds are going to be completely useless. How are we to feel connected to anyone. The editing isn’t helping either. It’s so edited that the audience clearly isn’t responding to what we’ve just seen. I can’t believe that Simon had nearly two years to work out the details for this show and this is what we get! Who from this group is possible worth the $5 million prize? This is getting ridiculous.

  9. allie8 says:

    didn’t watch tonight – I did watch yesterday and decided this was a dvr show at best. Maybe I’ll check it out tomorrow… if I am really bored.

    • Snsetblaze says:

      Ditto – except that I couldn’t be bothered to Tivo. My dual tivo was recording the comedies and Grey’s and the new Michael Emerson series. So If I feel like it, I’ll have to look online. If I am really bored. But I might be catching up on what I did not watch tonight.

  10. Ella says:

    Some contestants were cool – Melanie Amaro and some others, but 2 hours to here 5 minutes of good singing? And those “funny” ones weren’t that funny, I mean – haven’t we seen these things million times before? B O R I N G! And the whole ambiance of the show is kind of fake. It doesn’t feel like they’re trully looking for talent, but playing the roles of being “amazed” or “sick to their stomach” or whatever else is on the script, and playing not too well I might add. Also too much talk, too much drama and tears, which also don’t feel real for some reason. And it’s all the same stuff I hated on Idol. Oh and what’s up with the constant backround music with SINGERS? It’s distracting. Not loving the show so far and probably going to skip the next installment or probably all the rest of auditions.

  11. Annie says:

    That episode was pretty bad. Maybe they are saving the good singers for the live shows…. Hopefully.

  12. Danielle Notaro says:

    I’d like to take the poll but I don’t remember their names!

  13. John says:

    I finally heard a singer I loved in Melanie, but did anyone else notice that some of the best singers of the night were stuffed into a montage? Cowell is going over the top in his attempt to pull heartstrings and tickle funnybones, and I think it’s going to backfire.

  14. Botox says:

    While Melanie was really good, I honestly found it just incredibly… I don’t know. really boring. I sort of stopped paying attention to it. Again, I’m not saying she wasn’t great, but it was boring to me. Nothing different. And I’m not a big fan of how auditions are done.

    About the only thing I can say I really enjoyed was the guy that seemed like an Elvis throwback (Nick Voss I think?) – he was really cute, lol. And it was fun hearing something like that rather than ANOTHER Beyonce or Katy Perry song. I want to rip my gallbladder and drip the bile into my eye sockets every time I hear Firework at this point.

    And just an added note about that flasher dude the other night, I read two things – he was wearing a manthong, and that everyone in the audience is actually 18+ (which surprised me)

  15. darcy's evil twin says:

    Oh…my…goodness. Who is editing this mess? Tone-deaf people with no sense of what’s actually entertaining and/or funny?

    WAY too many bad auditions! @Ella – You hit the nail on the head with your comment, “two hours to hear five minutes of good singing”. Good grief.

    There was one kid with really great blond hair, though.

    I was losing my patience and considering turning the channel to just about ANYTHING else, including Law&Order reruns or even Spongebob, when Melanie Amaro started singing. Thank goodness.

  16. Steve says:

    If anybody is curious, here is Dexter Haygood’s ’80s band from Memphis, Xavion.

    This was a pretty big hit in Memphis at the time, and even got a little bit of national MTV play. I’d love to see him do well — judging by Susan Boyle or by how well Altiyan Childs did in last year’s X Factor in Australia, Simon and the producers do seem to love a good comeback/redemption story when it comes to the older contestants.

    • Botox says:

      I have to say, I actually really hope he goes far. He’s one of the few “sob stories” I was able to stomach. His band was actually pretty cool and I dig rock. It’s nice to hear something different to boot. I just hope he doesn’t stick to riding the James Brown bandwagon =/

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      I enjoyed him as well. I could tell there was some decent talent there.

  17. Tim says:

    Agree with the other poster who said Melanie was boring. Talented yes, but she had no, well… X Factor. Nothing really new there.

    Caitlin on the other hand captured my attention right away and put an interesting spin on an old song. X Factor: absolutely.

    • Botox says:

      Yes! That was so true. At that point of the show I was in such a lull of disappointment I wasn’t paying full attention to what was going on — then when I picked up on the words, I was definitely pleased. Something to note: she’s been on American Idol; I believe she made it past auditions, but not sure about what happened after.

  18. Christina says:

    The trash to talent ratio really bothered me on tonights show. They had 2 whole hours and they managed to show only 4 whole auditions of people who got “yes.” Luckily I’m watching this on DVR. By the time it got to that kid who sold his truck I was fast forwarding through the bad auditions.They’re lucky that they had two really good auditions last night from Melanie and Caitlin because that’s the stuff that will carry the show.

  19. marie says:

    Didn’t watch show two – managed to get through only some of show one, thereby sparing myself the horror of seeing the guy who dropped trou. At about 40 minutes in, my partner turned to me and asked, “Are you enjoying this at all? Can we turn it off now?” I was happy to oblige. I have watched far too many years of ridiculousness as it is on Idol, and this show has everything that I ever found horrid on Idol, only much worse. The audience shrieking as though Michael Jackson, John Lennon, and Elvis had all come back from the dead together and taken the stage instead of a bunch of pathetic, untalented folks! Ugh, no thanks. And Simon: how often on Idol did he show his displeasure and disapproval of allowing 15- and 16-year-olds to compete, only to gush to that 13-year-old girl (who may or may not have the seed of talent, but how can we tell yet, she’s THIRTEEN!) about how they’d made the right choice to allow 12-year-olds! And the older couple: as an older person myself, I don’t much care to gawk at my fellow seniors making themselves look silly.

    No, thanks, I really can’t see myself watching this mess: my only regret is that I won’t be able to appreciate Slezak’s columns about it!

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      Marie – good to see you here – that is if you haven’t stopped reading Slezak’s column as well.

      I share a lot of your thoughts – I came very close to changing channels last night myself (to the debate – that’s how bad things got, LOL). I’m willing to give it a shot – I’d like to see what happens when the judges start mentoring the contestants (a bit different from American Idol) and hopefully we see more actual talent (and we can hear singing without the screaming).

      This show was SO hyped – Simon was on the talk show circuit gushing over how great it was going to be, and all I could think of was “the Emporer has no clothes!”

      I just wonder if what was edited into the broadcast isn’t a direct result of the dumbing-down of TV and all the other idiocy people watch. Do they actually think we really want to watch the stupid stuff? Just a thought.

      • marie says:

        Hi, darcy’s evil twin, good to see you too, although you may indeed not see too much of me around here (probably you will when the Idol season starts, damn it – something about the “devil you know”…!).

        Does sound like some dumbing-down is going on here, particularly since the producers felt (if this was in fact the real reason!) they needed to oust the British woman judge (her name escapes me) for fear we could not understand her! I understood her just fine, and I’m sure it was not a problem for most people in the U.S. They really MUST think we’re dumb.

        And that’s my primary gripe with the show (at least the little I saw of it): it TRULY seems to be lowest-common-denominator stuff. Life is too short to watch trash, which is what this seems like. And with Simon’s all-too-obvious hypocrisy and cynicism and manipulativeness on full display, I’m even less interested. Maybe I’m just worn out on the whole talent-contest thing in general, especially since both the “talent” and “contest” aspects of most of these seem to be afterthoughts at best.

  20. SallyinChicago says:

    This is like AGT….and what sets AI apart from this show is that you actually know and care about the contestants, whether it’s their backstory, or whatever…you just root for your favorites. I don’t get why there are 4 judges? But I guess Simon is doing whatever he can to set this apart from AI, with the 4 judges – which I believe he complained about on AI.
    I didn’t see any talent that knocked me out except for Melanie who clearly has a love for Beyonce style of singing.

  21. Valerie says:

    I completely agree that the ratio of talent to trash has to increase, and as well the ratio between ‘stories’ and actual SINGING has to change. We averaged 1 audition between commercial breaks last night and 2/3 of those were terrible. That’s a LOT of crap to endure for only a couple of snippets of something special.

  22. Eurydice says:

    This show is kind of painful. After a while I couldn’t tell if the good singers were actually good or just a relief from the really bad ones – and the judges aren’t interesting enough to carry the show by themselves. I think I’ll give the rest of the auditions a miss and maybe take a peek at the mentoring process.

  23. Sharkey says:

    Thank god for DVRs…

  24. Charlie02123 says:

    It would be nice if the song they sang was next to the name. I don’t remember the full names of all the acts! :)

    I enjoyed ‘Listen’ and the Rugby player.

  25. JVC says:

    Sheesh, this audition episode made the worst audition episode from season 10 of american idol look good (Never thought I say that). Unless the bad auditions are funny, it’s not worth focusing so much them and less on the people that actually make it through. They need to balance it out. But I still think this show will be better once we get to the live shows. I think the other problem is we hearing the same songs that were done to death on idol. Also, maybe it’s the fact I’m flipping channels and watching other stuff but has anyone noticed that there have been more people of color going through than white? Isn’t that interesting.

  26. TheJuryIsOut says:

    I had high hopes after the first episode. But after last night, I deleted it from my DVR.

    Just show me people who can sing. I mean really sing. I already know people who can’t hold a tune and are ridiculous (I will include myself in that category… :)

    What a letdown. I mean really.

  27. davey says:

    I checked out Brendan O’Hara on YouTube and he’s really talented but they barely showed him on the show last night.

  28. Aaron says:

    What happened to the tear drop earring woman that sang “Almost home?”. They never showed her elimination if eliminated at all. She was wonderful!