The X Factor Recap: Dallas (and Miami), We Have Multiple Problems

I kicked off my recap of The X Factor‘s series premiere with a multiple choice question, so it seems somehow fitting to also begin our discussion of its sophomore outing by asking everyone to get out their No. 2 pencils and grapple with this mind-bender: A mega-hyped talent competition is airing its second episode, and 50 minutes in, the most entertaining aspect is a cellphone ad starring the show’s ornery British judge: How many minutes until you change the channel, or else find yourself mesmerized by a filthy, half-deflated basketball that undoubtedly deserves the Emmy for Outstanding Prop in a Reality Series Backstory?

Seriously, were I not hopelessly devoted to the idea that The X Factor can (and will) unearth my next musical obsession in the same way Idol brought me Haley Reinhart, Allison Iraheta, and Fantasia Barrino (just to name a few), I might’ve mustered up the courage to change the channel to The CW for my newest and guiltiest pleasure, The Secret Circle. And that would’ve been a shame, really. Because in a 10-minute period from 8:50-9:00 PM ET, The X Factor suddenly rallied with a quintet of first-rate auditions that made me feel optimistic about giving up my evenings to Simon Cowell & Co. every Wednesday and Thursday night between now and Christmas.

Of course, that 10 minute burst of entertainment also raised an obvious burning question (especially in light of The X Factor‘s not-exactly-dominant initial ratings): Why hold back on showing us the talent? Seriously, is there a single person alive who wouldn’t have gladly traded two minutes of Dylan Lawson, the soft-spoken Kentucky teenager who sold his truck for a chance to channel a demon from Hell on the X Factor stage, for an extended listen to saucy girl group 2SQUAR’D or that bearded dude who had Nicole Scherzinger experiencing a waking daydream about white picket fences and backyard jungle gyms?

What stuns me is that someone as seemingly savvy as Simon Cowell missed the memo that there’s really nothing fresh or funny about pointing and jeering at overweight mother-daughter duos or desperate wannabes who think the height of comedy is a goofy wig and a heightened/indignant reaction to a ‘no’ vote from Paula Abdul. Even worse, The X Factor judges don’t seem to be working particularly hard to whip up clever rejoinders to these tiresome fameosexuals. If the best L.A. Reid can come up with on the fly is “I wanted to slit my wrists,” then please, someone hire a writer to cook up a list of colorful zingers he can keep on his desk and hurl at will.

But anyway…back to the telecast. This is supposed to be a recap, I guess, and not a litany of complaints. That said, why bother to delve too deeply into Thursday’s opening half hour, which featured Ashley Sansone and her Kermit-like warble doing bad things to “Piece of My Heart” (an incredible song that deserves a one-year vacation from televised singing competitions); some chick in a blond flip wig whose name I won’t mention (thus denying her the additional thrill of that Google Alert you know she’s set up for herself); and that relative of The Dreamgirlz whose temper tantrum caused his mother to deliver a retort that should probably serve as a life motto for 40 percent of people on U.S. television at any given moment nowadays: “That’s enough. You’re embarrassing your family.”

Nope, I can’t and won’t talk about these middle-bad auditions anymore, because the English language doesn’t have enough synonyms for demoralizing, soul-crushing, lame, wasteful, unamusing, humorless, and dreadful. Let’s instead focus on the folks who scored at least three ‘yes’ votes from the judges’ panel:

* Nick Voss: As one of seven people living in a three-bedroom house, Nick apparently has to grapple with such severe overcrowding that he’s had several accidents with his razorblade, causing a striped pattern on the side of his head and a broken eyebrow. All kidding aside, though, I’m not quite sure how this guy scored four ‘yes’ votes — or even one — based on his rendition of Elvis Presley’s “Trouble.” Dude’s voice had more cracks than an inner-city sidewalk, and despite his resemblance to Jimmy Ray I wasn’t seeing pop-star potential. L.A. Reid was at least honest enough to admit Nick’s voice wasn’t great, but that he qualified under the criteria of the “entertainment business.” Still, how to explain Simon’s gushing, “Nick, I absolutely love you”? A direct response to declining expectations?

* Marivana Viscuso: Simon said her rendition of “Summertime” sounded like “wolves mating in the forest” — “Bravo! Tonight is full moon! That’s why!” Marivana retorted — but to my ears, this loba had a tentative grasp on pitch, and zero sense of rhythm. But hey, send her to the next round anyway!

* 2SQUAR’D (pictured): Let’s get a genuine round of applause for the first act of The X Factor season to convince me that a “groups” category is worthwhile! Granted, these ladies desperately need some styling help (unless Vogue’s September issue suddenly endorsed puckered white lycra), but they somehow managed to create a winning world-beat rhythm without so much as a hint of a background track. Their harmonies were tight, and unless my Google search of their lyrics is lying, this may have actually been an original track. (Hmmm…maybe if the producers had given them more than 30 seconds of airtime, we could’ve had that burning question answered.) Here’s hoping more screentime is in the cards come Boot Camp time.

* Kendra Williams: Another blink-and-you-missed-her contestant, Kendra brought more depth and emotion to her snippet of “Almost Home” than Thia Megia, Karen Rodriguez, and Ashthon Jones did in their combined American Idol Season 10 oeuvre. This, of course, means X Factor will probably give her the “side of milk carton” treatment for the remainder of the season. (Insert sad trombone here.)

* Brendan O’Hara: Nicole Scherzinger has been about as exciting as an uncooked piece of penne in her role as X Factor judge, but I couldn’t blame the gal for asking “family or single?” from this tall, bearded crooner. “You could sell a ton of records,” noted Simon, but of course, he had the advantage of hearing more than a 15-second snippet of what, again, I believe may have been an original track. (p.s. If X Factor left you wanting for a little more of Brendan’s sound, he’s got music streaming on his Web site.)

* Jeremiah Pagan: This kid’s claim that he’s one of only seven male sopranos in the world is kind of like me saying I’m the only reality TV recapper on the internet. (Except for my claim is totally true, yo!). But questionable fact-checking aside, his rendition of Whitney Houseton’s “Try It on My Own” was lovely. Now why do I get the feeling that the Return of Simon will also mean the Return of the Sweeping Ballad Aesthetic? Speaking of which…

* Melanie Amaro: Hot damn! I know the show’s producers worked so hard to show us we were witnessing a miracle that they did everything short of having Melanie touch a wheelchair-bound grandmother and restore her power to walk, but hot damn, this totally unassuming 18-year-old can saaaaaaaaaaang. I loved how she matter-of-factly answered Simon’s “you any good?” query by responding, “I’ll let you determine that.” And it only took a few seconds of her cover of Beyonce’s “Listen” to know the answer. As the song increased in emotional intensity, Melanie’s voice grew as rapidly and magically as Jack’s beanstalk, and I understood why that dude in the audience was on his feet and testifying. Is Melanie’s style a little old-fashioned? Sure. Does she carry herself with the demeanor of an average girl sitting in the quad working on her chemistry homework? Absolutely. Am I dying to see what one of X Factor’s judges can do with all that raw talent? Holy smokes, that’s reason enough to ride this uncertain train all the way to Halloween.

* Dexter Haygood: Before we discuss the potential of the 49-year-old, erstwhile member of mid-80s pop act X-Avion, we’ve got to discuss THAT BASKETBALL. I’m not sure if you noticed it, sitting half-deflated, covered in dirt, and totally depressed in the background of Dexter’s interview package, but my word! As Aretha Franklin once sang, there just ain’t no way that thing was sitting around on a raised pedestal within sight of the X Factor cameras. Some savvy production assistant had to place it there, as a cosmic reminder of Just. How. Sad. Dexter’s life had become. DO NOT MISS YOUR EMOTIONAL CUES, AUDIENCE, OKAY?

Okay. Anyway, Dexter came into his audition in his tattered denim jacket and monster clogs ready to blow the judges away with his rendition of “Sex Machine,” but Simon & Co. dismissed it as nothing more than James Brown tribute-band material. But there was something about this guy — a note from a producer, perchance? — that prompted Simon to give him one more chance: “Fifteen seconds. A capella. You. Go,” said the cranky Brit, and just like that Dexter launched into…another James Brown cover? Okay, okay, I’m being more sarcastic than I really want to. Certainly Dexter delivered his ditty with all the pain and desperation of a guy who once got so close — opening for Hall & Oates back in ’84 — but never really touched the dream. Forty-nine, living out of his car trunk, having to belt his guts out for a Pussycat Doll young enough to be one of his children. It’s hard not to feel something for a guy like that, a guy who can sing just a snippet of an a capella number and make you feel it down to your knees. A guy who didn’t need the “inspirational” piano music to swell as the judges deliberated, or the shots of the audience on its feet, or that damned basketball. I did get a little misty when it was all said and done, and Dexter hugged host Steve Jones and wept. “I’ve been doing this all my life.” See you at boot camp, good sir!

* Caitlin Koch: And finally, there’s the matter of this 21-year-old rugby coach who sort of sauntered onto the stage all casual-like, answered a few questions about her rough-and-tumble sport, and then with just a hint of a knowing smile, informed the panel she was about to sing “‘Stop in the Name of Love’ — done a little differently.” Accompanied by a simple piano track that turned the Supremes’ classic into a haunting ballad from a woman asking her man for fidelity. As L.A. noted, we got to witness something “really, really special” from a woman who’s got a Norah Jones- or Toni Childs-like ability to be as powerful when she whispers as when she shouts.

And now, before I turn things over to you, a couple quick thoughts on a couple of unsuccessful auditions:

* I appreciated seeing the judges turn down Caitlynne Curtis, a vocalist who wasn’t a total train wreck, but clearly wasn’t ready for the big show. Sometimes it’s those on-the-fence scenarios — do we take a chance on a kid with a little potential, or send her back to the salt mines to work on her gift? — that create more interesting television than exercises in obviousness. I just wish someone had yelled “cut!” before Caitlynne dissolved into a tomato-red, weeping husk of a teenager, looking like she’d just been selected to compete in The Hunger Games.

* I don’t know who thought the whole “I see ghosts” montage was amusing, but their sense of humor was as badly out of tune as anything we saw during the two-hour telecast.

* If Nick Voss made the cut on the basis of “entertainment value,” who not that adorkable mountain of blonde hair Jonny Rogers? Sure, Simon was right that he came off like a Justin Bieber doll that came off a defective Chinese assembly line, but the backing track of his original song wasn’t actually terrible, and it might’ve been fun to see him have a choreography lesson with Paula, or maybe Robin Antin, no?

* That Curtis Lawson dude totally sounded like a didjeridoo. Maybe Crystal Bowersox can employ him on her next tour?

And as for “lippy, gobby” Xander Alexander, I turn the conversation over to you. With another week’s worth of auditions coming up, I can’t afford to deplete my arsenal of disdainful adjectives, and I suspect that scoring 10 minutes of solid airtime (even negative airtime) was already victory enough for the saucy, fame-seeker. Dontcha think?

What did you think of Episode 2 of X Factor? Better or worse than the series premiere? Are you flinching at the talent-to-trash ratio? And did the few good auditions at least get you excited enough to stick with the show next week? Sound off below, 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. Joanna says:

    “Kendra brought more depth and emotion to her snippet of “Almost Home” than Thia Megia, Karen Rodriguez, and Ashthon Jones did in their combined American Idol Season 10 oeuvre.”

    Please, Thia delivered a lot of emotional connection for “Daniel.”

    • Yah, sure she did. Wasn’t that the week she got sent home? Thia never should have made the Top 13, let alone making it over Kendra, but the “voters” often do stupid things.

      • Joanna says:

        Thia had a better and more interesting tone to her voice. And her performance in the semi-finals was one of the best of the night. It makes sense of why voters put her through.

    • Carolyn says:

      I beg to differ. Thia’s “connection” to Daniel was her brother leaving for college. For a song about the vietnam war and death and loss etc. I remember wanting someone to sing that song and while she sounded pretty she did not have an iota of emotional connection. That may be my opinion but I believe I am probably in the majority.

      • alexa says:

        @carolyn – word. how anyone could even remotely thing thia had an emotional connection to *any* song she sang is beyond me, and no amount of editing on the part of the idol producers could create that connection in her actual singing of ‘daniel’. sweet girl, but ultimately boring as he*l. now kendra, she was the one that made me sit up out of all those quick-snippet auditions of this episode; hope she goes far!

    • dane says:

      Kendra was okay.. I’m thinking she’ll get a lot better.

      Melanie Amaro was RIDICULOUS in all the right ways though. I think she was better than any contestant I’ve seen at this part of any competition since forever.

  2. ana says:

    Much like it’s sponsor (Pepsi), X Factor will be number 2.

    • Mic says:

      If even that.

    • (!) says:

      Come on now. I love Pepsi. Don’t make it sound like it’s rubbish or something.

    • VSH says:

      Yeah speaking of that “Pepsi” commercial did any of you notice of all the music stars snippets they shoved in Michael Jackson’s? Is that yet another example of how Michal’s family will sell Michael out for the all-mighty buck? As in I honestly do NOT think Michael would of let that go through if he were still alive, being the fact that is where he got the injury that “supposedly” started his long and grueling pill addiction that eventually led to his death! I understand upon his death his finances were a bloody mess but not enough for him to sell-out to “Pepsi-Cola” and the pain it caused him over his injury from that fire incident! Here it was only weeks ago in the news on how his brother Jermaine was blowing it that Gene Simmons was to perform at that event after calling his brother a child molester and denouncing him to only a few short weeks later this Pepsi commercial hits the tube showing Michael and a snip of that commercial that led to his eventful addiction and death, go figure. Such a shame and so sad of his family to even think everyone would forget this so they can gain yet another buck off his gift because their gift wasn’t as deep or prosperous! A complete in my opinion (once again!) of his family.

      • Geez Louise says:

        What the heck? I thought I was the crazy one here. What is this messed up rambling about jackson family? You MUST be european, only they absolve Michael of his facults and crimes so quickly and completely.

        Get back to hating Simon Cowell please.

    • dane says:

      I’m surprised that so many people didn’t like it? I found it WAY more entertaining then the last few seasons of AI. The reboot with JLo and Steven Tyler only worked until they decided to stop judging and just tell everyone they were great.

      I love the idea of the live audience. I like that they can work in groups. I like the idea of music being allowed with their singing. I love that there are 4 judges from the start. I think LA Reid has more credibility and relevance than Randy Jackson. I think Paula and Simon are an entertaining team. I’m still not sure about Nicole S.. but she does bring a younger perspective.

      I get that it’s kind of a ‘tired format’ .. but it’s a TALENT competition so there will always be similarities between it and The Voice or AI. It’s inevitable. And I LIKE when they bring out the folks who really aren’t very good and poke a little fun at them. And I think it’s funny when they show the folks who throw backstage drama fits.

      And Melanie Amaro? THAT girl is a find. She blew me AWAY.

      I’m looking forward to more.

      • Ron B. says:

        I agree with you completely. I think these people that are bashing Xfactor are just haters of Simon Cowell and think Randy Jackson is the greatest. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, XFactor will eventually force AI off the air, or, at the very least, force the AI producers to totally revamp their show with all new “judges” and a new voting and elimination system. What AI has now is a joke and will be their ruination.

        • brad mcilwain says:

          I agree completely. Randy Jackson and JLo have got to go. I firmly believe that they are two of the worst judges I have seen on any show. It was absolutely atrocious the way they treated Haley last year. The XFactor judges are far better.

    • JohnDoe says:


  3. Kim R says:

    Didjeridoo is exactly what I thought!!! So funny. Dylan Lawson totally shocked my husband & myself…we did NOT expect the devil to come out of this seemingly quiet person. Caitlin & Melanie were my favorites. I found them both special. Zander……’nuff said. :) I did want to add that Paula seems much more coherent this time around & I am enjoying Simon’s straight shooting. Idol ruined me for judges last season with their lack of anything constructive to say. I’m enjoying X so far! :)

  4. Matt Clark says:

    I loved seeing (what I knew was going to be a train wreck) the rise and fall of Xander Alexander. His blood type was clearly Massengill. You don’t insult popular, successful artists when you have never even sang in front of an audience. It’s people like this that make this part of reality-singing “competitions” painful. He’s there for his 15 minutes and he got them…but he also got a slice of “humble pie”, which I don’t believe he expected. Good for them for putting him in his place…I hope he’s back folding sweaters at Express today…

    • dane says:

      I kind of agree. He went there with an agenda. I don’t think he was a terrible or awful singer.. but I do think that he was obnoxious and unlikeable in the way he presented himself.

      And yet.. they weren’t MEAN to him. I was surprised and kind of gratified to see that they handled dismissing him without giving him more fodder to work with.

  5. DCwriter says:

    I am supremely disappointed and concerned that the second ep fell so far below the first. I expected more from Simon!

  6. LARRY says:

    Unfortunately not impressed after all the hype of the X factoe. I mean, the commercials are longer than the snippets of auditions, and simon has gone all goody goody now. I have to assume they are saving many of the auditions and not showing them until the semifinals. but overall really bad program so far

  7. Lily says:

    It seemed less serious than the first episode, which I liked. I honestly think this show is going to be something big, I’m sticking with it.

  8. darcy's evil twin says:

    So, L.A. Reid voted for Nick Voss based on “entertainment value”? That must be the same argument he used to make Rhianna a star. Good grief!

    I agree, Slezak – I thought the blond guy, Johnny Rogers, deserved another shot. I thought he could have been turned into something marketable. A little coaching, better music, and get rid of the Farrah “do”.

    Has Kendra Williams ever tried out for American Idol? It just seems as though I’ve seen her someplace before.

    I’m not saying anything everybody doesn’t know and hasn’t said already, but there is WAY too much crap on this show. I almost changed channels to watch the Republican debate (speaking of bad auditions….). Melanie Amaro started singing just as I was reaching for the remote.

  9. Rachel says:

    2 SQUAR’D – your internet search did not lie. Original song – Shine:


  10. Rachel says:

    Oh, ALSO, Caitlin Koch auditioned for Idol last year, and was seemingly disastrous. (The notes almost getting away from her, as Simon pointed out? Well, here they do. What a difference a year can make?)

    Hollywood group round – Caitlin’s on from 00:37. She argues better than she sings:

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      Thanks, Rachel – in my post I asked if Kendra Williams had auditioned for Idol but I intended to write Caitlin Koch. Sorry, these names run together at this point.

    • Tim says:

      Good find! I was really impressed with her last night, but wow that was hard to watch. Maybe she has trouble with uptempo songs. Or just had a bad day.

  11. John says:

    I sat there more stunned over the Nick Voss praise than pretty much anything I’ve ever seen on 10 years of Idol. The biggest crime of the night was the lack of time for Kendra Williams. AMAZING! And while she was overly hyped, at least Melanie Amaro delivered. I even got a little choked up.

  12. Ken says:

    In my opinion X Factor has failed completely to live up to its hype. The show is just so tacky. The sob stories are ridiculously overblown (Dexter Haygood is case and point) and the emotions are manufactured (L.A. Reid’s slo-mo chest pound after Chris Rene’s audition on the first episode is case and point). The trainwrecks haven’t even been entertaining, and their dominance in the airtime is appalling. I’m not surprised that the ratings are much lower than hoped, and I don’t think they’re going anywhere but down. The show, at least at 2 episodes in, is a massive disappointment.

    If someone were to ask me what made Idol so successful, I would say there a few complex factors. Primarily, it was first: it ushered in a new subgenre of reality television. But its longevity I credit to Kelly Clarkson, who remains a powerhouse sensation in the musical world, and this has allowed people to believe in the Idol process enough to keep staying invested in it. The stakes are known to be high because, Taylor Hicks aside, the winners have a track record of being very successful. So X Factor may have a rough first season, but I believe that if they are able to produce a $5 million star it can share the spotlight with Idol. I just don’t find it very likely, however, that this will actually occur.

    • wendeeloo says:

      Couldn’t say it better than you did. I’m not watching anymore because of the ridiculous over-the-top cheese that covers everything – You can tell the director must think “this is what really GETS to Americans”. Well, guess what? Not all of us. I just don’t understand why they obviously want the voters to vote for the saddest back story instead of the best singer. How does that get their label an artist that will last and endure?

    • James says:

      Oh yea, Lee Dewyze, Crystal Bowersox, Kris Allen, Ruben Studdard, Jordin Sparks and most recently, David Archuleta and David Cook are SO successful now. Yup! LOL I think you’re a bit delusional.

      Thanks for singling Taylor Hicks out, though, who is doing quite well – better than the list I just mentioned.

    • VSH says:

      I agree completely! X-Factor has in now way lived up to all the hype that has been gong on with it since Season 9 of Idol! I believe whole heartily Simon purposely botched Season 9 hoping it would leave a dark enough spot in its memory where he might possibly gain a foot up when his X-FACTOR would debut in the U.S. I am a Crystal Bowersox fan and when Simon suddenly changed his attitude from her to Lee was beyond me??? At that time I thought he might be trying to shift the jinx of Simon approval over to Lee so Crystal could then gain more in this manner I was completely wrong! To sway three quarters of the way through a season to a singer that couldn’t hold a note to a singer gifted as Crystal, who seems to be able to sing anything you can throw at her I still do NOT understand. And now two nights after watching Simon`s debut of X-FACTOR U.S.A. I now know where the sob back-stories come from and all those horrific auditions came from! Once Simon was gone the sob stories seemed to have disappeared as well as the auditions from hell! To televise someone’s horrible auditions on National television is just horrible, mean and demeaning for a few laughs (on the audition-er) to gain a few laughs and\or ratings is evil in my eye’s! As stated above in another feedback post of mine all for “the almighty buck”!

      Will I watch this show? Sure why not, nothing much else to do on those week nights it appears! I only watch a few television shows now as it is. The stage is sicker and cleaner than idol’s, looks as though more money was spent on the production of this show, that’s all good but I feel and believe this show is a direct rip-off of American Idol and nothing in comparison to the original. And honestly speaking the few good/great auditions I did see in this two night television premiere were indeed superb and I’ve never seen an Idol audition done as well. I like the fact the players/singers get a full three minutes to sing it rather than the mere 15 seconds Idol give, those two minutes and 45 seconds make all the difference in the world on someone who is gifted so you can get an actaul taste of what they were gifted and have perfected over the 15 second what you got Idol gives! I believe the show will last and grow from it’s first mistakes but I think Simon was wrong in thinking he could just steal the viewers away from Idol. I’ve only three years invested in Idol, I can only imagine those who have the full ten years of watching! Simon being honest in my opinion is a good thing, however when he gets downright hateful to some on his feedback is downright evil and Simon needs to be checked on this by his bosses! Shame someone’s ego is that big and hungry they have to tear down and beat the less fortunate than he for a mere laugh or “ego booster” as I call them in order to feed his own! This is an example of someone who actually is a very insecure person. And know this, Simon has already made and lost one fortune over his ego thinking he’s all that and then some, who is to say it cannot happen again? Something to think about! Americans can be fickle and also very forgiving, but less-forgiving that forgiving and they don’t forget! Simon may well be loved or watched due to his dry sense of being but we don’t forget either and the way he dumped American Idol for his own ego in thinking to amass further fortune in America when he is known to often put down certain American ways does not go forgotten! We may be a lot of things here in America but there things we are that Simon doesn’t realize or even begin to understand the meaning of or definition! Don’t get me wrong, I watch because he does appear to be more honest than others, but Paula is an actual compliment to Simon and is gifted as much as he as spotting raw talent. She may have failed on her dance show but the two of them paired together in a show such as this compliments them both in things that they are both gifted at, which is spotting some talent and in those three years of myself watching Idol, two of which Paula was present for it was Paula and not Simon who spotted certain talents that Simon did not! Another something for people to think about.

      Night two the 18 year old girl took all of the others by a long shot, so very gifted. The first night it was the guy who sang his own tune “Little Homey” who stole the show! But all in all X-FACTOR U.S.A. is a direct rip off of American Idol and I would tune into American Idol first over X-Factor any day of the way if they were pitted against one another and Idol does piss me off more than you all know!


  13. kendra chantelle says:

    Well, two episodes in and Sleazak has both predictably bashed Thia Megia (what’s his deal against female Asian Idols?) and unnecessarily name-dropped Allison Iraheta. I’ll give it another week and we’ll have Kendra Chantelle, Jesse Langseth thrown in.

  14. blingedup.susan says:

    I attended the Dallas auditions.

    First, although Dylan Lawson was terrible and weird, he didn’t throw out any cusswords. The bleeps were thrown in there to ratchet up the drama, I guess. There was really nothing to bleep. I guess kind of like how we were led to believe that the guy who dropped his drawers on the first night was really wearing a thong, although we were led to believe he was naked.

    Also, if you think they gave a lot of time to Xander Alexander on the air, you should have seen it live! He went on and on and on fighting with the judges. I was dumbfounded as to why they gave him so much time! His behavior was awful; very, very rude and arrogant.

    My favorites of the auditions were female sisters who write commercial jingles and a good-looking rodeo cowboy (that’s what he claimed, anyway.) I wish they had been shown instead of some of the others. I think they’ll show up though. I am betting they’ll be “ones to watch.” I don’t know why they’re holding back the talented ones.

    Michael, don’t give up on this show! It’s not perfect, but it’s going to be entertaining. I just KNOW it! Another (unnamed) recap site has turned into an almost rabid bitchfest, and it’s not even fun to read about X-Factor over there. Don’t give up!

  15. Katie says:

    As much hype as Nick Voss got before the requisite commercial break, I was expecting the second coming. He was OK but exaggerate much? I’m done with this piece of crap show.

  16. NJinHB says:

    I love American Idol so I was willing to watch the first episode of X Factor. Thought it was horrible! Which left me with no desire whatsoever to see the second episode or any future ones either! Bleh.

  17. Wes says:

    What a disappointment overall!

    Didn’t Simon or someone doing the editing for the show have the decency and integrity to edit the guy dropping his pants?

    The first time he dropped his pants Simon should have called a halt
    to the guy and had security haul his butt out of the building.

    But then to not remove that segment was crass to say the least!

    Not sure we’re going to continue watching anyway since they seem to
    insist on showing a bunch of people that couldn’t carry a tune if their life depended on it!

  18. Kate says:

    Did anybody else notice that the guy who said he was homeless had a cell phone?

    • J says:

      ^^ haha..was thinking the same thing….I like the show alot but there is a lot fine tuning it needs…as for any new show tho, they is a learning curve..Some of the auditions that are bad and people jus want to be “Famous” for 3 minutes…they need to cut them off more..its not funny, just uncomfortable mostly

    • asdasd says:

      It was actually a Tracfone. I used to have one when I was nearly homeless myself. People would be surprised at the things you can still have while being homeless – it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re bare foot eating bread crumbs all day. What confused me more was the porch he was sitting on

    • Think about it says:

      If you are homeless the only type of phone you can have is a cellphone. You cant run a landline to an underpass or the back seat of your car. Also, if you are working to not be homeless, you must have a phone number where you can be reached for job interviews, work hours and the like, and aside from shared phone line at a shelter, a cellphone is the only way to do this. Unharden your heart a little Kate, you sound very unsympathetic to a very difficult living situation, deserved or not.

      • VSH says:

        I completely agree with you! That feedback probably came from someone who is currently making 60K or better a year and has no clue about being homeless and how important owning a phone number is!

        • Yo says:

          Or, it could have been an older person, who still considers a phone is a luxury. I’m glad some of you pointed out that cell phones, as expensive as they are, still cost less than rent.

  19. notmzbehavin says:

    I was really disappointed over Thursday’s show, not least because of the negative vibe that wafted over the entire segment.

    I mean, closing with Xander? Whoever thought THAT was a good decision? Whoever should be taken behind the barn!

    I thought Nick Voss wasn’t all that entertaining either, but we DO need cannon fodder for boot camp.

    • Not buying you reasoning says:

      I disagree that there needs to be cannon fodder. Imagine a show that auditioned thousands of people and only spent time getting the best possible singers from the crowd and helping them make the most of an opprotunity. I know, I know, it sounds crazy, but it just might work. We could call it Best of Singers or America’s Next Top Vocalist. Why present and pass on low standard people just because you are easily entertained with the cheapest sort of drama? Raise your standards just a little and you may get a better result.

      • VSH says:

        You could not of said it any better. To think of the crap these shows put through for a few entertaining laughs or whatever reason they do it than to stack it with people who are gifted enough to stand a chance is beyond me! Course though think of it like this, if they throw in half crap their favorite is going to rise all the faster, another way you can think of it as fixed!

      • Yo says:

        I would watch a show that spent the entire show focusing on the development of a young singer; vocals, song choice, stage presence, persona, a final concert, etc. I think it would be fascinating and I think it would be easy to do. Some of the singers dismissed as bad are probably quite good; they just don’t have the time or confidence to prove themselves. The cannon fodder is a waste of time and very hurtful to some contestants: most of us would be cannon fodder, perhaps that is why it is entertaining.

      • Alienate says:

        We already have a show like that: It’s called : THE VOICE :)

        And I can’t wait 4 season 2 of it.

  20. Aiden says:

    Night 2 of The X-Factor, much like night 1, was extremely underwhelming. I’ll still give the show one more chance, though.

    P.S. Michael, I love The Hunger Games reference.

  21. Chris says:

    I thought the show was close to being awful. The thing that made the first episodes of The Voice so great was that the talent was all good. Even Idol isn’t giving us 40 minutes of bad singing and to end two hours with a jerk like Xander was criminal. I may just tune out until the auditions are over and then see if the show is any good. It may just be that Simon had to wait too long to being X Factor to America–it’s not offering anything we haven’t seen before. The only thing it has going for it is Simon and for me his performance on the last two years of Idol wiped out my respect for his opinion. I’ve also come to realize his taste in music is not mine and it also doesn’t seem to be very broad.

  22. Jeff says:

    I’ve given up on American talent shows. The public can’t be trusted. That’s why we end up with creepy no-talent hicks like Scotty McCreery.

    • violet says:

      such “creeps” win because the public you speak of primarily consists of tween and teenage girls with a crush and no, cannnot be trusted. i actually thought we wasn’t that bad, the guy is marketable. isn’t that what they want – to make money? true artists stay indie and penniless.

  23. lauren says:

    The show incorporates all the worst features of Idol and makes them even cheesier. I watched 1/2 hour the first night and switched off. I was working on computer last night with tv on in the background. Caught glimpses. Couldn’t believe that almost the first hour was spent on auditions going nowhere. But I have to say I loved, loved, loved Melanie Amaro. She was absolutely wonderful. I didn’t think I’d see anyone better after that so I switched the channel. I’ll tune in from time to time after the auditions are over to catch Melanie. Other than that, they could have had a hit but it will take some major changes. Also, I really liked the little bit I saw of Cheryl Cole. Can’t stand that Nicole whatever. She’s annoying. It’s funny that with all the millions spent on this show I don’t think they’ve ever read an American Idol recap with comments. The things people most seem to hate are wasting so much time on bad auditions and the sob stories. XFactor increased both. Time for a new focus group.

  24. Julia says:

    Oh get over your bitterness, Scotty is going to be laughing his way to the bank!

    • Tusk says:

      Unapoletic Halien here, and agree with you. Having watched many tour videos I will not say Scotty is not talented. I don’t even care for his genre of music but I would never say he was untalented. He is the biggest draw on the tour, entertains the audience, is genial and respectful. His growing comfort on the stage with the audience is a credit to him.

      I have come to terms that my dislike for Scotty during the show, aside from his genre, mainly came from the uber pimping he received from the AI judges. He got rid of the oogly eyes, the side mic and for the most part the spastic stage movements. He is succeeding in sales and is slowly gaining the respect of his genre.

      My heart still belongs to Haley, and I will probably not buy Scotty’s music, but can acknowledge that he has been a fine representative for Idol as the season 10 winner.

  25. Michaela says:

    I’m just like you, Slezak, in that I’m really only watching in hopes I’ll find someone I love. But honestly, the judges are annoying me so much I might actually start missing Steven Tyler and J.Lo. Their responses seem so overdramatic.

    Well, the entire show is way too overdramatic. I feel like in trying to make it seem real with the backstories, they make it that way. The fact that the first audition is in the huge theater also contributes to that feeling of inauthenticity.

    Also, a note on Melanie Amaro. No denying her vocal abilities, of course. But I actually had stepped away from the TV for a couple minutes when her audition came on, and when I heard her I thought it was Beyonce’s recording of “Listen”. That’s how carbon-copy everything she did was. Obviously she has crazy vocal talent, but I’m hoping for a little more originality next time through.

  26. Ron B. says:

    Although I am not happy with the excessive air time of the ridiculous acts, like the guy that dropped his pants and made Paula sick, and the kid from Kentucky that went nuts on stage, and way too many others that were awarded their 5 or more minutes of fame, I’m am extremely happy with the overall product. I just wish they had shown more of the really good performers.

    But, you have to realize, Idol did/does the same thing with their audition segments. They show too many bad acts and not enough of the really good performers that they put through. It’s just, with the larger stage, and the live audience, the craziness and nut-jobs are more extreme. You would have never seen a guy drop his pants and expose himself in a small room with only the judges in front of them. I especially didn’t like the fact that they actually put him on the air, or why they didn’t have security drag him off the stage immediately. He should have been arrested.

    That said, I think Xfactor will run Idol off the air. I love the live-audience-with-music auditions, and the “boot camps” concept. The fact that each judge will take a group of performers and mentor each one to hone their talent and perfect their performance, will make the second stage of the competition more interesting and hopefully more entertaining. I also like the “judges” much, much better than those three on Idol. They ruined this past Idol season for me, and I doubt they will get any better.

    I also think the best acts will go the the XFactor, and Idol will get the Factors rejects and leftovers. For two reasons, the money (5-1) and the live-audience auditions and boot-camp concept. Maybe that’s three reasons. Also, the “judges” are more professional, and the critiques will be more honest and helpful to the contestants. So, now, I guess, that’s five reasons.

    I just hope, if it’s not too late, the producers and editors will make corrections to their on-air product to address the major criticisms of what has been presented so far. But, overall, I love the show and look forward to see what they present to us next week and throughout the season.

    • Greta says:

      I doubt there is any correlation with more talented people trying out for X-Factor and the $5 million. And obviously the casual audience loved the idol judges, that is part of the reason why the ratings went UP. Steven is a legend who people love and JLo has a lot of fans.

    • asdasd says:

      To be completely honest, I absolutely hate the way auditions are done on the X Factor. It’s purely for “drama” and “look at what the audience is doing!” – sometimes the music track is nice during the audition, in ways it’s more realistic for a lot of people, but many more people can hide behind it while A Capella is much more different to do that with. The constant “atmosphere” music is irritating too.

  27. LindaM says:

    I watched Big Bang Theory and Project Runway last night — so glad I didn’t bother watching X-Factor. After all the hype it seems like Simon Cowell’s baby has missed the mark so far. It will be interesting to see whether the show improves after the audition rounds are over.

  28. Amy says:

    I gave it barely one night…tuned out 1/2 way through night one…was painfully bad to watch.
    I was surprised, yet not shocked at how bad it was and that Simon & Co. not only didn’t bring anything new to the table, but also merely accentuated only the “bad stuff” from Idol.

    I, I suspect like many an Idoloonie, had high hopes this would somehow be like Idol, on steroids…in an awesome, new, creative and refreshing way. It actually turns out it is like an exaggerated Idol, but only the criticized aspects. The fake, staged drama, poorly acted out by the judges; bad direction highlighting all kinds of hokey schlock…it actually overshadowed the talent, which from what little I watched there were a few with maybe some potential.
    Whereas Idol still has enough of a mix of highlighting the talent, and at least some seemingly organic moments to balance out the “mechanics” behind it, and is FUN…so it all just becomes the mix of stuff we’ve “loved to hate” and just plain loved!
    But X-Factor was like Idol-jumped the shark.. over the top cliche’, phony, fake…stunningly bad. Especially coming from the guy we expected to know better.
    Which brings me to my own pondering of “Simon wtf??”…can it be his Brit analysis of the “American Audience” is that the worst of the Idol machine’s cliched aspects is the actual stuff that the “American audience” loves he overhyped ALL of it?
    I found it insulting that they think anyone was buying what they were selling.

    I thought I’d tune in just once more last night out of sheer perversity…like watching the proverbial train wreck..NAH! I tuned in elsewhere, but did peek twice during commercials just enough to see that young female singer hit it out of the park. Still no one, not even her, could hook me. I can’t stand watching….especially since the 2nd time I peeked I caught the “Paula moment” of comforting the crying 16 y.o. That bit of sickeningly fake t.v. was superceded only by the ridiculous wretching over the “Flasher guy” the night before.

    So, for me, come January, I’ll tune back into the show “I love to hate” and sometimes just plain love…and only give up 1/2 my year and the darkest winter months to that obsession.

    • VSH says:

      Thank you!

      Your post here seems to go along with my reply on someone else’s post near the top! At least I now know someone agree’s with me on a few things concerning this show and the way Simon must perceive the way American’s think, which is puzzling as he is British! He needs to wake up and smell the coffee, perhaps then he will begin to see people are now looking at him as the joke!

  29. Amy says:

    oh yea…”Melanie” was the one who’s name I couldn’t recall, who I said above “hit it outta the park.” Yea, she was amazing. But I can’t watch the show. Might ck in just to see how she makes out over time, but won’t be watching overall. I can catch her performances on YouTube. Though…there IS an aspect of “engagement” that attaches you to a singer only by watching…otherwise…great as she was…I may not even care enough to Youtube. Best of luck to her.

    • Botox says:

      Quite frankly I found even her boring. I don’t understand what’s so incredible about her. There was nothing to interest me, it just sounded like another Little Beyonce et al. I’m so incredibly tired of it, but perhaps that means I’m just done with these shows in general – but I still have hope for more singers who are different somehow!

      • Amy says:

        I hear that too. I just meant she seemed to “have the goods”…but I wouldn’t say she captured me the way a few Idols did…Idols whose music I still buy, and careers I stuck with. Just that she could sing and seemed already professional. But I agree…she wasn’t something “different.” Actually, in that category, I’d put the hip-hop, “newly sober” clean and sober guy from the night before. I actually liked his song and I HATE that kind of music. So, that told me his take was somewhat refreshing…and I couldn’t put my finger on why..that’s usually the “X factor.”
        …still hated the show, though.

        • Botox says:

          I have to agree with you there too. I hate that area in music in most cases, and I actually liked his audition. The words were a little wonky, but the emotion seemed pretty genuine. When he said it’s only been 70 days though, I was pretty shocked.

          I wish the show didn’t suck! It just takes all the parts that make Idol irritating to watch and multiplies it to the point it feels like a parody. I don’t know if you saw it, but the horribly written “ghosts and demons” montage just finished the auditions for me, lol. (the lights turn down) WE DON’T KNOW WHAT’S HAPPENING OH NO

        • Yo says:

          I thought that little girl was sensational; she sang beautifully. She felt it, she carried us with her as she explored the song. I hope she does well and I am rooting for her, but I sure hope she doesn’t get stuck with a dumb ditty during rock week. Sadly, I saw that in her future. I can’t bear to watch.

  30. Christina says:

    I think I’m just going to watch the auditions on the youtube channel cause these overstuffed auditions are painful.

  31. Leigha says:

    I like Coke better than Pepsi.

  32. jado says:

    I tried to watch the X Factor last night, but couldn’t last beyond 20 minutes. It was overwrought treackle. My 12 year old daughter couldn’t event take it, claiming it was way too corny.

  33. lucy95 says:

    Hard to watch, but find Idol auditions impossible to watch as well. I’ll wait till next round to critique. Bottom line is I love Simon Cowell and hope this show does well. So sick of the Idol machine, not to mention the worthless judges. I for one would like to see this show do well and I think they will. Having said that, no more reality talent shows please! So few of these people are remembered a month after the winner is announced.

  34. John says:

    …fortunately, I was able to view and enjoy, THE MIDDLE for hour one on day one, and BIG BANG for that same hour on day two…only switching to X for the second hour on day one and some of the second hour (until I could no longer stand it) on day two. From what I viewed, X was an overly-produced,simplistic razzle/dazzle with no substance. I saw minimal…and I do mean minmal…talent…so-called judging (Nichole is a waste of space, and the drama of Paula/Simon is well past its shelf life.) From a man touted as a genius (at least in his own mind)….Mr. Cowell has given birth to a DUD!!!

  35. Dialling for Dollars says:

    I hope everyone else has noticed that there are no quickly written generic praise comments in the Episode 2 recap comments like the sort that made up half of the Episode 1 recap. Its the same on EW’s site as well. Did FOX already abandon their paid forum posting effort so quickly? All the positive comments in this thread are cautious and more balanced in their scant praise. I hate to be so emotionally invested in this show but i’ll be gleeful when they try to right the tacky red-and-glitter coloured failship when the show goes live. Anyone betting on the return of Cheryl Cole? Could they bring in a few ringers from outside the audition process? Will the judges chair’s do a dramatic 360 degree (because more is always better) spin when they give a yes or no vote? Will non-Secrest be replaced with Marc-Paul Gosselar?

    • Botox says:

      I don’t have enough faith in them to make any progressive changes like some of what you mentioned, however I feel we will see a new “amazing” line of jewelry for the contestants courtesy Paula Abdul.

  36. Trina says:

    I love the bad auditions! There haven’t been enough of them yet. I’m glad we got to see the doofus who sold his truck instead of more of that dull girl band.

    • Wrong channel sweetie says:

      You’ve already had 3 hours and 40 minutes of bad auditions! When will there be enough for you? You are tuned into the wrong show! Three channels down is America’s Next Worst Audition. They made it just for you, its three hours a night of singers walking onto a stage and then they fall on their backside and a slidewhistle sounds! Sometimes they mix it up and the singer’s mic stand collapses and the prodcers play the sad trombone note. Its just the show you’ve been waiting for! SIX HOURS A WEEK OF BAD AUDITIONS! YIPEE!!

  37. JohnDoe says:

    How hypocritical. So The X Factor gets criticized for doing the same things that American Idol has done for years? American Idol has even more bad auditions that X Factor…

    Another thing X Factor has going for it: It’s judges actually seem competent.

  38. melanie james says:

    Yes that was the week she got sent home because two had to go after Casey was saved. I believe Naima was the lowest vote getter that week. I thought Thia was OK. Lovely voice, a little raw. I was never bothered by her “lack of emotional connection” because what can you expect from a 16 year old? Same way I wasn’t by Lauren or Scotty’s connection or lack thereof to any of their songs. As for not deserving to be in the top 13, I thought that was Ashthon. She was my favorite during Hollywood but seriously tanked in the voting rounds. Kendra Chantelle, I try to remember her but can’t. But I’ll never forget her since Michael finds a way to mention her every recap.

  39. Yo says:

    I think X Factor would have been perfectly acceptable if the show were the first of its genre to arrive. As the fourth or fifth of the genre, X Factor needed to improve deficiencies and change up the
    process – a lot. It didn’t; instead it relied on personalities, particularly Simon Cowell’s and Paula Abdul’s, to draw an audience. And, true to Cowell’s big personality, he made everything about the show bigger – bigger audience, bigger stage, bigger crowds, etc. No one cares any more, about either the judges or size; we are all jaded. I suspect this show would do better if it had changed its direction so entirely it could not be confused with Idol: if, perhaps, it became more intimate and supportive than that show – and all of the rest of them. If it were more coffeehouse than stadium.

    We know all the tricks; we scrutinize edits. Small (or large)sins are revealed (Xing profanity that has not occurred). And we have been burned. Perhaps the best change X Factor could have made was to improve the integrity of the contest. We actually do care about that.

  40. David says:

    1) The judging is miles better than this past season of Amer. Idol. Even Paula has gotten better. Nicole is the only weak link.
    2) The first night showed a better balance because that is probably how the auditions went in those cities. Dallas and Miami might’ve had a few more good auditions, but it’s possible that they were perceived just as they were presented.
    3) I’ve never found the first round to be any where near as good as later rounds. I suggest that people hold off on declaring this show dead.

  41. Febrian says:

    2SQUAR’D’s song was original. I was at those auditions. And even better: they each had a solo in the song each in a different language! And on Nick Voss, they seemed to have edited out his horrible original audition song and his pretentious, conceited attitude and edited in this sad backstory because none of that was seen at the original auditions in Miami.

  42. Gale says:

    I found X Factor to be a joyless, tedious affair. Simon and Paula used to have personalities and an appealing sense of humor. Now Simon just seems dour and pompous, and Paula, in self-consciously trying to repress the crazy, reminded me of an animatronic manikin. Most of the contestants fell somewhere in the fair-to-midland category, but the arena-sized audience either goes nuts, like the contestant is the second coming of Elvis, or boos, so there is not an accurate representation of the contestants’ true appeal. The nadir was when the producers decided to keep the nudist on for as long as they did. A blatant, shameless attempt at “entertainment”. I won’t be watching.

  43. Mara says:

    What about Rachel Crow? The charismatic 13 year old had me at ‘hi’….. out of all the auditions, she was the most original, effortless and just… raw
    This girl is destined for stardom, no doubt about it.
    Another force to recon is Jeremiah Pagan. That kid has one of the most beautiful voices I have ever heard of an man/boy. Soprano or not, I would not mind paying to see him in concert.