The X Factor Night 3: Who Was the Best Act?

Boy bands, feminism, and Simon Cowell’s judgment all took sizable hits during Wednesday night’s installment of The X Factor — featuring auditions from Chicago and Seattle. But amidst the bad Boyz II Men impersonations, the heavy-handed edits making it look as though the show’s female judges were threatened by attractive lady auditioners, and moments where Mr. Nasty himself voted “yes” for artists with questionable credentials, we saw a handful of potentially stupendous singers. I teared up a little watching the burrito slinger’s mom (pictured) boil over with joy, found myself pleasantly surprised by the 14-year-old Bieber aficionado, and really, really hope we get another dose of the 53-year-old grandmother who sung what she brung on “You’ve Got a Friend.”

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 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. Mike says:

    Best Act? Cheryl Cole.

    • maggie says:

      They made a huge mistake in getting rid of Cheryl. She was the only likable judge.

    • (!) says:

      To be quite honest, she really didn’t impress me at all in this episode. I can’t remember her saying much anything interesting. That’s not to say she wasn’t much better than Nicole Whatsherface in her other episode.

    • Miranda says:

      Did Cheryl even say anything on tonight’s show? Barely a couple words. :/

      • (!) says:

        Exactly =/ I think she said a few lines, but nothing even that great.. so I don’t really understand the first comment. With that said she’s very likeable, more so than the other one. She was probably so bland due to a poor edit to make her less likeable or something :p

        • Britt says:

          I was at one of the Chicago auditions and it was definitely a poor edit on Cheryl’s behalf. She doesn’t speak as much as Simon or Paula, but she had some really funny exchanges with the contestants. I was hoping that the good acts we saw would make it on, but they were no where to be found.

          I’m sure they just didn’t want everyone to be attached to Cheryl and also didn’t want to deal with the hate comments for taking Nicole, who at that point was still a cohost. Nicole was just as obnoxious as a host and the audience reaction to her wasn’t good. I’m not sure why they thought she would be a good replacement.

      • Christina says:

        They edited down Cheryl to have the least amount of impact so could have. That’s why there’s hardly a peep out of her.

  2. Danielle Notaro says:

    The girl who sang Beiber improved that song by 50! I loved Josh

  3. Kate says:

    I was more than a little shocked that Nicole could actually sing that well when she busted out her “Whitney audition”. And I completely agree about Tiah Tolliver – she jumped keys gratingly. Didn’t get what Simon saw in her but she won’t last so no biggie

    • maggie says:

      I wonder if they dubbed over Nicole later because I’ve never heard her sing that good.

      • darcy's evil twin says:

        Made me laugh! :-)

        I was cooking dinner and wondered, “Where the heck did THAT come from?” when Nicole started singing!

      • ciney says:

        I thought the same thing. Imagine if Paula would sing live too? (Interesting that in the opening last week they called Paula a performer – not a singer)

    • Ben says:

      Interestingly, the guys in our household all thought Tiah had huge potential, while the girls didn’t like her. Just as on the show. I think you need to take into account that it’s not like Idol (where you are in a quiet room all by yourself to audition) – there is an audience. Coming in with no backing track at all and probably unable to hear herself that well, it’s not really a surprise she jumped keys. Be in the pro music scene for a while, and you will see that even the best musicians will jump around when they can’t really hear themselves properly.

      I think there is every chance Tiah might blow us away when she gets music behind her. What a terrible choice to show up without.

  4. Leon says:

    X Factor was SOOOOO different tonight! They focused SOOO MUCH ON TALENT! Compared to last week it was a more serious tone and they really showed the talent level that the show has to offer!

  5. Tess says:

    Well, much like with the UK version, Simon has to get at least a couple of joke acts in there. And guaranteed some of these people that have marginal talent at best and make you question the judging abilities of Simon and Co. will make the live shows. Usually on the UK version it’s the Over’s category that suffers the most. I think Simon thinks they are at least entertaining (sometimes that is true in a trainwreck sort of way). Idol sends through some questionable people every season too; it is most likely to pad the numbers that make it to the next round so the number of cuts looks more stunning and it makes some of the early cuts easier to decide as well.I just wish they would feature more of the real talented people than the joke acts – feels like a waste to have 2 hours go by and only get 8 acts out of it that made the next round.

    • Jules says:

      Not to mention, by passing through some mediocre acts, it gives voters a few to easily pick off, while producer favorites have a few weeks to build a fan base.. I think this is the formula for American Idol. If all final acts were good, they would risk their “chosen ones” going home too early.

    • bob socks says:

      Luckily the current UK version with Gary et al, is much better than previous years with Simon.

      • tamara says:

        I soooo agree!!
        People need to start watching the UK version to see how it’s done.
        The 3 new judges together have made the show the best it’s ever been, seriously.
        Gary Barlow, Tulisa and Kelly Rowland are magnificent.
        People should start watching the UK XFactor now, starting from the auditions.
        And if they have time, watch TheXtraFactor too, with Olly and Caroline, which is a behind the scenes looks at the show, with more auditions and interviews&fun stuff.
        I can’t get enough of the UK show, really.

        SLEZAK, I challenge you to watch 8×01 of XFactorUK and tell me you don’t like it. I guarantee you’ll be hooked&will have to keep watching.
        Plus the talent there is outstanding. Don’t know how they’re gonna choose 4 from each category, specially from the boys and the girls.

        I’m really hooked on the UK show. I quit the USA show after 2 eps.

  6. Simon says:

    I agree exactly with the first two comments – Also I continue to dislike Nicole, wow was she awful!

  7. Mike says:

    Josh reminded me an awful lot of what Casey Abrams could’ve been had he stayed in his lane and not become “creepy”.

    • notmzbehavin says:

      I think that Casey was simply too young. Josh is over a decade older, and it shows in his confidence and voice.

      Give Casey 11 years and he’ll be just fine.

      Love Joe Cocker, and I’m loving Josh.

  8. darcy's evil twin says:

    Clearly I’m in the minority but I really enjoyed Makena and Brock!

    • DL says:

      I thought they were decent. What I didn’t get was the extra helping of praise for Makena when I thought Brock clearly had the (vastly) superior voice.

      • (!) says:

        I’ve got to agree with you. It was also really hard to swallow the whole “secret love” story, it made me want to gag, lol.

  9. SC says:

    I can’t believe how awful this show is. I’m moving on.

    • tamara says:

      Watch this season of the UK show, seriously. You’ll love it. I wish they’d air it in the US so that you guys could see how awesome it is this season.
      You’ll fall in love with the 3 new judges.
      I hope Simon stays in the US show forever, cause I love Gary Barlow, Tulisa&Kelly Rowland. They’re making the show the best it’s ever been. Lots of laughs, tears and talent.
      XFactorUK FTW!!

  10. Sue says:

    I was so not impressed with this show last Wednesday, that I forgot to set the tivo for it on Thursday and I forgot entirely today.

  11. Julie says:

    I see Paula hasn’t changed-she along with Nicole are jealous of the pretty twenty-something girls.

  12. Rich says:

    What is it with fat mothers and fat daughters teaming up to display their lack of talent to the world? (This isn’t an anti-fat post — I’m fat myself.) I don’t think we’ve seen an untalented skinny mother/daughter act. Or a talented mother/daughter act at all.

  13. Mike S. says:

    The guy who sang ‘Creep’ by Radiohead isn’t even on the poll? Seriously?

    • Ben says:


      Yes he didn’t have the best voice, and I’m still not 100% he was intending to be funny, but boy was he funny. It reminded me of Norman Gentle, but in a good way and with a better voice. He would be my decond favourite of the night after Josh Krajcik. Not sure why you left him off Slezak, I just have to assume he wasn’t your cup of tea, but maybe just because you didn’t get it?

      The overall impression I got was that he totally knew what he was doing too, can’t wait to find out for sure.

    • RLH says:

      YES! I agree with you? How come J. Marc Inman isn’t on the list Slezak? He fascinated me. Not sure why, but he did. :) That said, Josh K. was awesome and I really like his sound. Good stuff! And I think it was a poor decision to let Cheryl Cole go. Nicole is obnoxious.
      Y’all have a good one!

  14. Jt says:

    THis show seems so boring – I do think Cheryl is better than Nicole – I just don’t care for her at all – and can’t fathom why they thought Cheryl wasn’t working. She’s been charming and I could easily understand her. The rest of the show is a mess. I t just seems like a marriage of Americas Got Talent and Idol. I don’t see anything different except older contestants and we’ll have a bigger set with backup dancers and bigger production numbers in the end. I don’t see a $5 million act. (and interesting to note in the UK, the older or groups never seem to win – i think a 30 y.o won once and thats it – and the groups often are manufactured by the judges combining rejects and creating a boy and girl band) Wouldn’t be surprised if that happens again in the US version. If they want to give older folks a chance (that can’t compete on Idol) why only give them 3 spots in the live shows vs 6 for people under 30. Also maybe there should be a separate category for kid contestants- we’ve already seen what ould be finalists in kids – and is it really fair to put 12-15 year olds in the same category as 25-30 year olds? The whole thing just seems like a mess. I also haven’t seen anything likable about Steve Jones or his role – except that he’s cute and has nice topless (and a bottomless) photo on the web

  15. Jason says:

    I’ve been waiting for this Chicago episode. I was at the show with “Creep” guy and the “Burrito Slinger”. “Burrito Slinger” was great, but there was an 18-20yr old girl that ended the night that BLEW AWAY the competition & Simon said had a good chance of winning it all. I am in shock they didn’t even show her for a sec. At least they spent 10 minutes on a failing mother/daughter duo. Also, “Creep” guy was actually really good and he nailed the high notes(of which they didn’t show). Based on what they showed I would have thought the judges were nuts for taking him. But he was the highlight for that evening of entertainment.

    • Jaded says:

      Thanks for posting this! I was honestly wondering if the judges were off their rockers for putting the “Creep” guy though. He was entertaining, but I thought he sounded kind of hideous!

  16. What a mess says:

    And the decline continues! The show still spends too long on crap contestants, filler segments & establishing shots. Did anyone else see the BLATANT redone pickup shots of our host Steve Jones where they had to get him face time on camera all alone because he is so awkward around the contestants? The producers know they have a moist dud on their hands but it dosent seem the are allowed to fix it. What a terrible show, given that it could have easily been fantastic if it werent for clumsy hands in the casting & editing departments. I am sure the ratings will reflect peopels disatisfaction and the absence of any buzz about this show.

  17. Carissa says:

    The editing of this show is awful. After the first half hour, where they kept switching between Cheryl & Nicole, an audition would start with Cheryl & finish with Nicole commenting. Are we just supposed to ignore that? Why didn’t they just air the 4 audition rounds Cheryl was there for first?

    The burrito slinger & Justina Bieber were nice surprises in this 2 hour nightmare. Radiohead guy was not the best singer, but definitely had me entertained. Anyone else catch Cheryl give him the “live long & prosper” V? Haha!

    • Megan says:

      Ha! I didn’t even notice that they were switching back and forth between judges last night! I’ll have to pay more attention tonight.

      Josh’s singing gave me goosebumps! At Last was my wedding song, it’s such a difficult song to sing.

  18. AndyLuvr says:

    Nicole is actually a competent singer but her association with the Pussycat Dolls has thrown her real vocal abilities into question because of the types of songs that have been associated with Nicole.

    Tiah should not have gone through. Ditto on Phillip.

    Best audition? Nicole!

    • AndyLuvr says:

      For instance, Nicole Scherzinger did “Rent” last year at the Hollywood Bowl (directed by Neil Patrick Harris) and she sounds just as good if not better than the original Maureen (Idina Menzel, who plays Shelby on “Glee”). She’s the real deal.

      • DL says:

        Here’s a better quality version of the vid:

        She’s freakin’ amazing. I saw Rent on Broadway a bunch of times (though never with Menzel), and she’s certainly better than the actresses I saw, who were perfectly good in their own right.

  19. Princess Adora says:

    I think you should change it to “who was your favorite”, because I think that’s how everyone voted…including myself :)

  20. Mel says:

    That was NOT feminism. That was editing to make Paula and Nicole look like jealous beyotches. It was, frankly, super offensive. I thought most of those girls in the clips were terrible and they had every right to say no. It’s really ot helping their case to find a female winner, though.

  21. Ken says:

    Is it wrong of me that I thought J Mark Inman had the best audition? I thought it was inexplicably amazing.

  22. JohnDoe says:

    Well, considering American Idol voted the worst singer of all time as the winner, everyone on this list sounds amazing in comparison.

  23. seth says:

    I disagree with one statement and it’s annoying. Don’t say “bad boyz II men impersonations” 4shore did great. Who the hell said they were impersonating anybody??? So they’re black and 4 guys… Who cares. They auditioned with a great song that had great performance qualities. If they are impersonating well so is everyone else who do different covers. In the end its a competition… Song choice is vital for first and last impression.

  24. Ben says:

    I disagree. I love Gary Barlow and think Kelly is way better than Nicole but as judges they are not as interesting as la Reid and Simon. in the whole audition process they didn’t disagree or discuss at all, only when Louie would put.almond terrible through. with the us version they actually give a good critique with varied opinions not just cheesy sound bites. plus I think the talent is no better than the us x factor. in fact there’s a lot of acts I.e Frankie who have mediocre voices who I don’t think would have gotten through on idol or the us x factor. the UK version seem to prefer quirky unique voices over actually incredible singers. granted a great singer with a unique voice would be ideal!

  25. scottm_dj says:

    About Cheryl: What is it with the US aversion to Girls Aloud? It seems every link to that group is ignored over her–I guess they are just too ‘Pop’ for our horrible rapcrap obsesses music taste. Do people realize they are the most successful girl group of ALL TIME with something like 20 top hits? Pick up the amazing Blu-Ray of their 2010 concert at the O2 to see what I mean. Oh yeah, you have to import it and have a decent Blu-Ray player to play it (no PS3) due to the video spec–just another nail in their coffin…