The X Factor Recap: Ranking the Top 32!

This just in: At 23 years of age, Whitney Houston’s mawkish 1988 ballad “One Moment in Time” has apparently reclaimed its power as an un-ironic, soul-stirring anthem that can accompany small-screen images of joy, triumph, and the overcoming of obstacles. How else to explain the melismatic octave changes and lyrics about “racing with destiny” that accompanied The X Factor‘s announcement of the Top 8 contestants in the “geriatric” quarter of its search for America’s next great singing sensation?

All of this, of course, is just a long-winded way of saying that as the octet of octogenarians (okay, that burrito slinger was only 30) learned they were “winners for a lifetime” (or at least the next week), and Paula Abdul showed Nicole Scherzinger that weeping involves more than a single drop of Visine rolling down an artfully powdered cheek, I might’ve gotten just the slightest bit choked up.

But let’s not make this about who did or didn’t succumb to Simon Cowell’s masterful emotional manipulation and reach for the Kleenex. Let’s instead talk about the 32 acts who are advancing to the “Judges’ Mansions” round, and how exactly  they earned the right to step-ball-change right over the scattered feces of Paula Abdul’s miniature Chihuahua army.

We kicked off with some reheated leftovers from Wednesday night’s meal, getting glimpses of the final group-round performances. Chris Rene, 94 days sober, whipped off his shirt mid-rehearsal, his sister Gina Rene took to the stage in alarming black lace Capri pants, and Marcus Canty’s excessive vibrato on “What’s Going On” was described by Simon as “amazing.” Where is Nina Garcia when you need a monster to question a judge’s taste level?

Then, proving X Factor‘s producers have the same exact 100 songs on their iTunes as their American Idol counterparts, we then heard from groups tackling “I’m Every Woman” and something by Rascal Flatts, followed by Emma Henry and Her Two-Tone Hair (aka the girl who got a “no, but maybe when you’re a little older” from J.Lo during American Idol‘s 10th Season) covering Snow Patrol’s “Chasing Cars.” Emma sounded pretty good — even as she made brazen shapes with her human image — but once the flopsy-haired Brewer Boys joined in, everybody else in the ensemble seemed outclassed.

After that group had finished, the judges again winnowed down the field, causing ousted/dreadlocked rapper Tatiana ‘Reina’ Williams to yell abuse at the camera. “Maybe I’m just too talented!” she raged with such conviction that I almost believed she believed herself (but not really).

Finally, it was time for the 64 remaining acts to hit the stage — in front of a live audience of thousands — in the last pre-Judges’ Mansions round. I could give a play-by-play of the dozens of performance snippets we witnessed, but that’d be like demanding you read the names of every beige paint swatch in Home Depot: There’s no way you’re going to remember ’em all anyhow, and frankly, there’s little reason your should.

Instead, I’m going to rank the individual acts in each of the four judges’ categories from least- to most-promising.

Simon Cowell: Girls
8. Simone Battle
7. Tora Woloshin
6. Rachel Crow
5. Tiah Tolliver
4. Jazzlyn Little
3. Caitlin Koch
2. Melanie Amaro
1. Drew Ryniewicz

Simon definitely drew the deepest, most talented category — as evidenced by my having to put Simone at the bottom of the list. Okay, she didn’t remember a single word of the lyrics to “Your Song” — “You just wrote a whole new song!” Simon gasped when Simone said she was aiming for a “different twist on Elton John’s original —  but there was something cool and Fiona Apple-y about her arrangement. Plus, she dresses like she’s in a mid-’80s Jody Watley video! Rachel also ends up lower than I’d expected, despite a stunning rendition of “If I Were a Boy.” There’s just something slightly studied/overly precocious about her personality — although I was highly impressed by her mid-performance “stank face.” Keep it up, sister, and I might become a fan for life. Drew, on the other hand, is the same age as Rachel, but with every facial expression and utterance she makes, the kid is just so authentically 14. And how to compare Caitlin’s lullaby-ish “Cry Me a River”  against Tiah’s “This Is a Man’s World” vs. any of the fabulous auditions from Melanie, Jazzlyn, or Tora. Simon’s got his work cut out for him!

L.A. Reid: Boys
8. Skyelor Anderson
7. Nick Voss
6. Brian Bradley
5. Phillip Lomax
4. Chris Rene
3. Brennin Hunt
2. Marcus Canty
1. Tim Cifer

Yikes! L.A. might have declared “I think I just won” when he drew the under-30 guys, but I don’t see how he came to that conclusion. More than half of his musical gladiators have either questionable vocal skills (Chris hasn’t sounded on point since “Young Homie,” while Skyelor and Nick are at least two years of intense vocal training away from conquering their pitch problems), questionable personalities (hello, Brian, Phillip, and Brennin!), or both. Well, at least Marcus and Tim seem like nice-enough chaps, eh?

Nicole Scherzinger: Over-30s
8. Christa Collins
7. Dexter Haygood
6. Tiger Budbill
5. Stacy Francis
4. James Kenney
3. Leroy Bell
2. Josh Krajcik
1. Elaine Gibbs

Given her pre-seaon hype, plus her “I missed my dad’s funeral for Boot Camp” backstory, I don’t see how Stacy won’t make the Top 16, but her rambling rendition of “Summertime” proved she hadn’t really taken Simon’s “less is more” advice to heart. I far prefer Elaine, who’s nailed every single note that’s escaped her mouth this season, as well as affable everyman Josh and exceedingly subtle Leroy, who does more with a whisper than most vocalists do with a 30-second glory note. (Still, Josh, “Up to the Mountain” isn’t really a Kelly Clarkson song. Next time you’re in doubt about something like that, Google it, k?)

Paula Abdul: Groups
8. 4Shore
7. 10 Random Youths
6. Illusion Confusion
5. The Anser
4. Four Non Non-Blondes
3. Stereo Hogzz
2. The Brewer Boys
1. 2Squar’d

I can’t lie, I squealed with delight at the sudden reappearance of 2’Squard (one of my fave X Factor auditions thus far), and the equally promising Brewer Boys, but I groaned just as loudly at the inclusion of aggressively insipid 4Shore (whose rendition of “Fix You” will probably be addressed in next month’s Goop newsletter). No matter how it all shakes out, though, it should be interesting to watch Paula juggle such a heavily populated category. Let the first tearful breakdown of their collaboration commence in 5, 4,3, 2…

And finally, presented without comment below, is a screengrab of ousted Siameze wearing a Siameze t-shirt. Now quick, print out a screengrab of this image, then put it on a t-shirt! Yes. We. Can.

What did you think of the end of X Factor boot camp? Have you already got a favorite contestant? 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. xfactor fan says:

    There were several singers that we never got to see, so how can you rank them? James Kenney (over 30s) is an example. You did not see his audition and you did not see him tonight. You saw him sing 2 lines last night. So how can you rank him at all? You also haven’t seen any backstory on him. My only hope is that he’ll pull a Kris Allen, if he isn’t cut at the judge’s house.

    • jeremy says:

      what is the name of the song that he sung

    • Sally in Chicago says:

      One thing (maybe two) that XF has over Idol is the mix of races, black, white, Asian. The finalists will probably include black singers — good!
      But it still feels like a mashup of AGT+AI+the Singoff! :)

      • (!) says:

        Wait, that makes little sense – last season of AI: Naima, Thia, Karen, Jacob? And notable: Jason Castro, Allison Iraheta, Fantasia, Melinda? There’s plenty of diversity on AI! Just perhaps it’s more prominent in X Factor, especially with the groups category :p

    • Louie says:

      I would’ve loved to hear James Kenney and see why they picked him. I’m pretty sure they could’ve cut out a few of the hundred Chris Rene reaction shots we were forced to watch throughout the night

    • Shindig says:

      Seriously I need to ask, WHO was that little kid that looked like he was 8, in the orange hat? They gave him the most screen time next to Stacy Francis in the whole show so far and we never heard a peep out of him. They made him look mute, LOL. I did feel really bad when he broke down though. That’s the thing I really don’t like about the 12 year old minimum.

      • anon says:

        I’ve been wondering that as well! He’s such a cuttee lil boy! I think he may have been in the first auditions. I remember LA Reid really liked him as well. He must have been pretty good if he made it right before the top 32.

      • found it says:

        see the first couple seconds..

        • Shindig says:

          Oh man, thanks for finding it! Man, about 4 seconds or something. Gotta love the exposure huh? And we never even saw his name :p
          He’s definitely one of the cutest little kids I’ve seen between this show and AI though! I hope he doesn’t get too bummed out about the whole thing and keeps practicing.

  2. dona says:

    loved jazzlyn little and wonder if we havent seen more of her bcs she got nervous and didnt perform well. her audition, however, was the best single performance all season.

  3. Erika says:

    The show was on point tonight. It was so intense and I loved every minute of it. I agree w/ you that Simon has the best category followed by Nicole w/ the over 30s. I agree w/ your the girls in your top 4 although I can see an upset having. I know she is cute, but I agree Rachel is too young. Out of the boys Brennin and Marcus are my guys. Yikes. I predict L.A. will be a great mentor and he is going to need to be with his selection. For the over 30s I too like Elaine over Stacy. I also like Leroy. For the groups, I think the girls who make up the new quartet will do well. As individuals I really was bummed when two of them didn’t make it. poor poor Paula.

  4. MissBeth says:

    I was VERY happy to see most of my Seattle faces make it to next week!

    Elaine Gibbs was the last audition for the taping I was at that included g

  5. Manola says:

    Some contestants are just filler, as next week the 32 get trimmed down to 16. Tiger, Skyelor, James Kenney, will all be gone by then.

    I was surprised at the creation of the two groups out of individual contestants. Michael, what are your thoughts about that?

    • Erika says:

      I can’t speak for Michael, but it’s a very common practice on the UK X-Factor, so when I saw that they had only put through 6 groups I was expecting it. I think out of the two groups created the smaller group of 4 girls will do better. It has two singers that I would have liked to have made it through as soloists. The other groups is made of ten kids. I think that is way too big. poor Paula.

  6. MissBeth says:

    Commenting by phone :(
    As I was saying…Geo UN-godley was SO awful Elaine saved the day!!!!!

    Happy to see Tiger & Tiahi make it as well from Seattle.

    Also happy about Rachel, Stacey, the burritos maker guy…and I forget who else….can’t WAIT for next week!

  7. Tim says:

    Elaine is completely forgettable IMO. Stacy and Josh are the standouts in that category, with Tiger as maybe a darkhorse.

    • Drew Melbourne says:

      Congratulations! You have successfully ranked the contestants in order of the amount of screentime they’ve received. That’s why you’re the producers’ favorite…

  8. Stacie says:

    Caitlin Koch and Melanie Amaro are the standouts for me. They both give me chills when they sing and they both can do so much without doing too much. They just go out there and sing each and every song very very well.

    I think the Groups will have a hard time after the Top 16 connecting with the audience because we haven’t seen much of them. The weakness of the Groups is evident by the inclusion of the mess of people that were individually rejected and then thrown together. Other than the Brewer Boys I really don’t remember any of them. Good luck Paula.

    I love Josh and Leroy from the Over 30 group. They are distinct and can do very well. They are easy to root for.

    The boys are definitely weak. I see Chris Rene doing well based on his story and the hype around him. And Marcus has a shot as well. It’s definitely a little thin.

    • oh noes says:

      Chris Eenee is the new Danny Gokey. Our storyline leading up and into will be him heroically coping with the “loss” of his sister. Can our brave little off-key guy shirtlessly survive? The more we see of him the more repellant he becomes.

    • Selena says:

      i am pulling for Caitlin. She is from Buffalo (my area). But I don’t think she made it. She was performing in buffalo last week. Plus I read a site on spoilers and it said that girls are Melanie, Tora, Rachel and simone. I really hope not

  9. Christina says:

    The girls are the strongest category so no surprise Simon got them. The groups are the weakest, good luck Paula. It doesn’t surprise me they manufactured two groups, they do it in the UK all the time, but a 10 person group of kids, really!

    The biggest laugh I got last night is that the used a Westlife cover of a Daughtry song during one of the background montages!

  10. Qston says:

    Is Rachel Crow spawned from that terrible american pagent circiut? Her fake playful giggles and perfectly metered precociousness when she was speaking to the judges & nicole sherszingr makes me think we have a pagent mom pulling strings behind the scenes.

    Im furious that they put through vain washout Dexter Homeless and abandoned Ike Turner’s ex. I believe could have been a star again, she is a beautiful woman who must have suffered immensely to wind up with very little to take for granted in her life today.

    Also, why were we told there was team of stylists backstage if not a single one of them forced Josh Burrito to wash his damn hair? That greazy mess is NOT COMPATIBLE with a HDTV.

    Also also, this show is such a stillborn son of Idol that they even had to let through hot and bratty messes of hotpants hoochie and Bryan “non-puberty voice” Bradley just to add “dramer” by keeping them in the competition too long.

    • Yo says:

      I, also, thought something was up with Rachel Crow: She lit up like an famous old pro when she hit the stage lights. I don’t know her history, but I don’t think they found her under a toadstool.

    • (!) says:

      While I agree with you for Rachel, I disagree with the rest. Also, for Josh’s hair, have you ever thought about the people who just have awful hair that gets too oily by mid day? Also the fact that a lot of the contestants probably sweat like a steam cooked potato? I have cursed genes with hair and i have to constantly wash it and be very careful with touching it – but in a hot place while doing a lot of work it just gets gross. I can’t help it if that doesn’t appeal to peoples pretty, delicate eyes.

      • CK says:

        Hey, I like Rachel. I’m glad she made it to the top 32. My 7-year-old daughter saw her on the first show and is already a big fan. I hope she does well.

    • tvlover44 says:

      memphian here, and i gotta stand up for our man, dexter. i loved the soul of his audition (esp. second song) and it was moving to see his reaction to making the top 32. nothing vain about him – he’s been to hell and back, and as someone who works with homeless people in this city i can tell you it’s not pretty (no free shelters, little-to-no services, 25% unemployment rate in the african-american community).

      i’m excited to see what he can do, and i would love it if he would surprise us all by being mind-blowing in this next stage (though he does have stiff competition in his category).

  11. Victoria E says:

    Leroy Bell is my favorite right now, followed by Josh. Every time either one of them have sung anything, I couldn’t help thinking “I wonder if they’re going to put this on itunes?” I’m ready to purchase their albums right now!

  12. Pete says:

    Ok is it just me or did the over 30’s (or as Nicole aptly called them, the “Overs”) seem like the Island of Misfit Toys. I mean where were the normal mid 30something singers who actually looked like they could compete today in the music world?

    • Shindig says:

      They didn’t sing as well as the other normal looking 30+ year olds? Oh no, the younger and pretty people got eliminated. boohoo.

    • Betsy says:

      i’d buy music from Leroy or Josh right now on iTunes, i don’t care how old they are or what they look like (not that they don’t look great!)

  13. Mel says:

    I think the girls and overs are the most promising categories so far. The boys are not memorable at all, though if Marcus is picked he might do ok if LA selects the right songs. I don’t know what will happen with the groups, it seems like they are more popular in the UK. X Factor UK has produced One Direction (formed with cast off boys), JLS and JEDWARD (so hilarious) and they have all done pretty well there, but I am not sure there is a market for that here.

  14. Leon says:

    Last night was the best episode so far! Loved every minute of it! #TeamPaula

  15. Cindi says:

    Apparently Siameze is being courted for a reality show on one of the cable channels. He was raised in a family with, I believe, four moms (might be five) and one dad. He also has a little sister in the family. I can’t remember what it’s called but I saw the trailer on TMZ.

  16. tina says:

    The editing on this show seems horrible to me. Sounds like they’re playing the song track for the home audience, but it something different than what’s being play at the actual performance. The group that sang What’s Going On, kept sounding like they forgot the words, verses were sang in and out and yet the judges are acting like they’re seeing the greatest performance ever. The Chasing cars group didn’t sound great either, most of them sound lazy like they were being force to sing or something. And WHY IN THE HELL is Bratty Brian still being allowed to should his immaturity and stupidity on this show? Seriously! If he make it to live rounds, you know he’s one of the first to go!

  17. Steph says:

    Looks like Siameze hired the same artist to design his shirt that Mitch & Cam had for their Michelangelo-esque portrait in Lily’s nursery.

    • Tina says:

      OMG, my husband and I fell out laughing at his t-shirt, that was so damn funny and uncalled for.

    • Christina says:

      I had to shake my head when I saw that T-shirt to make sure it was real. Who the heck wears a T-shirt with a shirtless image of themselves on it!

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      Hilarious. And, I just noticed the picture above – Stacy Francis and Simeze look as though they could be brother and sister. (conspiracy theory alert!)

  18. darcy's evil twin says:

    Oh yea, thank goodness we have “diversity” because certainly that’s the most important thing in a SINGING competition. Good grief! Some of those people are too “diverse” for words, IMO.
    “Octet of octagenarians”, LOL? Slezak, you’re killing me. Give us old folks a break. I actually think the Over 30 group might be the strongest but I’ll be surprised if anyone from that group actually wins this thing – not in this country. Is Leroy Bell the guy that said he was 59? His voice reminded me of Michael Bolton.

    And don’t dismiss L.A. Reid’s ability to win – after all, this is the man that made a star out of Rhianna.
    Not sure how I feel about Rachel Crow. I’m never fond of children singing adult songs. Speaking of songs, is there some law out there in TV land that requires everyone to sing the same crap over and over? I was done with “Summertime” in 1973 but people keep bringing it back….and back…and back again. There are so many good songs out there – why does everyone keep singing the same stuff?

    • Michael Slezak says:

      Excellent point about Rihanna. But I’m not sure L.A. can break out the Auto-Tune for the live shows.

      • darcy's evil twin says:

        From The Man himself! You get a ‘Made Me Laugh’ :-)

      • darcy's evil twin says:

        Speaking of auto-tune, one of the local news broadcasts did an auto-tune demonstration. One of the field reporters sang “Row, row, row your boat”, or some simple song, and she could not carry a tune in a bucket. It was amazing what they could do with the recording of her voice!

      • (!) says:

        You know what really irks me too? People singing songs that are done by over-processed vocals where it isn’t quite singing. For some reason it just irks me. That and the song Firework :<

    • tvlover44 says:

      the occurrence of the same 30 songs over and over on all of these shows – is it all about the lack of clearance for most songs? i remember when ‘the voice’ came out, there were some (not all, by any means) fresh songs being sung, and everyone was like, whoa – they must be spending more money than most shows, to get this kind of diversity in their song choices. personally i wish all of these singing competition shows would spend whatever it takes to expand their pool of songs – it would increase the enjoyment of watching them exponentially.

  19. blingedup.susan says:

    That was fun. This seems to move so much more quickly than Idol.

    Thank goodness for the “overs” category, I was so disappointed in the boys group. I do not have one favorite in the boys group — very unusual. I do not get the Chris Rene love.

    I already have a favorite — Leroy Bell. Love him. He’s followed in my favorites list (I don’t REALLY have a list) by Josh, but while he’s singing, I’m so distracted by thoughts of what I would do if I were in charge of his makeover. I’m wanting to hear more of Elaine. I definitely think that the overs category has my favorites and the most interesting contestants.

    The girls — I’m liking Jazzlyn, Caitlin, Drew, and Melanie.

    To be honest, I’m still getting all the groups mixed up. I can’t pick one over the other right now.

    Loving this show right now, although very disappointed in the boys group.

  20. Yo says:

    I was thinking to get Leroy some income over Social Security in a few years, but it appears he either does not need it or has not managed his money well. (See ya’, dude, I thought you looked too well kept for a poor person.) I liked the older singers, but will wait to hear how many are professionals and ringers (that means you, Stacy).

    I liked Multi-color hair Girl, too, almost as much as I liked Lauren Turner on Idol, but at least the girl has a few years to make a career. The show was full of very good singers, so it was a fun listen. As a contest, it seems the contestants get more and more professional, which will certainly dilute the tears when my favorite loses.

    I think on the first show one of Simon’s kids will win, but some of his favorites seem unpleasant as personalities. Remember, folks, the public likes humble, or fake humble. Show confidence in the music, not attitude or you not only will not last, you also will not have a fan base.

  21. JVC says:

    Excited we are almost at the live shows. I think L.A. Reid is in for a rude awakening. The boys seem to be the weakest of the 4 categories. The only guy I’m rooting for in that group is Marcus, his audition got 1 million hits, so it’s safe to say he’ll be here for a while. He’s the real deal. Also, slezak’s right about not remembering half of what each act sang so I guess that’s why 4squared is still my favorite group even though they haven’t been seen much. Does anyone know if we’ve seen more of them since their audition? This may be a conspiracy theory but i wonder if simon did anything to get the girls, especially since he’s been pimping tiah tolliver since day one. Just something to think about.

    • Tim says:

      Did Simon do anything to get the girls? Yes, he said “This is Simon. I want the girls. I’ll act surprised when you call me back”. Click.

      • Louie says:

        Seriously… was anybody surprised? He’s obviously looking for his next Leona Lewis. The only surprise was that Paula and Nicole got each others categories. Nicole has group experience and Paula is an aging star… I think they dropped the ball there

        • Tim says:

          I too was surprised Nicole didn’t get the groups, with all of her experience. Then again, she’s got some experience with being over 30 as well. Oh no I di-int!

  22. Louie says:

    I agree with whoever said that the Girls and the “Overs” are the strongest group.
    Maybe I just don’t get the Boys… I don’t understand the fascination over Chris Rene and why he needs to be in almost every shot. Production must love this sob story to give him the Lauren Elaina treatment (or are they giving that to Stacy Francis? I can never tell)
    And Phillip Lomax? Are my ears just not picking up what the judges hear in him? I couldn’t stand listening to him sing a standard (his specialty?) much less anything else. I’d almost prefer John Steven’s “Crocodile Rock”
    And Chris Voss and Brian Bradley… just why?
    The only guys worth keeping are the top three Michael ranked above… the rest can just let me know when I should take a bathroom break

    • Louie says:

      Also, why have we not heard anything from Tora Woloshin since her initial audition? Not even a snippet of her group performance… I was surprised they picked her since I thought they had chucked her long ago. She must’ve pissed somebody off

      • darcy's evil twin says:

        Was she the girl with the wild, bleached hair?

        • Louie says:

          Yeah, the mechanic girl who sang the Jackson 5 song

          • Vetle says:

            *sigh* I love Tora’s voice. It’s weird how we have not heard anything from her since the audition.

            And how great does Leroy look? At first glance, I thought he was like 25~30, but he’s actually 59. If he make it to lives, he will go very far – and his looks will probably help him. It must be the hat. :P

  23. G. says:


    I need video “idoloonies” recaps for X Factor now. That is probably the main reason I visit

    I know that X Factor doesn’t compare yet to Idol, but you did a video recap for Season 9. Just saying…


    • darcy's evil twin says:

      Great idea! There’s no shortage of material.

    • Qston says:

      Double agree! Why cant we get some video snark around here? Its Michael’s kitchen not spotless enough yet to fill in as a backdrop? Are you holding out on us to make it some sort of pay-wall feature (if so, I surrender! just tell me where to direct the ransom via paypal).

      Part of me suspects that there will be no video until they can find a worse flash video player than the one they used last year. (Realplayer, Vivo or Emblaze anyone?)

    • Louie says:

      Triple agree!
      It’ll practically be the same show… just a different name and finding snarky running jokes for LA and Nicole.
      The show is almost writing itself here, Slezak!

    • Betsy says:

      QUADRUPLE AGREE! Even when AI was losing my interest, Idoloonies was so entertaining that I kept at it! LOVE Idoloonies! Let’s have an X-Factor equivalent to keep this train rolling!

    • tvlover44 says:

      it’s kind of ridiculous how happy an x factor ‘idoloonies’-like video series would make me! i’m grinning just thinking about it…

  24. Liz says:

    It’s still early and I’m already tired of Stacy Francis’s angst and Rachel Crow’s ultra-cuteness (can you say Shirley Temple?). And didn’t L.A. say that Kid Rap was too young for the rap market? Hope the major screen time given to these and a few others doesn’t mean we’re in for a season of unwarranted pimpage!

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      Time may prove me wrong, but I’m suspicious of Stacy Francis. She went on and on, ad infinitim, with her “victim” story about being with someone abusive that told her at 42 she was “too old” to follow her dreams – but she had a five month old baby with her at the auditions??????? Are you kidding me? Gosh, guess he wasn’t TOO abusive, and if a woman can have a baby when she’s 42, trying to launch a singing career should be a cakewalk. (Let’s see – give birth to a baby or singing…crap, someone hand me a mic!)
      I found it odd that no one questioned her about the baby and her age. Guess it’s not PC or something.
      And now her dad died the day boot camp started?
      There’s just something rotten in the state of Denmark here.

    • Elaine says:

      I agree that I’ve had enough of the pimpage. I know everyone’s stories now and I’m not interested in having that brought up anymore.
      I’m sorry for the unfortunate circumstances of their lives, but enough already. Let’s concentrate on the singing. And I really don’t want to hear “I want this more than anything in my whole life” and “This is my dream” etc…… It’s all pretty cliche now. And honestly, had enough dramatics, too……. had enough crying…. over-the-top crying.
      The pimping on AI was so repulsive last year. I remember seeing the interview Slezak did with Lauren Alaina last year after AI was over. I was surprised at how articulate and likeable she was because the AI producers made her appear to be a childish klutz. I pray (but doubt) that XF will let these people’s true selves (good or bad) shine through.

  25. brandy says:

    Please, please, please let the top 4 girls be Melanie, Caitlin, Rachel, and Drew. They are by far the best. On second thought, can we just take 8 girls and have no boys make the top 16? Those dudes are a joke.

  26. jrs says:

    I just wanna see Brennan naked!

  27. Volcfom says:

    I’m glad that Paula got the groups. She’s the best fit because she’s a choreographer. Why didn’t anyone else see this obvious choice?

    That being said, I think they’ve held off showing some people (Tora, Jazzlyn) so people don’t hate them for being over-pimped. It’s reverse psychology. On SYTYCD, people were wondering why Melanie wasn’t shown during Vegas week, and once the live shows started she became an instant front-runner.

    • Tim says:

      That strategy can backfire too. On AI, Pia’s chances were hurt because they hardly showed her in the early going, and didn’t have a chance to build up a fan base like some of the others did from the beginning. Same with Haley, who was almost eliminated right away.

      • darcy's evil twin says:

        I kind of think Pia got eliminated due to her song choices. Remember, we didn’t see David Cook’s audition and barely saw him after that until we got to the Top 12 (or 13, or whatever they were).

    • jurybox says:

      Maybe they’re not showing them because they don’t get through the mansions stage. That’s my guess. Mayble they’ll let one of them be a surprise, but my guess is they don’t spend the time on them because they want the audience invested in the people who make it through to the live rounds.

  28. Deb says:

    Seriously Michael, you don’t give points, no matter how cool, to someone who sings not one word of a song. She sang nothing-only how bad she wanted to advance…shades of AI’s Tatiana Del Torro. Yikes!

  29. K says:

    The fact that she must have improvised on the spot or shortly before, that shows a lot imo. Sure, it’s not a good sign by any means. But hey, if she did that all on the spot, kudos to her – there have been a few really good songs that were actually improvised right on the spot during a concert. Not that I’m saying she could :p

  30. Bruce Wayne says:

    This one is easy. Simon will have the winner in the first year of the X-Factor because it is his show.

    The younger the winner, the longer his profits. Drew Ryniewicz will win the X-Factor.

    Simon was already quoted as saying a 14 year old girl blew everyone away at both boot camp and the house visits. From his description, it’s clear that it’s her.

  31. J says:

    I completely agree about the girls group and about Stacey and Marcus. I like the boys group too, though.

    And Tiger? really?

    And why didn’t Nicole get the groups?

    They should have given the girls to Paula, she needs all the help she can get.

    And the over 30s to LA. They need an advantage (not for a lack of talent, mind you.)

  32. Rick says:

    I like Brennin.
    BTW Who else thought the man on the phone was gonna turn out to be Nigel xD

  33. Sweeney says:

    Hey Michael
    I used to love your videos you did for Idol is there any chance you are going to do the same for the xfactor. I find your commentaries more entertaining than the show itself.
    Greetings from Ireland.

  34. Name That Tune says:

    Okay. This show just reminds me that AI is way past its prime, and it lost its credibility when Simon left. I know I won’t be investing any time in it next January. Can’t take JLo or ST seriously as judges.

    I think there is some real talent here and I’m willing to wait it out to see if X Factor can build on the stories we’ve seen. I like LA as a judge. I like that these judges have OPINIONS. What I don’t like is that it hasn’t shown me that it’s different than AI. But the judging so far is superior to AI, and Paula is talking in complete sentences that make sense. So props for that.

  35. asherlev1 says:

    I suppose I’m being a bit of a troll, but I still miss Brendan. XP

  36. Ellen says:

    My Take: I avidly watch X Factor UK. I am not feeling this version at all. Possibly because of my investment of the previous or maybe because I’m sick of talent shows. I can’t help my voyeuristic tendencies. Why talent scouts have to prey off of prepubescent teens has always boggled my mind. Even Drew (who is one of my faves) could use a few more years of training. I’m sure raw talent exists but it doesn’t usually need a talent show to advance. In today’s world all you need is you tube to get noticed. Someone call up the Bieb’s to get this back story. Michael, you continue to be one of my favorite entertainment writers and I love your take.

  37. Richard Smith says:

    I haven’t missed an episode yet. I find it amazing to see who is consistent and who can be hit and miss. Further, I get easily distracted by performers that try sooo hard to capitalize on the tragedy they have had to “endure”. Can anybody out there honestly tell me clearly that they think it’s a good idea to risk a music career on a 40 year old woman with two kids? Or, how about crackdaddy, dragging his poor little child across the US in the back of a tour bus? Yeah, that’ll keep ya sober. Or Dexter, who doesn’t have an ounce of original personality. Seriously, where are the real stars? I am all for consistency and so far that includes Rachel, Caitlin, and Drew. In terms of the boys it’s been Phillip Lomax (I feel good, not depressed after his performance) and Chris Rene ( although I thoroughly disagree with placing this instability in this industry). In terms of the Over-30s it’s been Leroy Bell and Stacy (although her “I missed my dad’s funeral for Boot Camp” backstory is overwhelmingly irritating, please remember she CHOSE to share a very personal story with the world!) The groups Stereo Hogzz and 2Squar’d
    have been consistent. I guess we’ll have to wait and see what happens when they’re down to the final 16. Remember – consistency!!

  38. Applesauce says:

    josh probably said kelly clarkson because it said that on the sheet he was given and he had to name drop her.

  39. mc says:

    In the girls category, I think Simon will pick Drew, Melanie, Tiah and Tora. I think Jazzlyn may not be ready just yet for the big time and Caitlin is little too low key. I agree with all the other picks in the other categories made by Slezak.

  40. tomflush says:

    I wouldn’t sell Rachel short people. She’s a fan favorite, featured for a reason, and can outsing almost all the boys ! My prediction – Top 3 girls and lasts past the shows 1/2 way point. Time will tell.

  41. anon says:

    Is it just me or does anyone else think it was kind of wrong Stacy Francis didn’t go to her fathers funeral just so she can attempt to pursue her dream as a singer?

    • Vetle says:

      He died at the beginning of bootcamp. At that moment, I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t have had the funeral yet. She said that she wanted to be with her mom, but that her father would want her to follow through with the show.

    • Jurybox says:

      Who are you to judge whether Stacy did the right thing or not in staying at bootcamp. Maybe she had the opportunity to talk to him before he died and he told her to stay no matter what. Maybe her mother begged her to stay and not give up – that that is what her father would want her to do? Or maybe she will regret it for the rest of her life? Who knows, but it’s not for us to say if she did the right thing. It’s for her to decide and her alone.

  42. Vetle says:

    Hey, didn’t Bieber get the Beliebers to vote for… uh, what’s his name – that dude who won the Voice? I hated that, but I would mind if he made them vote for Drew! She’s so talented for her age.

    Looks like it’s the girls’ year on X Factor. The girls are ridiculously strong on both versions. UK and the US that is.

  43. trev says:

    I wish you did idoloonies for x-factor :(

  44. June Price says:

    Reina was set up. and she IS too talented for this show. i was in newark when she auditioned for the judges. she was THE BEST we saw that night. BETTER than brian bradley who rubbed me so wrong, he needs a spanking.
    she got a STANDING OVATION from the ENTIRE AREA. she had EVERYONE singing along and dancing to a song they have never heard before. Simon said “a million % yes” and it was SO OBVIOUS that she was someone to watch for. . which i did. only to be disappointed.

    but they never aired that amazing audition. the only footage of it can be found on youtube from someone’s camera phone in the audience. so before you start letting the TV tell you who to pass judgement on, do a little google search of the woman you are just writing off as delusional. so many of us went home and looked her up and downloaded her music.

    she honestly would have probably won the whole thing because i am not impressed with what these producers have done with the show and who they have chosen to be the “X factor”. none of them have it. But Tatiana does, and regardless, she will shine.

    here is a link to the ONLY footage of her amazing audition.

  45. June Price says:

    you have me so riled up with what you said about Tatiana “Reina” Williams that i posted the wrong link, but that video is equally as telling of her range and talent. but here is the MOST AMAZING XFACTOR AUDITION THAT NEVER GOT AIRED

    • anon says:

      r u tatiana?

    • mc says:

      The youtube link you posted has poor sound so it is hard to hear the song but Simon clearly says something like the audition “made his year”. So she was good, pity they did not show her audition and more of her. Miles better than the annoying Brian Bradley.

  46. HB says:

    I pretty much have the exact same ranking in each of the categories.. As far as comparing AI10 to this show, IMO, every member of the top 24 in AI10 were was better than most of the top 32 here.

  47. Kaylee Hone says:

    I LOVE NICK DEAN!!! sadly he didnt make it as a soloist in the boot camp. he came back ou though and is now is one of the groups :/

  48. DG says:

    I think this top 32 is strong, but there are obviously some weak links. The strongest category is the Girls in my opinion. Melanie is my pick to take the whole thing. I think the younger girls (Drew, Rachel) are not going through. Drew needs to become more confident, and Rachel needs to connect more with the song (WHY ARE YOU DANCING AND SMILING WHILE SINGING MERCY). She also needs a better range–we’re yet to see her hit a high note.

  49. NG says:

    The Brewer Boys….ever heard The Everly Brothers? Natural harmony sells records, so Everly Brother’s have proved for decades. They sell and keep on selling. Decades. I don’t see any references on these posts of groups or individuals with anything like this kind of “market penetration.” Appealing appearance and engaging backstories are fine, but pure pitch might be best indicator of singing success. As the reviewer noted “…but once the flopsy-haired Brewer Boys joined in, everybody else in the ensemble seemed outclassed…”

  50. Amy says:

    Just noticing the small #’s of posts for X-Factor here, might be the sign of abivalence to the show. Idol threads always had 100’s-300+ comments.
    Anyway…I’m not watching, as I said after 1st night…over the top, fake…was not for me. (and I’d had high hopes for it!)
    Is it Idol season yet? J’s sayin’. But, all of you who are into it~enjoy!