The X Factor Top 12: Strengths, Weaknesses, and Suggested Song Choices

The X Factor‘s Top 12 finalists are set to perform Wednesday night — the first time they’ll be competing for America’s vote.

Fox Renews The X Factor for a Second Season

Before the big occasion, let’s assess each act’s strengths and weaknesses — and suggest some songs their mentors might want to consider for them in the coming weeks and months:



Comments (40)

  • Lakota Rayne are very much like a swedish group called Timoteij (youtube their song called ‘Kom’).

    Also, did Billie Piper really reach over the water? Because We Want To is *awful*

    Comment by Matt from UK – November 2, 2011 11:00 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Yes it’s awful, but also awfully good! ;)

      Comment by Michael Slezak – November 2, 2011 11:03 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • I agree, good choice, Michael!

        Comment by Princess Adora – November 2, 2011 11:49 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • It is a good choice Michael, exactly what Intensity need to be doing. They need to maintain youthful energy, they should be singing stuff that was sung by kids/tweens. Lets not confuse Intensity with a serious artist thats going to move everyone – they are just there to appeal to a particular market, and I think they are damn good at it.

        Comment by Ben – November 2, 2011 01:32 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Melodifestivalen references pop up in the most random places…

      Comment by David – November 2, 2011 11:41 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • There’s a fair few Melodifestivalen fans on t’internet :D

        Comment by Matt from UK – November 2, 2011 01:08 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I love how one of the song suggestions was Billie Piper’s only UK hit. Aaaah, the times when she was just known as a one-hit wonder before becoming a Doctor Who companion and a call girl…

    Comment by Zoey – November 2, 2011 11:11 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Loving the Hercules & Love Affair suggestion for Melanie! Absolute tune! I reckon Rhianna’s new one “We Found Love” would work for her too. It’s essentially a big belty ballad but with a dance beat to make it more current. Or maybe “Cold War” by Janelle Monae.

    I’d love to see Chris do “Find Your Love” by Drake although it could be perceived as a bit copycat.

    “With Or Without” by U2 would be awesome for Drew. Or the Birdy version of Bon Iver’s “Skinny Love”.

    I’d like to hear Astro change up “Toy Soldiers” by Eminem in some way too.

    Those are the only four that I really care about so I can’t be bothered to give any more suggestions! LOL! :P

    Comment by Al – November 2, 2011 11:14 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Nice suggestions here, AI. I agree with Cold War for Melanie, Skinny Love would be awesome for Drew and Toy Soldiers for Astro.
      Would add: I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor by Arctic Monkeys for InTENsity (LOL, Monkeys wold’ve hated that), Foo Fighters’ Best Of You for Josh or Leroy, Emeli Sande’s Heaven for Melanie

      Comment by fancyfootwork202 – November 3, 2011 01:27 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • True, Drew is coasting, but she’s so damn good I think she’ll (and should) win it all. Btw, isn’t “Tear Us Apart” pretty much the same tempo as the stuff she’s already performed? Still a good choice though ;); yet it’d be amazing if she performed Kim Carnes’ “Bette Davis Eyes,” or maybe Marc Cohn’s “Walking in Memphis” (but those may be too “down beat” as well), and if we were to get crazy, why not Adele’s “Set Fire to the Rain” :)

    Comment by Alicia – November 2, 2011 11:22 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Bette Davis Eyes. Yes. Great choice.

      Comment by Justin – November 2, 2011 12:15 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Walking in Memphis = brilliant!
      For either Drew or Josh.

      Comment by Jules – November 2, 2011 11:18 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • This show takes away all artistic integrity of the contestants. They are just puppets for the judges to mold and shape so they fit into the specific box they have designed. Musicians here have little to no say over their image, song choices or performance styles. Good or bad, AI at least puts the responsibility and initiative on the contestants to develop their own brand. This show is more of a contest for the judges than the singers.

    Comment by Joline – November 2, 2011 11:30 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I’m a long time Doctor Who fan and a guilty pleasure for me is the sacharrin sweet “Honey to the Bee” from Billie Piper.

    Comment by Tusk – November 2, 2011 11:45 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Whoops was meant to be a reply to Matt from UK.
      Michael great song selections. Roam is a great Idea for inTENsity and Gorillaz’ Feel Good is an inspired choice for Chris Rene. Bangles also a good choice for Lakoda Rayn. These acts need a good song choice as I think they are working from behind.

      Comment by Tusk – November 2, 2011 11:49 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I lieterally squeed with delight reading the suggestion that InTENsity (or as my mom likes to call them, TENacity, which seems like the perfect SNL skit version name)should perform “Because We Want To” by Billie Piper…it would totally fit for them and it’s good fun and it would be about time Billie actually got some recognition for her short lived music career that never quite took off over here. I still remember her video for “She Wants You” airing on Disney during commercial breaks along side Britney and BSB videos…Come to think of it, the little ten piece there could pretty much grab anything from the Radio Disney back catalog and make it work, no?

      Comment by Tess – November 2, 2011 10:08 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • “Joey” is a really great pick for Josh. We could use a new fantastic cover of that songs (though Ted Leo’s is pretty freaking awesome).

    I hope Simon is going to be a little more thoughtful picking out songs for Drew & Melanie than he did last week and for judges houses. On X Factor UK, Sophie was just eliminated for boring the crap out of everyone and turning everything into a ballad. I’m sure that resonated with Simon.

    Comment by Mel – November 2, 2011 11:48 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I think Astro should perform Skee-lo’s “I Wish.” It’s a funny, self-deprecating rap and fairly well known (not sure about that, but I’m a 28-year-old white girl and I know all the words, so it must have been fairly mainstream at one point).

    Comment by Gina – November 2, 2011 12:24 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I think Drew should do Sinead’s “Nothing Compares to You,” maybe even do the opening verse acapella to shake things up a bit. Few teens can pull off the heartache necessary to sell that song, but I think she could. Not to mention that the break/lilt in her voice would be shown off marvelously by the chorus. Love her!

    Comment by SA Mac – November 2, 2011 12:29 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Am I the only person watching that can’t stand Rachel Crow?!? Sure she’s got spunk (insert Lou Grant joke here), but I just think she’s annoying! Out of all the singers we heard during auditions, she was mediocre at best.

    Comment by Erin – November 2, 2011 01:35 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • You are not alone. She’s a cute kid, but not a real contender for a $5 million dollar singing contract. I think Simon has shockingly let his soft side get the best of him this time. I hope she is the next to go….

      Comment by Joline – November 2, 2011 02:00 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Agreed. I feel like she should have a show on the Disney Channel or something. Same with Intensity, first time I saw them perform and I was like “This is the new Mickey Mouse Club right here.”

      Comment by Isaac – November 2, 2011 03:10 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Me and Mom shouted the same thing… lol i think most of america who are a little older would think the the same… totally reminded me or a micky mouse club or a kids incorporated (yeah im 31 and grew up with that) lol

        Comment by a – November 2, 2011 04:38 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Some stellar critiques there Michael. The Stereohogzz one is particuarly funny, but also spot on, as is Josh, Stacey, Drew, Astro, Chris, Leroy… etc etc.

    My places of disagreement, I don’t think culling intensity can help in any way, its not the quality of their individuals but the depth of their group sound that will sell them as an artist. And I must be the only one who thought that Lakoda Rayne were not great singing that strange song in top 17.

    Comment by Ben – November 2, 2011 01:35 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • You missed the biggest con for Stacy Francis, she’s been exposed as a pathological liar (and being a Scientologist probably won’t win her votes either).

    Comment by Jan – November 2, 2011 03:37 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I will be watching for Josh and Drew. The rest of them are a gigantic snoozefest. And Astro should watch a few seasons of Fresh Prince. Will Smith had a metric ton of self confidence but was and still IS likeable.

    Comment by Kirstin – November 2, 2011 04:09 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Josh should totally be doing Bob Segar or Joe Cocker

    Comment by LOL!!! – November 2, 2011 04:36 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I really like how Michael Slezak wrote this article. You are awesome. You actually spoke on the behalf of most of the viewers. Really spot on. I totally agree with everything you said about every contestants. Well done.

    Comment by Patson – November 2, 2011 05:35 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • someone really knows their music recommending a New Zealand song ‘Oh My’ my Gin who is from New Zealand! it would be so awesome if Lakoda Rayne sang that song! if would be great for them and New Zealand! YAY!

    Comment by Bernadine – November 2, 2011 08:11 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Everyone did awesome!! I wish good luck to everyone that made it to the top 12 XD !!

    Comment by Matt – November 2, 2011 08:16 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Micheal you are 100% correct about Josh. Don’t get me wrong he is amazing but he needs a bit of a make over. I remember David Cook in his early days on Idol, he also needed to be rock glammed and it made all the difference.

    Comment by Rita – November 2, 2011 09:01 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Adam Lambert would have killed on this show.

    Comment by Jules – November 2, 2011 11:25 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • SO RIGHT.

      Comment by nakedheat2356 – November 3, 2011 01:29 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I have one piece of advice for Josh. Take a shower. The guy always looks dirty to me. Yuck. I really like him if I keep my eyes closed when he sings. What’s up with those stylists they’re using? Help a burrito-guy out, why don’t you!?

    Comment by Julia – November 3, 2011 05:11 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I wish Chris Rene didn’t have to sing anyone’s music but his own, but as long as he can change these up and add a rap to each one:

    Either “Scarecrow” or “Que Ondo Guero” ~ Beck

    “Angela Dangerlove” ~ Big Head Todd and The Monsters

    “That Look You Give That Guy” ~ Eels

    “Sideways” ~ Citizen Cope

    “Save Tonight” ~ Eagle-Eye Cherry

    Comment by PatD – November 3, 2011 07:06 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • No. Wait. Better even: “Worried Eyes” ~ Eagle-Eye Cherry

    Comment by PatD – November 3, 2011 07:12 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I really think Drew would sound fantastic doing an Ellie Goulding track. Lights? That being said she would probably sound fantastic singing any song

    Comment by KyleH – November 4, 2011 05:02 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • chris renee should sing one republics apologize,and mix his rap flavor to it

    Comment by bo parker – November 8, 2011 12:09 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I think Leroy Bell or Josh Krajcik would do great justice to Eric Clapton’s song, “Wonderful Tonight.”

    Comment by James West – November 13, 2011 03:43 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I thin the top 2 are Melanie and Drew, and I’m sure Simon knows it and I really hope people understand that waht matters is talent not how cute a little girl can be… I mean Rachel is good but I won’t pay a penny for her CD… Let’s give her time to grow

    Comment by Fiorella Bruno – November 14, 2011 07:34 AM PDT  Reply To This Post

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