The X Factor Recap: Boom Boom Ow!

There are moments where The X Factor reminds me of a horror-movie version of an industrial farm-raised turkey: Genetically groomed and pumped full of steroids, bursting at the skin with muscle and sinew, and — if it could figure out how to better maneuver its unwieldy form — ready to burst from its cage and brutally flip the carnivore-Thanksgiving dinner relationship.

Indeed, Simon Cowell is to reality singing competitions what growth hormones are to poultry: Why settle for a dozen backup dancers when you can project the image of 1,000 hoofers against a backdrop? Why wait for the season finale to dump 20 tons of confetti on your contestants? And why shine a single spotlight on a vocalist when you’re pretty sure her body can withstand the scorching heat of 50 Klieg lights?

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

I sometimes wonder if The X Factor‘s quieter, stripped-down performances resonate more with me simply because they provide merciful respite from the cavalcade of whirling backup dancers, violently flashing lights, and pulsating backing tracks.

Oh, but wait! It’s that tall, handsome, British guy in the impeccably cut suit. I can never remember his name, or anything he says, but I know his jawline will last forever, and I think there’s some statistic going around about him being able to send 770 Tweets per minute. British guy is doing a lot of pointing, and he’s trying really hard to project a vibe of relaxed jocularity, but I can see some of his circuitry poking out from under his shirt collar. He’s telling us that the winner of X Factor will get to star in his or her “very own iconic Pepsi commercial” (ugh) and that he’s super-pumped the show has just been picked up for a second season. (Don’t get too excited, buddy; we all saw what happened to Cheryl Cole, and she was actually good at her job.)

Anyhow, enough about the guy they really should replace with Cat Deeley. Let’s review this week’s performances!

Stereo Hogzz: Janet Jackson’s “Rhythm Nation”
Critique is dead! Long live hyperbole! Yes, folks, your ears did not deceive you: Simon actually said that there isn’t a band in the world right now as good as Stereo Hogzz. (!) And he gave this baffling critique in spite of the fact that the band’s lead singer didn’t hit a single note during the slowed-down opening segment of Janet Jackson’s driving dance hit. Thankfully, Trace’s vocals improved noticeably once the beat kicked in and the lighting guys created a lightning storm in hell and a dozen or so plushie Storm Troopers took the stage to dance it out — then got magnified by 1,000 against the backdrop. Plus, I can’t really say anything too negative about a group that sang the praises of a club — the Rhythm Nation, duh — whose membership card I’ve carried since 1989. People of the world unite/ Strength in numbers we can get it right/ One time…

Chris Rene: The Carpenters’ “Superstar”
Chris’ rehearsal package was pretty illuminating: The singer himself admitted he was “wobbly” on Top 17 night, and then his mentor actually came out and said that Chris is “just better on his own songs.” So why not let the guy sing an original track, L.A.? Instead, we got Chris standing awkwardly atop a flight of stairs and offering a somewhat competent cover of a Carpenters classic. Chris’ biggest problem is that he doesn’t have enough breath support to hold onto his notes and properly finish the ends of his phrases. Well, that and the fact that his rehearsal outfit — an oversized plaid shirt paired with oversized plaid shorts — should be hurled directly into the random flames that appeared on stage in the middle of his performance. Said pyrotechnics prompted my favorite Simon comment of the night (“You literally put him in hell!”) and least favorite comment from that unfunny British hunk (“This man sounded heavenly!”) No, @SteveJones, don’t improvise!

Leroy Bell, Lonestar’s “I’m Already There”
In the real world, I’m probably more likely to buy Leroy’s album than half the folks in the competition, but with Nicole Scurvymonger choosing dreary tracks like Lonestar’s “I’m Already There,” I fear the world’s sexiest grandpa will be one of the early casualties of the competition. I mean, just because the dude is missing his teenage son doesn’t mean Nicole had to make a completely literal artistic decision and force him to sing a country ballad about a dad who’s away from his wife and kids. Why not let his gravely voice shine on something with a little more of a rock-soul vibe? On closer inspection, the judges’ seemingly innocuous comments — L.A.’s “I wish you the absolute best”; Paula’s “I wish you the best of luck” — look like the start of a tearful farewell. For a moment, I worried Nicole would follow those comments by closing her eyes and bursting into self-indulgent song: “I wish you joy and happiness. But above all this, I wish you love.”

Rachel Crow, Katrina and the Waves’ “Walking on Sunshine”
Look at Paula being the voice of reason and wondering why Simon doesn’t showcase Rachel’s potent pipes — which she showed off at Boot Camp with “If I Were a Boy” — instead of stranding her atop a stack of faux speakerboxes with a trifle of a tune like “Walking on Sunshine.” And honestly, the lyric changes — subbing “telephone” for “mailbox,” and putting another nail in the coffin of the fine art of letter-writing; and changing the chorus from “Walking on Sunshine” to “You’re My Sunshine” — just made me momentarily think Rachel had forgotten her words. But what did L.A., the guy who’d been hyped pre-season as a judge even tougher than Simon, have to say? “Oooh, widdle Wachel, it’s tough to cwiticize you because you’re SO LOVABLE!”

Lakoda Rayne: Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide”
Paula made each member of the quartet channel a season, though it’s not clear if, for example, Dani was just playing the role of “Summer” for this performance, or if she’ll be expected to stick with it for the rest of her X Factor run. From the looks of their early ’90s pageant gowns, though, Lakoda Rayne looked more like they were channeling popsicles: Lemon, Grape, Cherry, and Chemical Turquoise. There wasn’t anything particularly wrong with the gals’ take on “Landslide” — save for one member going noticably awry on the chorus; yikes! — but there wasn’t anything particularly special or unique about it, either. You know if these gals wind up in a bottom-two singoff, though, Paula is going to fight hard to keep ’em: I mean, who else is going to accompany her on her daily frozen-yogurt run?

Josh Krajcik, Christina Perri’s “Jar of Hearts”
I’ve got no qualms with Nicole’s choice of a “woman’s song” for burly Josh — the lyrics fit him just fine, and more often than not, you can kill any karaoke comparisons with a little gender scramble — but the problem is he simply didn’t sing it well. The entire opening verse was way too low for Josh’s comfort zone, and even when his voice opened up on the chorus, he was still struggling with his pitch. Yes, on an emotional level, Josh hit his marks — Lord, I sound like J.Lo now — and it’d be a shame for him to finish twelfth after showing so much early promise, but if you’re only as good as your last performance, the burrito maker might be dangerously close to a return engagement at the onion-chopping station.

Melanie Amaro, The Eagles’ “Desperado”
Oh man that a capella intro was flawless. So good, in fact, I kinda wished that Simon had done away with any accompaniment whatsoever, and just let us bask in the power and pitch perfection of Melanie’s voice. Like her mentor, I don’t think I realized just how good Melanie was, but if she’s going to ride this train all the way to December, Simon needs to fire any stylist suggesting the option of a silver blazer, and assign Melanie something uptempo — and written within the last 20 years.

Astro: Naughty By Nature’s “Hip-Hop Hooray”/Missy Elliot’s “Get Your Freak On” (complete with self-penned verses)
“They told me that I was whack and would never be known/ And when I kicked it they predicted that I would get sent home/ But now I’m killin ’em with the live shows/ Gettin ’em with the flows, I be havin”em trippin’ every time they listen,” spat Astro, kicking off a lively and undeniably tight Naughty By Nature/Missy Elliot mashup. Okay, kid, you’ve put me (and millions of other naysayers) in our place. Like it or not (and I’m still pretty sure I fall into the latter category), Astro is a force to be reckoned with in the competition. And he’s not afraid to rock a gold pant, either. “Dope.”

Intensity: Kim Wilde’s “Kids in America”/LMFAO’s “Party Rock”
The pack of youths (“youths” delivered using Liz Lemon’s chilling delivery) known as Intensity “don’t want to be Disney,” but I’m afraid it’s too early for them to rock ass-less chaps and cover Christina Aguilera’s “Dirrty.” The good news is that the group’s lead vocalists this week — Ellona and John, I think? — hit harder than a middle-school dodgeball. That said, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that part of me shuts down/tunes out every time I’m faced with so many members bouncing around the stage, and all the electric-kaleidoscopic stars bursting on the backdrop, and the kids’ faces suddenly getting projected like dystopian dictators, and the streamers rocketing, and sheer noise and scope and awfulness of it all. Also: Why were the judges spelling out their critiques? They do know that these kids are old enough to understand what “s.o.r.r.y” means, yes?

Drew Ryniewicz: Nelly’s “Just a Dream”
I question the taste level of the American Beauty-esque, shot-from-above-on-a-bed-of-petals intro — Simon does realize Mena Suvari was a projection of Kevin Spacey’s inappropriate sexual fantasies in that movie, yes? — but to me, Drew (in her pink, tiered tutu and tights) gave the performance of the night. The adorkable teenager hit all her notes, captured the emotions behind the lyrics of a song you simply wouldn’t expect her to cover, and managed to seem like the kind of artist you’d expect to hear at the Grammys or the AMAs or the VMAs or SNL — except without the lipsynching and/or pitch problems. “I’m seeing a star emerge in front of me,” said Simon. Me too, sir. Me too.

Marcus Canty: Bobby Brown’s “Every Little Step”
It’s sometimes hard to tell what the judges really like on The X Factor — seeing how everyone is “great,” “amazing,” and “fantastic” — but they seemed particularly jazzed about Marcus’ paint-by-numbers cover of “Every Little Step.” To me, though, it raised the question Simon asked before the performance: “Why do we need another Bobby Brown?” Marcus’ voice is strong enough that L.A. should be assigning him offbeat and unexpected songs that can show he’s unique and exciting — and not just a future member of some New Edition tribute act. The staging of the performance, too, detracted from Marcus’ vocals, and bordered on overwhelming. There were so many dancers, and so much movement, and so many lights, that all I could really take away from it was Marcus’ awkward squat-and-shuffle dancing, and that’s probably the last thing he’d want anyone to focus on.

Stacy Francis, Patty Griffin’s “Up to the Mountain”
Stacy was offended by Simon’s comment last week that she’s just a church singer, but that didn’t stop her from hollerating the bejeezus out of a song that Crystal Bowersox once handled with such delicate beauty on the American Idol stage. Don’t get me wrong: Stacy has more talent in her eyelashes than most current pop tarts have in their whole bodies, but someone needs to help her learn about the joys of restraint. And I don’t think that person is going to be Nicole. “You are fulfilling your purpose!” declared her mentor. Ah well. If her purpose is to attack and destroy every note of every song she sings, then mission accomplished!

My Bottom Two Prediction
Leroy Bell and Lakoda Rayne

What did you think of this week’s X Factor? Who was your favorite? Who do you think will be participating in the bottom two sing-off for the judges? 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. Deb says:

    Over singing and over hyping is why I refuse to watch this show. I will, however, read your analysis each week.

    • Micaela says:

      I actually think The X Factor is quite refreshing. We should remember that this show is not only about the voice but also about the stage presence and the performance. Thus, I totally get the lights and the dancers. I watched the seventh season of the X factor UK while living in London last year and I absolutely loved it. Some of the acts where really corny and I was sure that Michael wouldn’t have like them, but most of them were incredible and they’re doing really great on the UK charts right now. Specially this teenage boy band One direction. So I think the show is really well thought and it works. I hope it has the same success in the US that has in the UK.

  2. Medic says:

    Stupid British guy is actually Welsh #SlezakFAIL.

    • S says:

      And since when is Wales not a part of Great Britain?

      • Medic says:

        The accent is different.

        • Dav says:

          So…A Georgia accent and a New York accent are vastly different but they are all still Americans.

        • Jess says:

          umm… All Welsh people are also British whereas English and Welsh are mutually exclusive, accent not withstanding. #SlezakNOTfail

          • (!) says:

            While you’re right, if you go to Wales, Scotland or Ireland themselves most people would call themselves Welsh/Scottish/Irish and that British has a more distinctly English connotation. Especially in Wales, where many people are actually raised speaking another language altogether (Gaelic in Ireland/Scotland is more rare). I’ve known a few people getting insulted being called British, and especially when people from NA ask if they’re from England.

        • Templar says:

          Cornish accent miles off of a Yorkshire accent. Still British.

          • Jack says:

            Pretty sure it’s only nn-British pepole who would ever say that “Welsh” and “British” are the same thing.

    • DonNY says:

      Wales is considered part of Great Britain, as well as Scotland and Northern Ireland…#MedicFAIL

  3. ana_muti says:

    I hope Josh can rise above this week. I don’t think Nicole is doing him any favors by choosing those songs.

    Stacy? I didn’t even recognize the song at first, she had so much malisma going. I have to say I actually cringed when she started into her (what Michael calls) “holleration.”

    Drew and Melonie are good singers, but their voices don’t interest me all that much. I’d be satisfied if they won, though.

    But I’d be much, much happier if Josh would throw off the yoke Nichole has saddled him with and next week gets down with the total blues he started off with. THAT Josh was the one I fell in love with and want to see win.

  4. TwoWire says:

    I keep waiting for legitimate critique and analysis of the contestants, but I think that the “everybody wins” mantra, that started with youth soccer games where no score is kept, keeps working its way up. I’m glad that you caught the very wonky notes sung by Stereo Hogzz, Josh Kracjik, and Lakoda Rayne (huh?), because the judges sure didn’t. Don’t misunderstand: there is undeniable talent in this group of 12 (well, maybe not across the board). On the other hand, I see far more creativity in terms of song selection, and sheer singing talent on “The Sing-Off”, where we also get to enjoy excellent, spot-on critiques from three excellent judges/musicians.

  5. Doctor says:

    That would have been a fail only if Slezak had said English guy. The Welsh are British #MedicFAIL :p

    • Ben says:

      And lets face it (no offence to Michael) but he probably picked British because it’s the easy out! ‘Woah, he’s got one of them British accents – but I don’t know which one’.

  6. John says:

    Drew’s performance was Nelly performed by Florence + the Machine…very smart, although the opening shot was a rip-off of Florence’s “Dog Days Are Over” performance on the VMA show last year.

    While I can say the talent level is higher than usual for this stage of a talent competition, I just don’t care that much about any of these contestants. Bah.

    • Delon says:

      Talking about that, Rachel’s performance was originated by an 18 y/o immigrant girl from Zimbabwe named GAMU during the auditions round of last year’s The X Factor UK where she ended up not competing due to her visa issue. She was a fan favorite and it was a huge controversy.

      Simon gave Rachel Gamu’s original version(she wrote the additional lyrics and did the arrangement herself). Watch her amazing performance here:

      So, Simon is not being inventive himself, but downright stealing a super talented but unfortunate immigrant girl’s originality.

      • Larie says:

        Wow, nice catch! It saddens me that Simon would steal another competitors original arrangment without giving her any credit. Shame. Gamu is amazing!

    • Yo says:

      This is a very talented group. I love Drew, but she concerns me: she is one of a very small selection of singers who I am not sure I could take an entire cd of. She is like a delicious small portion of a very rich dessert. Adele affects me the same way; although I love her voice I only like to listen to her properly shuffled. Drew might get monotonous in bulk; I think for that reason she needs to change up her songs.

  7. Volcfom says:

    Michael, just wanted to drop a line saying that Kendra’s CD drops next week!

  8. Tony says:

    Nice job Slezak.

    I do think the “S-O-R-R-Y” wasn’t a critique of Intensity, but an apology to Paula for his comment about her not knowing how to handle the group.

  9. Jax says:

    Michael, just wanted to comment that your first paragraph was awesome! No better description of these horrible TV talent shows exist on the web!

  10. Carly says:

    The Stereo Hogzz are terrible. They are out-dated, irrelevant, and not that talented. Their best singer isn’t strong enough to carry the whole team, especially with that brutal intro. I don’t know what anyone sees in them. They might have survived in the 90s, maybe.

  11. CalBuck says:

    Over-hyping + judges ignoring the inability to carry a tune + way-over-the-top production numbers + way too many lights/spots + Simon’s lack of integrity + mentor bickering = a show I can’t watch anymore. Too bad Fox picked it up again for next season.

    • Bonnie A says:

      Couldn’t have said it better! I can hardly watch the screen after awhile. And the judges are doing the “amazing” stuff way too much. I thought there would be more constructive criticism on this show.

  12. MusicFan says:

    The talent level on the Sing Off is so far above this that it’s ridiculous to compare. After watching the Sing Off, I have trouble listening to the X-factor judges use grandiose word to describe their contestants.

    • Merrilyn says:

      Amen to that. In fact, after last night’s X Factor, I had to watch the most recent episode of the Sing Off on my DVR as a palate cleanser.

  13. jazzy says:

    Simon especially gushed over Josh’s performance, as well as the other judges. I heard what you heard Slezak, so I’m a wittle confused between them telling me what to think and my own ears. Still l-o-v-e me some Josh.

  14. Liz says:

    I actually think that Stacy could be in trouble considering the huge internet backlash and the push of the internet use by this show. I also think she should talk to Melanie and learn how to reign in her vocals

  15. Erik says:

    Thank God you heard what you did. I thought something might be wrong with my hearing when not even Simon mentioned the vocal faults of Stereo Hogz(z?), Lakoda Rayne, and Josh.
    We need to get to know the individual members of Intensity. Right now it’s like they’re one creepy, collective unit with one emotion, which could be blind enthusiasm or psychotic bloodthirst.

  16. Elaine says:

    The overproduction is absolutely irritating.I wantto isolate 90% of the dancers and background videos. Enuff already. (Tho a few times the LOUD BACKGROUND tracks served to almost coverup some offkey singing. The biggest disapointment for me was the critiquing. After season 10 of AI, I’d had enough of judges who wouldn’t know how to constructively critique if their lives depending on it. I couldn’t wait to hear judges who actually judge so that the singers can actually learn and imrove. I’m still waiting. The judges were either AI-like iin their CONSTANT complimenting everyone or else they were criticizing each other’s song choices/staging. What th ehell? Let’s start getting real with these singers or Im not going to watch. Simon.. SMARTEN UP! Crap. Now it seems even more about the judges’ egos than I ever wanted it to be (yes, I know.. it always was abougt their egos, but they’re not masking it at all and it’s IRRITATING).

    Come on you guys, let’s start being real judges or I’m gonna lock you up in a room with Steven, Randy and JLo. Enuff already.

  17. Mike says:

    Michael, You mention Crystal Bowersox’s version of “Up to the Mountain” but don’t forget Kelly Clarkson initially did a beautiful rendition of it on the Idol Gives Back stage. And it seemed like Stacy tried to do Kelly’s version note for note/phrase for phrase. Of course, with much more “hollerating” as you put it! lol Wasn’t a fan of Stacy’s oversung version, but I’ll always be biased on that tune.

    • Tony says:

      Thanks for reminding us of Kelly’s version. While watching Ms. Clarkson I saw that Josh Kracjik also did the same song, on the same show, on the same season. Huh?

  18. Sally in Chicago says:

    Am I first? I’m still warming to this show. I think it’s Simon that gets on my nerves, his smug reaction to the singers and the dollar signs steaming from his eyes. And the dancers hopping around and all the flashing back-screens. Too much. Where’s the live band?

  19. Kim R says:

    Love Josh. He is my favorite by far. Don’t know why Paula dressed her girls like the Disney Princesses but that is the first thing that came to mind when I saw them. Hmmmmmm Did not like the lyric change in Walking on Sunshine. I don’t get the point of that at all & found it distracting. I have sort of zoned out a bit since Nicole chose to keep Dexter after the “judge’s home” visits. We’ll see how America does. :)

  20. Jen Zen says:

    Is it fortunate or unfortunate that there is a bra named “Drew”, draped on a waif of a girl that looks a lot like Drew Ryniewicz, that is being advertised during X Factor?

    Reputedly, it adds two cup sizes.

    • Yo says:

      You must be the only person alive that sticks around during commercial breaks, then actually watches the commercials. If you click out fast enough you can catch most of Modern Family.

  21. Jurybox says:

    Anyone else feel that the production numbers that are way over the top with too many dancers etc. are done just to fill in the gaps left by a mediocre performer? The real voices in this competition don’t need the extra “help”. I’m still a huge Josh fan and Melanie Amaro blew me away. Can they just release their CDs now please?

  22. Mg says:

    Umm Welsh is British as in British Isles

  23. KSM says:

    I also wish the judges would actually judge more. But I don’t mind the theatrics as much. This is not just a singing competition, so it is interesting to see how the performers interact with the stage and the audience the way they would in a concert setting. I’m hoping that as the show goes on, now that they have the comfort of the season two pickup, that the judges will get down to business with the critiquing.

  24. KT says:

    I am Scottish – I am also British
    Simon Cowell is English – he is also British
    Steve Jones is welsh – he is also British

    Great Britain is the collection of all of these countries. Our passports all say British.

  25. Kevin C. says:

    Melanie may be cruising for a Piaesque 9th place finish unless she can actually get her act together and convince people she’s not just a ballad singer.

    (Yes, I know Pia did finally sing a non-ballad song in a somewhat non-balladish way, but it was too little too late for her).

  26. socalgal says:

    Too much recap; too many dancers; accompaniment too loud; too many lights; too many great critiques that are inane; judges should set the category for what each contestant needs to perform (tempo, ballad, pop, etc.) and let the contestant make song selection. Whole show is over produced. Unfortunately, the best voice will lose over best entertainer.

  27. lee says:

    i think marcus is a dark horse in the competition. he has a really good voice. he could be like chris brown or usher. he could actually be very current in todays music scene with the right material.

  28. Abby says:

    I don’t have a twitter account but I’m pretty sure any tweet that went out with an xfactor hashtag during stacy’s performance read:

    Crystal Bowersox did it better #xfactor #americanidolreigns

    Also, why do you think the producers cloned Steven Tyler so many times and booked all of his multiples on xfactor? Don’t we have enough soft critiques on AI??

  29. ERICA says:

    dont get it confused. the same things these contestants are being put thru are what the big singing stars do. THE STAGE SHOWS, THE BACK UP DANCERS, THE LOUD MUSIC, THE HUGE SCREEN. It is a test to see if these singers have concert-performance qualities, if they can rally a crowd, if they have any STAGE PRESENCE at all (hence some ppl getting lost in the dancers, lighting etc) & certainly can they really sing LIVE! music, dancers, louder music etc. This competition ACCURATELY represents what goes down for the real superstars in the industry today. they’ve got to live up to the expectations, or go home. it is what it is. & u can always turn the channel on wednesdays and thursdays nights.

    • Shindig says:

      I get what you’re saying but not all of them give concerts like that xD The problem is that the overproduction they do..just isn’t good. it’s cheesy. I lol’d at Chris’ performance. Flames? REALLY? With the pot head flames background? It’s just interesting that the ones that aren’t over the top of the most satisfying performances. I just want the judges to stop sticking the same damn songs on the contestants and show a little variety.

    • Lana says:

      It seems that everyone is expecting something like AI and that isn’t the show at all. It is all about the dancing and lights and so on. Almost every entertainer when doing concerts have all that. I mean just look at Lady GaGa, Madonna, Britney, Cher and so on who do that and we as their audience love it. I don’t understand why on this show its scoffed at or considered over done, strange. There are two competitions going on, the singers and the judges who want their singer to win so it is totally different than AI, Sing Along and so forth so quit comparing it to them. The closest to X Factor is The Voice and I prefer X to them. I do miss Simon’s snarky comments but hopefully as it goes along he will quit channeling Steven Tyler and become himself

  30. Becky says:

    I had the exact same American Beauty association when Drew was lying on the bed of flower petals. And I knew Stacy was singing one of my favorite songs, but it was so overdone I could hardly discern the melody. Bowersox one; Francis zero.

  31. KP says:

    I feel like Simon has gotten lazy, choosing songs that are rehashed versions of something Idol or X-Factor UK contestants have done in past seasons. As a judge, he’s lost his edge. He doesn’t criticize any of the acts on X-Factor, but if acts had given similar mediocre performances on Idol, he would tell them so in the harshest way possible. Instead of giving an honest critique to the ho-hum acts, he’ll rip apart the other “mentors”, because he think it makes compelling TV.

    Why those groups are up there is beyond me. I think it should be against the rules to have backing vocal tracks when you’re a group. People might actually think you can sing in tune…

    Favorites – Melanie, Drew, Josh
    Already sick of – Stacy, Astro, any of the groups

    Quote of the evening from Welsh-bot: “Give me a hug immediately!”

    • Dat.Darn.Kat4855 says:

      I agree with this, Simon lost his edge, he annoys me now.
      I hope Josh wins, that’s all.

      • Yo says:

        Is it me or is Simon’s face altered? He doesn’t look like himself, sorta like Cher After or Carol Burnett or Meg Ryan or a Housewife from somewhere.

        • lml says:

          I know! He looks weird. Plastic surgery I guess. His face changed and so did his ears. He thinks StereoHogzz are the best band around????

    • Volcfom says:

      Thank you for pointing out that the groups have back-up vocalists. I understand that in a real concert they can have as many back-ups as they want, but I definitely don’t like it during the show. Lakoda Rayne sounded “blended” because they had people off stage (or on a track) filling in the gaps.

  32. GG says:

    I think I missed something somewhere along the way…..
    How do the eliminations work? How can one act leave per week if the two part finale is scheduled for December 21 & 22? Wouldn’t there still be 5 acts left in the competition at that point?
    Someone please enlighten me!

  33. kansasfemale says:

    I love Josh.

    I thought he blew it when I heard him on TV.
    Sounded off pitch.
    Couldn’t understand what the judges saw/heard in it.
    Was very bummed.
    Listened on laptop again.
    Same thing.
    Let husband hear him on main computer (with good stereo system)…….LOVED IT!. ??? Not sure what the TV and laptop did to the sound, but he sounded great through a good stereo system. I’m sure THAT sound is what the judges were commenting on.

    Whew. I really want Josh to hang around.

    • Yo says:

      I didn’t think he was off-key and I usually wince pretty quickly. I did think the song seemed incredibly difficult to sing and the second half of it was better than the first, which was too low for him. Slezak suggested (somewhere) that Josh clean up a bit. Sadly, I think he actually has cleaned up and no one noticed; some people just look the same before and after. Josh has an infectious grin which compensates nicely for the thin oily hair.

  34. Dan says:

    I like how Simon tried to take credit for changing those lyrics for Rachel Crow….


    That’s all.

  35. s-k-s says:

    Can someone explain how the eliminations work? They can’t do single eliminations and actually wrap this show up in December – will they do multiple elminations later in the show?

    • Max says:

      They take the bottom two and the judges vote. If it’s a tie, the person with the fewest votes goes home. That’s at least how they do it in the UK.

  36. PatD says:

    Another thing (which I hope Michael addresses sometime soon): Why are we back to the hideously truncated versions of songs? I got all excited during the auditions when they actually let the contestants sing several minutes of their chosen songs. Now, we’re back to the detested 45 sec. crap.

    These performances really do sound different on a good sound system. Half the acts sound drowned out on my TV, but when I listen to them again on YouTube (I have excellent speakers hooked up to my computer), some of them are like revelations. Terrible sound mixing on this show.

    • Jason says:

      You’re making the kind of sense that doesn’t. Obviously you need a new sound system on your tv if it sounds good on your computer and not on your TV. The production is not responsibe for your speakers being good!!

  37. blingedup.susan says:

    My biggest disappointment from this season:

    That Nicole is “mentoring” two of my favorites, LeRoy and Josh. However long they survive, it’s going to be in spite of her mentoring. What a disadvantage!! Hope LeRoy survives her meddling this week.

    • pepper says:

      Couldn’t agree more, she is not helping her mentees (?) in the least. Of all of the judges, it seems like Paula is doing the most. Simon makes fun of the other judges, but his song choices, staging, etc. are totally cliched (well actually, all of them are.) Don’t know why he changed the words to Walking on Sunshine. And his comment to Nicole about “Adults are talking” was so rude – If he thinks so little of her, why did he put her on his show? Don’t know how much longer it will be worth watching. I really like Josh, but wish he could do his own thing and not be burdened by Nicole’s poor choices.

  38. Justin says:

    Drew. That’s all.

  39. Sydney says:

    Yes!! I second that!

  40. BeachBum says:

    No judge mentions the many missed notes from Little Miss Sunshine and the off-key screeching from Stacy? Maybe they’re afraid of coming off as big ole meanies.

  41. Vetle says:

    You critizising the lyrics changes on “Walking On Sunshine” is like you critizising Gamu Nhengu. I can’t have that. :(

  42. PatD says:

    I know I’m in the vast minority on this, but I really don’t get all the Steve Jones hate. I remember his interaction with the families backstage during the auditions, and his genuine joy for them when someone did really well was something Ryan Seacrest has never managed to convey.

    There’s something basically very unaffected about him. Plus, I like the way he doesn’t hesitate to contradict Simon. Sure, Seacrest did that a lot, but it always felt staged, and he would usually back down afterwards. Jones never does. He just… moves on.

    Maybe it’s because I’ve read some pretty cool stuff about him on the U.K. X Factor boards, but I think he just needs time to get comfortable being in front of millions more than he’s used to. I hope Simon gives him a shot at a second season. If he doesn’t loosen up after that, I’ll jump on the bandwagon, but I’m not ready to just yet.

    • Lana says:

      @PatD I totally agree, I like him too. He keeps the show moving and he is funny you just have to catch his asides cause they are quick and sharp. He is definately better than the guy who did the Voice, though I can’t remember his name and I know I know him better than Steve.

  43. snarkfest says:

    Lakoda Rayne = The Lennon Sisters. ZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzz

  44. fela says:

    The best performances were Melanie, Drew & Astro. Nicole is doing a terrible job of picking songs for the over 30 group. The over 30 need to sing more current songs. It is really a shame because their voices are not being show cased. I want Simon & the crew to concentrate on the singing of the contestants and not the dancing they can learn that later. Marcus was so out of breath he could not keep up with the song. The music was overpowering & you could not hear him. The same for the Stereo Hogz music too loud. Chris Rene performance was not that great. Rachel Crow they are preping her for Disney & Nickeloden. The Lakoda Rayne are not that great & still do not understand why they were picked to begin with. Intensity has too many people in it. No one really shines to me. They are all over the place. I hope Simon works with Leroy if he gets kicked off because he definitely has it. Nicole just does not know how to mentor.

  45. Sally says:

    People always talk about how this show is “soo much better” than idol, but when you compare the performances from the two shows, the difference is huge.

    Up To The Mountain-Crystal > Stacy
    Summertime-Fantasia > Stacy

    Lauren > Rachel Crow

  46. Jason S says:

    This show is starting to prove that Ryan Seascrest is the true star of Idol!! The judges seem easily replaceable but making the show enjoyable with no purpose but moving it along is proving a hard role. I have to admit the judges on Idol last year did a million per cent better job at picking talent then the judges at ex-factor. Steven and Jennifer at least tried to pick some hip, different and diverse artists. This show is just a bland melange of overplayed RNB acts, kid novelty groups and over the hill RNB acts. To tell you the truth the only act I think with a chance of selling albums is Dakota Rain and the audience is going to vote them out within a week or two because they are cute women. And you know how well they do on these shows. I think Simon knows that and that is why he chose three sexually non threatening contestants.

  47. Pearl says:

    I wish the X Factor was just a little more like the britain… There we have spectacles and amazng singers, REALLY trained by their mentor. Right now the american version looks just like… American Idol meets The Voice. And is not that good either…

  48. syb says:

    Color me disappointed. I say, lock the mentors out of rehearsals and let these kids follow their instincts.

    Josh with the soulful bluesy vibe doing a saccharine cover–evoked Meatloaf. Grr. Wasting talent here.

    Rachel: Seriously, I kept thinking to what end do you change the lyrics of “Walking on Sunshine” to “You are my Sunshine?” What is the point?

    I sorta liked the idea of Chris’s Superstar, but he’s no Sonic Youth…Ditto with Melanie’s Desperado. Good enough song choice, but not much different than Linda Rondstadt’s arrangement, and somehow not as haunting. She has a lovely voice though.

    Drew was good vocally, reasonably good song choice, and she’s a shoo in for the final 2, but the staging and outfit were cheesy. They’re trying way too hard for the Taylor Swift effect here.

    I love Leroy’s voice. What a horrible song choice.

    I will say this was the least annoying performance from Stacy. She sounded great in parts, and not once did I have to mute.

    I kinda like the StereoHogzz, but wow that beginning was a disaster. I felt like I was standing between two different banquet rooms listening to that string orchestration against whatever entirely different track the singer was warbling.

    The rest of them, too manufactured, packaged, forgettable to talk about.

    I hope you’re wrong about Leroy, but I fear you’re right.

  49. Volcfom says:

    I’m getting annoyed with the repeat songs throughout the season. Other singing competitions have many repeats throughout the year, but there have been so many repeats throughout the different rounds so far. To name a few:
    “Up to the Mountain” by Josh and Stacy,
    “Desperado” by Melanie and during group round(Leroy’s group),
    and Leroy singing “Make You Feel My Love” during boot camp and judge’s homes.
    I’m sure there were others, and I’m sure there will be more.

  50. Jason says:

    Drew looks like the love child of Taylor Swift and Mr. Ed.