The X Factor Season 2 Premiere Recap: Oops!...They Did It Again [Updated]

x factor quatreleLightning flashed. Crazy people spat and swore. Someone got carried out on a stretcher. And then, a geometric meteor streaked toward the Statue of Liberty.

This is…the cold open of The X Factor‘s Season 2 premiere?

Lest you found yourself confused, Simon Cowell & Co. quickly cut from the intergalactic-themed credits to a familiar image: A convoy of X Factor-branded 18-wheelers driving through the barren highways of the American heartland. (Little known “fact”: Steve Jones is still on the payroll, but this year he’s behind the wheel of one of those trucks, rather than the microphone.)

PHOTOS | The X Factor: 8 Dream Hosts for Season 2

Another thing that hasn’t changed about The X Factor? There isn’t a more prepackaged, contrived, overly processed reality competition on TV today. (What other show would cast a cruel blonde villainess straight out of Mean Girls casting?) But then again, you could use those very adjectives to describe a slice of Sunbeam Bread, and that doesn’t mean it’s not the world’s most perfect foundation for a grilled-cheese (product) sandwich, now does it?

Obviously, though, the real question hanging over the show’s second season centered on the reconfigured judges’ panel. How would Britney Spears and Demi Lovato fare in the seats formerly occupied by Nicole Whatshernameagain and Paula Abdul? Spears came off as charming and refreshingly honest, even if her eyes occasionally flashed the primal fear of a person who’s just woken up in a strange bed and wondered “Where am I and how the hell did I get here?” Lovato, for her part, was a less distinctive presence, but served her purpose in giving Simon a partner with whom he could verbally parry and thrust over the course of the two-hour telecast. (Best zinger: Cooing that the audience would be “so impressed by [his] new outfit” — Cowell’s standard delapidated white t-shirt — “that they’ve never seen before.”)

And best of all, after almost 120 minutes of good but not mind-bending talent — we only saw six successful auditions the entire episode, a paltry tally of one every 20 minutes — the show gave us a legitimate pop-rock hopeful in Jannel Garcia, whose ferocious cover of Grace Potter’s “Paris (Ooh La La)” headed to the opposite pole from the one inhabited by Simon’s latest creation, One Direction. (And that’s what makes her beautiful-oh-oh…)

I just wish that Cowell & Co. had a little more faith in the X Factor audience than to set every single audition up with such a carefully coiffed and edited backstory.

I mean, wasn’t the gorgeous single mom/nursing student inspiring enough without the extended counteraction of showing the bitchy blonde sisters making fun of the run in her stocking? Wouldn’t the skater-boy trio have been more appealing if we hadn’t had to endure their eye-rolling disdain for the monotone former boy-bander. (Note to the “dudes”: It’s better not to boast about your disdain for pre-fab music and all its trappings it’s clear you and your eyebrow-sculptor are on a first name basis.)

Simon being Simon, of course, there was also the inevitable Ick Factor (A thought: Couldn’t Fox just make that a Saturday-night spinoff and stop killing the mothership’s good vibes?) Worst moment of the night, hands down, was Britney’s one-time duet partner Don Philip, slurring his way through Beyonce’s “Halo” like a boxer staggering toward the ropes notes, then later sobbing in a hallway that he’d “hurt Britney” by…not singing well? Forcing her to prove her judging cred by giving him a “no” to Boot Camp? Making people change the channel for her maiden X Factor voyage by serving up a steaming plate of uncomfortable? I’ll give Britney credit for letting her old pal down with a firm but kind assessment — “your voice isn’t up to the bar” of what the judges are looking for, she said, not dragging things out at all — and for acknowledging that the guy had clearly faced some adversity in the decade since she’d last seen him. But when the interminable segment finally cut to commercial, I couldn’t help but wonder: Was there any chance this dejected one-time pop hopeful might do actual harm to himself, or someone else, after he watches the X Factor season premiere? And that’s not the kind of question that makes for Feel-Good TV.

RELATED | The Voice Season 3 Premiere Recap: You Make a Grown Man Cry 

Yikes. I just went off on a tangent, only to realize that much like X Factor itself, I’m not focusing this recap nearly enough on the talent. So without further ado, let’s rank the singers headed to Boot Camp:

6) Quatrele Da’an Smith: Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” — He’s on the right track, baby, he was born this way. No, I don’t mean the right track to anything further than Day 1 of Boot Camp, but given his outré/deranged wedding garb, this love child of Madonna, Bobby Brown, and Dracula (according to Simon) kinda sorta did earn that ticket to the next round. I mean, at least he wasn’t boring, right?

5) Reed Deming: Bruno Mars’ “Grenade” — He’s not too young to be singing “Grenade” at this point in his life, you say? Okay, fine, but don’t complain to me when the Season 3 premiere includes a pregnant woman playing audio feedback from her ultrasound to convince the judges they need to keep aiming younger, younger, younger. (“Who else’s energy am I gonna siphon off to stop my hair from turning gray?” asked Simon)

4) Paige Thomas: Rose Royce’s “I’m Going Down” — Her nerves kept her from achieving Jazzlyn Little levels of awesomeness, but if The X Factor is aiming to be more about overall package and less about mega vocals, this chica who scored Simon’s “commercial with a capital C” label might be an interesting one to follow.

3) Emblem3: an original track called “Sunset Boulevard” — I’m only keeping them out of second place because their unneccessary nastiness to the boy-band guy, and their carefully unshowered look. (No me gusta, even if you really are genuine Sk8er Bois.) (Also: Someone please slap me silly for using Avril Lavigne’s janky spelling of “skater boys.” Ooooh that felt better.)

2) Jillian Jensen: Jessie J’s “Who You Are” — Hey, if Simon’s man enough to admit teared up at Jillian’s tale of surviving teenage bullying — and the subsequent gut-spilling beauty she brought to “Who You Are” — then I’m not ashamed to say the producers successfully manipulated me to reach for the Kleenex during this performance, either. (Sniffle.)

1) Janell Garcia: Grace Potter and the Nocturnals’ “Paris (Ooh La La)” — Janell seemed as fresh-scrubbed and sweet as Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood were for their Idol auditions, and yet once she took the stage, Janell also proved 50 times more dangerous. I need Janell to stop maniacally running her fingers through her hair — and let’s be honest, a punky short ‘do would do her a world of wonders — but otherwise she performed the bejeezus out of the night’s coolest song choice.

And now I turn things over to you! Did you see a potential winner in the Austin, TX-San Francisco-Providence, RI auditions? Were there any decisions by the judges you would’ve vetoed? Sound off in the comments!

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!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. Esaul says:

    I enjoyed it.

  2. Elena says:

    I just wish they had showed more auditions rather than all the backstage drama which gives it that pre-packaged, contrived feeling. And does anyone feel like Simon is determined to make the U.S. version of One Direction this year? I just get that vibe every time they showed an attractive teenager on the program.
    Anyway, the talent was a bit disappointing but the last girl Jannel was pretty good, and I actually thought the three teenage guys sounded pretty decent even though they do look like a boyband. They had a fun song.

  3. Riley Bean says:

    did it do better than the Voice?? :)

  4. Wesley says:

    Most of it was pretty painful to watch, but at least we had Jannel, she was great.

  5. Joan says:

    It was entertaining. Britney did a good job and so did Demi, although I can’t help but feel the latter is too inexperienced in front of the camera – everytime she opened her mouth there was lots of “uh…” “so…” “yeah…”, it kinda bothered me, but nothing really bad.

    • Marisa says:

      I think that’s more because she’s a teenager….she has plenty of on-camera experience. She used to be on Barney and then she had her own series on Disney.

  6. petunia says:

    It was hysterical yet still cringe worthy how they set up those clueless folks with the backstage footage, especially those sisters Kaci and Kali.

    • rwfblog says:

      I wonder if they have auditioners sign a release letting them know they’ll be subject to a “b*tch edit”.

      • Caroline says:

        They actually do. And I quote “The X Factor, producers, judges, and crew members may not be held liable for ridicule or humiliation you may receive from taking part in the audition process.” So they aren’t told, but they are warned that it could happen.

  7. Mary B says:

    I really liked Britney and Demi as judges. They were like a breathe of fresh air. I really was surprised.

    • FreeHaley says:

      Yeah, I thought the panel really worked out well. I actually said way back when I thought it actually might be a stroke of genius when he picked that panel, despite all the cries about how absurd the choices were, and it does seem to have worked out. Certainly for the audition rounds. Hopefully it carries on. I think it will. The idol panel just feels totally stale in comparison. And they are refreshingly honest and straight to the point when they need to be but also super enthusiastic when warranted and the chemistry and everything is working well.

  8. Yep says:

    I liked Emblem3. Felt like they needed to be holding guitars.

  9. Yeah Emblem3 proclaimed they weren’ta boy band they play there own instruments and then they perform sans instruments

  10. Tiff says:

    I thought Emblem 3 were the best there, and Jannel was great and amazing, but I do think they put in way too much of the talking and crying after her performance.

  11. Tiff says:

    Overall, though, this is still the absolute worst singing show on TV. I hate the cheesy music that they put on after a contestant gets through, and I hate how long they spend on the packages beforehand. Even Duets and The Next are better than this – at least it didn’t delve so much into sob stories and overall cheesefests.

    In my opinion, here’s how singing shows rank right now:

    1. The Voice – actually focuses on the singing, and the judges can actually sing. Also, their bantering is hilarious and not annoying.
    2. American Idol – only thing I hate about it are the judges
    3. Duets – again, at least most of the judges can sing, even if they’re pretty boring. I like Quddus, but I found the rest of the show and the ranking system confusing. But they produced a real talent in J. Rome
    4. The Next – dumb show, but at least I don’t have to fast-forward through everything and the judges seem interested in helping people.
    5. The X Factor – when I’m only interested in listening to Britney and Simon speak, and fast-forwarding through most of the performances as well as the packages, there’s a problem.

    • Lili says:

      Sorry, my friend, but The Voice is not – and never will be – about the contestants. Half of their presentations are closes of the judges’ faces while they’re sitting on those stupid chairs. Carson Daly can’t stop praising them: “four of the biggest names in music”, the “Grammy winners”, “the vocal prodigy” and “the country male vocalist of the year”…

      • Noel says:

        One thing I really like about the Voice is that they don’t do the whole bad audition thing..even the people that don’t make it, usually have a decent voice. The whole bad audition thing was entertaining when Idol first started, but now it’s tired, and I wish they wold just skip over that. (Note: I have yet to watch both the Voice and/or X-factor this season…but I’m hoping the Voice stuck to that format)

    • Chris says:

      For hating a lot of singing shows you sure take the time to sit down and watch them don’t you?

    • Ash Q says:

      The Voice? Focuses on Singing? HAH!
      It’s completely centered around the judge. And while often funny, their banter does get tiring after a while.

      I’m always excited for The Voice during the audition rounds, but quickly lose interest after.

      But I do appreciate their lack of bad auditions.

      • MB says:

        Totally, totally agree with you. The Voice is actually my least favorite show, it totally frustrates me after the blind auditions are over. You never get a chance to really know the contestants. The eliminations are so fast and the judges have way too much power on who goes and who stays.
        Also I had The Voice on DVR last night and watched it after the X-Factor and was totally bored. The three night thing was a bad idea.
        I also read an interview with Blake Shelton and he and possibly the other judges will not be back next year. They are complaining about the back to back season and said it forces them to quit because it stops them from doing their touring and the other things important in their career.
        NBC has been down the tubes for a long time and now they have a show that gives decent ratings and they are over saturating the public with it. Just like they did with AGT. That’s all you saw was reruns of it when they needed to fill a space. How many times can you watch the same show.

  12. Scott says:

    Hard to root for Emblem 3 when they came across as stuck up jerks

  13. blingedup says:

    Loved it! I’m so glad it’s back on.

    Wasn’t thrilled about Brittney and Demi as judges, but they both changed my mind tonight — especially Brittney. She was great and I did not expect to feel that way.

    Loved the first girl up, Jannel that Michael mentioned, and the last girl who had the bullying backstory.

    I think it’s going to be a good season.

  14. Forwarddad says:

    So disagree. Loved it. Love Britney.

  15. Titina says:

    Don´t like this show at all. It feels so contrived and so fabricated.
    Still think The Voice is million times better. At least it keeps it real and to the singing..

  16. Scout says:

    I am glad I read this. I guess my DVR only caught the second half. I only watched today to pick between this show and the “other one” on NBC. I think I will go with the other. I was dying to see Britney be wacky, this whole erudite-looking, serious thing she’s doing is just not working for me. I prefer Xtina with her boobs hanging out and those girdle panties she insists on wearing. She’s a hot mess and I just love it.

    Thanks for the review. I feel like I didn’t miss anything from the first half. The last girl was heartbreaking. Very haunting voice.

  17. Sam says:

    I actually think Demi really stole the show. She only misted up a little even at the most emotional moment, and she seemed to be more of a viewer surrogate than I’ve seen in most judges. She doesn’t get offended easily, she’s not overly emotional, and she seems to have intelligent things to say. So, considering Simon’s history of stone-cold misogyny, I’m kinda surprised she made it on the show.

    • Chris says:

      So agree!

    • Vivi says:

      In interviews, Simon gushes so hard for Demi. He says that a lot of folks will not only be surprised by her but would grow to love her as the auditions goes on. I’ve been a fan of hers since her Disney Channel days and I’m so happy that other folks are getting to know her and her personality. Also, the girl can sang. Yes, sang.

      • Yo' says:

        I’m wondering if the reason I don’t find the judges entertaining is that I have never watched the Disney channel?

        • Interloper450 says:

          Whew!!! I watched this show on DVR and immediately deleted. Brittany ooked old and Demi and the Jensen girl were weepy and hard to watch. I guess they wanted to get some empathy from the audience. The show and the contestants sucked. What a bore

    • djm says:

      I agree – other than seeing her on the cover of US or People or one of the other tabloids I have no idea who she is – but I feel head over heels in love with her last night – she is feisty and well spoken and a joy to watch. I also thought Brit was WAY better than I thought she’d be.

    • MB says:

      I totally agree. I really liked Demi and she is the one I was not happy about being a judge.

  18. Lynn says:

    All of the other reality television competition shows are chasing Idol in terms of talent. And that’s the main problem. We didn’t see a contestant tonight who would make the top 24 (maybe the top 40) of Idol. Same thing for the Voice. (although at this point you’d think talented vocalists would go elsewhere.)

    The “production” wasn’t much different from Hollywood week. They’re trying to get us to connect more with the singers. Which is a good idea. But allows for a lot of manipulation.

    The best part of it, Britney and Demi. Hopefully this isn’t just editing and they do this well on the Live shows. But the two of them seem like they’ve got a shot at being two of the best judges we’ve seen on any of these reality shows. Certainly better than any women. (In which, unfortunately, JLo may actually be the best one.)

  19. corey says:

    The talent was extremely lacking, but Spears did great, Lavato did fine. Still not a fan of LA Reid…..and then there’s Simon…

  20. tiffanie says:

    I loved it and think brittney and demi are great and much better than last year. Love simon and would watch him on any show just hope he doesn’t try to put through and force those awful girls like last year I thought he lost his hearing and eyesight at his house. And whoever wrote the comment above ranking the different singing shows and at least on the voice the judges are singers, just because they are singers doesn’t make them any more qualified than judges like ones on other shows that aren’t singers. La reid simon randy ETC. they produce and sign talent and make millions off/from those artists I think that qualifies them more than singers and hey I like all the shows some are more entertaining than others but everyone is different and have different tastes and views and opinions! DIFFERENT STROKES DIFFERENT FOLKS!

  21. mia says:

    I’ve never watched X Factor before, but I tuned in for Britney + Demi and they were easily the highlight of the show.
    They both spoke well and I think they have unique perspectives on the industry. It will be nice to have two confident (and still incredibly relevant) women at a judges panel for once.

  22. Jared says:

    Loved it! Britney and Demi did great! So looking forward to this season.

  23. TheLamma says:

    So few comments here. So few comments on the other usual suspects. SycoTV & Fox will tell themselves that all the valueable traffic has moved to twitter, i suspect otherwise. i cant wait to see the ratings for S2E1. It could be a bloodbath.

  24. mimz says:

    I personally felt bad for Don Phillip…This obviously caught Britney off guard…And for those of you who say that the show is “scripted” and “contrived” is nuts. How can you fake the raw emotion that Britney expressed on her face, especially when her old protege Don Phillip took the stage. He used to be a good singer, but as Britney openly pointed out, the guy has issues of the drug kind. For me, the best performance of the night was Jannel. But I do have to agree with some of the negative comments on here. The last performance was the underdog of this season, the person who is going to beat all odds and keep the sheep erm I mean people cheering. And the Emblem 3 thing is good, and I can unfortunately already see them in the semi finals or further. They are hip hop and represent popular music…But they are still a boy band at best. Until I see instruments in their hands, they are a boy band! Perhaps more disturbing tonight to me was when the guy before Emblem 3 performed. Simon obviously didn’t like him from the get go and even said, “this guy does like 3000 auditions a year” after he left the stage…Talk about getting the idol rejects. I don’t know what this season will end up being, but I know it beats the hell out of season one so far. I just hope Britney keeps bringing the bitch and Simon and Demin can tone down the whole Daddy/Daughter shtick thing they got going on…Kinda weird.

    • Shaun says:

      I guess White Rappers are considered Boy Band…..there was considerable rapping in it.

    • Simon Cow's ugly chest hair says:

      I have been watching X Factor UK for a while and I can confirm that there is a lot of manipulation and scripting that goes on. Before a contestant goes on stage, a barrage of producers arrive at the judges table with folders on end to give them all the info on the contestants. The judges know everything about the contestants (including the sob stories) before they even hit that stage, they then use manipulation to get them to tell their sob stories and try to act \”sincere\”. The judges know before hand who is going to be good and who wont, the producers give them all the information before the contestant hits the stage. You cannot tell me you actually believed Simon\’s little \”hand gesture\” and \”sing another song\” was not obvious. X Factor is a TV show and expect a lot of manipulation.

    • MB says:

      I kind of like that Simon is protective of Demi. It is kind of sweet. It would be a whole lot worse if it was a flirty situation. To me that would really be kind of gross and weird considering their age difference.

  25. James says:

    Britney was so much fun to watch. She actually gave good feedback. I’m surprised.

  26. Tim says:

    Loved the Pat Benatar girl. Everybody else, meh.

    As far as judges, loved Britney and Simon, hate LA as always, and Demi is superfluous.

  27. Sara says:

    I loved it. I loved Season 1 for the most part, and I love it even more this year. I love Demi and Britney as judges. They’re funny, but they’re honest. I think Demi and Simon and Britney are hilarious.

    That being said, I don’t even notice that only 6 talented people were showcased. I enjoyed the judges comments, I LOVE seeing backstory to contestants, and I loved the performances. The only thing I would have loved to see cut was the two blonde b*tches.

    Other than that, I love The X Factor, and I love The Voice. Will not be tuning into American Idol this year. :)

    • Johnny says:

      You are an idiot, why wouldn’t you tune into American Idol this year? At least they have produced stars, unlike the other two. And you will be watching.

      • Sara says:

        Because Idol has gone downhill over the years. I could hardly stand last season. If I were to watch Idol this year, it would be only for the top 12. I couldn’t care less about the auditions, and the hell they put those people through for group week.

        Not only that, but I cannot listen to Randy Jackson ramble on about absolutely nothing for yet another season. I really don’t care much for Mariah Carey, or seeing their love fest that is sure to happen. (IE: you’re the best producer ever! You’re the best singer ever!) It’s going to be ridiculous. And should Nicki Minaj get a spot on the panel, that will really seal it for me.

        And as for the other two shows ‘not producing stars’, maybe in your opinion that’s true. Yes, I love Carrie Underwood, Daughtry, and Kelly Clarkson. But, I was also excited to buy Dia Frampton’s debut album (The Voice), I think Chris Renee and Josh Krajcik and Rachel Crowe from the first season of The X Factor are awesome and I will listen to whatever songs or albums they put out.

        • Mary says:

          So I guess you watch for the judges not the contestants. I think they should have a good rapport but sorry the problem with The Voice and Xfactor and now AI the show has become about the judges not the contestants. In the beginning I understand the focus on them, but not once the finalist have been picked. I found it odd that you will only listen to the XF contestants but you never mention purchasing one of their albums.

          • Sara says:

            I watch for both. Like I said, I love Carrie, and Kelly, and Daughtry, I cried when Clay Aiken lost. But to be honest, I haven’t liked MANY of the singers in the past few years. I was thrilled when Phillip Phillips won because I’d definitely listen to him. There were, however, very few people last season I can imagine myself listening to frequently. Just because I care about the judges and their chemistry doesn’t mean I’m not interested in the contestants whatsoever. I feel AI is far too harsh on them for group week. Every year, I curse at my TV because Idol angers me. The judges, the contestants they pick, the ‘themes’, everything. Whereas when I watch X Factor and The Voice, I’m not angry. I like the judges, their chemistry is awesome. I love hearing the backstories of contestants, and I love seeing the talented people.

            And I haven’t purchased said albums because I wasn’t aware that they were out yet. I have every intention of purchasing them, absolutely. I purchased Dia Frampton’s from The Voice, not to mention a handful of a songs off of iTunes of a lot of the performers. I can honestly say I have never ONCE done that for Idol.

    • Johnny says:

      Also, idol will be getting new judges too, you should just give it a chance. Dummy.

      • Chrissie Kirk says:

        I used to feel that folk who left comments on this website were somewhat of an intelligent mind, nice, kind, could string 2 sentences together. Now we’ve got name calling and whining going on. This is problem with the world today along with how reality shows are no longer in that realm!!

      • JULES says:

        Hey Johnny, must you throw out insults to someone who is giving their opinion?

  28. George says:

    Fun fact: I was at the SF audition and although the guy who used to sing with Britney back in the day was REALLY annoying the reason he was so emotional during his performance/when talking to the judges was because he told his coming out story (he’s gay). Apparently the show/X Factor chose not to air any of that.

  29. Chris says:

    I really like this show. It reminded me of how excited I used to get about American Idol back when it was good five years ago. I loved Britney and Demi as judges. Definitely Gunna stick with this show.

  30. murley says:

    I don’t normally watch reality shows of any type but i checked it out because I have a soft spot for Britney Spears. She was great. The girl with the bullying back story was truly heartbreaking and Janell gave a great performance with the sole exception of the aptly described maniacal hair flipping. Just might have to check out the next episode.

  31. kcostell says:

    Hopefully the X-Factor didn’t pull a “The Voice” gimmick by front-loading the talent on day 1. It’s going to be a long and painful season unless we get some people who can sing better than the ones passed through tonight.

    • Lili says:

      They didn’t. It is very The Voice-ish indeed. But The X Factor will have good contestants on every single episode, I guarantee you.

  32. Yo' says:

    I had trouble with this show and although I thought I was tired of The Voice this week, I drifted back there for some sanity. The introduction to the show seemed to last for twenty minutes, so I had battle fatigue before anyone auditioned: I figured Simon, being a Brit, was trying to emulate one of those royal occasions, where the masses line up for a glimpse of the queen. Lots of panning to teeming throngs. Oy vay. Then fast editing, hard cuts, possible plants and, apparently, hidden microphones. Britney is a pretty woman, but she lost me after her nasty “Who let you on stage?” remark: the contestant she directed it to also wasn’t a peach, but he had no power and she did.

    I couldn’t sit through the show after the first forty minutes. Although I keep reading it was less over the top than last year, I thought it was worse, almost comical. And there was almost no talent; it was like a bad movie where I keep running out for snack. Why watch?

    • Ro says:

      I had no problem with Paula last season while not particularily fond of Nicole’s judging style I didn’t hate her. The new judges; Demi, I don’t know exactly what in her resume elevates her to judge level but ok. Brittney spent the bulk of her time making odd facial expressions though she wasn’t bad in her actual judging. The show: Did not enjoy, they need to eliminate the no talent contestants and all of those unnecessary back stories.With only 6 real acts in 2 hours it was draining I found myself flipping to The Voice. All and all liked it alot less than last year.

  33. Ehyeh says:

    Demi and Britney were decent. Overall the show overall was better than last year. Unfortunately the talent in their premiere episode was underwhelming. The current season of The Voice of US already had significantly better ones in their first and third episodes. X-Factor better have something in store for their succeeding episodes.

  34. Christina says:

    It’s obvious that The X-Factor is going for the MTV reality angle with all the backstage drama they were showing. I guess this is what happens when you don’t have a host. For what was actually shown on stage nothing really made me excited. The Don Phillip stuff was downright uncomfortable. The guy couldn’t even talk properly so you knew it was going to be a train wreck. It was also obvious that this guy didn’t have it all together and there was no way he should have been let on that stage.

  35. CF says:

    I wearied of X-Factor last year and only made it about half-way through the season, but with new judges, decided to try it one more time this year. I tried it and lasted about 10 minutes, then switched back to The Voice. You summed my reaction up perfectly: “There isn’t a more prepackaged, contrived, overly processed reality competition on TV today.” Only I didn’t find a perfectly grilled sandwich to go with it, just unappetizing, overblown schlock. Really disappointing because I always liked Simon and his honesty on AI–it was brutal at times but he never gave anyone the passes he gives to mediocre singers on X-Factor. I won’t be watching it.

  36. Chrissie Kirk says:

    I watched 70 minutes of this show last night and I thought it so weird…when the cameras were in with the auditioners (Mean Girls!). I felt like I was watching a badly scripted movie with subtitles yet. Very strange and even fewer auditions in between commercial breaks than Idol. This whole genre is now leaving me so cold. Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. (And L A Reid’s skull just scares me.)

  37. lml says:

    I enjoy the voice but lets face it, it is only about the voice when they first sit in their chairs and pick them. Then it does become about the package also. I enjoy all the shows for what they are. Love Britney so enjoyed xfactor, still like idol and will watch now that they changed judges except for Randy who I feel should go. I like the voice cause the judges are over the top and could stare at Blake all day. What a hottie!

  38. D says:

    I cannot believe there are people who believe The Voice is better than X Factor. I love the Voice judges and I used to love the show, but anyone who watched the first two seasons has to know this show has extremely terrible flaws. For one, after the blind auditions and battle rounds, the show becomes completely boring and unoriginal. There’s usually about one good performance a week, and the judge’s bantering is so contrived and fake it gets annoying. There’s no real “judging,” because everyone only cares about winning the competition, so every critique is usually along the lines of, “you’re gonna be a star.” The problem is that no one has stayed relevant after winning the voice, unlike Chris Rene, Marcus Canty, and Rachel Crow. The main flaw is that the two best singers by far in season 2 of the voice, Jamar and Juliette, were on the same team, so one of them couldn’t even make the final four. The format is good in theory, but it’s terribly executed, and having someone like Jermaine Paul win proves it.

    While X Factor does have a lot of manufactured storylines and drama, the voice has just as much. Every singer on the voice has a backstory with sad music playing in the background. That’s just how these competitions work, but X Factor does it in a much more entertaining way in my opinion. I thought Britney and Demi were great and I cannot wait to see how this season plays out, although I do hope they do more serious auditions in the upcoming episodes.

  39. rwfblog says:

    I’m not sure Don Philip had a chance. His emotions were raw — trepidation, indescribable self-doubt, and a voice sabotaged by tears. I wish one of the judges had told him, “It’s not even a ‘no’; we can’t judge your singing today. Man, see if you can pull yourself together. If you can, come to a later audition and show us what you really have.”

  40. blingedup says:

    I completely agree with Michael’s Top 2 rankings. Loved both of them. I would put Paige as my number 3. I wasn’t crazy about the boy band.
    I really enjoyed last night’s show.

  41. Julie says:

    I hated XFactor last season. The show was so manipulative, the production values were way too OTT and the judges were more interested in winning the competition for his or her “team” than in really helping the contestants. So I was apprehensive when I watched this last night. But so far, it looks like this year will be an improvement. The OTT production was, for the most part, missing. And Britney and Demi are already far better judges than Paula & Nicole were in Season 1.

    On the other hand, there was far too much emphasis on the backstories. In a 2-hour show, only 6 people who had successful auditions were shown? That’s a bad ratio. Also, the whole thing with Britney’s ex-duet partner was so creepy. I read that he later went on Facebook and trashed her, making fun of her own behavioral/mental health issues. It seems like he is unstable.

    The talent was very meh. The rocker girl who flipped her hair every three seconds was easily the best of the bunch. Emblem3 were pretty good, but I’m sorry, you guys ARE a boy band, no matter what you say. The last girl who had been bullied sang with a lot of emotion, but her vocal was all over the place. If it wasn’t for the backstory, I don’t know if she would have gotten through. She also seems very fragile, so I wonder if she is going to make it through the next parts of this competition. The 13-year-old who really does look a lot like Bieber is clearly not ready for this. His vocals were a hot mess, he was shaking so much. He was adorable, which was the only reason he got put through. He probably should have waited enough 3 years to try this.

    The talent on Idol and The Voice is much better than what I’ve seen on XF. I also thought it was pretty telling that in the open, there was no mention of any of the contestants from the first season of XFUSA — instead, it was all about the XFUK contestants who have crossed over to have success here in the States.

    • MB says:

      I thought that too. No mention of any of the past finalist. It is almost like they are trying to erase the first season. The final 4 last year were all pretty good but none of them has set the music world on fire. I hope they do a better job with the contestants this year. Idol is still the best show as far as success of their contestants.

  42. Andrea says:

    I really liked this, and I will admit I tuned in for Britney. I was so surprised with how well she did. I watched this and the voice, both off DVR though, there’s only so much fluff and episode filer I can handle.

  43. Stormy says:

    It is impossible to underestimate the poor taste and gullibility of the viewers of this trash.

  44. Ash Q says:

    Could not get over how dramatic they made it. Didn’t need that Blond girl’s commentary. Didn’t need to see her audition.

    Felt like they put her there for the audience to hate, then for us to feel good since she didn’t make it. I just… didn’t care. Would have much rather seen a good audition instead.

    Also felt bad for the boyband guy. I honestly think he meant well.

  45. Mary says:

    I liked it better than last year but it kind of dragged on for me. The sob stories went on way to long. I wish there was more singing only 6 contestants went thru. I thought Demi and Britney did well, at least the edit made it look like they did. The real test will be the live shows. I felt there was to much emphasis on Britney and her strange faces got annoying,
    it was almost robotic. None of the contestants really stood out for me in fact I thought the singing was just okay. I think that is why I do not enjoy XF as much as AI. I prefer vocals to stage presence no auto tune, but unfortunately that is what today’s music is.

  46. Mimi says:

    Fun fact! Jillian Jensen used to date Erika Van Pelt’s brother, Collin!

  47. Abby says:

    The bad auditions need to go. The trumped up backstage drama needs to go. Love Brit and Demi! The Voice is only interesting during the auditions and then the show goes downhill. I hope X Factor has a great season and gets better.

  48. JC says:

    I love the season 2 premiere Britney still has a lot of tricks up her sleeve and I’m looking forward for those tricks to unfold on the X-Factor!!! Britney FTW :D

  49. RD says:

    I think very little has changed.It’s still going to end up giving me a headache by the end of each episode,I’m still always going to feel completely manipulated,I’m still going to prefer Idol, and i’m still going to hate every word and gesture from LA Reid.But i’m still probably going to watch it,so go figure….

  50. Jaycee says:

    Over the top in contrived drivel and manipulations. Jillian Jensen cannot sing. She was terrible. Emblem3 was good, not great. The only “successful” audition of the night belongs to Janell Garcia. It’s amazing what passes for entertainment anymore. It looks like the pool of untapped, undiscovered talent has about been exhausted with all these singing competition shows.