Wednesday night’s X Factor ended with the image of a 13-year-old boy collapsed in a heap in his mother’s lap, a flurry of producers and medics trying to figure out if he’d live or if he’d eventually die of embarrassment at the hands of Simon Cowell.
I’m not sure if the incident was a clever indictment of the lengths today’s youth will go to for a chance at fame, or just a happy (medical) accident that the show’s producers cynically used to fill out yet another two-hour audition episode. Maybe it was both. But there certainly was a moral to the story: It’s time to put a stop to the “Call Me Maybe” cover craze.
You see, little Trevor Moran had barely finished lip syncing Carly Rae Jepsen’s ubiquitous summer hit into his computer backstage when his system began to shut down. Call it a case of CTRL+ALT+EVEN+GOD+IS+SICK+OF+THAT+TRACK.
But, honestly, fret not about Trevor’s fate. [SPOILER ALERT: Skip this paragraph if you’re super excited to get a conclusion to Wednesday’s cliffhanger during Thursday’s episode.] If you’ve been watching all of the “coming up on Season 2 of The X Factor” promos, you know that the kid lives to fight again. And by “fight,” I mean cover LMFAO’s “Sexy and I Know It” to the surprise and delight of Demi Lovato.
Other highlights from the latest X Factor installment:
* Britney Spears “pranking” a production assistant (at the behest of her manager) to go forth and find her a straw hat. Because I’m sure that kid’s job filling the judges’ soda cups and catering to their whims isn’t exhausting enough.
* Simon leaning heavily on the dramatic pause as his go-to schtick for a good critique. “I totally agree with that, if you’re good,” he told one singer who insisted with hard work, anything is possible. Then there was a 10.27683-minute pause, followed by “And the good news is, you are very good.” Uff da.
* Demi once again referencing her go-to critique — “twinkle in the eye” — as if she’s a graduate of Tyra Banks’ School of Smizing.
Anyhow, without any further ado, let’s get down to the business of ranking the 12 latest singers headed to Boot Camp, and then placing them in a larger context alongside the other successful auditioners from the first three nights of X Factor Auditions:
EPISODE 5 RANKINGS
Not enough infortmation: Natalie Martin, Beatrice Miller, One4Five.
9) Austin Carini’s “Wanted” | I liked that Simon pointed out Austin is probably used to positive feedback on account of his being a cute kid. Yet while I didn’t really hear anything spectacular about his vocal — aside from a peculiar tendency to lick his lips while singing — I appreciated that Austin took the judges’ criticism with grace and humility. That’s probably worth a trip to Boot Camp all on its own, no?
8) Arin Ray’s original track “Count on Me” | An erstwhile member of Season 1’s Terrifying Children’s Collective (aka InTENsity), Arin is back for a second shot at the X Factor finals — solo style! — and he certainly has the boyish good looks and pop-star swagger required for the job. That said, I’m not sure those qualities are enough to compensate for what appeared to be a rather ordinary singing voice — unless Arin just sounded ordinary because his original track didn’t have any kind of a hook. I wouldn’t be entirely shocked if it’s the latter. (Side note: What was with the producers choosing to play Chris Brown’s “Yeah 3X” after Arin advanced to Boot Camp? Was it a sly suggestion that Arin could easily eat the rage-prone superstar’s breakfast, lunch, and dinner — if he’s given the right material? Or is this production — which conceivably is targeting a young, female audience — so tone deaf that it just blithely inserted Brown’s hit record into the background despite the fact that he recently debuted a neck tattoo of what appears to be a battered woman, several years after his conviction for assaulting one-time girlfriend Rihanna, who served as LA Reid’s advisor during The X Factor’s first season? Discuss!)
7) Tara Simon’s “Without You” | I’ve honestly had too much drama-queen Tara in my life tonight to think or write about her — or her “let me throw every vocal trick I’ve ever learned into a 90-second audition” ways — for another second. Rated J..for J’enough!
6) Nick Youngerman’s “Ice, Ice Baby” | I’ve probably got this guy ranked too high, but he was pretty cute (or to use Demi Lovato’s favorite overused expression, has “that sparkle in his eye.” Plus, the jaunty janitor (“I clean toilets for a living!” he cheerfully noted) got Britney up out of her chair to shake what her mama gave her.
5) Sophie Tweed-Simmons’ “To Make You Feel Me My Love” | Newsflash: If you don’t want America to define you as Gene Simmons’ daughter, then don’t bring Gene Simmons to your X Factor auditions. Nevertheless, Sophie’s languid tone reminded me ever so slightly of Amy Winehouse, and her grasp on pitch was quite solid, despite the fact that she seemed to be on the brink of tears from the start of the song till the finish.
4) David Correy’s “Just the Way You Are” | I’m not 100 percent sure that in six months, I’ll remember this audition from a man with a gugillion tattoos and a desire that his music leads him to his birth mother, but he’s got a very pretty tone to his voice when he’s not pushing it too hard, no?
3) Nick Perrelli’s “Come Fly With Me” | We only got a little snippet, but the kid looked trés Jonas, yet sounded rather Rat Pack. Call me intrigued.
2) Dinah Jane Hansen’s “If I Were a Boy” | Season 1’s Rachel Crow desperately wanted her own bathroom, but girlfriend didn’t truly know struggle. Dinah Jane is one of 32 relatives living in her grandparents’ house! (Won’t we all feel duped if we discover the Hansens recently moved in to Aaron Spelling’s old digs?) But eye-popping backstory aside, the kid has chops so serious, they could slip on a robe and take a seat between Scalia and Sotomayor. LA Reid told Dinah he thinks she’ll make the finale, but we already knew that from the closed-eye ecstasy dance he performed from his seat of judgment. I’m not mad at ya, LA, I was grooving to Dinah’s brand of heartbreak, too, even if her lower register could use a little more oomph.
1) Daryl Black’s “Stereo Hearts” | Charming father of five looks like a regular dude offstage, but once he had a mic in his hand and a smooth-jazz arrangement of Gym Class Heroes’ hit pumping in the background, Daryl suddenly took on the poise and confidence of a potential star. I couldn’t find a thing wrong with Daryl’s vocal, not even with him introducing the image of riding a giant unicycle in leather shorts only seconds before his audition began.
OVERALL SEASON 2 STANDINGS
34) Quatrele Da’an Smith: Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way”
33) Normani Hamilton: Aretha Franklin’s “Chain of Fools”
32) Brandon Hassan: Ray Lamontagne’s “Trouble”
31) Reed Deming: Bruno Mars’ “Grenade”
30) Jeremiah & Josh: an original track called “Now Life Starts”
29) Austin Carini’s “Wanted”
28) Arin Ray’s original track “Count on Me”
27) Tara Simon’s “Without You”
26) Vino Alan: Ray Lamontagne’s “Trouble”
25) CeCe Frey: Christina Aguilera’s “Ain’t No Other Man”
24) Willie Jones: Josh Turner’s “Your Man”
23) Rizzloe Jones: Freestyle rap using the phrases “X Factor” and “marshmallow”
22) Nick Youngerman’s “Ice, Ice Baby”
21) Johnny Maxwell: an original track called “Do It Big”
20) Paige Thomas: Rose Royce’s “I’m Going Down”
19) Julia Bullock: Foster the People’s “Pumped Up Kicks”
18) Sophie Tweed-Simmons’ “To Make You Feel Me My Love”
17) Tate Stevens: Randy Houser’s “Anything Goes”
16) Citizen: En Vogue’s “Don’t Let Go (Love)”
15) Ally Brooke: Jaci Velasquez’s “On My Knees”
14) David Correy’s “Just the Way You Are”
13) Nick Perrelli’s “Come Fly With Me”
12) Emblem3: an original track called “Sunset Boulevard”
11) Carly Rose Soneclar: Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good”
10) Jillian Jensen: Jessie J’s “Who You Are”
9) Diamond White: James Brown’s “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World”
8) Dinah Jane Hansen’s “If I Were a Boy”
7) Panda Ross: Sam Cooke’s “Bring It on Home to Me”
6) Jason Brock: Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind”
5) Jeffrey Adam Gutt: Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”
4)Daryl Black’s “Stereo Hearts”
3) Janell Garcia: Grace Potter and the Nocturnals’ “Paris (Ooh La La)”
2) Jessica Espinoza: Pink’s “Nobody Knows”
1) Sister C: Pistol Annies’ “Hell on Heels”
And with that, let me turn things over to you:
Who were your favorites from The X Factor‘s fifth episode of Season 2? Were there any moments that made you cringe? Hit the comments with your thoughts!Follow @MichaelSlezakTV