The X Factor Recap: Rain of Terror [Updated]

jennel garcia x factorYou know there’s something seriously wrong in the world — or at least on your TV screen — when a 13-year-old boy is looking into the camera and, without the slightest hint of irony or humor, declares “this is the climax of my life.” Hello, and welcome to The X Factor.

I’m still not sure why there was no “TV: MSP” warning in the upper left side of my screen — that’s short for “Middle-Schooler, Please!” — but Fox’s second-string reality singing competition isn’t really to blame. Sure, judge L.A. Reid continued to perpetrate the myth tonight that life (or at least the opportunity to have a big-time singing career) ends at 24, but that’s just a a symptom of our youth-driven modern age, isn’t it?

And a symptom of an age where baseball is still considered the national pasttime — and here I thought it was sitting on the couch, stuffing one’s gullet and guzzling vino in front of the telly — a rain delay of the Major League Baseball playoffs between the Cardinals and the Giants (no, that’s not one of Simon Cowell’s X Factor groups) meant a delayed start time and and early finish for Top 16 Announcement Night (for east-coast viewers). (Get all the details on the scheduling snafu here.) In fact, only 10 of the acts who’ve made it to the Season 2 live shows were announced during the east-coast telecast. Simon Cowell was not amused, as evidenced by his post-show Tweet: “It [sic] what’s known as a total f up.

West coast X Factor junkies might want to close their browser windows now. For the rest of you, let’s run down the contestants who were shown advancing to the live shows (listed by category, in order from least to most promising):

The Teens (age 12-16) mentored by Britney Spears
Yowza this is an evenly matched category! Britney didn’t cut the Easter egg dye that accidentally stained her lower locks, but she certainly cut her two weakest links — middling rapper James Tanner and Bieber-y young’un Reed Deming, who has clearly been groomed since the womb to speak in digestible sound bites about his reality-show “journey” (such as the “climax” comment from my opening paragraph). The duo were sent to some kind of quarrantine room — so as not to spread the contageon of their low blood-charisma counts — while their four rivals slaughtered a ceremonial goat in Simon’s backyard. (I kid! I kid!) My favorite part of Britney’s segment came when she made an insane, twisted face, then croaked “That’s horrible!” after she kicked James to the curb. My least favorite was every time Britney called someone “sweetie.” J’enough! Actually, maybe we can turn that bit of verbal compulsion into an at-home drinking game? Huzzah!

(Side note: After Reed was ousted, the director played his gracious farewell about being happy for the quartet who’d advanced, then cut to a shot of a tranquil Pacific view outside Britney’s home. At that moment, I could not shake the image of Haley Joel Osment’s robot boy sinking to the bottom of the sea at the end of Steven Spielberg’s A.I. Please someone tell me I’m not alone in my macabre reverie!)

Anyhow, based on auditions, Bot [typo, and it stays] Camp, and final performances, I’d rank the Teens as follows, though, really you could arrange them a dozen different ways and be just as right as I am:

4) Diamond White: I know, I know…I hate myself for putting her fourth out of four, too. Nobody puts Diamond in a corner! Especially if that corner containe no TV cameras!

3) Carly Rose Sonenclar: Note how confident this kid is, stating before she knew her fate that it was possible she might not advance, not because she didn’t perform well, but  only if she didn’t turn out to be what the show was looking for.

2) Arin Ray: Will he get votes from all the members of his pre-fab fofmer Season 1 kids’ group InTENsity? If “yes,” that’s good for at least 10,000-20,000 votes, no? (They had a lot of kids on that stage last year!)

1) Beatrice Miller: How can you not fall for a young lady with 100 bracelets wrapped around her wrist, and a perfect control of her own pitch?

Over 25s mentored by LA Reid
When L.A. initially participated in his “I don’t want to mentor the Over 25s!” temper tantrum, I figured it was just a producer-driven interlude to stir up a little midseason drama. But again last night, he welcomed his half-dozen remaining contenders by declaring, “It’s no secret that this is not my favorite category.” Why the face? Does L.A. feel like his contestants are so old and decrepit that his only options are assigning them something from the Lawrence Welk Show archives or hiring a nurse to euthanize them? I do not get — or appreciate — this man’s attitude.

Nevertheless, at least L.A. was reasonably kind in cutting Daryl Black and Tara Simon. You knew the former singer was going home the minute he sat down across from L.A. and the mournful strains of Coldplay’s “The Scientist” kicked in. I mean, if dude’s fate was a happy one, surely they’d have gone with “Paradise” or “Viva la Vida.” L.A. said he was letting Daryl go because he had questions about his fire and star quality, which made me wish we’d seen a little more footage of his Boot Camp and Judges’ Houses performances so we could form our own educated opinions on the matter.

Tara, meanwhile, brought so much ridiculous drama — going on and on about all the no’s she’s gotten through the years that should’ve been yeses — that I started to believe she was an actress hired by Simon Cowell to play the role of a deluded, moderately talented vocal coach who would come dangerously close to the live shows. That feeling didn’t go away after L.A. axed Tara, and she left the show with this insane parting shot: “He just got rid of someone who could be a Kelly Clarkson or a Carrie Underwood or a Christina Aguilera.” I fully expect her to book a three-episode arc on Touch, or maybe The Mindy Project, by early 2013.

So let’s rank #LAOver25s” heading into the live shows:
4) Tate Stevens: Tate really needs to be careful about how many times he complains about his former asphalt-laying job on camera. Because, honestly, unless he cracks the Top 5, he might have to go back to it someday soon, no?

3) David Correy: Similarly, David has brought up his “I’m singing so I can find my birth mother” back story so many times, it’s reached a point where all I do anymore is wince and wonder how that makes his adoptive parents feel. I did appreciate that David wore bright yellow pants to his final judgment, though, and feel like he’s got as much raw talent as anyone in the competition. In other words, L.A. might not have faith in his group, but I firmly believe they’ve got a legitimate chance in Season 2.

2) Vino Alan: For the last few weeks, Vino’s looks — or namely the tattoos that adorn his face and fully cover his scalp — have been the semi-unspoken clouds hanging over his chances in the competition. (L.A.’s repetition last week of “What about the package?” was code for “Will Vino scare the audience?”) Which is why I loved the guy’s plainspoken admission that most strangers on the street think he’s either an MMA fighter or “an inmate just released.” It would help Vino’s chances if he’d occasionally crack a smile or try to show some humor — his relentless stoicism does have a slightly post-prison feel to it — but I’m really glad his mentor didn’t assume the worst of the viewing audience and kick Vino (and his chipotle-smoked tone) to the curb. Because I think one of Season 2’s best potential subplots will come if Vino performs to his full vocal potential, and we discover how soon (if it all) those tattoos and overly macho stance will be a problem for the voting public in 2012.

1) Jason Brock: This flamboyant fella had L.A. wondering, “Can you become a massive star? Do you really fit?” But those questions miss the point of shows like The X Factor. L.A. has been a part of the major-label system for so long, that he might not realize that the average joe yearns for the era when chart-toppers could actually go on stage and sing as well — or better! — live, than they could with studio trickery. The X Factor is a chance to overthrow a system that allowed Ashlee Simpson to become a millionaire while Jason was toiling away at a tech-support job. I think his monster instrument — which seems like it could fit anything from rock to blues to pop — could carry him through the competition well into the holiday season.

The Young Adults (age 17-24) mentored by Demi Lovato
Jennel Garcia and Willie Jones got the green light from Demi, but the fate of her remaining acts was left unknown when Fox randomly cut into an episode of The Mindy Project, and then the balance of that blasted baseball game! Given that weirdness, I’m going to save my detailed recap of the proceedings till it airs in full on Tuesday.

If you’re dying to know who else made it through from Demi’s group — as well as the fates of the first three acts in Simon Cowell’s Groups category, it’s worth mentioning that Canadian broadcasters played more of the Top 16 announcement episode than their U.S. counterparts, and someone who caught those results has posted spoilers down in the comments section. I’ll refrain from putting them in the text of this story — so purists can remain unscathed — but impatient types should know that the scroll-down function of your mouse can get you the intel you need.

And with that, let me turn things over to you:

Who were your favorites from The X Factor‘s third Judges’ Houses episode? Were there any decisions that made you angry? Hit the comments with your thoughts!

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. Tom says:

    Michael, if you want to know the results from Demi and Simon’s groups, you can check Mjsbigblog or Wikipedia, as Canada is still broadcasting the episode.

    • Princess Adora says:

      I’m in Canada, it cut to a past audition episode in the middle of the Groups segment. I’ll have to check Wikipedia for the rest then!
      *Spoiler alert for those in the US, it’s going exactly as I expected ;)

  2. chessguy99 says:

    Fox is just so fail. Why did Simon sign on with them knowing that they had the baseball TV contract?

  3. Sam says:

    Canada’s airing the entire episode.

  4. kavyn says:

    CTV is still airing the episode. Team Demi is already revealed and they’re currently doing the groups right now.

  5. Blinged Up says:

    I’m seeing spoilers I don’t want to see! I love these Final 16 episodes. Blech – it’s kinda ruined. There’s no way I can avoid the spoilers until next Tuesday. Really disappointing tonight and a major fail on Fox’s part. :(

  6. Andrea says:

    Britney made the right choices. From the Canada spoilers Demi did not. What a fail for Fox!

  7. Sam says:

    Canada went to a old audition episode with 15 minutes left.

  8. Chicago Dan says:

    Please. AI would always come up with a reason to add an extra episode. Remember the “bad audio,” etc. certain X-factor Tuesday will do FAR better than the Tuesday comedies. Everybody wins in the end.

  9. Samantha says:

    Demi cut Jillian which means I’m done watching.

    • Erik says:

      I second this. And Ill add I will never buy another Demi album. I can’t believe she cut Jillian. I hope Jillian becomes a huge success. I gotta think companies want to pick her up.

    • Maris says:

      I loved Jillian, her story, her personality and her relationship with Jennel, but I honestly don’t think she had as strong of a voice as the rest of the contestants, do wish her the best in her career though

      • Christa says:

        I agree but at the same time Jillian could have taken Paige’s spot imo. Paige has the look but I’m not so sure about her vocals, kinda shaky. If she chooses songs that she can handle then she has a chance. Jillian has way better control but her tone isn’t really clear like the other girls, its more raspy but it doesn’t always sound good

  10. Rick says:

    Early frontrunners? I’m thinking Carly, CeCe, and Lylas

  11. Rachel says:

    So….Panda’s out?


  12. TheBeach says:

    Is there no escape anywhere in TVland from the dreaded Kardashians? I’m even afraid to watch Sons of Anarchy for fear that Pimp Mama Kris has replaced Katey Sagal as the baddest biker tigress.

  13. Gorm says:

    Demi is wearing too much makeup, tv lights or not someone needs to speak to her. Also, who the heck is Britney’s hair stylist, how do you make six figures and put your boss on camera with her hair simultaneously looking unwashed, ragged and burnt out?

    Also, what a terrible mess broadcasting this show tonight. Just imagine how bad the liveshows will be once they start running overtime with FOUR judges, TWO very unfamillair hosts and talky-contestants like Emblem-McChatty-NoShirts taking up stagetime. if Fox cant stick to a commitment for a taped show, its going to be bloody mayhem when they start cutting into lucrative local 10pm news slots. Those crappy local car dealership and DUI lawyer ads do not like to be pre-empted.

    What an ugly mess. Thanks Mike Darnell and SImon, dont give the would be artists a level playing field or anything, its apparently too much to ask.

  14. Theresa says:

    I’m bummed that Daryl Black didn’t make it. He has a gorgeous voice and seems like such a sweet guy. Big fail on L.A.’s part.

  15. Forwarddad says:

    @Samantha. You are an ass. Why would you post a spoiler?

  16. Lyn says:

    Wow, Stupid rain delay! It messes up my Tuesday shows with The Voice and Hart of Dixie since I have to watch one and record the other and my Mom records DWTS. They should have just finished the last 15 minutes of it and just show baseball late. That way the West Coast still could have been aired.

  17. SteveZ says:

    He cut Sister C in favor of a put-together girl group that didn’t even try once to sing in harmony?

    • TheBeach says:

      Sister C was already a group, and a good one that could actually harmonize together but Cowell so loves to cobble diverse individuals into a group and make them famous (i.e. One Direction) so he can proclaim himself the world’s greatest producer/talent-dicoverer/whatever.

    • Bri says:

      Honestly, I thought Sister C was annoying. Their voices were amazing, but they shouldn’t have been a group. LYLAS were good, but as you said, they should have at least TRIED to sing in harmony. I really loved Lauren. And when they brought her back for a group, I was excited.

    • Christa says:

      Sister C’s vibrato makes them sound like goats, especially when they sang Leaving. While I dont think Lylas was that great, they’re individual voices were not nasal and annoying. They can work on harmonizing as time goes on.

  18. rod says:

    Demi Lovato just proved what everyone´s been thinking about her inexperience for judging talent by cutting Jillian

    • TheBeach says:

      Yep. C’mon Demi…pick either CeCe or Paige (I really don’t care which) and give the other spot to a unique talent like Jillian.

    • bjp says:

      I totally agree. Jillian was a top contestant in that group. Demi went for the marketable but bland Paige over the girl with a much stronger voice (and so full of emotion!). This was a really bad call. I wonder whether someone will bring her back though… what do you think?

      • Bambi says:

        Yeah I agree! Cutting Jillian was a HUGE mistake!! Could have cut Cece and her “better then everyone” attitude! The only reason she changed her attitude at the judges house was because they told her they wouldn’t put her through with that attitude. She still has a nasty attitude just isn’t showing it as much! Get rid of her and bring Jillian back!!!!

  19. dj says:

    That was very weird the way they handled the rain delay tonight. It seemed so unprofessional for a major network. I wonder how it will affect X-Factor’s ratings. I was happy to see Tara get the boot by L.A. She’s a legend in her own mind. I think Britney made the right choices in her group, too.

    The dramatic pauses before the announcements seem so lame this year.

  20. TheBeach says:

    As scary as he looks, I’m glad L.A. picked Vino for his team. I think he has one of the most interesting voices in the competition. I would have picked Daryl either David or Jason.

  21. lbj123 says:

    still bitter about panda…

  22. Josh says:

    Simon cut Sister C and kept arrogant Emblem3 and overrated rapper girl? Im done with him this season!

  23. Rodan says:

    shouldn’t this recap be pulled since more than half of the country didn’t get X-Factor last night? Or at least a spoiler warning?

    • Chris says:

      Why do you want a spoiler warning? The fact that the title says “X Factor recap” ought to tell you what it’s about, surely. DUH.

    • Ang says:

      That half of the country knows they didn’t see it and if they enter the thread it is at their own risk because it will contain spoilers. At least that is what I assume when I read a recap before I’ve seen the show :).

  24. Chris says:

    I would have cut Tate instead of Darryl. Tate’s voice is so ordinary! Jason is the best of the “older” group, IMO, but David and Vino are also really good. I think the right young singers got cut for sure. They were the weakest links. I like Beatrice a lot.

    • Lee Gaston says:

      i would have kept tate and dropped jason. tate will be picked up by a record label and each singing contest will have someone that does country because it brings in an additional genre and more viewers/voters. to me david, tate, vino, darryl in that order would have been my 4 pretty easily.

  25. BarbL says:

    “while their four rivals slaughtered a ceremonial goat in Simon’s backyard. (I kid! I kid!)”

    Michael, I love your pun, moreso if unintended lol

  26. BarbL says:

    As far as Vino is concerned, one can remove tats with laser treatments–or as far as his head is concerned, grow his hair back. But one can’t get a singing voice that easily, and Vino has the kind of talent I love to see encouraged.
    If Tara had 1/10th the talent Vino has, her narcissism might have been less grating, but she was the right one to go home.
    I’m not in love with country music, but I think Tate is a good representative of that genre. It could have been either Tate or Daryl for me–I like them equally.
    I think yellow pants guy should have gone and Daryl been kept, but that’s just me, and if Jason had been sent home I’d have gone ballistic.
    I can’t wait to see how Vino and Jason progress–the others, not so much.

  27. tj says:

    CeCe will be voted off the first week of live shows in protest of Demi’s lame decision to cut Jillian. CeCe’s voice is not unique in any way. She’s really just a very good karaoke singer with an over-blown ego. The only reason I would continue to care about and watch this show is if they find a way to bring Jillian back. Otherwise, I’ll stick with the Voice UK this season. Really disappointed in Demi. Sorry Jillian, but either way, I know you will continue on and do very well. I mean, really, how many people would go out of their way to buy a record of CeCe’s? Ridiculous!

    • Kim R says:

      I had to comment on CeCe’s “performance” on last night’s episode. Not one actual tear came down her cheek as she “cried” while Demi told her if she was going to make it. The back and forth between Jillian talking to Demi and CeCe talking to Demi was like night and day. Jillian was awash. So heart felt. CeCe…..faked it. I don’t believe her. She is the same as she was at the beginning of this whole process. Disappointed in Canada. :(

    • Lee Gaston says:

      i actually thought she was going to keep cece and jillian, but thought paige was the one that was going to go home. cece and paige have competed side by side a few times and cece is the much better singer in the same genre. i still would neve vote for cece because of her attitude, but on talent she should have stayed.

  28. BabyFirefly says:

    I thought Jillian was pretty weak during the coaches home visits. Based on that alone, I think she is making the right choice, the others just did better IMO. Demi may also be factoring that this is a girl who admitted to cutting and severe insecurities. Being rejected on live television would have been devastating. Anyways, I can see many reasons for cutting Jillian… I don’t get the people hating Demi for letting her go.

    • Jenjene says:

      Agree with you completely. Keeping Jillian over Paige would have been a total emotional decision. Jillian’s “judges home” performance was weak. Paige’s was cheesy, but still stronger. Go Demi !

    • BarbL says:

      Actually, I thought Jillian was one of the strongest singers, but she seemed like she was literally always crying. That could be a tip-off for a person in a state of depression. She didn’t have that little bit of star sparkle; her sad demeanor and her lack of edge did her in more so than her vocals.

  29. lindsay says:

    honestly, if jillian didnt have a story behind her , most of you people wouldnt think she should make it through. I hate everything about Cece and I seriously respect Demi for the advice she gave her but when it comes down to it, shes definitely a stronger singer then Jillian and Demi made the right decision. I think they all made the right decisions except Reed Deming is the cutest kid ever and I think he deserves to be there over Arin Ray. I’m just happy my girl made it through #teamjennel alllll the way!!

  30. Paula says:

    Demi is an idiot for cutting Jillian. She was much better than Paige and Jennel IMO. I hate Emblem3 they messed up their audition and are cocky and annoying. I really liked Playback (they remind me of One Direction) and I’m glad Lyric 145 got through, they were good. CeCe’s really starting to grow on me now, I like her now.

  31. FreeHaley says:

    And so far for the picks for the top two teams, pretty good.

    I think Britney got it perfectly (the way they edited it I was actually tricked into thinking she’d do an even 2 guys 2 girls split and it would all go bad, thankfully not, since the girls definitely had the better talent). So great job there. I actually think they got that group 100% perfectly for the top 4, which is refreshing. I had been sort of against the younger category after the Rachel and the rapper kid meltdowns but man the ones this year are GOOD, those three girls, so I’ve changed my mind ad they seem precocious, but in a good and intelligent way. I have a feeling that in this younger bracket they are getting a full go at the top talent before it’s already been a lot more picked over by record companies. There are none whom seem like they will end up turning into a Rachel story. They seem precocious, but in a deep way, not in some programmed little robot way or mimic way or what not, they come across as really intelligent.

    I think LA got it mostly right although I think I would’ve had Tate out of there in favor of Daryl (although I’d rather it had been Jeff, although he was no longer an option (HOW was he no longer an option?! I think they got all of the top 24 perfect…. except for leaving out him, how does he not get there over Tate or perhaps Tara? I also wonder how Tweed-Simmons did, she seemed interesting but then they never dared show her again, they actually appeared to hold her name against her, if anything, who knows). Maybe it’s a bit of my country bias but he just seemed a bit plain to me even considering.

    LA is getting a bit annoying, OK, you didn’t want the decrepits, we got it, the 100th time you said it, now that you are saying for the 3000th time it’s starting to reallly get tiresome and making you sound like an OLD and cranky man. And don’t forget that Madonna, like the biggest pop female star ever, wasn’t really super well known by the general public until…. AFTER she was 25 (I think she was a few weeks from 25 when her first album came out and then it was a number of weeks until it became more known so she was a bit over 25 and nobody considered her old and decrepit upon her rush into fame)!

    I think Jason Brock doesn’t belong as #1. I actually wasn’t blown away by his performance for LA, top 4 OK, but Vino and especially David definitely seemed ahead of him to me, I gotta drop him to 3rd (And 4th if Jeff was still around).

  32. FreeHaley says:

    As for rankings before this last week I’d have said: 1. Diamond 2. Beatrice and Carly then a good ways back 4. Arin

    Going by last week only I’d say: 1. Beatrice and Carly 3. Diamond then a good ways back 4. Arin

    Overall I’d say: 1. Beatrice/Carly/Diamond – all really awesome then a good ways back 4. Arin – hardly bad or anything but no way in the league as the three girls.

    For the decrepits I’d say: 1. David then a bit ways back 2. Vino then even farther back 3. Jason and then miles and miles and miles back 4. Tate (who should have been Jeff) (granted I am biased a bit against country so maybe you can take out one of the miles)