The X Factor Recap: Rowland in the Deep

x-factor-recap-rachel-potterFree Kelly Rowland!

OK, OK, maybe it’s too early for a melodramatic plea to Fox execs to release the charming Destiny’s Child star from a chair still stained with Britney Spears’ boredom drool. But watching the second episode of The X Factor‘s third season, I couldn’t help but feel like Kelly’s mixture of good humor, tactful candor and genuine sweetness are being wasted on a show where confetti cannons will always have top billing over actual contestants.

And just think: If Fox moved The Lady Rowland to American Idol‘s Paula Abdul Memorial Chair — and sent J.Lo back to the sequined bodysuit factory from whence she came — the network could use all the millions of dollars in the divas’ salary differential to clear more songs for Season 13 of its flagship singing competition.

But enough about the lady who popped up through the floor in the middle of Beyoncé’s 2013 Super Bowl halftime show. Let’s instead shift focus to a discussion of the acts who advanced to the next round during tonight’s episode (in order from least- to most promising):

8. Rylie Brown | This 15-year-old forgot the lyrics to “Clarity,” hit at least a half dozen bum notes, and showcased one of those “crying” vocal tones that can grate like parmesan after about 30 seconds. So, naturally, all four judges gave her “yes” votes. (Anyone notice how the new X Factor panel never disagrees on anything ever. So why the face do we need four of ’em during the audition rounds?)

7. Jorge Pena | Tried and failed to lure Demi to his ice-cream truck (figuratively speaking) with cheesy wink-and-flirt tactics, then doubled down on awful by going flatter than a penny on a railroad track while singing a Spanish-language tune. Apparently, though, that’s worthy of four “yes” votes, as well.

6. Jeffrey Brinkman | I was not a fan of the new dad’s lazy vocal stylings, which found him letting the last few words of every line drift away/imitating Michael Bolton on quaaludes.

5. Denise Weeks | Forty-one-year-old widow only managed to stay in tune on “The Greatest Love of All” after Simon cut the backing track. And knowing how The X Factor cranks up the music to jet-engine-in-your-living-room levels once the live shows begin, Denise’s future on the show looks dimmer than a Kardashian at a college physics lecture.

4. Al Calderon | You could hear the nerves percolating under the super cute 19-year-old restaurant host’s rendition of “Sara Smile,” but on the plus side, the kid showcased enough charisma to avoid getting swallowed whole by the massive audition stage. Could be one to watch if his future mentor helps him work on his grasp of pitch.

3. Roxxy Montana | Simon was right that Temperance has the best voice of the three-sister act; the other two (whose names I’m not learning unless I absolutely have to) brought the wincerie to “One Night Only.” That said, I definitely threw a Gospel hand (or three) when the gals teamed up on “I Know I’ve Been Changed.” A to the Men!

2. Simone Torres | Awkward Long Island chick transformed into someone much, much cooler when she tore into “Mustang Sally.” And while there were moments where she tried a few too many tricks with the bar-band anthem, her rich, gritty tone was more naturally intriguing than any other contestant from Episode 2.

1. Rachel Potter | Gorgeous (and familiar looking) Nashville bartender lamented the fact that at 29, she’s no spring chicken, but her twangy (and tangy) twist on Queen’s “Somebody to Love” showcased an appealing conversational style and massive amounts of vocal control. Could we be looking at a second-straight country winner from the “Over 25s”? It’s not impossible. And it’s Simon’s worst nightmare, which doesn’t hurt.

And on that note, I turn things over to you. What did you think of tonight’s X Factor? Was the ratio of bad auditions too high? Who was your favorite successful auditioner? Take our poll below, then expand on your opinion 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!

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  1. Sara says:

    I saw Rachel Potter in EVITA in Broadway (she played Peron’s mistress) and although she only sang one song she stole the show. She has a great stage presence and a beautiful voice. I really hope she will make it to the finals because she certainly has star quality.

    • ThatBob says:

      Just another in a long line of X-Factor and Idol plants and ringers. Simple Nashville bartender just waiting to be discovered, huh? Sure, Simon. Another BS backstory for the rubes.

  2. MB says:

    I enjoyed tonight’s show and I thought the talent was more promising than last season.

  3. Johnny says:

    Rachel looks a lot like Kree. Is it only me?

  4. Lore says:

    I love Kelly. I think she’s exactly what this show needed. She was also great on the UK version of X Factor, but she left because of that chavvy Tulisa. I’m glad to see she’s doing well on the American version.

  5. Josh says:

    Rachel was easily my favorite tonight. Totally didn’t get Simon’s response to Roxxy Montana. One minute two of them have awful voices, then they each sing a solo line followed by one harmonized line, and Simon calls them the best non-manufactured group the show has seen. Really? They surely sounded better in the second performance, but they barely sang anything- the first performance was so awful that I wondered why they didn’t just ask Temperance to audition as a soloist. Had she auditioned alone, she might have joined Rachel in my top two.

  6. Thea says:

    Simone’s voice really did it for me tonight. Excellent tone. Rachel was superb, but I’d accept nothing less from someone who’s worked her way around The Way. Also loved Temperance. I really truly hope Kelly gets groups so she can whip those other two into shape.

  7. Thedemoisallthatmatters says:

    Rachel Potter was amazing! Yes she is an experienced Broadway actress, but performing country and pop is VERY different than singing showtunes. I’d say she’s got a real shot!

    • Maggie says:

      she has an adorable music video on youtube that includes a cameo from Ricky Martin, her co-star in Evita!! she has an amazing voice!

  8. lee says:

    you need to give it up on AI and stop hating on X-Factor. How about you give the season a chance before you write it off?

  9. Dan says:

    I still say it’s far more enjoyable than the rest of the seasons. It would be nice if the panel disagreed once in a while, but still, fun. Kelly Rowland is great. My one problem was that the singers tonight just weren’t that great, other than Rachel Potter. But it’s just one episode.

    I really hope the ratings pick up, because I’m suddenly wanting another season.

  10. greysfan says:

    This season of X Factor has finally hit the right notes. They got rid of all of all idiocracy of the last 2 seasons and have gone to the basics of the X Factor formula seen around the world and its finally working for me. Problem is America has had 2 seasons of it and have given up. I hope it can improve because the talent so far has been pretty great.

    So far we’ve had some amazing singers come through from Rion, Carlito, Lillie, Simone and Rachel and looks like there is a lot more to come. This season looks so much more promising and I disagree with you about Kelly. She needs to be on this show not Idol. She is what can help them make THIS show work. Fox just have to ramp things up and try and push the X Factor brand better. Fresh start.

    • Lewis says:

      You are being sarcastic right? The show is a ratings bellyflop, the production is stale and tired. The magic is gone, its just boring and aside from the ringers the talent pool is pretty shallow. Every kid that can hold a note has already auditioned for 3-4 of these shows already. These auditions are like skimming leaves out of a pool. Its dull work and (judging by the top 16 spoilers) XFactor has failed to create any tension or find a breakout star.

      • Yasin says:

        The X factor to me is far more interesting thanAmerican Idol because of the diversity of the contestants and I actually love this judging panel they all have a unique chemistry and they’re so much better than that awful LA Reid he was just boring.

  11. Rachel Potter looks like Juliet Simms

  12. jake says:

    It’s getting kinda annoying when after their first audition that are the greatest singer to come along by the next time they see them, they either don’t make it to the next level or somehow lost their way.

  13. Jared says:

    I also saw Rachel Potter in Evita and I wrote her name down after that show. She sang “Another Suitcase In Another Hall” with a ferocity I’d never heard on that song before. She’s got the goods to win this whole shebang.

  14. Mika02 says:

    Ok I was really looking forward to this season except for Paulina. But I have to say I think they finally found the right chemistry in judging. The people they have picked so far have great potential so I will wait on live shows to it five stars. Love Kelly if Xfactor doesn’t continue they need to find her something do she’s beyond amazing.

  15. Terry says:

    “and sent J.Lo back to the sequined bodysuit factory from whence she came”

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  19. Jordan says:

    I’ve been a long time fan of Rachel Potter, and let me tell you, this girl is amazing! I looked forward to her debut for weeks, and I was even a bit disappointed because I know what she can do, and that only covered a small fraction of it. Still, that just gives me more to look forward to in upcoming weeks! Go Rachel!

  20. HTGR says:

    Part of me despises that even allowed country artists again, seeing how they really need to be split to their own show since they get an automatic 2-6 placement boost compared to singers of any other genre. And how Tate won or nearly won every week’s last votes or how so many of the others won or finished above so many others.

    And so having Rachel Potter and someone who could get some votes seems very bad on the one hand. I mean great yet another country take over. It’s all three shows now where it has happened and now this to cement it? And yet on the other hand, I actually did like what she did even though I don’t typically go for country singers and she is actually really good and I suppose it might be refreshing that we have a new type of winner, one we haven’t had on these shows for quite some years, a country singer who might possibly fully deserve to be at the top at the end. At the very least she seems could enough that you really couldn’t complain too much even if there may be others who are really good on the show. She does have a lot going for her and she does seem like someone who does deserve to get the break she needs to things of this sort.

    So in some ways she seems like and oh no not again and yet it wouldn’t really be the same thing since it wouldn’t be a country singer getting more votes than they comparatively deserve, but perhaps one getting all the votes they actually do deserve. She was impressive.

  21. HTGR says:

    yeah Simone was really good too

  22. HTGR says:

    hmm #4 for Al Calderon is way too high. I’m sure the girls will go crazy but I think he got by a lot more on looks and personality than vocals which were a bit pitchy and rough at times. He wasn’t bad but he wasn’t really good either. Clarity girl was definitely better than him despite being ranked way lower.