The X Factor Recap: Whole World's Upside Down

x factor kelly rowlandStop giving me White Castle and telling me it’s filet mignon! That, in a Styrofoam container, is my desperate message to Simon Cowell and his producing cronies at The X Factor.

Tonight’s installment — the fifth one focusing on the Season 3 audition rounds — was littered with mediocre vocalists who received lavish praise and occasional standing ovations from a judging panel that really should (and probably does) know better.

Don’t get me wrong: Demi Lovato brings a sassy charm to her role as The Voice of The Youth (TM pending). But I just cahhhhhhn’t when she stares down fit young guys whose grasp of pitch is as shaky as my 2013 “cut down on wine and carbs” resolution and yaps out critiques like, “You are so cute: I’m gonna say yes!”

And when the actual talent highlight of a two-hour episode is a formerly engaged duo spitting their peculiar (but super-catchy) dance track called “You Better Ask Me to Dance” — or maybe Kelly Rowland boogying down to/lipsynching said number — then you know you’re probably not on the journey to find the next One Direction or Leona Lewis (or even Tate Stevens).

But enough of my kvetching! Let’s instead cut to my ranking (from least- to most-promising) of the dozen or so latest folks to advance to the Season 5 “Four Chair Challenge.” (THAT NAME!):

12. Khaya Cohen, “Love You I Do”/”I Put a Spell on You” | Nope, her second attempt wasn’t really any better than her dreadful first. Did Simon actually invoke Adele and Amy Winehouse’s names? And is there a tribunal at The Hague that’ll have his tongue for such blasphemy?

11. James Kenney, “Summertime” | A catastrophic reimagining of an American classic — like throwing gummi bears on a pizza!

10. A four-way tie among indistinguishable snippet types, none of whom I’d ever want to hear again…
Celine Polenghi, “When You Believe”
Bree Randall, “Treasure”
Primrose Martin, “Nobody’s Perfect”
Summer Reign, “Impossible”

6. Emery Kelly, “I Won’t Give Up” | His voice quivered like a freshly shorn poodle on a January day. Adorbs — but his insanely tan forehead kinda freaked me out.

5. Tim Olstad, “One Thousand Years” | “Look at his hands [shaking]! He’s so scared!” exclaimed Kelly of this reasonably talented but wholly unremarkable fella. I hate to tell her, but that issue’s probably not gonna get better on live TV.

4. Wesley Mountain, “Wanted” | If he’d had an ice-cream scoop, he’d have put Kelly in a bowl and scarfed her down for dessert. (Sorry…I hate that sentence, too. But I’m not the one responsible for the creepoisie.) No denying he’s handsome with a solid vocal, though.

3. Second Hand High, “You Better Ask Me to Dance” | OK, so the chica’s voice was a little bit like the chick on Positive K’s “I Got a Man.” But let’s be honest: “I Got a Man” was The Jam Back in the Day (TM). And Kelly’s hips did not lie when she shook it like a Polaroid pictchah during “You Better Ask Me to Dance,” did they? (Of course not! Kelly’s hips put their hands on the Bible before every episode!)

2. Lorie Moore, “I Have Nothing” | If wearing football padding on the regular is her shtick, I could get with it. I mean, Gaga doesn’t ever wear pants and nobody judges her! Plus, Lorie’s solid vocals made me not totally hate the most overdone Whitney Houston song in the history of reality TV.

1. The Three Soloists Spliced Together Singing “I’m Going Down” | Each and every one of ’em was powerful, emotive and distinctive — and therefore were relegated to no more than six seconds apiece. Le sigh.

And with that, let me turn things over to you. What did you think of tonight’s X Factor? Who were your favorite wannabes? Did you disagree with any of the judges’ decisions (i.e. Second Hand High)? Take our poll below, then expand on your thoughts in the comments!