The X Factor‘s great Season 3 experiment — the “Four-Chair Challenge” — is over, Simon Cowell’s category being the last to complete the Thunderdome-esque “Ten acts enter! Four acts leave!” shenanigans. Was this new round — which replaced “Bootcamp” and “Judges’ Houses” a success?
From a pure drama standpoint, absolutely. Because, at its heart, the Four-Chair Challenge acknowledges the brutal truth that for the every winner of every round of a reality singing competition, there is, alas, a loser. So shouldn’t we, as a viewing public, be forced to look into the faces of the twentysomething girl group (one of whom actually applied her jeans via aerosol can!) as they watch their teenage dopplegangers slide up to the banquet table and devour the feast they’ve been dreaming about for a decade?
From a talent-discovery standpoint, however, I wonder if maybe a little bootcamp action might’ve shaken out some more chaff from the wheat basket. I mean, of the 16 acts headed into the post-baseball season live shows, I can only think of four or five that would’ve gotten Xtina, Blake & Co. to hit their buttons over on their NBC competitor.
Anyway, I’ve got a Glee episode to recap, so let me cut to the recap of the Groups (four carried over from last night, and six from tonight):
Groups: Simon Cowell
THROUGH TO THE LIVE ROUNDS
Restless Road, “Somebody Like You” | Grade: C- Demi was spot-on that there’s a huge market gap for a country-flavored One Direction, and the crowd’s thisclose-to-undergarment-throwing response backed her up. But the vocals? Come ON — the guys’ harmonies collided like ladybugs and minivan windshields. And that Andrew dude’s stage presence is so stiff, I kept expecting to see a toe tag popping out of his boots!
Sweet Suspense, “Wishing on a Star” | Grade: B- The vocals started out a little wobbly, but once that Millie girl took over the lead, I could hear some potential. I’m not as excited about these teenagers as I was about Lyric 145 at this point last year, but I probably felt the exact same way about Fifth Harmony, too.
Alex & Sierra, “You’re the One That I Want” | Grade: B+ Yeah, they’re too cutesy by half — you know that peck on Sierra’s cheek was rehearsed at least 20 times before they took the stage — but the vocals were spot on, and I appreciated the creativity of turning a Grease soundtrack cut into a smoldering acoustic jam. In other words, I won’t mind listening to them once a week between now and late December.
Roxxy Montana, “Man in the Mirror” | Grade B Yeah, their performance was a triumph of willpower over vocal spotlessness, but let’s keep it real: Hard work takes a seat! Desire takes a seat! Putting a fresh twist on Michael Jackson takes a seat! And with Forever in Your Mind still in the mix, SOMEONE had to take that seat.
Girls United, “Yeah (3x)” | Grade: B- I didn’t hate them, but then again, I bought a Wild Orchid CD off eBay last year.
Wild Thingz, “Party Rock Anthem” | Grade: N/A They were vocally about as pleasing as onion-flavored mouthwash, but their insane commitment to being ridiculous was highly entertaining. I think Season 3 woulda been more fun if they’d replaced Sweet Suspense, don’t you?
Glamour, “Cups (When I’m Gone)” | Grade: B- (possible Stockholm Syndrome happening, admittedly)
Yellow House Canyon, “Hell on Heels” | Grade: C+ I won’t remember this by Friday. (I still remember Sister C, though! #NeverForget)
Forever in Your Mind, “Lovebug” | Grade: F Those harmonies wee like mixing peanut butter and battery acid.
Good News, “Landslide” | Grade: D Stevie Nicks is a national treasure. And these girls defiled a national treasure.
And with that, let me turn things over to you. What did you think of tonight’s X Factor? Who were your favorites? Did you disagree with any of the judges’ decisions? Sound off below!