The X Factor Recap: The Pledge of 17

The X Factor stage, with its 973 flashing screens, 1,247 spotlights, and floor covered in twinkling, cascading strobes, is reminiscent of a big-budget sci-fi movie, and that can cause the strangest kinds of daydreams:

No one ever gets eliminated on The X Factor. Instead, they are assimilated into Intensity, a Borg-like collective that operates with a single consciousness and questionable pitch, and is fueled entirely by the power of Tweets with the hashtag #xfactor …READ MORE

The X Factor Top 17 Perform: Follow Along With Our Snappy Judgments!

If you’ve already overdosed on bittersweet tears from Stacy Francis and Dexter Haygood, then please be advised that tuning in to Tuesday night’s live-performance episode of The X Factor — at the end of which five of the Top 17 will be unceremoniously sent to the guillotine — may be detrimental to your health. On the other hand, if you’re like Destiny’s Child and think you’re ready for this jelly …READ MORE

The X Factor Recap: Cry Hard, With a Vengeance

And the Emmy nominees for Best Supporting Object in the Trumped-Up Reality-Show Drama of The X Factor‘s Top 17 Announcement Episode are: Nicole Shapeshifter’s shimmering eyelashes; the pillow used to mop up Stacy Francis’ tears-and-mascara gravy; the matching “wedding bands” worn by …READ MORE

The X Factor Recap: Open House Party

Things I never anticipated seeing on The X Factor‘s second set of “Judges’ Houses” episodes: A microphone stand crashing against elegant pool tiles without making the slightest sound. A ragtag group of 10 children gleefully laying waste to the legacy of beloved music duo Hall & Oates. And a scene set in an elaborately staged junk yard featuring …READ MORE

The X Factor Recap: Home Is Where the Start Is

Things we learned from the latest two-hour installment of The X Factor: Nicole Shirthanger realizes she’s not L.A. Reid or Simon Cowell — she’s sorry about that! — but she’s a really hard worker. Paula Abdul “represents everything a woman wants to be” (at least according to a spelling-challenged member of all-female vocal act 2SQUAR’D who has never heard of Marie Curie, Madeline Albright, Mother Teresa, or …READ MORE

The X Factor Recap: Ranking the Top 32!

This just in: At 23 years of age, Whitney Houston’s mawkish 1988 ballad “One Moment in Time” has apparently reclaimed its power as an un-ironic, soul-stirring anthem that can accompany small-screen images of joy, triumph, and the overcoming of obstacles. How else to explain the melismatic octave changes and lyrics about “racing with destiny” that accompanied …READ MORE

X Factor: Simon and L.A. on 'Humbling' Ratings, Weak Groups, and How Much 'Pretty' Matters

No debuting fall TV series got more publicity — or carried higher ratings expectations — than Simon Cowell’s U.S. version of The X Factor. But while initial ratings for the show’s four audition episodes didn’t hit  American Idol-level numbers — Episode 3, for example, drew a respectable, but not sensational, 11.5 million eyeballs — executive producer and head judge Simon Cowell says he thinks the show can grow to behemoth proportions as …READ MORE