THE X FACTOR (US) “Judge’s House #1” Review

THE X FACTOR (US) “Judge’s House #1” Episode 7 – As familiar as this feels, this is still uncharted territory. There’s a point where I flip on the TV and still expect American Idol.

But if anything separates The X Factor from A.I., it’s this whole “get mentored by a famous judge while he / she lounges back in a lounge chair on a porch.” And I’m not sure that’s really the best way to judge a stage talent… but hey. The views from those swank mansions were fabulous.

(I know. Who cares, right? No one cares about the views, FOX!)

If I have to rate it, I still think A.I.’s “small stage” group-of-24 round is more entertaining than this. At least in that you can still have “Idol Moments.” This setup, with no audience feedback, makes that a lot harder.

So half of the 32 performed tonight. Here are the acts in their order of (my) importance:

Paula Abdul (and special guest Pfarrel) and the Groups:

The Anser: These wholesome Salt Lake City lads crooned P!nk’s “Perfect” and pretty much nailed it to the wall. Pretty damned good. Better than good, they sound truthful. That’s important. Mom votes too! They pretty much have to go through.

4Shore: Probably the most polished of the acts. Pret-ty good. I have absolutely no idea what song they sang, but hey. Hip-hop, admittedly, is not my thing. But I think they’re slightly better than my initial Boyz 2 Men Clones evaluation.

Lakoda Rayne: Kind of weird having four hot chicks singing “Born This Way.” Do they know what the song is about? But for being just thrown together, they weren’t bad. Surely they’ll be better than the 10-kid Glee Spree (no, that’s not their real name). And no, I have no idea what the name “Lakoda Rayne” means.

The Brewer Boys: These brothers from Temecula are closer to the Everly Brothers than any other act I can think of (my mom would know what I’m talking about). Doing “The Only Girl In The World” like … I dunno what that was, like The Gipsy Kings meets Everything But The Girl. Kind of weird. I think the older brother has something, but it still feels like he’s dragging his little brother around with him.

Nicole Scherzinger (and Enrique Iglasias) and the Over 30’s: Nicole opened with, “I love having the over-30’s…” BZZZT. WRONG. Liar, you lie!

Stacy Francis: “I had to borrow this dress, and these shoes…” How does this woman not touch you? She reigned on a reined-in “Purple Rain.” Crushin’ Prince. Now that said… she does need some mentoring, because when she goes on her runs she can yowl off-key and—oh, look, more running mascara. (Shocking.) But if Scherzinger doesn’t at least bring Stacy into her 4, she’s crazy. People already love this woman, flaws and all.

Elaine Gibbs: Whoa, great vocals! Just based on that alone she should be a shoo-in, but her “stage presence” might be questioned. And … okay, I’m going to a weird place, but sweetie, if you’re having a horrible acne issue on your chest, probably best you don’t wear a low-cut dress. Hopefully physical unattractiveness doesn’t hurt this woman too much, because I like her.

James Kenney: Vocally? Excellent. He did a pretty damned good rendition of Rihanna’s “Russian Roulette.” But visually? It doesn’t work. He doesn’t play as a solo artist. I don’t think he makes it through—hell, I wouldn’t put him through. But if I were him, once he gets the boot, I would find a freaking band and front that. Over 30? Hey, Train is still rocking it.

Dexter Haygood: Homeless dude from Los Angeles. Yes, he started crying again. But dude flipped a completely crazy version of Beyonce’s “Crazy In Love,” which was at times inspired and at times completely lost. And then he bawled again. Fell apart in Not-Ryan-Seacrest’s arms. No way he’s going through.

L.A. Reid (and Rihanna) (and her gigantic hair) and The Boys: They were all below average. Literally, there’s a chance that all 4 of the next show’s singers could go through.

Brian “The Astronomical Kid” (or “Astro Pup”) Bradley: He’s really good. For his age. But “too young” could be the kiss of death for a rapper. He has no chance to win the whole thing, which makes L.A. Reid crazy if he brings him through.

Phillip Lomax: Poor broski, forced to re-do a Rihanna song in front of Rihanna. But seriously, what’s she going to say to his face? “I hated it?” Of course she was going to say he was charming. But really, his vocals were flat. And no, I don’t think he works commercially.

Nick Voss: Please, dude, fix your hair. Vanilla Ice was cool, sure, for about eight seconds. The picture they showed of him with his mom, and you’re like, “Wow, he’s actually a good-looking dude.” But that doesn’t matter, since he butchered Tears For Fears’ “Everybody Wants To Rule The World.” He’s like Morrissey off-key and on helium. No way he should go through.

Skyelor Anderson: The kid who wants to be the “youngest black country singer” in the world stunk. “Nobody Knows It But Me” was terrible. Seriously, the entire song was flat. I can’t see him advancing. He shouldn’t.

Simon Cowell (and NOT Mariah Carrey) and The Girls:

Caitlin Koch: The female rugby player with the gigantic voice didn’t disappoint. Her supple rendition of “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” was gold. Seriously, how do you not put that through? Easy answer: you do. Simon’s already thinking Kelly Clarkson when he watches this chick perform.

Tora Woloshin: The tattooed-and-pierced auto mechanic had what I thought would be the most unique sound. And you have to say her rendition of “Satisfaction” was equally skillful and bizarre. Sort of reminded my of that 90’s one-hit-wonder Dee-Lite, which… I guess that could be good or bad. I think I liked her more than Simon did. (And clearly I am the Voice Of The People.)

Drew Ryniewicz: The Bieber fan from Chino Valley AZ (no relation to Chino California, sorry Bikini Girl) … doesn’t really look 14, does she? Her softened version of Roxette’s “It Must Have Been Love” was good in parts, but it could have gone better (bigger) places. That’s not her fault though. I would only question how, ultimately, she stacks up to an already-stacked female group.

Simone Battle: This ego-tripping chick mangling “Help”—that’s right, they let her sing a freaking Beatles song—made me wish for a stiff enough wind to blow her over into the pool. Not for comedic effect, but rather with the hope that she might be electrocuted and we wouldn’t have to see her any more. The fact that Simon loves her galls me. He has to know the American voting public is going to despise her, right?

So that’s Day One. Which was supposed to have been yesterday. Day two is… Sunday. Guess I’ll see you then, The X Factor fans!

If you would have rather seen this yesterday, follow me on Twitter! That’s @Axechucker, you X Frakkers!