THE X FACTOR (US) “Live” Review

THE X FACTOR (US) “Live” Episode 10 – Just in case no one remembered, I feel like I should remind you all that there is a Pepsi commercial hanging in the balance here.

Now that that’s out of the way…

Here we go! We’re finally live! We get to choose—wait, no we don’t. I guess that’s next week. It’s still up to the judges. (Sigh.)

The thing I found most intriguing about today’s show was the fact that you have these judges commenting on performers they might want to advance in the competition—in order to further their own chances. Strange that hasn’t really been addressed.

I liked that the show went right to the decision. No Seacrestesque “…after the break.” Make those cuts! Chop! Of course their time management was problematic. I can only imagine the backstage producers were screaming at Not-Ryan Seacrest toward the end just to get everything to end on time.

Anyway, here’s how it went, and how I ranked them:

The Boys: L.A. Reid has his work cut out for him.

Brian “Astro” Bradley: Kicks! Pretty good, throwing down the Kriss Kross. Jump indeed. I’m curious whether or not Astro wrote the new lyrics. He won’t win, of course not, but he was by far the best of the boys today.

Marcus Canty: I thought he’d bring it on the stage. I didn’t think he’d be singing a Culture Club song. Because Boy George he is not, so the song was a strange pick. I thought Canty did a good job, however, except for one bad note at the end.

Chris Rene: Rene did some new version of “Love Don’t Live Here Any More,” and it was off-key as hell. This was as big a surprise to me (Rene stumbling) as Astro was a surprise owning the stage. It was just the wrong song; Scherzinger was right. The sparse stage did him no favors.

GONE: Phillip Lomax: The “crooner” came out with… The Monkees? Hard enough to top the Shrek version, much less Davey Jones and co. The female judges (and L.A.) effused, but Simon finally told it like it was: a bad choice in song. Reid took a guy that should be trying to exude class, and turned him into a bad Vegas lounge act. (And if we’re being fair, Lomax should count his lucky stars if he actually ends up with a Vegas show.) Very bizarre that Reid told Lomax he was safe and then booted him. But at least he got this right.

The Groups: Paula and all her tangled emotions begat this:

The Stereo Hogzz: KG, Jon, Trace, Trae, and Just’n came out and performed… alright, I didn’t recognize the song at all. “Squeeze Her Don’t Tease Her?” The stage show was kickass. It killed Simon to admit Paula had hit a home run with this, but it was truth.

InTENsity: Bad singing at the start, but certainly a good stage act. Simon said it was the new Glee—and while I’m not a Glee fan (at all) I can see where he’s coming from. It’s popular, and they will be too.

GONE: The Brewer Boys: Probably a wise choice they didn’t try to out-stage the Stereo Hogzz … though I’m not really getting the medley of “Rich Girl” with George Michael’s “Faith” … which have basically have nothing to do with one another, thematically. So the fact that it ended up sounding like a high school hoedown of some sort was probably purposeful, hoping to lasso in that country and western audience. A C&W brother duet? It could work. Just not on this show.

Lakota Rayne: I still have no idea what the name means, this group basically thrown together for their pinup looks. So it’s not really a surprise they sang a song as dirty as “Come On Eileen.” (Look it up. It’s pretty filthy.) They shouldn’t have been thrown together. They weren’t synchronized at all, just sort of individually… posey. So I don’t get the praise. I have a feeling L.A. and Simon were judging with their eyes. They should have gone home.

The Over 30’s: Nicole Scherzinger remains confused. I found her choices for these singers confounding. But here they are:

Josh Krakcik: Well, you had to expect he would deliver, and … I guess he did. Ish. Too bad the song didn’t go anywhere. It was good, but I was bored. And Krakcik was still the best. Seriously, I’m questioning whether or not Scherzinger knows what the hell she’s doing.

Stacy Francis: Another George Michael song, done better than the other, but still nowhere near a home run. Simon was right in that she should be singing church (it’s called Gospel, dude) music rather than pop. Stacy is delusional if she thinks she’ll have any sort of impact on a young, pop crowd. That’s not her target audience. Also: interesting wardrobe; I didn’t hate it like Simon did.

Leroy Bell: Not quite as good as I thought he could be. Dude needs to learn how to move around onstage. He still sounds like Kenny Rogers (not Michael Bolton, or even Roose Bolton). L.A.: “I would have given you a better song.” Leroy: “Thank you.” Leroy said thank you a lot. Simon came after Nicole for her choreography, and she came back with “I don’t think you would have spent two weeks with him.” Touche.

GONE: Dexter Haygood: After L.A. and Paula gave us their strongest acts to open their respective groupings, I sort of assumed everyone would. And… wow. Dexter. I felt like he was a Gong Show joke act. He butchered Britney and Katy Perry. “The weirdest milkshake in the world.” Simon was hoping all to hell Dexter made it through. Nicole’s praise was basically “You remembered your lyrics,” so you kind of knew he was screwed.

The Girls: I assumed Simon Cowell’s ego demanded five acts, but apparently the other judges screamed at him. Proper.

Melanie Amaro: Strongest performance of the night. Whitney? She threw it down. Saved the best for last indeed. With the crowd chanting her name there at the end, Simon would have been facing a lynch mob if he didn’t put her through.

Drew “Don’t Bother Saying My Last Name” Ryniewicz: Didn’t expect to ever hear “What A Feeling” as a slow song. I would have had some sort of ballet act dancing in the background to tell the whole tale (I’m straight, I swear), but it was pretty damn good. I think she’ll get killed by Amaro in future days, however.

Rachel Crow: Strong singing as usual, but wow, that wardrobe. She somehow co-mingled one “Baby” (The Supremes) with another “Baby” (Justin Bieber) and it was okay. Age appropriate, I suppose. Little Miss Sunshine? Alright. She said “Thank you” more than Leroy. Like Ryniewicz, she’s going to get schooled by Melanie Amaro.

GONE: Tia Tolliver: “Sweet Dreams Are Made Of This?” No. Creepy, and not in a good way. Yikes. That was almost as much of a joke as Dexter Haygood’s performance. Glad she’s gone.

ALSO GONE: Simone Battle: As bad as she’s ever been. Her weaksauce Beyoncé impression fell flat as expected. “Just Be Good To Me” wasn’t that good in the 80’s, but she made me yearn for the original SOS Band. I love that L.A. went into attack mode. “5 million dollars? Really?” Simon did the smart thing by cutting this loser.

If you also yearn for the original SOS Band, follow me on Twitter! That’s @Axechucker!