The X Factor (US) “Top 4 Results” Review

So Marcus Canty (finally) leaving being a foregone conclusion, and with next week’s reviews being basically all about the finalists, I thought it appropriate to dedicate this article to the show as a whole. Yep: it’s time for The X Factor to get my grade.

But first this has to be said about Canty: 30 million votes was an X Factor record—the large number of them probably due to a massive chunk of the voting audience calling in to vote for anyone but Marcus. He was being blamed for the ouster of two young, bawling girls. There was no way he was going to survive.

What else? Florence and the Machine performed. I’m not huge into them or their sound, though the songwriting is decent. Florence always comes off a little shouty to me. Sort of a nu-generation Grace Slick who, if I must be fair, never impressed me.

(I’ll give a nod to “White Rabbit,” sure.)

Anyway, here are my grades:

Simon Cowell: A-. Simon is Simon, and he’s consistently the best, most honest music critic on TV. This season he’s even shown a bit of emotion, especially when any one of his girls got an axe he didn’t believe they deserved (which was basically all of them). If I have one criticism it’s that he wasn’t hands-on enough from the outset. But everything else was pure Cowell.

L.A. Reid: B. He started the season as an A, sharp and relevant, but by the time I heard his “my team first” rhetoric schtick a half a hundred times, he’d downgraded to a C. So an overall B is fair. L.A. made me question The X Factor’s use of “teams,” because it makes you question a judge’s veracity. I’m not sure this is better than American Idol at all.

Paula Abdul: C+. She started the season sober, sane, and fun, and ended it with me questioning all three of those. I guess you have to take Paula with a little grain of “Paula,” but by the end her love fest was wearing a bit thin.

Steve Jones: D+. He will never be Seacrest. It was fun seeing him sweat under the pressure of live TV time crunches, and it looked as though he had found a decent banter partner in L.A. Reid (Simon clearly was not interested) by the end, but all in all he was just dull. Is it too late to try and get Carson Kressley as host?

Nicole Scherzinger: D. She’s an all-around D, as in dim, as in dumb. But you could also make that argument for Paula. Thing is, Paula is lovable; Scherzinger is not. Scherzinger’s biggest crime is the fact that she’s fake. Her vocals (she graced us with her new single “Pretty”) are snarly-fake, reminiscent of the 80’s female hair-metal band Vixen. She had no interest in working with the Over-30’s, and had no knowledge about how to place her singers in the most believable light. Because she’s fake.

(Yeah, I just threw a Vixen reference out there. What’chu got? Britney Foxx?)

Production: A-. You can’t say they didn’t throw the kitchen sink at us. Slick, glittery, professional. However…

Final X Factor Grade: B. It started with a kick and ended with a bit of a shrug. Not a horrible train wreck of a show (see: Bachelor Pad), but not wildly entertaining either (also see: Bachelor Pad). “Overdone” is a criticism the show has taken, and rightly so. But that’s not to say it hasn’t brought us some serious talent. The final three of Krakjik, Amaro, and Rene would be a threat to topple any A.I. idol. (Throw Rachel Crow and Astro onto that list as well.)

The final could be everything the show aspires to. I guess we’ll see next week if it hits the mark.

If you think Nicole Scherzinger is a complete maroon, follow me on Twitter! That’s @Axechucker, you pussycats!