The X Factor “Season 1 Finale” Review – And the Winner Is…


First of all, congratulations to Melanie Amaro. You can’t say she didn’t go out and earn it. Hands down the best pure vocalist on the show. Josh, Chris, you were close… but no cigar. Melanie won The X Factor, and she probably did it running away.

So I could go over certain parts of the show before getting to my main point—but really, do we need to go over how bad of an idea it is to have Chris Rene sing us Christmas songs?

Ah, sure, why not. Let’s do that. First, it is a really bad idea to have Chris Rene sing Christmas songs.

Frank Sinatra he ain’t.

Actually, all of the Christmas songs came off a little forced. (L.A. Reid: “You just made me realize it’s Christmas!”) Worse, they had all the “personal messages from loved ones” affixed at the end of each song, designed only to reduce each contestant to piles of sobbing tears. (Josh held out until his daughter Rowan came on. That dude is made of stone.)

No one manipulates quite like FOX. Not even ABC.

We had a Justin Bieber appearance. The Biebs! Shocking, really, since he just dropped a Christmas album and is looking for places to promote it. Of course only Stevie Wonder could eclipse the Biebs. That man can blow some sweet harmonica. Bringing Drew out onstage to sing (just a little bit) with him was actually very sweet. (Of course $5 million would be better, but she can certainly cross that off her bucket list.) Consider the Axe officially touched.

Leona Lewis showed up and performed an almost-as-good-as-Snow Patrol version of “Run.” Pretty damned good version of a brilliant song. We got to see 50 Cent, but I enjoyed seeing D. Fish more than Fiddy. (Thanks for bleeping him 900 times, FOX. Our children are now safe from innuendo. But nothing can save them from bad Laker dancers.) The Astro appearance? It was a’ight.

Loved the tear-o-meter. Scherzinger doubled up Paula. I LOL’d.

The Josh and Melanie duet was pretty good too. “We Can Be Heroes” sounded natural. (And were they flirting? I heard the “L” word. Discuss.)

But what I really want to discuss is the viability of the singers. Because all props to Amaro aside, it takes more than a soaring voice to make it on the rough-n-tumble pop charts of America. People may compare Melanie’s sobbing final song to Kelly Clarkson’s inaugural American Idol win, but some people forget Clarkson’s first album wasn’t the smash success her second was.

What it takes is excellent songs. The voice is secondary. (Hell, it may be third-dary if you consider the fact that the people in charge on the artist’s image may hold more weight than the artist itself.) And from what we’ve seen, Melanie’s not a songwriter. Hell, she doesn’t even play an instrument. So she’s going to have to rely on others to sculpt her future for her, basically.

(Sort of how The X Factor is trying to do it right now. I’m skeptical.)

Josh has more of a recording voice, plus he plays his own instruments and writes his own material… though the fact that the show didn’t showcase that at least once tells me his writing is probably not all that good. Chris Rene is another story; I still think “Young Homie” will be a certified hit. We’ll see if he has more bullets than just one good song.

So that’s that for the first season of The X Factor. The ratings were decent, but they didn’t reach Cowell’s lofty expectations… so you know some changes will have to be made. If I’m a betting man, I’m saying host Steve Jones will be gone (probably replaced by Rachel Crow), as will Scherzinger.

(Okay, maybe that’s just my personal wish. It’s Christmas, as someone pointed out…)

Seeya on the flip side, ‘morons. I’ll be back in January with reviews of Spartacus, The Walking Dead, and (finger crossed)… maybe even The Bachelor!

If you totally ship Josh and Melanie, follow me on Twitter! That’s @Axechucker! See you next year!