S1E10: The X Factor delivered a night of both singing and sorrow. Now that the 17 semifinalists have survived their time at the judges' respective homes, the mentors were left to decide who would become part of the top 12 contestants. That's right, the season's first live episode started off with a bang as five more contestants were eliminated from the competition (and it only took a short two and a half hours to decide this). So once again the decision of who stays and who goes remained entirely in the judges' hands, which seemed a little unfair to me. It's live now -- when does America get a say? It's not a true reality show until I vote an obscene number of times to save my favorite contestants. Give up the power, judges. It's our turn!
On a side note, it was nice to see the host Steve Jones actually doing his job. Up until this point he was just a figure off on the sidelines, so it was nice to see him front and center. He's like a hot, British Ryan Seacrest, although I'm not sure Paula feels the same way (I think we've found the new Simon-Seacrest relationship). In fact, all of the relationships between the judges themselves seemed pretty tense. Since the contestants are being mentored by their respective judges, if the other judges didn't like something about the performance they blamed the mentor, not the contestant, which I thought was an interesting twist. Every judge basically thinks that they could have guided the prospective stars better than their contemporaries. I wonder what this ego-stomping will do to their dynamic on this show.
So now that it's been whittled down to a dozen acts, this means the remaining acts are composed of three boys, three girls, three over-30s, and three groups. You know, unless Simon decides to pull another fast one and claim an extra performer for his group (although it is his show, so I guess the guy can do what he wants). So was Melanie Amaro able to survive this round drama-free? Did Dexter Haygood finally sing his last song? Did your favorites make it to the next round?
The five eliminated contestants:
Boys: Phillip Lomax
Groups: The Brewer Boys
Over 30s: Dexter Haygood
Girls: Simone Battle and Tiah Tolliver
The Top 12:
The Stereo Hogzz
Overall, I was very pleased with who the judges' decided to eliminate, which is surprising since their decisions seemed so rushed. I'm sorry, but Dexter Haygood deserved to be let go. There's only so much screaming and lunacy I can take during a performance. Simon definitely had the hardest decision of the night since his group contained five extremely talented girls, but he kept the three that had the biggest chance of becoming music super stars, so I was satisfied with his reasoning. I'm surprised to say this, but -- well done judges!
The X Factor is back to its normal slot time next week on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8 p.m. on Fox!
S1E9: This past week on The X Factor turned out to be pretty stressful for our 32 remaining contestants. While each individual or group performed for the coach of their assigned division, the judges were left to decide their fate and were asked to eliminate four acts in each category: girls, boys, over 30s, and groups. So here it was, the moment of truth. They gave it their all and had to let the music speak for itself....but was it enough?
It was a tough night for both sides, but the final 16 contestants were finally announced. Some shed tears of joy, while others watched their dreams fade away, but either way the judges took each one of them aside and let them know their fate (as dramatically as possible, of course). You could tell that the decisions were really hard on all the judges because they genuinely care about all of the contestants at this point, but I'm not entirely sure all of their decisions were justified. This is a singing competition and some of these people clearly have more talent than others, so I was a little surprised by some of the judges' decisions. I guess I'm just confused as to how they actually determine who does and doesn't have that alleged X Factor Simon keeps going on about, but hopefully that becomes more clear as the show progresses.
So who got eliminated and who is safe to sing another day? Find out the final 16 below and see if you agree with the results:
The Brewer Boys
The Stereo Hogzz
While I was thrilled that the judges decided keep on talented fan favorites like Drew Ryniewicz, Josh Krajcik, and --- there were some decisions that left me wondering, "WHAT were the judges thinking?"
Tora Woloshin and Jazzlyn Little were sent home.
Why didn't Simon pick these two talented girls to be in his final four? All eight girls were talented, but their voices have consistently been strong throughout the entire competition. I thought Tora's unique look and dynamic voice would make her a shoe in to go on to the next round. And even though Jazzlyn has had some problems dealing with her nerves in the past, her voice more than makes up for it and that's something that could easily be improved upon with time. So I honestly just don't get it. These girls have gotten some serious screen time and every single time their performances have been outstanding. So unless they had some major slips ups that weren't caught on camera, I'll never understand where the logic was in these decisions.
Dexter Haygood made it through.
This guy has had the worst track record in his performances and the judges have noticed several times that he has a tendency to imitate other artists instead of finding his own, unique style, so why did he get put through to the next round? I thought for sure he was a goner, especially after his mess-up during the last audition. I'm not sure if they're putting some surprise people through as a way to make things less predictable, but the decisions should be based on talent, not for shock value. I don't see him lasting long with the live shows coming up.
Melanie Amaro was sent home, but then invited back.
Melanie is the one everyone thinks has what it takes to win the competition, so it was absolutely shocking when Simon told her this was the end of the road. It made absolutely no sense and had me questioning why Simon would chose Simone Battle over all these other great contenders. But then a bolt of lightning must have struck some smart brain waves in Simon and he realized he made a huge mistake in letting her go. So he invites Melanie to the live shows after all, which she very happily accepts.
So now we have a Top 17! Next stop -- live shows! The X Factor will air next Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on FOX
S1E6: Last night on The X Factor, the 100 remaining contestants were split into groups and given the challenge of learning a song which they had to perform in front of the judges together in five hours time. Some cracked under the pressure, while others rose above the expectations and proved that they were star material. So tonight we picked up right where we left off by watching the remaining groups strut their stuff with the help of vocal coaches, stylists, and choreographers. And after all the ensembles tried to sing their way to safety, the judges had to make some tough decisions - more cuts had to be made.
Once they dwindled the acts down even further, the remaining 64 contestants were presented with one more final challenge: they were given a list of 35 songs and had to choose whichever one they wanted to perform in front of 3,000 people. Oh, and they only had 15 hours to prepare. By the end of the night only 32 acts remained and the judges were finally assigned which category they would mentor for the rest of the competition: boys, girls, over 30's, and groups. So who were the 32 contestants chosen and which judge got assigned what group?
Find out below!
The Girls: Caitlin Koch, Tora Woloshin, Simone Battle, Drew Ryniewicz, Rachel Crow, Jazzlyn Little, Melanie Amaro and Tiah Tolliver.
The Boys: Brennin Hunt, Brian Bradley, Skyelor Anderson, Nick Voss, Tim CIfers, Phillip Lomax, Marcus Canty and Chris Rene.
Over 30s: Elaine Gibbs, Tiger Budbill, Leroy Bell, James Kenney, Josh Krajcik, Christa Collins, Dexter Goodman, and Stacey Francis.
Groups: the Stereo Hogzz, 2squared, 4Shore, The Brewer Boys, Illusion Confusion, The Anser and two groups composed out of those who were initially rejected as soloists.
As for the judges:
Nicole will be mentoring the Over 30s group, L.A. was assigned the boys, Paula is working with the groups, and that leaves Simon with the girls.
So what do you think? Do you think the girls have an edge with Simon as their mentor or is it an even playing field? Which judge would you have wanted? Next week we'll journey into the judges homes where they will help their groups get ready for the live shows!
In yet another variation on the shopworn road picture in which two mismatched former buddies are forced to cross the country together Soul Men’s uneasy brand of overly broad humor and contrived situations is saved intermittently by some cool musical numbers. But alas it’s not enough. Louis (Samuel L. Jackson) and Floyd (Bernie Mac) are part of a major musical group led by Marcus Hooks (John Legend) who goes solo leaving Floyd and Louis in the lurch. Fast forward 20 years Hooks has died and Louis and Floyd who did not end on good terms and have not spoken since have been coerced into appearing a tribute show for Hooks at New York’s famed Apollo Theatre. Afraid to fly they get in Floyd’s 1971 Cadillac El Dorado accompanied by a talented young woman (Sharon Leal) who may be Floyd’s daughter. Along the way they try to get their act up to speed by appearing in various redneck honky tonks filling the interminable 103-minute running time with a lot of unfunny sexual encounters and unbelievable situations. The late Bernie Mac was a terrific comic talent and is highly wasted in this mishmash in which he is constantly encouraged to mug for laughs. Mac is so much better than the lowbrow material he has to work with here that it’s a shame this film should stand as one of his last (at least there’s Madagascar 2). Faring even worse however is Samuel L. Jackson who is out of his element in a musical comedy and seems to be taking none of this hokum seriously. Thankfully the soulful musical numbers reminiscent of classic ‘60s Sam and Dave R&B are well chosen and capably performed even though neither Mac nor Jackson are known for their singing. Best number in fact is fronted by John Legend making his acting debut as Hooks. As the young eager beaver manager trying to get Floyd and Louis back together Sean Hayes is way too broad. Faring better is newcomer Adam Herschman as Hayes’ mop-topped intern who uses his fanboy infatuation with the pair to nice advantage. And there’s a nice now bittersweet bit near the end with the late Isaac Hayes. Malcolm Lee (Undercover Brother Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins) is a director who tends to go for the slapstick when a little subtlety and believability would be more in order. With a great Sunshine Boys premise and some nifty musical material to pepper the proceedings Lee still manages to drop the ball letting his talented actors down and encouraging them to chew up every scene. The corny silly situations certainly doesn’t help matters with the road trip device feeling more like padding than anything else. Soul Men doesn’t find the right rhythms.