November 6, 2011

Podcast: The X-Factor Season 1 – Top 12 Week

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Time Stamps
0:00 – The Stacy & Dexter controversies, group routine lip syncing, the Eliminations show format and PEPSI!
7:50 – Bottom Two – The Stereo Hogzz (Yep, they’re lip syncing!) and InTENsity
12:36- Leroy Bell
14:32 – Rachel Crow
16:40 – Lakoda Rayne
18:20 – Brian “Astro” Bradley
20:34 – Drew
23:06 – Quick words about the other acts: Melanie Amaro, Chris Rene, Josh Krajcik, Marcus Canty and Stacy Francis
30:06 – Wrap-up

Episode Length: 31:46

Vocal artists and lip syncing, this topic gets debates raging about what’s acceptable and what’s not in the world of music performance. It’s known that pop artists make use of lip syncing when their live shows involve lots of dancing or when performing and sometimes during late night television appearances, but what’s more controversial is whether this practice has a place in singing competitions. The X-Factor showed us in several instances that lip syncing is being used during the elimination episodes, from Leroy Bell’s vocal cue mishap during the group number to the Stereo Hogzz using a backing track during their survival song “Emotion.” To our ears, it also sounds like the Stereo Hogzz’s live Wednesday performance contained enhanced background vocals to beef up the sound. FOX issued a statement about the observations, which admits to lip syncing being used during the group numbers and for the backing tracks in the survival songs.

Aside from the lip syncing stuff, the performance episode contained a mixed bag of performances, from the excellent Melanie Amaro and Drew to our lukewarm reaction to Chris Rene. Rachel Crow’s performance did not work for us, being too focused on flash at the expense of substance. Rachel’s vocals again weren’t as strong as we’ve seen from her (see “Mercy” and “If I Were A Boy”), but we’re more concerned about the image and performance style Simon grafted on to her. It’s bubblegum pop that wears thin on the ears. Josh Krajcik’s “Jar of Hearts” performance also had its issues in the first half of the song. The arrangement placed him in the bottom-end of his range, which led to several sour notes and the loss of his trademark bluesy grit. By the end he regained his strength, but we’re not happy that Nicole gave him a song that made half the performance weak.

Lakoda Rayne we found to be the worst act of the night, from the brutal harmony clashes at several points in the song to the “sweet” arrangement and performance that jarred with the lyrical content of “Landslide.” We don’t know what in the world the judges were thinking with the “singing with one voice” comment, or why the dresses were the point of contention, a silly superficial distraction from the larger problems of the number. For them to be the only safe group on Thursday night shocked and confused us, begging the question, who likes this and is voting for them?

We agree that Steve Jones needs a new tagline (“Bye bye” doesn’t work), that Nicole needs to give Leroy Bell songs that are closer to his solo album material and that Vote For The Worst’s pick of Astro doesn’t bother us at all. InTENsity’s departure, while sad, doesn’t upset us as we weren’t too attached to any of the groups. As we discussed in previous podcasts, we were expecting the various groups to go home first in the competition. And Marcus Canty, while a fun performer, isn’t proving to be memorable for us. James in particular completely forgot what his performance sounded and looked like by the time we got around to recording the podcast!

Please let us know your thoughts by dropping us a comment here after listening either here! We love to hear feedback and what you thought of the show. We also encourage you to check out our blog or twitter feed to keep up to date with us!

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