October 1, 2011

Podcast: The X-Factor Season 1- Auditions Week 2

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Episode 19 direct download

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Summary
This week continued and completed the audition portion of the show. We’re happy that The X-Factor went the So You Think You Can Dance route and kept this portion of the competition short, unlike American Idol which drags the process out for several weeks. We were introduced to some amazing singers such as Josh Krajcik and Jazzlyn Little, as well as interesting talent including Tora Woloshin, Brian Bradley and the performance piece that was J Mark Inman’s audition. The show wouldn’t be complete without the requisite bad auditions, of which Devon Talley’s ceremonial murder of RENT‘s “Seasons of Love” took top prize. We now know how to measure a year.

Going into the boot camp episodes, we’re worried about the groups. We haven’t seen anyone impressive and even the judge favorites, such as 4Shore, presented weaknesses that will become more apparent as weeks go on. The judges appear to be reaching for acts to fill the group slots as the decision to put through The Stereo Hogzz illustrates.

We’re looking forward to the boot-camp episodes and the developments sure to happen in them. We saw some footage of the contestants learning choreography (assisted by Mark Kanemura from So You Think You Can Dance!), an unexpected development that could change the contestant landscape. There was also footage of several favorites breaking down, although we can never be sure if this is a red herring or foreshadowing by the show’s editors.

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!

Episode Length: 38:24

Time Stamps
0:00 – Introduction: We enjoyed auditions lasting two weeks, O Fortuna! and thoughts on the host Steve Jones
2:42 – What’s up with the eccentric mother/daughter pairs in every city?
3:35 – Auditions that left an impression: Kim Terek, Skyelor Anderson, J Mark Inman, Josh Krajcik, 4Shore, Tia Tolliver, Brian Bradley, Ausem, Tora Woloshin, Brennin Hunt, Devon Talley, Jazzlyn Little
26:46 – Other auditions: Brock and Makenna, Drew Ryniewicz, Phillip Lomax, Cari Fletcher, The Stereo Hogzz, Paige Elizabeth, Leroy Bell
32:49 – The people to watch going into boot-camp
36:07 – How will the judges be assigned to groups?
37:29 – Wrap-up

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September 24, 2011

Podcast: The X-Factor Season 1- Auditions Week 1

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Episode 17 direct download

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Summary
We enjoyed the premiere of The X-Factor, contrary to what we expected when we first sat down to watch the show. We were expecting the auditions to be like on American Idol, but instead the feel of the episodes was closer to what So You Think You Can Dance does. The first episode in particular focused on the good contestants and relegated the majority of the poor auditions to a montage. The moderate pacing and extended length for the songs gave the show an organic flow in contrast to most reality shows which make use of quick cuts and short sequences.

The structure of the show is interesting, from the audience appearing to influence the choice of who gets through and who doesn’t to allowing people too old or young for American Idol to shine. We’re not convinced really old people will do well in this show since the need for energy and a strong vocal performance will be necessary in the long run. We also didn’t see much strength from the group auditions so far. We’re hoping the next round of auditions will reveal a compelling group act for us to enjoy.

Of course, no reality audition process would be complete without the bad auditions, of which we had several from Geo Goddley dancing around in a leopard print thong (no, he wasn’t naked although the censoring X made it appear that way) to Dylan Lawson’s freakout (we still have no idea what he was doing or what song that was supposed to be). Xander Alexander was an interesting case as his vocal ability wasn’t bad, but his attitude turned the audience against him. We’re convinced that if he auditioned for American Idol, he would have gone through and then would have had an intense backlash.

Siameze Floyd, Marcus Canty and Nick Voss intrigued us. We’re not yet convinced by them as their vocal abilities aren’t stellar, but they made up for it with good performances so we’re giving them the benefit of the doubt and want to see more. Caitlin Koch we don’t get at the moment. Her voice is good, but we didn’t find it as appealing as the judges did. Because a lot of people online and the judges liked her, we’re waiting to see another performance from her before we pass judgment.

We were blown away by Chris Rene, Stacy Francis and Melanie Amaro. Chris Rene pulled out a performance and sense of musicianship that we didn’t expect and Stacy and Melanie provided stellar vocal work and personality. Stacy’s soulful cover of Aretha Franklin moved us and made us happy to see her finally get her break. Melanie floored the room with their amazing control, strong range and sense of dynamics during her performance. She commanded the room without even having to move around.

We’re looking forward to the next round of auditions!

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!

Episode Length: 40:39

Time Stamps
0:00 – Introduction: We enjoyed the first two episodes and compare it with American Idol.
4:21 – About the production: General feel, how it’s different from American Idol, how the audience affects the process.
8:20 – Discussion about the judges
12:43 – The lower age limit: Rachel Crow and Ellona Santiago
16:47 – Can really old people do well in this? Dan and Venita.
18:48 – Benefits middle-aged people the most: Stacy Francis and Dexter Haygood
22:19 – Bad auditions: Geo Goddley, Dylan Lawson, Xander Alexander
27:50 – Interesting auditions: Siameze Floyd, Marcus Canty, Nick Voss and Caitlin Koch
33:13 – Amazing auditions: Chris Rene and Melanie Amaro
38:54 – Wrap-up: What do you think?

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August 9, 2011

86 Year-Old Man Sues Simon Cowell Over Punishing Physical Ordeal On The X Factor

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According to Fox News, Simon is being sued by an 86-year-old singer and his son who tried out for the X Factor this summer. The claim says Simon subjected them to a “punishing physical ordeal that left them unable to compete effectively”. Here are some details….

Hyman and Helen Marks, of Durham, N.C., and Stephen Marks, who resides in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., claim that prior to the father-son team’s audition in Miami in June they were made to film promotional scenes in 96-degree temperatures that caused them to perform below their best on stage.

The lawsuit reads, “Forcing an 86-year-old man with a bad knee and a 78-year-old woman who walks even slower, and a 54-year-old man with very bad asthma to do all this was unfair and discriminatory, since none of the other contestants had to go through this.”

It claims that Hyman Marks was so exhausted by the process that he could not remember the ages of his wife and son when questioned on stage.

Hyman and Stephen Marks auditioned successfully in front of preliminary judges on April 7, winning an invitation to sing for Cowell and his fellow judging panel of Paula Abdul, producer L.A. Reid and Pussycat Dolls singer Nicole Scherzinger at Miami’s Bank United Center on June 15.

The Marks’ have demanded damages of $3 million — or another chance for the father and son duo to audition, according to the legal papers filed with a Miami court.

My thoughts? If they had asthma, a bad knee, etc., and couldn’t handle the heat and what it would take to film scenes, etc, why were they there in the first place?

Thanks to Courtney for sending me a heads up on this news.

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July 19, 2011

Pure X-Factor Season 1 – Live Audition Tapings (Cont)

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Hello all! If you remember from many months ago.. I mentioned that I went to one of the live tapings of the X-Factor auditions when they came through Chicago back in May.

I gave a little tid bit about the hosts, but as everyone knows by now, things have changed a bit. Cheryl Cole as a judge is out and Nicole Scherzinger is in. Which in hindsight seems to be the best thing that could have happened. How? Well let me tell you a bit about my impressions of the judges in the during the live audition tapings:

The warm up guy continues a bit of more of his song and dance, and introduces the judges to the stage. Naturally we all know who Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul are, and if you don’t then get out from under that rock you’ve been hiding and look them up, while I focus on the other two judges.

New to the judging panel is Antonio “L.A.” Reid, co-founder of LaFace Records some of the acts that were signed to his label include Mariah Carey, Toni Braxton and Rihanna. He is also a Grammy winning producer and songwriter.

New to American audiences in general is Cheryl Cole, one-fifth of one of the most well known British all-female pop groups: Girls Aloud. She also released a couple of albums in the UK as a solo artist while the group took a hiatus to pursue individual careers.

Now there was a bit of speculation on the seating arrangement of the judges since in the original X Factor production Simon Cowell sat next to Cheryl Cole and in American Idol he would sit next to Paula Abdul… as it would turn out the judges sat as (from right to left if you were watching them on the television screen): Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, Cheryl Cole, Antonio “L.A.” Reid… I suppose Simon put his foot down as to which female judge he could handle more.

Speaking of which the chemistry amongst the judges was beyond funny, nothing’s changed much between Simon and Paula except that it seems saner (I can’t think of a better word) in this version as opposed to American Idol. My friend even mentioned that she rather liked Simon now as opposed to his time on American Idol.

Simon did have a habit of resting his right arm across the back of Paula’s chair… Though, nothing really happened because Paula was so focused on the contestants that she would lean rather forward onto the table from her chair.

L.A. gives some really good constructive criticism, and in some cases would be more than willing to go against Simon in the matter of opinion. He seems to have won a few audience points in the process.

Cheryl was the quiet one in the quartet, it was just really difficult to hear her at all, let alone understand what she was trying to say. She came off as really reserved (a British trait?), and didn’t seem to add much to the panel of criticism except just echoing or repeating what some of the other judges were saying.

When I first heard that Cheryl was leaving and Nicole was taking the fourth judges spot, I have to say that I was thrilled. Nicole is a more “known” name in the U.S. and she definitely had a lot of energy as a host, let’s just hope that the energy migrated from her hosting position to that of being a judge.

More to come (hopefully not in a couple of months) as we anticipate the Series Premiere of X-Factor.

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July 15, 2011

Simon Cowell And The Judges Opinion Of Their First X Factor Commercial (Behind The Scenes Videos)

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Below is some fun footage of what Simon and the judges thought about making their first promo for the show. You can see some behind the scenes footage as well. This is too cute!! You can also see some images behind the scenes here.

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July 12, 2011

View The Official X FACTOR World Preview!!

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July 11, 2011

US X Factor Preview Simon Cowell No More Mr. Nasty?

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Hey X Factor fans, just a reminder to watch a special premiere for the show during the 82nd All-Star baseball game tomorrow night, July 12th, on FOX at 8:00pm ET. It’s going to be an exciting night. Not only will the X Factor air a preview, Jordin Sparks is expected to sing and Brad Pitt will make an opening speech. What’s more and to bring and connect viewers closer to the sights and sounds of the first All-Star Game in Phoenix more than 21 cameras and 80 microphones will be positioned throughout Chase Field.

In telling you a little more on the X Factor preview, it’s rumored we will see a more gentle and nicer Simon than what we’ve seen of him during his days on American Idol and after the recent firing of Cheryl Cole. No more “Mr. Nasty”? Apparently, Simon he has been taught about positive energy and the calming influences of Asian cultures by Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger.

“Backstage Nicole and Paula have been giving Simon pep talks focusing on positive energy. A couple of bemused colleagues have since overheard him talking about being more ‘zen’ and having ‘good energy’,” a source told British newspaper The Mirror. “Those who have had a glimpse of Tuesday’s first preview advert for the show are shocked by the new and unusually gentle side to Simon’s judging. It’s all a bit strange.”

Hmmm. LOL, I can’t wait to see if this is true?

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June 30, 2011

Official US X Factor Raves: “Tonight has been a great night for Seattle! The land of ‘yes’!”

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Day two of the X Factor audition tapings in Seattle sounded like an exciting one. The Official X Factor twitter raved calling Seattle “The Land of Yes”!! Last night, they had a full house of 4,000 fans versus a disappointing 2,500 fans the night before. At one point in the night, L.A. Reid commented that he had seen the ‘best audition’ he has seen yet!!

Yesterday was also X Factor judge Nicole Scherzinger’s birthday and, as you can see below, Simon gave her a special gift in honor of the event. Would Nicole or anyone else expect anything else from him? He also gave her a birthday cake with the same image. LOL!!

You can read more on last night’s birthday festivities as well as viewing more pictures of the judges at the second day of auditions in Seattle >>>HERE!!

Stay tuned for coverage of X Factor Day three is Seattle soon!

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June 29, 2011

Audio Interview Of X Factor Judges In Seattle

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Below is a fun audio of Rachel Belle from My Northwest.com interviewing the X Factor judges upon their arrivals yesterday in Seattle. Even though she and the crowd had to wait three hours for them to come, you can feel her excitement as she only had 5 minutes with each judge. Simon and Paula remark about how “strange” their last American Idol experience was in Seattle, but, are still full of hope since the area is known for good talent. Simon looked forward to Seattle “proving a point”. He also talks of songs he never wants to hear performed again. All of this and more below!!! Great interviews even though these radio personalities in Seattle are a little annoying.

More audio at MyNorthwest.com
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US X Factor Day 1 Coverage In Seattle, Washington

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Simon Cowell, his new judging panel, and thousands of fans and contestants converged upon the Key Arena in Seattle, WA for day one of the Seattle auditioning tapings. This is the first time Simon has been in Seattle since he hosted the “American Idol” auditions in 2007. At the time, he made headlines for criticizing the talent in the area. Yesterday, he told a reporter from KPTV, “It was so bad last time, I thought it’s got to be better this time. I love the people here. As we say in England, ‘They’re up for it.'” LA Reid told the Seattle Times, ‘Seattle is a town that is known for producing a really different kind of ground breaking star, like Kurt Cobain and Quincy Jones. ‘I’m hoping that will surface in an X Factor, pop kind of way, I was listening to Jimi Hendrix in my dressing room, to find a talent like that would be to end on a real high”. Below are all four judges arriving for the event!

L.A. needs to be on the cover of GQ Magazine and SOON! 😀

Nicole looking sexy and fit as always.

Paula in all of her glory!!

And last but not least, the ever naughty and foxy Simon.

You can view more takes at the official X Factor facebook page. They must have found several fantastic contestants because the X Factors official twitter commented that there were several “Yes'” and standing ovations from the crowd. One contestant had Nicole and Paula up on their feet DANCING!! Simon had this to say on the contestant;

“You are one to watch. I really, really like you!” – Simon Cowell

@TheXFactorUSA

The X Factor (USA)

So, here’s to today’s auditions! We’ll be back later with more coverage. 😉

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