October 9, 2011

Podcast: The X-Factor Season 1 – Boot Camp Week

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Episode 21 direct download

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Summary
This week The X-Factor shifted gears and moved into the boot camp episodes where the judges whittled down the field to 32 contestants evenly split into four categories: the girls, the guys, the over 30s and the groups. The original field included over 150 people and two sets of cuts brought us down to 32, filling the episodes with plenty of drama, emotion and genuine surprises. The X-Factor serves itself well by continuing to focus on the people we got to know during the audition episodes and keeping the pacing at a comfortable level. We were also introduced to new talent, such as Tim Ciphers who surprised us with his strong range and clear tone.

We didn’t see anyone cut that upset us and are quite happy with the majority of the field left at the end of the week. We disagree with some choices, such as putting through Simone Battle and The Stereo Hogzz, but these are small nitpicks compared with an overall strong field. In the podcast we spend time talking about the top 32 contestants, sorting out who we like and who we don’t as well as discussing their prospects for making it through the judges’ houses round. Our top favorites are Melanie Amaro, Josh Krajcik and Leroy Bell.

The judges’ houses round sounds intriguing although we don’t know much about how this portion of the show will run. Will it be a drill session to push people to their limits and center around the selection process or will it be a more laid back mentoring session where the judges dispense one-on-one advice? Either possibility should prove to be good television. We have reservations about Nicole’s ability to mentor the over 30s category and it’s a toss-up whether Paula will find success in leading the groups. Simon and L.A. are both strong choices for their respective categories. We’re excited to see who makes it through and who goes home!

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: 41:47

Time Stamps
0:00 – Introduction and general thoughts on the boot camp episodes
8:25 – Top 8 Girls: Caitlin Koch, Tora Woloshin, Rachel Crow, Melanie Amaro, Simone Battle, Drew Ryniewicz, Jazzlyn Little and Tiah Tolliver
15:34 – Top 8 Boys: Brennin Hunt, Skyelor Anderson, Tim Ciphers, Marcus Canty, Brian Bradley, Nick Voss, Phillip Lomax and Chris Rene
22:49 – Top 8 Over 30s: Elaine Gibbs, Leroy Bell, Josh Krajcik, Dexter Haygood, Tiger Budbill, James Kenney, Christa Collins and Stacy Francis
29:55 – Top 8 Groups: Stereo Hogzz, 2Squared, 4Shore, Brewer Boys, Illusion Confusion, Anser and the two judge-created groups
34:13 – Thoughts on the judges and their mentoring categories: Paula Abdul – Groups, Nicole Scherzinger – Over 30s, Simon Cowell – Girls, L.A. Reid – Boys
36:30 – Odds and Ends
39:31 – Wrap-up

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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 24, 2011

X Factor Team Covers The Hollywood Reporter September 2011 (Behind The Scenes Video)

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We are inching closer and closer to the Septemebr 21st premiere of the X Factor. In light of the event, the X Factor team of judges and host are covering the September issue of Hollywood Reporter. In the new issue, Simon is interviewed. They ask him what he hopes for the most with the X Factor. He says “Buzz” as he wants everyone talking about it. He’s setting the bar with wanting 20 million viewers a week. All this and much more in a new article all about Simon and the X Factor >>>>HERE. You can veiw a behind the scenes video of the cover shoot below…

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August 17, 2011

Mariah Carey In Final Negotiations To Mentor US X Factor Contestants

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According to a Deadline exclusive (who have been a good source for new X Factor news in the U.S.), Mariah Carey is in final negatiations to mentor the contestants from the X Factor. Details below. Be sure to read the link for the full story as they question if adding Mariah to the show will “outglitz both The Voice and American Idol”.

Simon Cowell is in final negotiations to have Mariah Carey as his personal pick to mentor his contestants from his house. “He’s still finalizing her deal,” an insider tells me. The X Factor is pulling out all the stops to draw in other superstars as mentors. Contacts are being made now with “the Beyoncés, the Rihannas, all of them.” the insider tells me. The X Factor’s UK original series reportedly has signed up Usher as a mentor. Mariah’s name has been mentioned in connection with the U.S. show from the beginning but her twins pregnancy prevented her from being one of the judges.

I’m not sure about The Voice as I don’t watch that show. I love American Idol though and I think I will love watching both American Idol and the X Factor. I’m loving everything I’m hearing about the X Factor too and who has been picked to do the show. I’ve awlays been a Mariah Carey fan.

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August 10, 2011

X Factor Judge Paula Abdul Covers Emmy Magazine 2011

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“Paula Power” is RIGHT! I don’t think there is barely a soul out there more excited to see Paula back in the lime light and as a judge on the new US version of the X Factor. In promotion for the upcoming X Factor premiere in September, Paula graces the cover and the inside of Emmy Magazine. They interview her as well where she talks on the X Factor, her old role on American Idol, and her choreographing and singing days in the 80’s and 90’s. Here are a couple of excerpts from the interview from Just Jared. You can also view the fabulous shoot at the link. More on how you can obtain a copy of the magazine and interview at Emmy.com.

“This show is kind of a [combination] of all the different careers I’ve had. And I love nurturing raw, untapped talent – having a front-row seat to something at its humble beginnings that could lead to greatness.”

On not having regrets about leaving American Idol: “I felt like my time on the show ran its course. I was very grateful for the good times, and I was a good student through the tough times. But I felt like the dynamics of the show changed when they brought Kara in.”

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August 6, 2011

Simon Cowell Dishes On His Judges, The X Factor, American Idol, and More

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OK Magazine recently sat down with Simon Cowell to ask him about the X Factor. He talks of Paula and how she wears her heart on her sleeve. She “fascinates” him and he loves her “energy”. He talks a little on the other judges as well as American Idol and how he doesn’t ever plan on returning to the show. He doesn’t have hard feelings. He’s happy and he knows they are too. All this and more below and at the link.

“It’s that kind of unpredictability with her where you don’t know if she’ll be in a good mood or a bad mood and my god she wears her heart on her sleeve,” Simon gushed to OK! at the London Hotel of why he couldn’t wait to work with the “Forever Your Girl” singer once more, adding that Paula is, “hilarious to work with!”

While the 51-year-old admits that Paula, “fascinates” him, it’s the twosome’s quirky, love-hate dynamic that seems to win over viewers. So will the pair be up to their same old comical tricks now that they are slated to judge together on a different show?

Simon explained to OK! that he and Paula’s energy will never change as she “has this ability to forget she’s being filmed. So when she argues with me, it’s as if she’s in my house, screaming at me, and then she kind of remembers she’s on TV again. I’ve never worked with anyone like her before.”

Simon and Paula, 49, are usually the ones butting heads at the judge’s table, but with music producer L.A. Reid and Killer Love artist Nicole Scherzinger also on the X Factor panel, there is bound to be even more back and forth between the cast.

“I call Nicole ‘Sylvester’ after Sylvester the Cat and I call Paula ‘Tom,’” Simon joked to OK! of Paula’s amusing cat and mouse relationship with the former Pussycat Dolls band member, “And Sylvester and Tom get their claws into [some of the contestants] and me and L.A. fight to keep these girls in.”

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July 23, 2011

X Factor’s Simon Cowell On How It All Began (Audio Interview)

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Fox All Access has a fantastic audio interview up with Simon Cowell. Simon talks about what his life was like before American Idol and the X Factor. Of his youth, he thought he might “jump off of a bridge” at one point. It wasn’t the “best time of your life” as his teachers told him and his fellow students. He hated school. He thought it was boring, but, it taught him that he wanted to do something “fun” when he grew up. So, he worked his way up from the mail room of the music business to later wanting to produce records and shows that he “liked” and thought others would too. Fascinating! If interested, listen >>>>HERE .

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July 20, 2011

American Idol Creator Simon Fuller Sues Fox Over Credit and Fees For X Factor

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Someone is always trying to get a piece of the pie and such is true for American Idol creator Simon Fuller. According to Reuters, Fuller thinks he has rights to executive producer fees and credits on the new US version of the X Factor. Here is a take from the link explaining more. I don’t understand why he thinks he should get money for something he’s never done on the show? Oh well.

Fuller said Fox and Fremantle made a deal with him in 2005 in which he agreed to drop the suit in exchange for an executive producer credit and fee on the American version of “X Factor.” The deal also included a confidental settlement, an agreement that Cowell would remain with “Idol” through 2010, and Fuller receiving a minority interest in “X Factor.”

But with the show just two months from airing, Fuller says, Fox and Fremantle have refused to grant him the executive producer credit or pay him a fee “‘commensurate with his duties and stature in the entertainment industry.”

Fox said in a statement: “Mr. Fuller has not been hired, nor performed any duties, on the U.S. version of ‘The X Factor.’ His suit seeks payment and credit as an executive producer despite his neither having been approved by the required parties, nor hired, as such. We believe this lawsuit is without merit and we expect to prevail.”

A representative for Fuller said in a statement that Fuller “has prudently attempted to settle this matter privately but the other parties have refused to honor the original contract, leaving him no other choice but to pursue legal action.”

Fuller’s suit alludes to the recent phone hacking scandal at News Corp., Fox’s parent company, to suggest a culture of wrongdoing.

“Fox, and ultimately its’ parent company, News Corporation, have demonstrated a callous disregard for Fuller’s rights which, given recent developments, reflects a corporate culture – if not a pattern and practice – of wrongful behavior,” the suit reads.

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June 12, 2011

USA X Factor – American Idol Executive Producer Nigel Lythgoe Talks On X Factor

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Nigel Lythgoe, famed American Idol executive producer and So You Think You Can Dance judge, complimented Simon Cowell and the upcoming US X Factor. He thinks the X Factor is going to be a huge success because of it’s “lavish productions”. From what we’ve seen so far, I have a feeling he is 100% right!! More in a take below from Entertainment STV. If you’d like to read what Nigel also thinks of Cheryl Cole and how he’d hire her, you can do so at the link.

He backed Simon Cowell’s US version of The X Factor to be a huge success.

Lythgoe said: “I believe when The X Factor goes on air, America will never have seen such lavish productions.

“I think it stands every chance of being a huge success because of that. I think it’s the age old thing if a show is really good, people will find it.”

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