October 15, 2011

Podcast: The X-Factor Season 1 – Judges’ Houses Week 1

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Episode 22 direct download

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Summary
We only had one episode of the judges’ houses portion of the competition this week as a rain-delayed baseball game preempted The X-Factor, pushing the second episode to Sunday. Not wanting to delay our X-Factor podcast, we decided to just go ahead and do a recording covering the single episode from Thursday. The episode presented the full auditions for the majority of the sixteen featured contestants, giving us plenty to think about and discuss. Having tangible arcs for all the contestants as we move into the live shows works and keeps us interested in their journeys.

Unlike the auditions, here the contestants were given a song to practice and present to their mentor and a guest judge to prove their talents. The song choices didn’t work in some cases, as we saw with Tora Woloshin and Dexter Haygood. Tora wasn’t identifying with the song, producing a muted energy and Dexter is in desperate need of direction. We don’t know what Nicole was thinking by turning him loose on a Beyonce song. In other cases, the songs provided excellent performances such as Brian Bradley’s aggressive hip-hop attack and Stacy Francis’s all-enveloping vocals. The quirk and twang in Drew Ryniewicz’s voice continues to engage us and we hope that Simon sees the live show as a wonderful opportunity to further explore her tone and style.

Our expectations were low with the group category and this episode didn’t do much to change that. The Anser had some blending issues, 4Shore’s tenor continues to grate our ears and Lakota Rayne, while producing quality harmonies, tripped its way through amateur Coyote Ugly choreography. The Brewer Boys gave the most stable performance. There are four more groups to go, but at the moment we’re convinced a group will not win this competition.

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: 31:39

Time Stamps
0:00 – Introduction: Baseball preempts the show and our thoughts on the judges’ houses format.
7:11 – Girls category: Simone Battle, Caitlin Koch, Tora Woloshin and Drew Ryniewicz
12:51 – Boys category: Brian “Astro” Bradley, Skyelor Anderson, Phillip Lomax and Nick Voss
18:14 – Over 30s category: Dexter Haygood, Elaine Gibbs, Stacy Francis and James Kenney
23:25 – Groups category: The Anser, Brewer Boys, Lakota Rayne and 4Shore
29:54 – Wrap-up

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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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