October 9, 2011

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

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Episode 21 direct download

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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


September 24, 2011

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

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Episode 17 direct download

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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?