October 23, 2011James G
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The second week of judges’ houses means the conclusion of the casting portion of the show, where we meet the Top 17 contestants that move into the live show competition where America takes the reigns and votes for their favorites. It wouldn’t be a reality show without controversy and the third judges’ houses episode was full of it. Simon Cowell’s ridiculous decision to initially cut Melanie Amaro shocked us and felt like a slap in the face. Simon realized his mistake and reversed the decision by the end of the episode, but we cannot for the life of us understand the first decision. We believe the same could be said for the other three judges, as we were given the impression that they had strong words for Simon when they learned about his choices.
The second half of the 32 contestants performed in this set of episodes, which brought some excellent renditions of existing songs. Josh Krajcik, Leroy Bell and Melanie Amaro all blew us away and are by far our favorites going into the live shows. The inconsistent and baffling group category stayed just that with InTENsity putting out a Glee-like rendition of their song, the Stereo Hogzz performing like a solo act with backup singers, 2 Squar’d putting forth a choppy and uneven arrangement of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” and Illusion/Confusion getting the worst edit of the night by having their interviews intercut with their singing. The second four people in the boys category generally underwhelmed us as well, which was disappointing.
We predicted 13 out of the 17 final choices, with us being wrong on Phillip Lomax, Dexter Haygood, Lakoda Rayne and Simone Battle. We predicted Tim Ciphers, Elaine Gibbs and Anser to make it through, as well as Melanie Amaro who was added back in at the last minute. Since we’re analyzing this show from a record deal standpoint, we understand why most of the choices were made and agreed with the majority of them. In a world based on singing ability alone the list would be different and if we were given complete control to pick our preferences we would change things around even more, but we remember that it’s about finding a person to sign a five million dollar contract which carries with it the responsibility to sell albums and tour tickets. Out of all the selections, Simone Battle is our biggest source of disagreement and you’ll have to listen to the podcast to hear why 🙂
We’re excited to see what the live shows hold!
Episode Length: 32:37
0:00 – Introduction: the Melanie Amaro controversy
2:55 – Girls category: Jazzlyn Little, Rachel Crow, Tiah Tolliver and Melanie Amaro
7:28 – Boys category: Brennin Hunt, Tim Ciphers, Marcus Canty and Chris Rene
12:07 – Over 30s category: Josh Krajcik, Leroy Bell, Tiger Budbill and Christa Collins
17:38 – Groups category: The Stereo Hogzz, 2 Squar’d, Illusion/Confusion and InTENsity
22:06 – Top 5 girls (Simon Cowell): Simone Battle, Drew Ryniewicz, Tiah Tolliver, Rachel Crow and Melanie Amaro
24:01 – Top 4 boys (L.A. Reid): Brian “Astro” Bradley, Phillip Lomax, Chris Rene and Marcus Canty
25:53 – Top 4 over 30s (Nicole Scherzinger): Josh Krajcik, Dexter Haygood, Leroy Bell and Stacy Francis
27:44 – Top 4 groups (Paula Abdul): Brewer Boys, Lakoda Rayne, InTENsity and the Stereo Hogzz
30:09 – Wrap-up
October 15, 2011James G
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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.
Episode Length: 31:39
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