September 24, 2011

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

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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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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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June 4, 2011

US X Factor 1 – Nicole Scherzinger: “I’m not at all nervous about The X Factor’

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Ghananaija has a great new interview up with Nicole Scherzinger. They write of her career and how Nicole became famous with the Pussycat Dolls until how she got hired to be a host (judge?) on the X Factor. She also gives her thoughts on Simon and her role on the show. She states there is no fued between her and Cheryl Cole. More below, but, be sure to read the link for the full article especially for those who don’t know Nicole very well.

‘I absolutely love having money, because I grew up without it,’ said Nicole Scherzinger

For someone voted one of the world’s sexiest women, Nicole Scherzinger doesn’t set much store by her appearance.

‘A lot of people think you get into this position in life because of looks, but looks mean nothing without the right attitude and the ability to work 24/7 for what you want.’

These days she’s rarely out of the headlines, not least because of her position as No 1 female pop icon on the U.S. version of The X Factor following Cheryl Cole’s unexpected departure.

She was born in Hawaii, where her Filipino father left the family when she was two. At six she moved to Kentucky with her mother and stepfather, Gary Scherzinger, who became a great supporter.

‘He’d drive me to auditions in beaten-up old cars, and he always knew what to say if things went well or they didn’t.’

She found fame with the Pussycat Dolls – known for outrageous performances in skimpy outfits – before becoming a solo performer. Next year she’s starring in Men In Black III.

Aged 32, she has been dating Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton for three years.

I’m not at all nervous about The X Factor.
Simon (Cowell) has this unbelievable way of making you feel at ease. At the same time it’s this huge deal. There was a rumour of a feud between me and Cheryl, which is totally untrue. I also think you have to remember that The X Factor isn’t about the judges; it’s about those people out there with their dreams, and to be part of their journey makes me feel very humble.

Simon Cowell is a genius – he’s also very funny.
He and Louis Walsh were amazing to work with. They’d sit together and say incredibly awful things to each other and then burst out laughing, like brothers. There’s never a dull moment around Simon, because there’s always something going on; his brain never stops working.

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US X Factor 2011 – The X Factor Online Auditions Begin In The U.S. (Details How You Can Do So)

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Today (Saturday, June 4th) through June 9th, solo artists and vocal talents across America can submit an auditition for the X Factor. You must be atleast 12 years of age. If you or someone you know thinks you/they have what it takes, submit a video >>>>>>HERE. Below are some details from TVsomniac.

Simon Cowell said, “I’m really happy we are launching auditions through YouTube. There is a lot of great talent online now, and especially young kids today are using YouTube to get themselves seen and heard. It’s very easy, and it is $5 million after all! I’m very excited to see the auditions that might come through this.”

The song should be done a cappella and the video must be 2 minutes in length, including a 30-second introduction. The intro should explain who you are and according to Fox, why you have the ‘X Factor.’

The audition videos will be judged similarly to how live in-person auditions are and will remain private; only ‘The X Factor’ team can view them. If your video is selected, you will invited to audition in front of the judges.

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May 20, 2011

Pure X Factor 1 – New X Factor USA Promo Trailer Released (Video)

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This is indeed the best teaser yet! This new show is about to take over America. See scenes from the auditions. See Simon Cowell explain what the show is about while we see hints of the new talent who might be gracing and even dominating the stage next Fall. We also see the three judges to join Simon: Paula Abdul, L.A. Reid (“This guy makes careers”, Simon says), and Cheryl Cole. Then the two hosts, Nicole Scherzinger and Steve Jones are spotlighted. “I want to do it bigger and better than we’ve ever seen before”, Simon declares.

Wow, this show is coming together in a powerful way and I’m starting to think it will blow the doors off American idol? 😯

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May 19, 2011

Pure X Factor Season 1 – Live Audition Tapings

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Hello all! It’s Marianya, an import from other blogs in the puretvnet.com family.

In case anyone is interested, tickets are still available for the live tapings of the auditions in the various audition cities.

In any case, first thing’s first… I just came from the evening taping of the first day of the Chicago auditions, and I had fun. Naturally I couldn’t go to the tapings alone, what fun would that be? So who better to converse and comment about the music and contestants with than someone that is by far much more musically inclined than I am. (But then again, everyone’s a critic)

However, I won’t spoil you guys about the contestants or the individual song choices themselves. Instead I’ll give you an idea of what you could expect from the show as well as what happened during the live tapings… so bear with me.

If you’ve been to a few of these live audience tapings, you would know that they last a long time, and in between acts or contestants there has to be someone that would keep the energy moving, keep people on their toes… A warm up act if you will.

The warm up act in this particular Chicago audition was none other than Bill from Cleveland, Ohio… so predictably the guy had to pull the “I want the Bulls to beat the Heat, make them cry on live television” gag. Not going to lie, after watching Game 2 of the Bulls/Heat game live and seeing the Bulls lose, I’m kind of wanting that too, but I digress.

He was fantastic, though he seemed to have a bit of a love affair with the ‘guy in the green shirt’ up in front. That is until Bill found out that 1) the guy was in selling ‘stuff’ and 2) he’s married and expecting a baby boy… SHOTGUN!

In any case, he introduced the hosts of the show: Nicole Scherzinger of the Pussycat Dolls fame and another UK import, Steve Jones, hailing from Wales.

Now if you don’t already know who Nicole is, then get out from whatever rock you’ve been hiding under and click on the links to find out. In the meantime I’ll clue you in on Steve Jones a bit here: Steve hails from Wales and started out in modeling before trading that career to that of a presenter on various programmes in the UK.

Now, why Steve as co-host as opposed to others like the rumored Corbin Bleu? Because he and Nicole showed a bit of chemistry in the very few minutes that the audience was introduced to them. Nicole came out on stage dancing to a Pussycat Dolls song, started singing along to it and Steve came up a few steps behind her and watched. To me, he was the yin (calm) to her yang (excitable). I rather liked that balance, a lot, it worked for me. I for one am looking forward to seeing how they meld together on screen.

After their short little stint they disappeared on stage, presumably to talk to the contestants and family members as they come on and off stage.

And that is it for now… later in the week I will post a bit about the judges and the impressions they left behind during the tapings. Until then have a good night!

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May 16, 2011

X Factor Season 1 – Simon Cowell and Cast Attend Fox Upfronts 2011 Programming Presentation (Press Photos)

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The cast of X Factor joined Simon Cowell to attend the FOX Upfronts Programming Presentation in New York this afternoon to preview the new show in the fall. Above are some promotional shots of Simon, Paula Abdul, Cheryl Cole, Steve Jones and Nicole Scherzinger. Former American Idol judge and friend Randy Jackson made a special appearace on stage. No, he didn’t have the wrong show. Deadline had this to report on the LIVE proceedings. Be sure to stay tuned to the link for more on today’s events and press coverage.

How important is Simon Cowell’s X Factor to Fox? The show was showcased at the very top of Fox entertainment president Kevin Reilly’s schedule presentation. “Others may imitate, but there is really only one Simon and only one X Factor.”

The X Factor crew came out in full force, led by Cowell. He was joined by fellow judges Paula Abdul, Cheryl Cole and L.A. Reid and hosts Nicole Scherzinger and Steve Jones. Also walking on stage with them was American Idol’s Randy Jackson, reuniting with his former co-judges Cowell and Abdul. Said Cowell, “Randy, wrong show, this is the new one.”

More great press shots here.

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X Factor 1 – Simon Cowell’s Thoughts After The First Week Of Auditions On Paula Abdul, Cheryl Cole, The Show’s Groupwork, and More

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Normally, I’m not a fan to Perez Hilton. But, Simon speaked with him on the first week of auditions after they were completed. Here’s what Simon said on Paula, Cheryl, and the show’s “groupwork”. I love what he says on Paula and Cheryl for how fiesty they are going to be. You can see what songs he’s tired of and more at the link.

On Paula:
“You know I’ve been doing interviews for months, you know we’re talking about the show and getting people to audition and over and over again, whether it was radio interviews or TV interviews, radio interviews, the internet, but mainly the public, I was hearing one message loud and clear. We want Paula on the show. I listened to the public, because they make or break our shows!”

On disagreements with Paula:

“What’s interesting is is she’s snappy. Paula. You know, she doesn’t like something. I’ve forgotten what she’s like. She doesn’t like you to disagree with her. And there were one or two disagreements. But that’s why we wanted her on the show. I think it’s important that everyone has their own viewpoint. But she is good at spotting talent. I mean I thought she was really on it the last two days and I said to her afterwards, this is the best I’ve seen you in a long time.”

On Cheryl Cole joining the show:

“There’s no question about it. Most British people that come over to these shows seem to be being mean or rude. Not me, but others… ! But but Cheryl, she’s not like that. I mean, she’s got a lot of fire in her, but you’re going to see a very different type of British judge with her and the audience really warmed to her.”

On the show’s groupwork:

“There is a massive opportunity for groups right now – how they normally happen is a manager puts them together but the best ones are groups who put themselves together. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t got it totally right for the first audition if you haven’t got time – we will see potential. But I want to see as many as possible because I’m excited about this prospect. Get your mates together and form a group.

We had one good group but they were put together by their mother– the problem is mothers shouldn’t be putting together a pop groups! They were 12,13, 14– and the group should be put together by themselves. And they definitely don’t get styled by their mother!”

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May 8, 2011

Pure X Factor Season1 – Photos of First US X Factor Taping Arrivals

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Below are some pictures of all four X Factor judges working the press at today’s first Auditions taping courtesy of the Daily Mail. Be sure to read the link for some special words from them all and what they feel and hope for the show.

Cheryl Cole;

Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell reunited;

L.A. Reid;

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X Factor 1 – Paula Abdul Officially Confirmed As New US X Factor Judge: Simon Cowell Thrilled

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US Weekly is officially reporting Paula Abdul as the fourth and final judge to join Simon Cowell, Antonio “L.A” Reid, and Cheryl Cole on the X Factor. Today, all four judges showed up on the Red Carpet to celebrate the US X Factor’s first taping. Simon and Paula are beyond excited on their reunion. Read more in a take below and at the link. Picture above from the official X Factor Facebook page.

“This show would never have been the same without Paula and I can’t believe I am saying this, [but] I have missed her a lot, and I am thrilled she’s on the show,” Cowell, 51, told Us Weekly in a statement Sunday afternoon, hours after his new series began its first official day of production in Los Angeles.

Abdul — who exited Idol in 2009 after eight seasons — tells Us she can’t wait to start critiquing wannabe singers again.

“I am excited beyond words to be a part of The X Factor,” the 48-year-old Abdul said in a statement. “I couldn’t be happier to bring my love for cultivating talent and performance to such a wildly anticipated show.

“I’m looking forward to being back with the FOX/FremantleMedia family and know that it will be an extraordinary journey — we’re going to have a blast. I’m also delighted and grateful to be sitting next to Simon again…but you might want to check back with me in a week or two!”

And here is a tweet from Paula herself;

I wanted so much to give you a confirmation sooner… Well here it is right now! :)) xoxoP

@PaulaAbdul

The Real Paula Abdul

So, who is excited about Paula? I know I am. It’s going to be great to see the fireworks between her and Simon again.

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