'X Factor' Recap: Judges' Homes, Take Two
The fate of the final 16 contestants are finally revealed after last week's programming debacle.
When we last left The X Factor, the contestants were nervously awaiting their fates in the judge’s mansions. Do they continue to the live shows, or are their journeys over?
Viewers did get to see the results of two full teams -- Britney Spears' Teens category and L.A. Reid’s final four in the Over 25s.
However, in a cruel twist of fate described by Simon Cowell on Twitter as a “total f up,” a rain delay during Major League Baseball's National League Championship Series game in St. Louis disrupted the revelations of Demi Lovato’s young adults and Cowell’s groups category.
Tonight’s episode, although sliced and diced, picked up where we left off last week before we were rudely interrupted by The Mindy Project and baseball.
The show got down to business, recapping the remaining competitors on Team Britney -- Diamond White, Carly Rose Sonenclar, Arin Ray, and Beatrice Miller (goodbye to rapper James Tanner and Justin Bieber doppelganger Reed Deming).
Spears seems to have confidence in her remaining singers, but has a natural concern that each may have trouble adjusting to the adult pressures of the show.
Last week, Lovato had already revealed two members of her young adults team -- saucy rocker Jennel Garcia (whom she feels should work on her insecurity issues) and deep-voiced country/R&B hybrid Willie Jones, but then the powers that be pulled the plug.
So who did she keep? The writing was already on the wall for the Mac Miller-ish rapper Nick Youngerman, whose cover of Ke$ha’s “Tik Tok” annoyed Lovato. As she sat the janitor down, she told him that the talent bar was set so high in the competition, and he was merely in the center. Therefore, Youngerman did not advance.
In a move that comes as a surprise to no one, Paige Thomas, who has consistently drawn comparisons to Rihanna, made the cut after Lovato wondered aloud if Thomas’ path was to be a mother or a superstar. One question: Why can’t she be both? America will decide in the live shows next week.
Perhaps the most dramatic -- and heartbreaking -- moment came with Lovato’s decision between her final two vocalists: would it be bullied heroine Jillian Jensen or the leopard spotted CeCe Frey? Jensen, who described herself as a butterfly ready to spread her wings, sat on the couch as she listened to Lovato tell her how talented she was, but adding there is more to performance than “incredible vocals.”
At the same time, the cameras cut to Frey, who said she feels she has changed “little by little” as the competition progressed. Although Lovato still fears Frey has a likeability problem, she chose the former postal employee over the big-hearted Jensen, who dissolved into Lovato, Garcia, and finally, Youngerman’s arms in a river of tears. Fear not, Jensen fans -- the 20-year old Rochester native has a bright future ahead of her -- she has leant her vocals to a collaboration with The Fontaine Brothers on the anti-bullying track, “Maybe.” It was released on iTunes this month.
As for Frey, voters should give her a chance. The girl does have serious pipes and stage presence, and has the ability to grow with the right guidance. Lovato knows there is a problem with Frey -- she described her cheeky cover of "I'm Sexy and I Know It" by LMFAO as "too much," but thinks she can fix it.
Cowell’s groups category is shaping up to be an interesting mix. The saucy Brit clearly looks like he revels in delivering news -- good or bad -- to his minions, and to be honest, it’s always entertaining to hear him purr, “I’ve made a decision.”
So which acts made the cut for Team Simon? First off, Cowell’s decision to retain Lyric 145 has livened up the competition in more than one way. Lyric Da Queen, with her eye patch and brazen personality, blew up on stage, and backing her with the rapping duo 145 was a stroke of genius. While Cowell simply said he loved the humor Lyric and crew brought to the Miley Cyrus hit, “Party in the USA,” the fact remains that not one act out there resembles what they will surely bring to the table. All hail the new Queen!
Cowell also astutely sees marketing potential in country act Sister C, who he said has a place on the radio, and manufactured group LYLAS, Ally Brooke, Camila Cabello, Normani Hamilton, Dinah-Jane Hansen and Lauren Jauregui.
That leaves the cute group, Playback, in the cold, as Cowell told the teen boys that the experiment to put them together in an attempt to create another One Direction did not work. Also, Cowell said goodbye to Philadelphia duo Dope Crisis, who he believed put everything they had into the Nicki Minaj single, “Super Bass,” but couldn’t envision them in the marketplace as a viable act.
The last group standing is California-based “we are not a boy band” cocky guys Emblem3, who brazenly described their first audition as “epic” and talked about how “focused” they are on winning -- despite their lack of preparation in their final audition for Cowell and Marc Anthony, where the always shirtless Drew Chadwick blew his lines mid-way through “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic” by The Police. Cowell told them he was impressed with them, but astutely told them their performance was not their best. He put them through anyway, and viewers got to see Chadwick disrobe one more time for a dip in the pool. Will his pecs be enough to propel them through the live rounds?
The live shows will begin next Thursday, Nov. 1 with new hosts Mario Lopez and Khloe Kardashian. Who will you be blowing up the phone lines for when you vote? Here is a quick summary of each act, with judge’s commentary:
Teens (Britney Spears)
Carly Rose Sonenclar: Spears said her voice is “completely flawless,” while describing her as an “angel” and a “star.”
Beatrice Miller: “She has the look, personality and the voice.”
Arin Ray: “He is the whole package.”
Diamond White: “She is a spitfire...funky and spunky”
Young Adults (Demi Lovato)
Willie Jones: “He is so original, there is nobody in the competition like him.”
Paige Thomas: “She is a superstar…you can tell when she walks in the room.”
Jenell Garcia: “She has one of the strongest voices in the competition.”
CeCe Frey: “She has great stage presence, and even though she isn’t the most likeable person...I can get people to fall in love with her.”
Over-25's (L.A. Reid)
David Correy: “He has a great voice and talent...I see big things.”
Jason Brock: “His voice is angelic...flamboyance at its finest.”
Tate Stevens: “He is the real deal. He is an American classic.”
Vino Alan: “He has the strongest voice in the competition...Don’t judge abook by its cover.”
Groups (Simon Cowell)
LYLAS: “I see massive potential."
Sister C: “They look great, have great voices, and they are professional.”
Lyric 145: “I love this combination!"
Emblem3: “They are funny, difficult, trouble... they are everything I like in a boy band.” (Side note: Emblem3 keep insisting they are not a boy band, so that comment had to stick in their craw a bit.)
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