After a rained out ballgame pushed The X Factor up one day in the U.S. (I know, Canada, you’re special and watched it last night), we finally got to see the judges’ homes and meet the surprise guests mentors (aka the worst kept secret in Hollywood).
Rihanna joined L.A. Reid in The Hamptons to judge the guys; Pharrell Williams joined Paula Abdul in Santa Barbara with the groups; Enrique Iglesias joined Nicole Scherzinger in Malibu for the over 30s. Simon had to go it alone in France, poor thing, because Hurricane Irene grounded Mariah Carey.
The judges then assigned each person or group their song and proceeded to hear them out one by one in an outside setting. The goal is to weed out about half the members in a group before moving to the live show.
Some people shined and others just sunk. Simone Battle impressed me by showing a more toned down side of herself. Of course, Stacie Francis and Elaine Gibbs came to work. And Drew Ryniewicz continued to represent for Bieber fans with a slow, deep take on Roxette’s “It Must Have Been Love.”
On the other hand, there were some very iffy moments for some performers. With the stage stripped down to an intimate patio in someone’s backyard, some of their weaknesses were hard to hide.
Here are my five most awkward moments from Day 1 at the judges’ homes.
1. Pharrell’s man crush on the guy with the red glasses in The Anser. This group is a bit too on the nose for me. But, Pharrell seemed to appreciate that – literally. He kept mentioning the red glasses one of the guys wore in earlier auditions. Even after the performance, it was the first thing he mentioned. I would’ve just given them to him already.
2. Dexter Haygood acting crazy to Beyonce’s “Crazy In Love.” I’m not sure who the mastermind behind assigning “Crazy In Love” to Dexter was, but I’d like to thank them. It couldn’t be solely Nicole, I’m sure of it. It was too genius a move. First of all, I’m not sure what he was singing and second of all, I wasn’t sure what beat he was hearing. I loved the look of admiration/confusion on Enrique’s face during the performance. Crazy acting, yes he was. Crazy in love, no I wasn’t.
3. Tora Woloshin had a problem remembering the lyrics to The Rolling Stones’ “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”? After hearing her fret about remembering the lyrics, I was really expecting something very obscure for her song. Imagine my surprise when she began singing a rock classic. We’ve all heard “Satisfaction” our whole lives. And, Tora, there are like six words in that song, dear.
4. The Brewer Boys sing about sexy things. I couldn’t even watch those hair-tossing young boys sing about doing things that were way above their experience, I’m sure. The lyrics for Rihanna’s “Only Girl In The World” are just not age appropriate for them.
5. 4Shore is just cheese-tastic. I was kind of embarrassed by their dancing. It was like watching four people doing the Carlton from Fresh Prince of Bel Air. I was so happy to hear Paula and Pharrell say that they had to dirty up their style a bit. They’re just way too vanilla for my taste.
Honorable Mention goes to… Nick Voss. I mean really. I can’t believe he got this far with his multi-layered impression of Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, and Adam Lambert — none of them good.
Note: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated Nicole’s home was in Miami.
Email: Jethro.Nededog@thr.com; Twitter: @TheRealJethro