Gospel Soundcheck

Gospel Soundcheck


“The X Factor” judge’s final cuts: 12 move on to the next round

posted by Joanne Brokaw

Tonight was the first live show of “The X Factor”, and here’s one more thing I love: 17 contestants performed and by the end of the night, we knew which 12 were moving on to the next round.

The contestants in each category performed, and then the judge mentoring that group decided which contestants were moving on. Here’s a summary of how the night went:

THE BOYS:

Astro knocked his performance out of the park, bringing all of what L.A. Reid calls his Brooklyn “swagger”. I know nothing about rap, but he’s so talented and entertaining.

Chris Rene sang “Love Don’t Live Here Anymore”; Nicole said she wouldn’t have picked that song, but all agreed that he’s always authentic. Simon said he’s not the best singer in the competition but he has one of the best recording voices.

Phillip Lomax did a rendition of “I”m A Believer” that was … well, super cheesy. I don’t know why LA picked that song for him, or who choreographed that disaster. But while Phillip is adorable and super talented, that performance was the nail in his coffin.

Marcus Canty did a cover of “Do You Really Want To Hurt Me”; what’s with the cheese pop songs? Yeesh. He pulled off his song better; in fact, the judges loved it. I wouldn’t go that far. But in the long run he’s more marketable and relevant.

So in the end: Phillip Lomax was sent home. Too bad; I really liked him.

THE GROUPS:

The Stereo  Hogzz were up first. I honestly can’t remember what song they performed; all I noted was that the lead singer is really good and they look nice on stage, but I just don’t get it. Simon says it’s a great mix of retro and current. I’ll take his word for it.

The Brewer  Boys performed with instruments, singing a medly of “Rich Girl” and “Faith”. I liked it, but I knew that the judges weren’t going for it. LA said it was good but he wasn’t blown away, Nicole said she would have picked a different song for them.

Intensity did a super fun, Glee type performance that impressed the judges. That’s because the 10 tweens and teens in the group were thrown together. LA said they were impressive, Nicole called them all “little stars”, and Simon called their ability to gel so well so quickly a “music miracle”.

Lakoda Rayne performed “Come On Eileen”. These girls are wonderful singers, but for some reason I just don’t like them It’s the sing/pose/sing/pose, I think. Everyone loved them, and Paula teared up, saying, “You of all the groups had a lot to prove,” adding that they made her proud.

In the end, The Brewer Boys were sent home.

THE OVER 30S

Dexter Haygood performed first, belting out Katy Perry’s “I Kissed A Girl”. I love him as a person but I still don’t get how he was put this far through the competition. He’s entertaining, but … well, Simon said his mix of Britney and Katy Perry was “the weirdest milkshake in the world.”

Leroy Bell is one of my favorite singers; the judges agree that they’re not sure why he never made it. LA didn’t love the song choice, Paula called his voice “velvet”, and Simon that he wishes he was mentoring him, because he feels Leroy is a star.

Stacy Francis sang “Teacher” (two George Michael songs in one night?) and, of course, knocked it out of the park. She’s an amazing performer. LA and Paula loved her; Simon criticized her clothes and the song, saying he sees her as more of a “church singer”. I don’t think everyone got it – but I think what he means is she’s meant to sing big songs. I agree. But she’s just so talented I don’t think she has anything to worry about.

Josh Kracjik did a fantastic rendition of “Forever Young” – totally stripped down, totally understated, just a tiny bit of music and a couple dancing in the background (compared to some of the elaborate stage productions).  He’s just brilliant.

In the end, Dexter Haywood was went home. When host Steve Jones asked him if he had anything to say, Dexter replied that he was “in the boggle zone, a 21st century Twilight Zone.” He’s something else.

THE GIRLS:

Simone Battle was up first. I never understood what Simon saw in her. She’s a terrible singer, she’s got a bad attitude, and she took a spot that someone else could have had. Blech. And tonight LA, Nicole and Paula called Simon on his choice.

Rachel Crow is maybe the cutest contestant in the competition. Simon warned that it’s not about personality anymore, but Rachel can stand with the rest of them when it comes to talent. She did a rendition of “Where Did Our Love Go”; Nicole would have picked a different song, LA said she could have a career much bigger than music, Paula said she’s the most likeable person in the competition.

Drew Ryniewicz – she goes by just Drew now – sang “What A Feeling” with just some piano. She’s an amazing singer, at just 14 years old. LA called her “the whole package”, Nicole said she was “ethereal” and a “folk princess”, Paula called her performance “perfect.”

Tiah Tolliver was up next. Paula and Nicole had always been critical of Simon’s decision to put her through; I think they should have given him more flak for Simone. At least Tiah has talent. Unfortunately, Simon had her do a rendition of “Sweet Dreams” that was way over the top. She was good, but the costume, make up, dancers, production was just too much. Nicole said, “If that was a sweet dream I’d hate to see a nightmare”, LA said it was a great production but he was “looking for the kitchen sink” (haha, snarky) and Paula said Tiah has fierce drive but has to work on her pitch.

Melanie Amaro was last. She’s the one Simon originally sent home after the judges’ homes round but realized he’d made a mistake. The other judges agreed she needed to be in the competition, so she was the 5th girls contestant. She sang a predictable Whitney Houston song, but as LA said, it didn’t matter because she knocked it out of the park. She’s so amazing.

In the end, two contestants had to go. Simon said that he listened to the audience, read what people were talking about, and based on all of that, sent Tiah and Simone home. I think that was great – while I liked Tiah, the girls left are young, sweet, extremely likeable and very talented. As she was leaving, Tiah thanked everyone; Simone said her new video “He Likes Boys” would be released tonight. Whoopee.

So next week this group of 12 will perform and the audience will decide who moves on. The show airs Wednesday.



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