These two hours, night two, were enervating. I feel weaker and less of a person after way too many bad singers and deluded human beings. At least there were two great singers in the mix who I won’t forget.
The first hour of “The X Factor” in Miami was an utter waste of time except for the last five minutes when Melanie Amaro, a sweet 18 year old, showed up. She looked utterly unassuming but when she opened her mouth, it was a revelation.
I actually saw her in the advance screener Fox sent out a few days back. I didn’t realize it would be shown tonight, not night one. Amaro’s evocative singing gave me goosebumps. That almost never happens. Even Simon Cowell give a standing ovation?
Assuming she can replicate this with other songs, she is surely someone who I could see win this competition. I also like her sweet, aw-shucks personality and I didn’t even need a back story.
There were a few other promising singers who were given short bursts but let’s wait until the next round to get into them. A couple of folks who got through had me shrugging my shoulders, especially Marivana Viscuso, who sang “Summertime” really loudly but with no soul.
Hour two in Dallas didn’t start any better with a far greater ratio of bad vs. good.
There’s a teen named Jonny Rogers, who was a bit warped and clearly not worthy of the $5 million. Simon thought he looked like Ken, as in Ken and Barbie.
Dylan Lawson said he sold his truck to audition. He was beyond terrible. This almost struck me as a put on.
At the halfway point of hour two, we get 49-year-old hard-luck story Dexter Haygood channeling James Brown. He’s actually doing a pretty good imitation but Simon was not impressed. “It’s a tribute act,” he said. Simon gives him a shot to sing something a capella. He isn’t a particularly pure singer but he brings plenty of grit and character and gets through.
After Melanie, I didn’t hear anyone memorable until Caitlyn Koch, a 21-year-old rugby coach. She brought tenderness and vulnerability to a slowed-down version of “Stop! In the Name of Love.” “You have an original, authentic voice,” Paula said.
Then we get back to silliness: Xander Alexander. He’s a little nuts and very deluded. He talks back. And he is a terrible singer to boot. I do have to give “X Factor” credit: it ended with this instead of a great singer, which is par for the course for “AGT” and “Idol.” The dude is in the end kind of sad.
UPDATE: “The X Factor” will air only four first-round audition episodes. By October 5, the show will start the “boot camp’ section, which I’ll miss. That might actually be fun. Also, ratings Thursday night were comparable to the opener.
Conan mocked the “differences” between “Idol” and “X Factor”: