I had some personal issues to deal with Tuesday night and couldn’t recap the show immediately. I’ll have to do it in the morning. Sorry ’bout that. Feel free to comment about it though.
Good news from what I heard: the two people Simon should not have put through in the first place, Simone Battle and Tiah Tolliver, were ousted during the first live show. Unfortunately, country-ish teen duo The Brewer Boys were cut while standards singer Phillip Lomax and histrionics-filled James Brown/Mick Jagger sound-a-like Dexter Haygood were rightfully ousted as well.
My DVR last night did not tape “X Factor” so I’m having to watch this on YouTube so I’m watching the 17 out of order.
I was a little taken aback by how many cheesy 1980s songs were unearthed (Dexy’s Midnight Runners? Footloose? Flashdance?) But overall, there was a fair amount of talent. My favorites were Melanie, Drew, Leroy and the Brewer Boys.
The men: L.A.’s team
- Marcus Canty (”Do You Really Want to Hurt Me” Culture Club) – This R&B stylist has some skills. A rather oddball pick of a song but Marcus worked it out, as Randy Jackson might say. A-minus
- Chris Rene (”Love Don’t Live Here Anymore” – Rose Royce) – He’s working the backwards cap a la Eminem while trying to channel a bit of Justin Timberlake. It’s just an okay song and he isn’t half bad. B-plus
- Astro (”Rump Shaker”/”Jump” – Wreckx-n-Effect) – A lot of folks who hate rap can’t stand this guy of course. I like him. He has rap skills. Is he original? That’s the only problem. B-plus
- Phillip Lomax (”I’m a Believer” – Monkees) – Yeesh. Talk about poor song choice on the part of Reid. Obviously, he wanted him not to do Sinatra or a standard but why not something modern. How about a Michael Buble or Harry Connick Jr. song? They try to fashion him as a Vegas act. His vocals simply don’t match the colors and lights and dancers. “On this guy, you totally failed,” Simon said to Reid. B-minus
Who is out: Lomax. Easy pick in my mind.
Groups: Paula’s team
The Brewer Boys (”Rich Girl” Hall & Oates/ “Faith” George Michael) – Who would have thought to turn that Hall & Oates song into a hoe-down? I actually found their vocals strong and this performance very charming. A-minus.
InTENsity (”Footloose” – Kenny Loggins/ “The Clapping Song”) – The sound mix is too loud and processed behind them. This came across as too slick and the lead vocals frequently got swallowed up. I was a little put off by the whole performance. B
Lakoda Rayne (”Come on Eileen” – Dexy’s Midnight Runners) – Paula is stuck in the 1980s with her song picks, isn’t she? These four should not have made it through after their pool-side audition. And what’s with four girls singing this song, anyway? They are cute, perhaps at a country fair, but is this marketable in any way? B
Stereo Hogzz (”Try a Little Tenderness” – Otis Redding) – The group modernizes a classic song by blending in a bit of rap. The lead guy is a bit pitchy at times but the performance itself resonated. B-plus/A-minus
Who is out: The Brewer Boys. Bummer. I would have gotten rid of either of the “fake” groups – InTENsity or Lakoda Rayne.
Plus-30s – Nicole’s team
Stacy Francis (”One More Try” – George Michael) – George Michael – again? She didn’t over-sing it and gave ita nice gospel flair. For the first time, I actually liked her. A-minus
Leroy Bell (”Nobody Knows” – Pink) – Actually, comparing Leroy to Marcus, Leroy is better. He has a more interesting voice. He provides a special depth that only life and experience could bring. Wow. I don’t know what Simon missed. He touched me on the inside. A
Josh Krajcik (”Forever Young” – Bob Dylan) – Sweet, but doesn’t really hit any big emotional notes. Good but not transcendent. B-plus
Dexter Haygood (”Womanizer” – Britney Spears/”I Kissed a Girl” – Katy Perry) – Huh? Nicole? Hello? You thought these were smart song picks for poor Dexter. I almost feel sorry for the guy. He can’t really sing either. What is he doing here? C-minus
Who is out: Easy one here: Dexter Haygood. Thanks for wasting our time, Nicole, and needlessly lifting Dexter’s spirits, only to crush them.
The woman – Simon’s team
Tiah Tolliver (”Sweet Dreams” – Eurythmics) – With such a mediocre voice and presence, where’s the X Factor? I feel no “realness” in her. It’s all an act. Maybe she can go and do some regional theater. B-minus
Simone “I wish I were Beyonce” Battle (”Just Be Good To Me” – S.O.S. Band) – Her rather pedestrian vocals make Ashanti sound like Adele. Even her rapping is weak. Zzzzz…. C-plus
Rachel Crow (”Where Did My Love Go” – Supremes/ “Baby” Justin Bieber) – This was actually an ingenious mash-up and age apropos for her. She has charm and confidence in spades. The potential is there, but I don’t know if she’s quite there yet. Paula is right. She should have been given a more challenging song choice. B
Drew Ryniewicz (”Flashdance” – Irene Cara) – This singer-songwriter type sings well beyond her years. I love her intonations, the interesting vocal ticks she has. I could listen to her all day. A
Melanie Amaro (”I Have Nothing” – Whitney Houston) – One of the most over-sung songs on “American Idol.” But fortunately, Melanie can pull it off. She doesn’t add anything new to the equation but she has a presence that makes this work. She feels real – and likable. A/A-minus
I missed all the interplay with the new host Steve Jones but the feedback sounds really really bad. The guy has no real personality for hosting and makes Ryan SeacSrest look good. In a way, he makes us appreciate Ryan more, eh?
The production? A bit over the top and in your face but would you expect anything less from Simon?
By Rodney Ho, Radio & TV Talk