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‘X Factor’ first live show top 17 recap

Melanie Amaro does her thing on the first live show and makes it through to the top 12 easily. CREDIT: Fox

Melanie Amaro does her thing on the first live show and makes it through to the top 12 easily. CREDIT: Fox

Grade the first live show

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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?

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By Rodney Ho, Radio & TV Talk

119 comments Add your comment

DanJ

October 25th, 2011
10:41 pm

I was glad to see Simon didn’t make the same mistake he made earlier. Melanie and Drew are good however I still wish Jazzlyn and Caitlyn were there instead of Simone and Tiah. They were horrible. Chris Rene was also bad but I think Astro should have been the one from the boys group to go home. Glad to see Dexter go, he should have never been there IMO. Paula’s group choices were okay. I would have preferred the brothers to Intensity. The judges put downs were not pleasant to hear. I will continue to watch. I think the top five will be: 1) Melanie 2) Marcus 3) Josh 4) Chris 5) Drew The top group will be Lakoda Rayne

Pavel

October 25th, 2011
10:48 pm

Is it just me or does this show really suck? The goal seems to be to turn marginally talented wannabes into commercially sellable zombies. No one seems to care about whether the “contestants” are talented. They only care whether they can be marketed like soap to stupid tweenies and teenagers. And of course a huge portion of the “show” is the self-indulgent focus on how hip, famous and wealthy the “judges’” are. Give me a barf bag and turn this stuff off. I’ve watched my last “X Factor”

linny ,,,=^..^=,,,

October 26th, 2011
12:13 am

i’m NOT a real fan of XF, either, Pavel. Very disappointed with some of the choices. Seemed obvious that some were chosen for way wrong reasons, and i too wish Jazz was picked instead of Tiah or Simone. But then it would have been a much harder elimination, LOL!
SOOOo glad Dexter the creep is gone. whiiiiiiine. ugh. I too wish the Brewer boys had been picked over intensity. was pleasantly surprised by Lakota Rayne. And i too wish that Philip had been chosen instead of Astro-brat. but i did sigh a HUGE sigh of relief when nicole picked Leroy over Dexter. WHEW. I’ve seen it said so often “i’ll never watch again” but had Leroy been ousted for Dexter, i truly would have found something else to watch!!!!

Speaking of something else to watch, is ANYONE watching The SingOff???? Gawd I love good accapella!!! This group Afro-Blue is simply awesome, imho, but then, oldtimers know how much i LOVE jazz, so you’re probably not surprised if you’ve heard them that i love ‘em.

Rodney, how about an off-season poll… which of the “talent” “reality” shows do you like best, and include XF,AI, SYTYCD, DWTS, AGT, ABDC, Nashville Star (tho it is now defunct, it could be included in the poll, as could America’s Next Great Rock Band for it’s one season, and that show that looked for a new band member, the one that Brooke Burke was hostess of, that had NXS one year and another group the second year….don’t remember the name of it)… and i am sure you know of others, hell you could include the Karaoke competition too, even, LOL!!

Seth T.

October 26th, 2011
12:20 am

Pavel – “Is it just me or does this show really suck? The goal seems to be to turn marginally talented wannabes into commercially sellable zombies”

Well said!!! == for a supposed 5 million dollar talent search, it’s unbelievable that Simon & Co. could have sent-through so much trash onto one stage, to mix with the good talent. And then the judges fawn over some lower level talent that could not make the grade in a karaoke or rap contest in my hometown.

But, there’s a little hope for the later shows. Josh Krajic, Melanie Amero and Drew have some real talent and potential, LeRoy Bell is decent to listen to, but you can bet the producers don’t want to spend 5 million on him, so they will start dissing him if he hangs-on too long.

It’s hard though, to have to sit through the wannabe rappers, you-can’t-be-serious kid shows and dolled-up screamers, so alot of people I know have already quit watching through the auditions.

That’s why I have a party at my place while the show is on, so we have some fun things to do and discuss, while I watch & blog sometimes. Otherwise, so far, the show would be a real bore. At least they got rid of some of the worst tonight. Still a ways to go, to get rid of some awful acts, such as both of the rappers..

DanJ

October 26th, 2011
1:15 am

If I’m being honest I think this top 12 group on XFactor is better than the top 12 this past year on Idol. I do think Jazzlyn was better than Rachel. I also liked Caitlyn, Tiger and a few others who didn’t make it. But the 5 single artists I mentioned earlier and a couple of groups could easily become stars. Personally I like Melanie, Josh, Drew and Marcus because I enjoy their genre of music. Chris Rene could be the biggest seller along with Lakoda Rayne. Hip-Hop and Country have huge followings.

I do think Drew could be a dark horse to win it. Although Melanie and Josh have the best voices IMO! Marcus may have the best combination of talent. That said I think some of the selections were a ruse to cause a stir. Dexter, Simone and Tiah come to mind. I say ruse because the judge knew they had to cut someone before the competition started and had they cut someone good just before the fans vote, it may have led to more backlash.

So all in all I like the show and for the most part like the top 12. So I will be watching every week to see the judges meltdown.

Seth T.

October 26th, 2011
2:05 am

I agree that it would have been much better to have Caitlyn & Jazzlyn in the mix – but it’s true that it made his elimination much easier, and I don’t believe that he “hadn’t made-up his mind yet” drama. That was just Simon’s acting talent at work again, like Melanie’s first dismissal.

Personally, I’ve seen a lot better than Chris Rene doing Karaoke night Rap. I’m no fan of Rap, but I attend some of the Karaoke Night gigs and have sometimes found good singers to do live band and recording projects with. They would have to manufacture a lot of hype and spend a lot of dough to make anything out of his act, in my opinion.

Agree that Drew, Josh and Melanie are the real-deal in this competition.

[...] more ‘X Factor’ first live show top 17 recap at Radio & TV Talk… You Might Also Like…‘X Factor’ top 16 recap This is [...]

Mo Schreibman

October 26th, 2011
5:44 am

Deirdre thank you for your kind and supportive words yesterday. You and the others lighten the daily load even if just for few minutes each day. It is very much appreciated.

Mercedes S.

October 26th, 2011
5:44 am

“Some selections were made to cause a stir” – agree 100%. Would have been way harder for Simon to choose had he included the two talented girl-singers instead of the talentless ones. I think Sexdoll and Dexter were included for the same reason Chaz Bono was put on “DWTS” (nasty penguin jokes) – something for the viewers to get riled up about.

Agree with Pavel too. SHow is about finding a marketable moneymaker. Forget about talent.

nonchalant

October 26th, 2011
7:16 am

I think if the Brewer brothers added a female vocalist to their duo they could be the next Peter, Paul and Mary folk fingers. I thought they were great and I hope someone picks them up. I too thought it was demeaning to the individual singer on stage as the judges made cruel remarks about their given song choice. Kind of harsh in my opinion.

nonchalant

October 26th, 2011
7:17 am

…that was singers, ha.

Deirdre

October 26th, 2011
7:28 am

Morning!

Mo, the first year that I frequented this blog, the other posters lightened my load tremendously. Sometimes people don’t really know about the turmoil behind the scenes but just their cheerful presence makes a huge difference. Did you ever get to see the show with the sound turned up? ;-)

Deirdre

October 26th, 2011
7:30 am

nonchalant, agree about the Brewer Boys. I liked them. Unless Intensity gets a lot better, they don’t deserve to stay but, depending on how the voting works, a 10 person group could walk away with the prize.

And the demeaning comments are there to get the ratings up. Simon is not happy.

Deirdre

October 26th, 2011
7:30 am

And how about the anti-Seacrest! Was he bad or what?????????

Mercedes S.

October 26th, 2011
7:46 am

By either name, Anti-Seacrest or Dunkelman2, the host needs to go. Suppose he was handpicked by Simon.

Deirdre

October 26th, 2011
8:21 am

Did anyone else notice that the flashier the production the less talented the singer?

Deirdre

October 26th, 2011
8:22 am

And speaking of flashy…I hope nobody suffered a seizure last night with all those lights!

Sam-A

October 26th, 2011
8:29 am

First, I have to go back to pg 2 of yesterday’s post. JT: I need to take away your “Walking Dead” privileges. Seriously!!!??? But, with your scenario, I would first find the least gory, most humane way to put my beloved Sir Paul out of his suffering, then get the hell outta there! As I’d hope he, or anyone else, would do for me. Living dead ain’t “living”, just dead!

Can’t believe Simon finally did the right thing. Sadly Simone is a very pretty girl, but so very untalented. If her talent matched her self-esteem and swagger, she’d be unstoppable. Tiah is just bad all around. Unattractive, unappealing, untalented. Bet Simon met up with her in a sleazy motel room after the show!

I thought the girl group was really good last night. Didn’t see any of the boys, not sure who the guy who went was, but should have been the kid rapper-wannabe. Or 2nd, Chris whatever, the black guy-wannabe. Glad Dex is outta there, but wish he’d taken screamy/whiney/church gal with him (cannot ever remember her name, and don’t really want to).

Sam-A

October 26th, 2011
8:30 am

Agree with above – all the singers/dancers and flashing lights took away from any talent some of the contestants may have had. I think it was on purpose for the really bad ones, ie Tiah, to distract from how bad they actually are.

Mo Schreibman

October 26th, 2011
8:36 am

If I most be honest with myself this X program sucks eggs as the kids say these days even with the volume dial turned down if you do not mind me saying so.

Harriett

October 26th, 2011
8:36 am

Good morning!

IMO, the only way the kid rapper goes is America votes him out. He’s firmly entrenched with the judges. Voting is the only way he’s gone.

I am trying really hard to care about this show. I said last night it made me miss Idol, and it does.

Mercedes S.

October 26th, 2011
8:37 am

Dexter admitted to being “confused”, and who can blame him – he, Thia and Simone were puffed up for weeks to believe they had talent, and then they were tossed aside. Kinda cruel.

MIke Francis

October 26th, 2011
8:37 am

And dont forget to watch my bald head at 6 and 11!

Deirdre

October 26th, 2011
8:45 am

So sorry about you follicular challenge, MIke!

Yes, the “I’m confused” line from Dexter(who quickly caught himself and nodded and smiled just like the other rejectees) was very telling. What kind of promises were made to keep him in line for the show?

kelly&carriefan

October 26th, 2011
8:52 am

Hi y’all!

I keep trying to like this show. Really, I do…but I just find myself thinking, “Really? THIS is the best talent they could find?” I’ve been very underwhelmed so far. I did think Lakoda Rayne were better than I was expecting. But really, Paula, Come On Eileen? That song choice? :? Anyway. Will we EVER get the chance to vote?! Seriously? This total control by the judges until the Top 12? Meh. Not a fan.

Power to the People! Occupy X Factor? Kidding! I don’t really care…and that is the bigger problem.

Deirdre

October 26th, 2011
8:53 am

So far, we have some talented people…not even close to 12 but I might say that it just about equates with the top 12 on Idol. We have Gwen, Josh, Melanie(who are top 3 caliber to me) Marcus had a pitchy night but he has talent. And Leroy is just plain cool and easy and very good. The Sweathogs…um, I mean, Stereo Hoggs and Lakota Rayne showed some promise. The Little Rapper Boy is talented…I just don’t like his talent. Bathroom Girl can really belt out a song but she lacks appeal. Stacy genuinely surprised me last night. She deserved to stay.

Other than that…meh. So I’ve got 3 that I really like, one that I have a crush on and one who strikes me as talented but raw. Sounds like Idol with a much more annoying premise added to some really annoying production values and a host who…well, let’s just say, is an epic FAIL.

Rickster

October 26th, 2011
8:59 am

Other than LA, I think the judges did a god job on their top 3. LA’s choices showed bias I think.

He tells Frankie, Jr. to be more than a crooner, chooses a blooming Monkees song to force him to do it, then cuts him rather than lesser talent. Hypocritical.

And why did Simon have Rachel Crow sing the Justin Bieber song Drew auditioned with? Made Drew look even better by comparison.

I don’t think any of the groups have a chance. But Lakoda Rayne will likely be last group standing.

My Top 3 (so far – in no particular order) Melanie, Drew R & Josh,

G

October 26th, 2011
9:01 am

linny wrote: “Speaking of something else to watch, is ANYONE watching The SingOff???? Gawd I love good accapella!!! This group Afro-Blue is simply awesome, imho, but then, oldtimers know how much i LOVE jazz, so you’re probably not surprised if you’ve heard them that i love ‘em.”

Sing Off is my favorite vocal competition show. XF, Voice, American Idol, or whatever else is out there cannot touch Sing Off. Afro Blue and Vocal Point are edging themselves to be my favorites. Afro Blue is really special. Committed (winners from last year) remind me a lot of Take 6.

Rickster

October 26th, 2011
9:01 am

And I found the constant sniping back & forth between the judges totally off-putting.

If X-Factor is back next year, I think Nicole & the anti-Seacrest won’t be. (Nor should they be.) Bring back Cheryl Cole!

Bring back Dunkleman! :-)

G

October 26th, 2011
9:09 am

Good = Nichole in those hot pink pants during rehersal. Stage lighting was good also.

Bad = What Simon did to Tia. Talk about over-production. Yuck!

Ugly = Anti-Secrest. Who is this guy?

Mercedes S.

October 26th, 2011
9:17 am

That was a Justin Beeber song? No wonder! Here I thought it was a Supremes-steal.

Deirdre

October 26th, 2011
9:20 am

um Drew! I have no idea where I got “Gwen”.

Deirdre

October 26th, 2011
9:22 am

Even Dunkleman would be better than the anti-Seacrest. He, at least, had a personality.

Woodpappy

October 26th, 2011
9:24 am

I saw bits and pieces last night. noticed all the flashing lights and it took my attention away from the singer. But…I guess that was what it was designed to do. Do think that the girls might have the edge so far in talent. Glad the two who were eliminated by Simon are now gone for good.

Rickster

October 26th, 2011
9:25 am

My favorite singers of the night were the ones that just stood up there and sang. They didn’t need flashy choreography, dry ice fog, etc. Josh, Drew, Melanie.

Mercedes, they moshed together “Supremes” and Justin Bieber. After hearing all three versions of Bieber’s song (his, Rachel Crow & Drew) I think Drew’s was the only way it should have ever been sung.

She took that song and made it her own. It showed who she was as an artist. It showed artistry.

Rickster

October 26th, 2011
9:27 am

Sorry… Kara/Idol relapse.

My bad. :-)

Rickster

October 26th, 2011
9:28 am

Though Kara was definitely a much better judge than Nicole is.

Deirdre

October 26th, 2011
9:37 am

Voting info: apparently you can twitter a vote, text a vote, call-in, vote on Facebook or vote thru Verizon using a XF ap. No limit as far as I can see.

So, say goodbye to everyone we like cuz InTENsity has a distinct advantage.

Rickster

October 26th, 2011
9:38 am

Heck… Ellen was a better judge than Nicole.

DanJ

October 26th, 2011
9:47 am

The host Steve Jones? Not sure of his name wasn’t supposed to be there if I remember correctly. I THINK Nicole was hired to host and was forced into being a judge after Cheryl Cole left or was fired. Simon should have brought Clive Davis in to be a judge. Yeah he’s old but he does have an impressive resume. Can you imagine him picking the girls? He certainly would give the show more credibility. Nicole has done the best she can do, same with Paula. Actually I think Paula did a great job considering she got the weakest group as a whole. The show was set up so Simon and LA Reid could go head to head. Boys vs Girls. It may sound sexist but its true. Paula and Nicole’s only chance are Josh K and Lakoda Rayne.

ashley

October 26th, 2011
9:49 am

The host definitely needs a good dose of personality – talk about dry! This show is dull because the judges are in total control and don’t care what the American public likes. Wait till the voting starts and say bye-bye to the kiddie rapper! Can’t believe they like him so much over much better talent.

Deirdre

October 26th, 2011
9:56 am

Dan, Steve Jones and Nicole were to be co-hosts before Cheryl Cole was fired(BIG mistake, imo) Since neither one of them have much of a personality, I’d guess that it probably wouldn’t have been any better.

Rickster

October 26th, 2011
9:56 am

I woulda have loved to seen Simon bring in Quincy Jones.

Sam-A

October 26th, 2011
10:09 am

If I were Simon, I’d be crawling back to Idol begging for my job back.

Deirdre

October 26th, 2011
10:20 am

Agree, Sam. And his nervousness is so obvious! My favorite moment last night was when he was about to tell us that Melanie stays and he tried to get the crowd quiet so he’d have silence for his Big Moment but no one cooperated.

G

October 26th, 2011
10:27 am

@Mercedes. It sounded more like a mix of Beeber and the Supremes. I didn’t care for it in particular, but the Rachael definitely showed me something in the attempt to pull it off. I’m really not a fan of kids in grown up competition shows, because they have so much more to learn and a lot of growth ahead of them. She’s really good to be so young, but still has more to learn.

Drew is another youngster that sings beyond her years. I need to hear something a bit more mid-tempo from her. She’s lukewarm for me so far.

Harriett

October 26th, 2011
10:36 am

Just read where Steven Tyler took a fall in his hotel bathroom, lost two teeth, and was hospitalized. He was in Paraguay for a concert. It said there was “some concern.” Hope he didn’t fall off the wagon.

Deirdre

October 26th, 2011
10:40 am

They’re now claiming that food poisoning was the catalyst for Tyler’s fall. Hmmmmmm.

Rickster

October 26th, 2011
11:07 am

Keith Richards fell out of a coconut tree and was fine. So will Steven. (Be fine, that is. Not fall out of a coconut tree.)

Mercedes S.

October 26th, 2011
11:11 am

Enjoyed RS mag’s XF-take – Rob Sheffield writes,

“You know how sometimes a rock star will break free from the band that’s holding him back, so he can make the solo album that will finally express his true artistic vision? And then it sounds exactly like the band? That’s what’s going on with ‘The X Factor’. It’s Simon Cowell’s solo record, but it turns out to be just what Porno for Pyros were to Jane’s Addiction. He’s got the same collection of risqué low-cut V-necks, and the same sour wit…
“‘The X Factor’ is the singing competition that aims to crush all others, from ‘American Idol’, which surprisingly surged after Cowell’s departure, to ‘The Voice’, the summer’s rookie success. It has a bigger purse, and a wider range of contestants. But except for the different logo on the soda cups it looks exactly like ‘Idol’, just cranked up to spectacular levels of hype and with more dry ice.”