Wednesday, October 26, 2011

X Factor US: Top 17

I wouldn't say that I was completely impressed with the talent in the first live show of the X Factor US, but I like the diversity of the contestants and of course, the production of the performances - in it's typical X Factor tradition - were insanely good.

But just like any other show, there were a couple of things that I didn't like. First was the fact that the judges were actually the STARS of the show. Remember how I hated how much American Idol focused so much on the judges? Well, X Factor just showed them how to REALLY do it. Haha. I mean, the judges were practically giving props to each other and not the contestants! One would think that the judges were responsible for EVERYTHING that happened on the stage. Crazy!

Also, Steve Jones was really struggling as a host. I know. I know. It's his first live show, but I hope he improves in the next coming episodes because his stiffness wasn't really appealing. And enough with the deer in the headlights look, Steve. That is all.

Just like my American Idol reviews, I'll rate each performance but will not rank them for now. So, here goes nothing..

DISCLAIMER: I am no expert, but this is my opinion - to each his own - and yours will be in the comments below! Haha.

Yes, I find this kid obnoxious, but there's no denying that he's insanely talented. I thought his performance wasn't boring, his rapping was surprisingly good - I don't really know how to critique rap in general, but whatever - and I actually saw the potential in him. I'm not sure if he's versatile enough for this type of competition as the whole "act" could get tiring after a couple of live shows, but we'll see. 7.5/10

Chris Rene
Love Don't Live Here Anymore
This was, to me, a weak performance from Chris. Sure, it was a tough song to sing and he's not exactly the best singer in the bunch, but he could've done something with his vocals. His notes were a little wonky, poor breathe control, I didn't think his pitch was consistent during the singing part, and there wasn't really anything special with the rapping (or the talking?) - especially NOT after Astro's performance. Now, the only thing that separates him from that kid is the fact that he actually sings - if not very well. Haha. So, yes, he should work on it because if the hype hasn't died down yet,  I'm pretty sure it will soon. Just saying. 6/10

Philip Lomax
I'm A Believer
SABOTAGE! Really L.A. Reid? This song choice for a crooner like Philip? Wow. This just didn't suit his voice. AT ALL. His vocals sounded thin, his unique tone was gone and it became shouty towards the end. I could see that he was trying to make it work to his advantage, but the impact of the "bus" was just too great for him to survive. Congrats L.A Reid, you just got to drive your first bus! 6/10

Marcus Canty
Do You Really Want To Hurt Me
His performance didn't blow me away, but I can see HUGE potential just from this performance alone. Great stage presence, the liberties he took with the song were really good, and he proved to be very commercial and contemporary. He did hit some pretty sour notes in the song, but that's something I could completely ignore. Hopefully, he'll get better. 7.5/10


Stereo Hoggz
Try A Little Tenderness
Wow. Who knew? I had some reservations with this group - or the groups category in general - as I wasn't sure of their relevance in the music industry now. But I must say that this was actually very good. The arrangement was interesting, the lead singer did a fine job with it and the choreography was less cheesy than I expected. With everything else considered, I think they are Paula Abdul's strongest act. 7.5/10

The Brewer Boys
Rich Girl/Faith
While I found the whole performance pleasant, the arrangement of that mash-up was just horrible. I found their harmonies still very tight and they sounded good, but it just wasn't enough for me to actually root for them. Decent, and that's about it. 6/10

The Clapping Song/Footloose
Wholesome. Cute. Adorable. This was another shockingly fun number from one of the manufactured groups. I thought they all sounded good and Ellona's vocals (the girl in the red jacket) were fantastic. I'm still not convinced if they're a recording act though. Why not put them on Disney instead? Haha. It's silly, I know. 6.5/10

Lakoda Rayne
Come On Eileen
What was up with these song choices? Haha. Ok. While I didn't think the song suited them as a group, this was actually better than I expected. The pop country barbie dolls actually sounded really solid and I quite enjoyed that performance. The staging was great and they seriously looked like a legitimate girl group, which I didn't think was possible. 7/10

OVER 30s

Dexter Haygood
Womanizer/I Kissed A Girl
No. Words. For. Dexter. Nicole should be slapped for this mess. 3/10

Leroy Bell
Nobody Knows
This was one of the few stand out vocals of the night. I thought he'd be better, but for the first X Factor live show, this was good enough. His tone worked well with this lovely song, he emotional connection was palpable, and he seemed like an actual star. Enough said. 8/10

Stacy Francis
One More Try
Seriously. I tried, but I still can't stand her! Maybe American Idol cured me of any sympathy. Haha. I thought Stacy's performance was ok. She had moments of brilliance in there somewhere, but the song seemed a bit out of her range. Her transitions were a little rigid for my taste, her vocals were rough around the edges, and, yet again, she was screeching her notes at the end. Oh well. 7/10

Josh Krajcik
Forever Young
I loved that this performance was understated with minimum production and just his voice center stage - I actually didn't hear much of the backing track. Strong vocals with some nice phrasing and he connected with the song pretty well. That said, I still don't think he'll win the show. I don't know. 7.5/10


Simone Battle
Just Be Good To Me
Very interesting! This was Cher Lloyd's breakthrough performances in the UK version of the X Factor and I honestly didn't think Simone nailed this completely. Her phrasing was a little off, she had too many adlibs, and her vocals weren't as strong as her rendition of Help! With that being said, this actually convinced me more that she has the makings of a potential pop star. Amazing stage presence, she's incredibly gorgeous and she has rhythm. Not the best singer, but have you heard Katy Perry or even Rihanna live? Haha. Besides, it's not as if she was trying to be a belter a la Beyonce. Duh! Cut her some slack! 6.5/10

Rachel Crow
Where Did Our Love Go/Baby
Well, this one's a pretty successful mash-up no? Her vocals weren't as strong compared to the others - or was it the song choice? - but the overall performance had me smiling the entire time. She had a certain sparkle when she performed and she looked like she was genuinely having fun on stage. I'm actually quite intrigued with Simon's plan for Rachel. 7.5/10

What A Feeling
Incredible! This performance just landed her the front runner status in the competition. No contest. I thought her tone, yet again, worked well for an unexpected song choice, her musicality was impeccable and her phrasing blew me away. Her voice actually reminded me of a more assured Didi Benami and Diana Vickers with Brooke White's likability and happy vibe on that song. The challenge for her now is NOT to just slow down uptempo songs, but to be versatile. If she can do that, then this is her competition to lose. 8.5/10

Tiah Tolliver
Sweet Dreams
I must say, the staging for this performance was ridiculously good. I loved the dancers in red bags, the choreography was nice, the outfits were bizarre in a good way and the flames!! Heck, the song choice, I thought, was also pretty rad. Too bad, Tiah wasn't exactly a strong vocalist. Here voice got swallowed up byt the band. Yes, she showed here that she has the potential to be a recording artist, but how she interpreted the song scared the bejesus out of me. It should've been haunting NOT scary. 6.5/10

Melanie Amaro
I Have Nothing
Hated the song choice!! Why can't they retire this big old ballad from singing competitions? Ugh. Technically, the singing was good - though she, for the first time EVER, went a little screechy with the high notes - but the song choice just didn't do her any good. She needed a much more current song to not be labeled as a generic belter because if not, she could get stuck doing diva songs a la Pia Toscano - and we know how that ended right? 7.5/10

Philip Lomax
The Brewer Boys
Dexter Haygood
Simone Battle
Tiah Tolliver

Color me shocked - and pleasantly surprised - but I wasn't expecting to see a complete turn around with the judges' decisions. Most of them actually made the right call on who to eliminate, except for Philip Lomax or maybe even Simone Battle. But yeah, this was an entertaining first live show. Plus, a pretty strong Top 12. Who knew?


Erwin said...

Good job! I agree with everything except the Stacy F. part. Cut her some slack DAM. :)) Yes, she's screechy sometimes but for me they made the right choice in putting her in the top 12.


Erwin: Believe me, I tried. But I just can't. Haha. To be fair, I prefer her over Dexter so she's ok with me in the Top 12. :P

ColbyRaikkonen said...

L.A.Reid definitely sabotage Phillip Lomax. He gave all other contestent the type of the song they like / usually sang....but not to Phillip.
I think its Drew vs Melanie vs InTensity (teen vote)vs Lakada Rayne (country vote)

Anonymous said...

this is what im talking about! great review with specific things to say. dnt agree with you on josh but thats fine.

Erwin said...

BTW, nice review DAM! Reading your comment keeps me out of boredom! :))

anyway, have a question, will there be studio versions of the performances??

Anonymous said...

hey dam.. Are making a review for x factor UK? the acts are great this year! :D

Matthew said...

are you gonna post the downloads for the live performances? such as what you would get with american idol performances.


Matthew: Posted it already. Just look around the site. :)

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