Sunday, November 3, 2013

X Factor US 3: Ranking The Top 12

And here I am again stubbornly ranking the Top 12 of this season's X Factor US - as if I never learned anything no? Haha. I mean, for the past two seasons of X Factor US, I missed both Melanie Amaro and especially Tate Stevens' win. I'm usually on point with American Idol, but not with this show.

But yes, I’ll do what I do in every singing competition I blog here: an in-depth analysis of each of the finalists and where they stand in the competition. What have they done right? What have they done wrong? Are they smart? Are they idiots? Which one of the girls is most likely to put out on a first date? You know, the usual questions..

Here's how I rank the Top 12.

Simon Cowell

3. Sweet Suspense
While they have the potential to be as successful as Fifth Harmony from last season, Sweet Suspense, unlike last year's manufactured girl group, just doesn't have strong vocalists. I thought their last performance was supremely overpraised and I'm not sure if they're distinct enough to stand out. Sure, the girls can sing, but vocally, they are not as memorable. At least, Fifth Harmony has a number of distinct sounding vocalists within their group which made them interesting - even as they were struggling to learn harmonies.

2. Alex & Sierra
LOVE THEM! Alex & Sierra are hands down my absolute favorite. They have an interesting sound, flawless musical taste, dorky charisma and an outstanding musicality. Heck, I would love to just hand them the win and be done with it. However, they need to find and incorporate a little edge and fierceness into their sound. Not enough to destroy the innocent lovebird appeal, but enough to give them a little variety and depth. Somehow, their schtick will get old fast and they need to something else to remain strong in the competition.

1. Restless Road
Country Direction! I honestly love and hate this idea of Simon Cowell. This could work if done correctly, but I don't think they're the most polished act and absolutely not the best singers in the bunch. That said, Restless Road has all the makings to be this year's eventual champ: they are good looking, they can sing relatively well, they have the charisma of 3 Justin Biebers, and most importantly, they are COUNTRY! Not sure how the whole idea of them winning this season will sit on me, but at this point, it's their competition to lose.

OVER 25s
Kelly Rowland

3. Jeff Gutt
He could potentially do well - I think there's an audience for his music - and in fact, I think he's a very good vocalist, but Jeff has this vibe of trying way too hard to seem authentic. I don't know. I could be wrong, but if it was me, I'd rather pick James Kenney over him. To be fair, he adds variety to the show and that's a good thing.

2. Lillie McCloud
Lillie's a little tricky to gauge. I can't deny the fact that she's possibly the best vocalist in the competition, but I don't think her stellar vocals week on week is enough for her to survive the entire competition. I'm not sure ditching her old school vocal styling would be a good idea - that's what makes her standout to begin with - but if she could find a way to incorporate that throwback style appropriately and sparingly as an accent to her performances and not be flat out old fashioned, she could surprise us. 

1. Rachel Potter
While I'm still not 100% sold on Rachel Potter, for starters, she is country, she has a great clear vocal instrument and she can do so much with it. To me, that's a deadly combination - if not for the sole presence of Restless Road. She's a little too polished compared to most though, which could go either way for her. 

Paulina Rubio

3. Tim Olstad
Poor Tim. He's obviously a cannon fodder and I'd probably kill myself if he gets past 8th place. I mean, Paulina didn't even want her in the first place! She can't even remember his name or be prepared to introduce him properly. To be fair, Tim is probably the best singer left in this category, but for a show called X Factor, he just doesn't have it. 

2. Carlos Guevara
He maybe likable - mostly because of his back story - but his last performance was just terrible. He lacks the charisma of someone who could sell enough records to be successful and his vocals were awfully inconsistent. He can't even sell his image like Carlito or Josh Levi, who, to me, was unjustly eliminated.

1. Carlito Olivero
He surprised me. I wrote him off as a potential darkhorse, but his performance of Maria Maria slightly made me reconsider him on this competition. Of course, his vocals were uneven in parts, but he's probably the most appealing in this category although that's not saying a lot. I'm worried, however, that Paulina will overplay the Latino angle in his performances. Look, I'm all about celebrating your heritage, but he needs to be less predictable. 
Demi Lovato

3. Khaya Cohen
She has a good voice with a unique tone, but Khaya comes off a little smug and lacking emotional depth to her performances. I don't know. She could be a potential surprise, but song choice is key for her.

2. Rion Paige
Call me evil, but I don't like her. She's NOT a great singer, she's bland, and lacks artistic vision in her performances. She's also competing with two SOLID country acts with Restless Road and Rachel Potter, and will probably duke it out with Carlos Guevara on the sympathy votes. But why did I still rank her this high? She's got the judges behind her and that will work to her advantage, which is annoying.

1. Ellona Santiago
She maybe a poor man's Jessica Sanchez, but her opening performance proved that she has the most potential to be a true popstar. She's like the ultimate package! She has a relatively good voice, she knows how to work the stage, she has this non-threatening aura, and her last performance didn't come across desperate. Sure, her vocals weren't perfect, but I've heard Selena Gomez, Miley Cyrus, or even Demi Lovato try to sing and dance to mixed results.


01. Restless Road [GROUPS]
02. Rachel Potter [OVER 25]
03. Ellona Santiago [GIRLS]
04. Alex & Sierra [GROUPS]
05. Carlito Olivero [BOYS]
06. Lillie McCloud [OVER 25]
07. Rion Paige [GIRLS]
08. Sweet Suspense [GROUPS]
09. Jeff Gutt [OVER 25]
10. Khaya Cohen [GIRLS]
11. Carlo Guevara [BOYS]
12. Tim Olstad [BOYS]


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