If you watched Wednesday night’s episode of X Factor you know the drill. The contestants were divided into four groups of six and then each team was sent to a selected mentor’s house. Last night, six Groups arrived at Simon’s pad in Miami while another six Young Adults paid a visit to Demi Lovato’s loft in Los Angeles. On tonight’s episode (Thursday 10/11) six Elders (AKA the Over25 contestants) were sent to LA Reid’s home in the Hollywood Hills, and the six Youngins’ (AKA Teens) were dropped off at Britney Spears’ Malibu mansion to play. Each performer was given one more shot in front of his/her mentor (and special guest) because next week two more contestants from each team will be axed. Here’s how it went down:
Upon finding out he was given the Elders, LA Reid through a tantrum like a two-year-old toddler. He slammed the phone down, stormed out of his office and demanded his people “get out of my way.” Oblivious to his disappointment, the team showed up to his pad excited and full of energy. He ended that quickly. Sighing and shaking his head in defeat, he said to his team, “Prove to me you’re worth my time.” Not exactly the pep talk I think they were expecting.
Last season, Astro, his young super star of the team, gave Reid so much attitude and sass one might think he may enjoy an older, mature team. But no sir ree bob, not according to him. “I’m known for developing young talent,” he told the cameras while his team was away from earshot. “I’m not happy but I still plan on winning.” After watching tonight’s episode I can understand why LA might be so upset. To put it bluntly he has the least talented team. But then again, this is the team he ultimately chose. He was all up in Tate Stevens and Jason Brock’s business during tryouts, back before he knew the two would be thrown upon him. “You’re every song writer’s best friend,” he told Brock after his audition. Remember that LA? Thankfully the Biebs and his manager Scooter arrived to put things in perspective.
To start off the final day of tryouts, Jason Brock chose to sing “Big Girls Don’t Cry” by Fergie. In auditions I thought Brock a modern day Elton John. I found him entertaining (both on stage and off) and was curious to see what kind of fans he would attract as he moved along in the show. In front of Biebs and LA, he crumbled. I’m no music exec nor do I claim to sing, but the pace of his song seemed too slow and his tone too shaky for my liking. Basically when he finished I was unaffected, in an “eh, next” kind of way. Unfortunately David Correy didn’t impress either when he sung “Domino” by Jessie J. His problem was knowing when to stick to the song. I’m not into performers that purposely add flair to the tune as if they’re playing tug of war with their vocal chords. Only Whitney Houston can pull that off. LA actually liked Correy’s performance and thought it sounded good. His concern is viability in the marketplace. Based on the blank stare Biebs gave when the act finished, I’d say he doesn’t have it.
Next up was Daryl Black who performed “She’s Gone” by Hall & Oates. Nothing was really wrong with his performance but there wasn’t anything righteous about it either. The producers of the show must have also thought it lackluster because they played clips and sound bites of him talking about his army of children over showing us the act. After three up at bats and three strike outs I started to feel nervous for LA. Good thing Tate Stevens stepped in to save the day. The small town favorite sung “Back At One” by Brian McKnight, a very clever move to pull off in front of LA. Country music and R & B have long shared similarities and when done well, the exchange can be very entertaining. Although when LA asked Bieber and his sidekick Scooter if either of them would cut a check to Tate for 5-million dollars, the Biebs stopped singing his praises and stuttered, “Not sure.” So that puts things in perspective.
Vino Alan opened up this week by telling us that he and his mother suffered abuse from his step-dad. Appropriately apt for his story, he gave an intensified go at the song “Sober” by Pink. Overall I think he’ll sail through to the Final 16 but I’m not sure he’ll go very far from there. “The package. The package. The package,” Reid keeps reinterating and I could understand his point. A head covered in tattoos generally doesn’t give people the warm and fuzzies, nevertheless encourage effort to vote by phone. Finally it was Tara Simon‘s turn to shine, the only woman representing the Over25 category. And again, I hate to sound like a broken record but there was nothing special about her performance of Hoobastank’s “The Reason.” She did take a risk by starting her song quietly and then later belting a huge note, but it came across to me more like screaming and having no self awareness. Poor LA. He really has his work cut out for him. Simon’s going to be laughing his way up to the Top 10.
Next it was off to Britney’s Malibu mansion (or her faux-mansion according to TMZ), where the kids were excited to interact with their favorite pop princess. What I want to know is what producer thought it was a good idea to give the most impressionable contestants to a former child-star that had a complete public mental break-down? I can see how the possible drama could be tempting. But hello, these are children. Innocent lives are a stake. Don’t put them with the one mentor that has to have her own babysitter by law. She should have been given the Elders, a group she can look up to and also peers that can join her in weekly AA meetings in between filming. Thankfully, will.i.Aam from the Black Eyed Peas was there to oversee any mishaps… wait, will.i.am was designated as the kids savior? Oh hell. Good luck children, we’ll be watching from a far. Hope your parents read those waivers before signing your life away.
First up for the Teens was 13-year-old Diamond White who aptly sung “I’m With You” by Avril Lavigne. At the very least, Diamond will walk away from this show with a huge Disney contract. She’s just too cute and adorable to pass up. Just like in auditions, Diamond made the performance look easy, effortless and fun, making Britney dig deep for any criticism. “She cares about her moves too much” was all the lovely Ms. Spears could come up with. Next up came the young Bieber look alike Reed Deming who took a stab at “Hey There Delilah” by The Plain White Ts. Besides acting uptight and appearing a little nervous, Deming gave a solid performance. Next week I hope he loosens up a bit. No 15-year-old should be taking life so seriously. So lighten up, Reed. James Tanner, on the other hand, had no problem loosening up in front of the judges while rapping his choice of song “Party Like A Rock Star” by Shop Boyz. Unfortunately, like a drunk freshman at his first keggar, he may have taken it too far. Thankfully the producers, god bless their hard-working souls, saved us (and eventually him) from watching the awkward performance by running other interview clips and sound bites during the majority of his performance. While you may not make it to the next round James, you’ll always have these few seconds to reflect upon. And you can also tell your horny, teenage friends back home you stayed at Britney Spears house! Weeeeee… Arin Ray, a singer that made last season’s X Factor finals as part of a group, brought his experience and A game to the table this week with his rendition of “Starships” by Nikki Minaj. There’s no doubt he’ll soar to the finals and most certainly be a teen heart throb. Said will.i.am. so profoundly, “He has something.” How about he has a calm, cool and collected attitude that oozes coolness with two really cute dimples to boot? Come on Will. Next.
I was a little surprised to hear Beatrice Miller‘s name called out as a Teen finalist because up until now we have seen very little of her on camera. However within ten seconds of performing David Guetta’s “Titanium” the 13-year-old proved she’s a top contender and a force to be reckoned with. Her confidence and soothing, raspy voice was so pleasing it almost made me forget she started crying and nearly puked before taking the stage. “That was fresh,” said will.i.am. He must have not seen her doubled-over on the other side of the house. Finally, and may I add they saved the best for last, Carly Rose Sonenclar stole the show with her take of “Brokenhearted” by Karmin. Unlike some of her competition who ruined their song by slowing it down, Carly took her time and nailed it. For once, everyone’s in agreement. “She’s possessed,” said will.i.am. “She’s one talented young lady,” said Britney. “She’s the winner,” said me.
Too bad we have to wait months for me to boast about my winning predictions (me and the rest of the world that has picked Carly). We also have to wait until next week to see who got the axe. My predictions for going home are: Jason Brock, Tara Simon, Reed Deming and James Tanner. What says you? Do you think Britney will have the winning team this year?