Saturday, October 08, 2011

X Factor USA Boot Camp Decision Time




Chris
Group 9 seemed to be on Cloud Nine as Marcus Canty and Chris Rene get plenty of screen time performing What's Going On with Brennin Hunt and a bunch of others who didn't. This set the scene for tonight's show where the cameras tended to follow certain people and you kinda guessed that they'd be the ones surviving. Something we didn't get in the UK shows or American Idol was the occasional exchanges between the judges either during the performances or just afterwards  - things only those nearby would have heard and not the usually more carefully considered announcements for the audience. "She's Gotta Go," from Simon as one little tuneless girl walked off stage being a nice example.
Marcus

A bunch of what appeared to be mostly girls in Group 10 appeared briefly and we get two bars of I'm Every Woman which would have been a challenge to most of the male contestants. No idea who they were or who did well as we streaked into Group 11 doing Love Song where some people I'd never seen before demonstrated why I never seen them before. One exception was a good ol' boy called Tim Cifers who was quite impressive but that may just have been in comparison to the others who weren't.

The Brewer Boys finally get more than ten seconds air time in Group 12 and seem to be the only ones in this group who don't make a complete mess of Snow Patrol's Chasing Cars track. They seem a pretty together band and have a wholesome flop-haired look that you could imagine on the cover of an album. When they're older they could try striding over a pedestrian crossing maybe. We'll see more of them, I'm sure, if only because there seem to be precious few young lads who can hold a note in this competition, the older guys totally blowing them off the stage so far and SYCO need the mums and teen girl vote if they're going to make any money out of this. Boys don't redial umpteen times. In fact boys seldom call at all. It's not exactly cool. Can you imagine boys rushing into class the next day and jumping up and down and telling their mates how many times they voted the night before? No.

That was that. The judges now dismiss another third of the contestants and we get glimpses of one or two earlier hopefuls like Kelly going home. Not, interestingly, the little tuneless girl that Simon mentioned earlier. Seems like he doesn't always get his way. The next stage gives us a chance to see what the audience think as 60 or so move on to deliver solo performances of their choice from a range of tracks suggested. This is much more like the kind of territory they'll need to cover on the Live Shows and, with a good-sized audience too, the show is finally beginning to take shape.

First up again is Rachel Crow. I guess it must have been getting close to her bedtime. Being first on twice is still a bit strange, though. Still, she's confident and actually pretty good. I find her annoying to watch because I just don't get the feeling she gets what she's singing about. She should do Lollipop, not If I Were A Boy. and goodness knows what mum'll say when Simon gets her to do Let's Spend The Night Together on Stones Night. Anyway, yes, she'll be through, we all can guess that.

Audrey Turner follows with an earthy and loud number which included the line Ain't No Mountain High Enough which Ike would have approved of. No-one else seemed too impressed though and most of us were wondering just how old she must be beneath the stretched skin and wig.

Paige Elizabeth ought to have scored well but put in just an average performance of Somewhere Only We Know and disappointed those who'd seen her as a definite contender before.

Tiger appears and finally we get to see a genuinely good performance. He does Billy Jean, takes a chance but it works well. I tried hard to see him as a star, though, and just can't see him making it when he has the excellent Josh as competition. Josh, indeed, followed and did a couple of burrito promos before producing one of the top four auditions tonight with Up The Mountain.

Simone
Simone returns to the screen after a while. You'll remember her red hot pants. This time they were a sort of grey check and her legs seemed to have grown even longer as the cameraman also obviously noticed and decided to show us. She was supposed to sing Your Song but no-one remembers much about that apart from her forgetting the words which is probably just as well. I can see her getting through and then being the first to get voted off.

Then we get a blur of three or four acts. I can only recall Simon commenting "I don't want to hear it again" as Makenna & Brock walk off after what I had thought was a much better performance than some of the earlier stuff they'd done.

Brennin
Siameze screeches something quite a lot and just looks too weird even for American TV. Brennin, in complete contrast, does the male model industry proud and sets out to wrap up his place at the Judges' Houses by looking sultry at Paula and Nicole. Either Simon or LA Reid, however, spook his style with what seems like an over-amplified piano drowning out whatever he was trying to sing and generally the whole arrangement sounded terrible. You just know we'll see more of him for all that. He's not going to win or anything but he makes good TV in the early stages.

Stereo Hogzz
Coming up next are a series of good acts: StereoHogzz are getting lots of screen time and add an great job of Cry Me A River to that. Another Top 4 performance of the night, also getting one of the best reactions so far from the crowd.

Brian
Brian Bradley does what Brian Bradley does. This little chap's amazing and very professional. I just can't see how he's going to handle the ballad round or the Let's All Dance Nicely In White Suits as the inevitable intro that will be necessary for the Live Shows. For all that, he'll be there.

Phillip
Phillip Lomax and Chris Rene are clearly going to be competing in the Boys slot, and I wouldn't want to be the one who decides. They're both potentially big and deserve the success they've had so far. We'll see more of them in future weeks. Phillip may win out on the cool front.

Nick Dean reappears. I could have sworn that he got kicked out earlier but, whatever, he does a reasonable job of rescuing himself and girls will like him. He just doesn't match the previous pair, for instance, and unless they stuff him in some group I reckon his days are numbered on this show.

I really do find Stacy Francis difficult to watch. She's good, bags of talent, great voice and tremendous emotion comes across as she blows the audience away with Summertime. The best performance of the night. But why oh why does she insist on that long high note. It just makes us think she's showing off. We don't want to hear it any more. We can hear you can sing so shut up now and go away. Come back next week and try and remember what one of the coaches had said before: "Less is more, OK?"

Steve Jones had been making the odd appearance here and there and all credit to him for a commentary that didn't remind you that it was him doing it. He's like an audio overlay, information is provided but not intrusively. Ryan Seacrest and UK's old hand Dermot O'Leary you can't ignore. Steve you can ignore if you want to. You get to choose. Unless, that is, he's got the short sleeve blue shirt on. Then it is impossible to ignore as he has a rich brown face and lily white arms which just look very odd.

Tiah
Quite why they bring Steve on at this point is not clear but perhaps we needed a break before watching Tiah. Tiah's become one of Simon's Girls, with Tora and one or two others that we'll see more of however they perform by the looks of things. Add Simone to that list! anyway Tiah does do well this time and may have restored some faith amongst earlier doubters. She looked a lot better too. I can see her being one of those acts that look completely different each week. Following Stacy must have been tough but she did a good job. Ah, maybe that's why the inserted a Steve Jones slot.

Tora



Cari Fletcher sings well but is a bit Pia-like in that she'll do OK but not set anything alight. Drew, previously a major contender, seems to have dipped a bit with a song that didn't suit her or the audience as much as she'd probably hoped. Caitlin Koch won the day amongst this trio of talent this time with a spotless rendition of Cry Me A River. I love this girl and Steve gets her for his first ever after performance interview. She's not a likely winner, just great to watch.

Caitlin
Leroy
Leroy Bell winds up this round with a nice tone and he's something of a dark horse in this competition. Great singer in a smart, quiet way. He and Cari should get together. Again, not a winner but nice to see him getting good reviews.

So, after a whole load of music and precious few silly interruptions in a good evening's entertainment, we get the lists of people through to Judges' Houses. Eight in each category. We also get confirmation of the allocation of categories to the judges. And here, at last, they are!

Simon's Girls

Rachel Crow
Caitlin Koch
Tora Woloshin
Simone Battle
Drew Ryniewicz
Jazzlyn Little
Melanie Amaro
Tiah Tolliver

LA Reid's Boys

Brennin Hunt
Brian Bradley
Skyelor Anderson
Nick Voss
Tim Cifers
Phillip Lomax
Marcus Canty
Chris Rene

Nicole's Over 30s

Elaine Gibbs
Tiger Budbill
James Kenney
Josh Kracjik
Christa Collins
Dexter Haygood
Stacy Francis
Leroy Bell

Paula's Groups

StereoHogzz
4Shore
2 Squar'd
The Brewer Boys
Illusion Confusion
The Anser
In addition, two groups were made up from solo entries:
InTENsity (Nick Dean, Francesca Duncan, John Lindahl, Emily Michalak, Arin Ray,
Lauren Ashley, Ellona Santiago, Ma’at Bingham Shango, Austin Percario, Emily Wilson
Lakoda Rayne (Cari Fletcher, Dani Knights, Paige Ogle, Hayley Orrantia)

Bearing in mind that the huge kid's group includes the tuneless little girl I have my doubts about how far they'll go in that format and may well have to change their name to InNINEsity, I doubt if we'll see much more of that bunch in that form after Judges' Houses. On the other hand the make-up of Lakoda Rayne is superb and, if they get their act together, could be serious contenders.

In amongst this list there are several who the cameras have managed to avoid (or vice versa) clearly we still have a lot to learn. I'm not sure we will if all we get from Judges' Houses are snippets of performance and an hour of tears and judges justifying their decisions in words that mums can't sue them for! 


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