XFactor Season 2 Top 12 Perform

15 11 2012

After a deadlock between the judges regarding which contestant should go home, CeCe Frey and Jason Brock faced the popular vote. Who had the lowest number of votes? Shockingly Jason. Then XFactor did something that no other singing show has done: They gave us the list of how the contestants placed based on their votes. From first place to 12th place: Tate Stevens, Carly Rose Sonenclar, Vino Alan, Diamond White, Fifth Harmony, Emblem3, Jennel Garcia, Paige Thomas, Lyric 145, Beatrice Miller, Arin Ray, and CeCe Frey. Tonight’s theme is “songs from divas.”

Demi Lovato’s Young Adults

Contestant: Paige Thomas
Twitter @PaigeAva
Song: “Last Dance” by Donna Summer

My thoughts: It was good but I still hear an issue with enunciation. For example, when she sang, “Last dance”, it sounded like, “last dam” or “last dan”. It’s like she doesn’t complete her consonants. She does not talk this way, so I don’t know why it seems to show up in her singing. To get a second opinion to make sure I was not having a hearing issue, I asked my husband to listen and he heard it, too.

The judges: L.A. Reid thought it was her best yet. Britney said it was like a disco ball exploding on stage. Simon thought it was her best so far but the choreography was distracting. Demi said she nailed it.

Paige Thomas

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Contestant: Jennel Garcia
Twitter: @JennelGarcia
Song: “Proud Mary” by Ike and Tina Turner

My thoughts: MUCH BETTER than last week. I’d like to see her pick a rock song from her generation perhaps next time. She’s back in the race though.

The judges: LA Reid said it smoked. Britney said Tina would be proud. Simon said it was like she was a different person and he was glad she took his advice. Demi was proud.

Jennel Garcia

* * * * * * * * * *

Contestant: CeCe Frey (pronounced “fry” like “French fry” and not “fray”)
Twitter: @CeCeMissXToTheO
Song: “All By Myself” by Eric Carmen (later by Celine Dion)

My thoughts: I thought her pitch problems were because she was trying to do intense choreography as well. This time she was on stage, all by herself. Before I say the bad news, CeCe seems like a different person in this light versus the auditions when she was rubbing me the wrong way. I saw the clip how she listened to Tate talk about his family. She has let us see the vulnerable side of her. I like this side of CeCe. But I get back to the vocals. I’m thinking her audition song was something she practiced a million times. The song choice for the battle between her and Paige was again her choice because we remember how upset Paige was. This song was pitchy and squealy. My husband walked in and said, “Who’s drowning the cat?” not having any reference at all to the Emblem3 saving kittens story. It was, however, better than the past 2 weeks, but still not good enough. However, I think Arin Ray was worse.

The judges: LA Reid said she did really well and it was an improvement. Britney said she did not get it. Simon said he liked her but it was very cabaret. Demi really didn’t say anything.

CeCe Frey

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Britney Spears’ Teens

Contestant: Arin Ray
Twitter: @ArinRaySings
Song: “Crazy For You” by Madonna

My thoughts: It was his worst song he has ever done. It was pitchy all over the place. I think instead of trying to flirt with Normani, he should have practiced more.

The judges: L.A. Reid did not get a 5-million-dollar performance. Demi agreed with LA. Simon said it looked like he hated the song as well. It was like asking a cat to eat a tiger. Boring. He could be in trouble. Britney told him he nailed it.

Arin Ray

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Contestant: Diamond White
Twitter: @DiamondKWhite
Song: “Halo” by Beyonce

My thoughts: It was much better than last week. However, her lower-range vocals are really rough.

The judges: LA Reid said she filled the shoes. Demi said she was giving the rest of the competition a run for the money. Simon advised her not to walk and sing at the same time (she did look like her ankles were about to turn in and she was going to fall), but she was a future star.

Diamond White

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Contestant: Beatrice Miller
Twitter: @BeatriceMiller
Song: “Time After Time” by Cindy Lauper

My thoughts: The song was dragging, but she had a better emotional connection to the song. It was a little pitchy. I was bothered a great deal by what she said: “My family will lose hope if she does not win?” That is way too much pressure for a 13 year old. If this is her own perception, then perhaps she needs some counseling. If this really is her family pressuring her, then shame on them.

The judges: LA Reid said it was not the greatest song choice. She did not get to chance to peak. It was the song-choice fault and not hers. Demi liked the song choice that showcased a different side to her. Simon said it was better than last week, but the song choice was not good. Britney told Simon that she has more talent in her pinkie than all of his groups. Britney said Beatrice was beautiful and special.

Beatrice Miller

* * * * * * * * * * *
Contestant: Carly Rose Sonenclar
Twitter: @CarlyRoseMusic
Song: “My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion

My thoughts: I was rolling my eyes when I heard the song choice–one of the most overdone songs ever. It was my favorite vocal of the night. I got goosebumps. Fabulous job.

The judges: LA Reid thought they were looking at the winner. Demi said she didn’t believe it was her voice. Simon said her control on that song was incredible. Britney said she got chills. It was spectacular.

Carly Rose Sonenclar

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L.A. Reid’s Over 25’s

Contestant: Vino Alan
Twitter: @VinoAlan
Song: “Let’s Stay Together” by Al Green (later sung by Tina Turner)

My thoughts: It was second favorite vocal of the night. It was fabulous.

The judges: Britney said he was so soulful. Demi said he was soulful and liked this better than last week, although she was a little bored. Simon said that his voice was designed for a “moment.” It was not as good as last week. LA Reid said he has a classic voice and the song was a great platform.

Vino Alan

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Contestant: Tate Stevens
Twitter: @TateStevensCtry
Song: “From This Moment On” by Shania Twain

My thoughts: I thought this was not as good as last week. It was pitchy. The background singers were outsinging him in volume.

The judges: Britney said it was so heartfelt. Demi said it was soooo good. Simon said it was better than last week. LA Reid said that Simon can write that check.

Tate Stevens

* * * * * * * * * *

Simon Cowell’s Groups

Contestant: Lyric145
Twitter: @Lyric145
Song: Mashup “E.T.” by Katy Perry and “We Will Rock You” by Queen

My thoughts: This group is fabulous. They always do original things. Most of the other songs are just covers. I loved it.

The judges: LA Reid asked who was the diva–Queen? (Simon responded that Freddie Mercury was a diva). LA Reid told the group it was better than last week, but he felt they have lost their way. Britney said they were a hip-hop group and should be doing hip-hop tracks. Demi didn’t understand the “alien” side of the song. Simon said that they only had a few hours to put it together. He felt they brought an energy that this show needs (AND I AGREE).

Lyric145

* * * * * * * * * *
Contestant: Formerly LYLAS, then 1432, which meant “I Love You Too” , and now “Fifth Harmony”
Twitter:
Song: “Hero” by Mariah Carey

My thoughts: They did better with it towards the middle and end than the beginning. I really expected it to blow since there are few who can do justice to a Mariah Carey song.

The judges: LA Reid said it was a tough song. They struggled a bit but it turned into a great song. Britney said she was extremely impressed. Demi said they did an incredible job. Simon said it was absolutely brilliant and they love puppies.

Fifth Harmony

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Contestant: Emblem3
Twitter: @EmblemThree
Song: “No One” by Alicia Keys

My thoughts: It was a little pitchy this week, but I still liked it. I still look at Drew and see Spicoli in “Fast Times At Ridgemont High” only with shorter hair.

The judges: LA Reid said he could not be happier. Britney said they were complete heartthrobs. Demi said they had great energy and were better than last week. Simon said this time we are going to see you right at the top and mentioned something about them saving kittens from drowning. Is that really true?

Emblem3

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My picks for going home

The bottom two will be CeCe Frey and Arin Ray. I think Arin Ray’s vocal was worse, but it depends how many girls are in the voting block.

Who are your picks to leave tonight?





XFactor Season 2 Top 13 Perform

8 11 2012

The field narrowed after saying goodbye last Thursday to Sister C, David Correy, Willie Jones and Diamond White. But wait! SURPRISE! They want Diamond White to come back. We now have a final 13 that the public will get to vote on tonight. Tonight’s theme is “songs from the movies.”

Demi Lovato’s Young Adults

Contestant: Paige Thomas
Twitter @PaigeAva
Song: “Take My Breath Away” by Berlin from the movie Top Gun.

My thoughts: Her enunciation was rough especially at the beginning. Very nasal. It’s like how my husband sings when he does not know the words. The performance, though, was hot, theatrical. She had a lot of heat with that dancer.

The judges: L.A. Reid that the song was good but he was not completely blown away. Britney thought the beginning was the best part, theatrical. Simon said she is a fantastic performer but Demi could have used a bit more imagination. Demi said she was amazing.

Paige Thomas

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Contestant: Jennel Garcia
Twitter: @JennelGarcia
Song: “I Love Rock and Roll” by the Arrows (made famous by Joan Jett) from the movie Crossroads?

My thoughts: Jennel, Jennel. WHERE ARE YOU? It was a bad song choice and she tried the best she could. Her lower register at the beginning was bad. She is my pick to win after Jillian Jensen was sent home. The Jennel from the auditions is gone. She has lost something. I am in total agreement in Simon on this. The last 45 seconds of the song was better.

The judges: LA Reid said it was good. Britney said it was “hot, hot, hot.” Simon said he really likes her but he does not like the way Demi has made her look. He said he sounded like a Joan Jett cover and she needed to challenge herself more.

Jennel Garcia

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Contestant: CeCe Frey (pronounced “fry” like “French fry” and not “fray”)
Twitter: @CeCeMissXToTheO
Song: “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor from the movie “Rocky”

My thoughts: The spots are back, but her vocals are not. What happened to her? Is she one of these people who perfected just a few songs that she could sing really, really well to get her past the auditions and then that’s it? She was better in the auditions. Now that she has blown two songs now in two weeks, I am even more upset that Jillian Jensen was sent home. It was the worst vocal of the night. It was pitchy all over the place. Is it because she is trying to be too ambitious and the dancing is throwing off her vocal? It sounded like a middle school talent show. I think 98% of the song was out of tune.

The judges: LA Reid said the ending was strong but it did not blow him away. Britney said she brought fire. Simon said the song choice was horrible and told Cece she should be making her own song decisions. She insisted it was her voice. Demi said she had come far.

CeCe Frey

Britney Spears’ Teens

Contestant: Arin Ray
Twitter: @ArinRaySings
Song: “American Boy” by Estelle featuring Kanye West from the movie “Obsessed.

My thoughts: He is a bit more comfortable on stage but it is still like he is trying to count the dance moves in his head. It was full of energy and very entertaining.

The judges: L.A. Reid liked it. Demi thought he took the advice given from last week and he looked like a star. Simon said Britney had done a great job mentoring him and he was impressed. Britney was proud of him and said he was a true star.

Arin Ray

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Contestant: Diamond White
Twitter: @DiamondKWhite
Song: “I Have Nothing” by Whitney Houston from the movie “The Bodyguard”

My thoughts: It was a weak vocal and she is not mature enough to understand the depth of that kind of love, so she sang the words. It was good for her age, but it is one of the most overdone songs and I’m frankly tired of hearing it. The last note was held for less than a half of a second.

The judges: LA Reid said it was ambitious and she brought it home. Demi said it tugged on her heart. Simon said it was a gutsy, great vocal. Britney said she channeled Whitney (no, she didn’t–Jennifer Hudson did).

Diamond White

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Contestant: Beatrice Miller
Twitter: @BeatriceMiller
Song: “Iris” by The Goo-Goo Dolls from the movie “City of Angels”

My thoughts: Her lower range is still very rough. I understand that she had voice strain issues. They were pretty good vocals but her life experience is not in the song. It is missing and that is not her fault. You cannot manufacture that. When she tried at one point of the song, it was not believable. She will be a force to be reckoned with when she is in her 20’s, but now is not her time. It is too early.

The judges: LA Reid said it sounds like a hit record. Demi said she pours her soul into her song. Simon said she is not like a 13-year-old. She had vocal tuning issues in the middle, but it was a better performance than last week. Britney said she had the best personality out of everyone.

Beatrice Miller

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Contestant: Carly Rose Sonenclar
Twitter: @CarlyRoseMusic
Song: “It Will Rain” by Bruno Mars from the movie “Twilight: Breaking Dawn”

My thoughts: Some pitch issues (just a few). Excellent vocal for her age. Maybe my third favorite song of the evening. There is still a believability issue with her age and the meaning of the lyrics.

The judges: LA Reid thought it was really heartfelt. He loved it and loved her. Demi said it was incredible. Simon said between last week and this week there was a huge improvement. She was a star in the making. Britney said she should have closed the show.

Carly Rose Sonenclar

L.A. Reid’s Over 25’s

Contestant: Vino Alan
Twitter: @VinoAlan
Song: “When a Man Loves a Woman” by Percy Sledge from the movie of the same name.

My thoughts: He looked classy in his suit. It was a great song for him. I liked hearing more about his background story. It softened his image some. It did not blow me away but I enjoyed it a great deal.

The judges: Britney said he had a unique and special voice. Demi thought it was a phenomenal performance. Simon said he went from zero to hero in one week. LA Reid said he was proud of Vino. He also conceded that Simon was right last week.

Vino Allen

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Contestant: Tate Stevens
Twitter: @TateStevensCtry
Song: “Dead or Alive” by Bon Jovi used in many movies.

My thoughts: This was a better performance than last week. He had solid vocals and a good performance.

The judges: Britney said he was a true cowboy and he nailed it. Demi said he had what it takes. Simon said he has now arrived back in the competition. LA Reid thought he did a great job.

Tate Stevens

* * * * * * * * * *

Contestant: Jason Brock
Twitter: @JasonBroccoli
Song: “I Believe I Can Fly” by R. Kelly from the movie “Space Jam”

My thoughts: In the beginning there were too many runs. He should have just hit solid notes and then built up to all the runs. This was a much better song for him. I got chills. I also like his haircut. I really do like his voice.

The judges: Britney said it was way better, but very Vegas-like. Demi said LA Reid has not guided him yet. Simon likes him but he sees him, in this particular outfit, as a singer in an Italian restaurant. LA Reid thought he did an excellent job.

 

Jason Brock

Simon Cowell’s Groups

Contestant: Lyric145
Twitter: @Lyric145
Song: “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” by Dick Van Dyke and Julie Andrews from the movie “Mary Poppins”

My thoughts: My favorite of the evening. That was dope. How difficult was that to say that word and phrasing THAT FAST? It was Mary Poppins meets Alice in Wonderland and I was flying down the rabbit hole.

The judges: LA Reid “hated it” (translation it was really good–perfect in fact). Britney thought it was intriguing and interesting to watch. Demi said it was so hyped up and they nailed it. Simon said that Lyric Da Queen picked the song and it was bloody fantastic.

Lyric145

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Contestant: Formerly LYLAS, then 1432, which meant “I Love You Too” , and now “Fifth Harmony”
Twitter:
Song: “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri from the movie “Twilight: Breaking Dawn”

My thoughts: It sounded very nice. Loved the harmonies. Much better female group representation than Sister C.

The judges: LA Reid said he was impressed; they nailed it. Britney said it was better this week. Demi loved the vocals but not the arrangement. Simon said he was excited about their potential and was very proud.

Fifth Harmony

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Contestant: Emblem3
Twitter: @EmblemThree
Song: Mash up between “My Girl” by The Temptations and “California Gurls” by Katy Perry and “What Makes You Beautiful” by One Direction. From many movies.

My thoughts: I hate that I really like these guys. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I was bopping around. They did a great job. They have definitely grown on me. The shirt coming off was a bit overboard. We got it–you have a great upper body surfer boy.

The judges: LA Reid said it was perfect and he hated that. Britney said they were able to make the song theirs. Demi thought it was great but said Simon tried to make them like One Direction. Simon said they only had 1 day to rehearse it and did a great job.

Emblem3

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

My picks for going home

Cece Frey is my top choice. Beatrice Miller is my second choice. Diamond White is my third.

Who are your picks to leave tonight?





The XFactor Season 2 Top 16 Perform

1 11 2012

XFactor: Top 16 Perform

The judges took center stage, with Demi Lovato sporting a new brown color and straight bang, and Simon Cowell sporting fangs, fitting for a Halloween show. Is he just playing around or is it his signal to the other judges that he is out for blood?

Co-hosts Mario Lopez and Khloe Kardashian Odom did a great job. Mario is a veteran show host, but I know nothing about Khloe other than hearing her name in the news a lot. It seemed to work. Mario thought on his feet when Jason Brock said to him, “Can I pinch your butt?” He said, “Hey this is a PG-13 show.” Khloe pressed the judges with some hard questions that would hopefully give the contestants more information to take away from the experience to learn. Tonight’s theme was “Made in America” but I really did not understand it at all. I spotted Brian Friedman (from So You Think You Can Dance) doing some of the choreography.

Demi Lovato‘s Young Adults

Contestant: Paige Thomas
Twitter @PaigeAva
Song: “What is Love” by Haddaway

My thoughts: Paige was sporting a freshly shaved head and a wild costume that resembled a shiny version of something that gets stuck between my dog’s paws all the time. She had a hard time keeping breath control while singing and dancing, which is incredibly difficult to do. Otherwise her notes were on key and she was entertaining.

The judges: L.A. Reid did not like the song choice, but thinks she is a star. Simon and Britney also loved it.

Paige Thomas’ headpiece

Contestant: Jennel Garcia
Twitter: @JennelGarcia
Song: “Home Sweet Home” by Motley Crue

My thoughts: Since Jillian Jensen did not make it into the top 16, Jennel was my second favorite. Maybe my expectations were too high. She looked beautiful and loved her makeover. The stage was just too big for her small frame. She needs to work on her performance as well. Her vocal was just okay, not stunning.

The judges: LA Reid said it was a 10. Britney said she rocked it out and she loved it. Simon said she just defined the theme, “Made in America” but also thought Demi was trying to clone her in her image. Demi was so proud of her.

Jennel Garcia

Contestant: CeCe Frey
Twitter: @CeCeMissXToTheO
Song: “Because the Night” by Patti Smith

My thoughts: I like that the spots are gone. I was okay with her blonde hair. The make-up and the way she performed, she reminded me too much of a Lady Gaga wannabe. Perhaps a combination of nerves and dancing, she was pitchy and notes I know she could have belted out if she was just standing still, she could not do.

The judges: LA Reid said vocally it was not great. Britney said she loved her performance but vocals were weak at times. Simon Cowell said he likes her because she is fearless and interesting, but it was not the best vocal. Demi even said she knows she can do better vocally.

CeCe Frey

Contestant: Willie Jones
Twitter: @ThatKiddWill
Song: “Here for the Party” by Gretchen Wilson

My thoughts: Willie is a nice guy. It was okay. His outfit did not say “country music.” It looked more like Las Vegas lounge singer of the early 1970’s.

The judges: LA Reid thought it was an “adequate performance.” Britney said he was a true star. Simon thought it was silly and cheap. Demi was proud.

Willie Jones

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Britney Spears‘ Teens

Contestant: Arin Ray
Twitter: @ArinRaySings
Song: “You Keep Me Hanging On” by The Supremes

My thoughts: The stage swallowed him up even with the dancers surrounding him, or maybe he seemed amateurish because the dancers were better? It could be that the dancers hurt him.

The judges: L.A. Reid thought he was slightly off with the tune. Demi thought he was a little stiff. Simon (agrees with me) thinks the dancers were a bad idea. Britney, of course, loved it.

Arin Ray

Contestant: Diamond White
Twitter: @DiamondKWhite
Song: “Hey Soul Sister” by Train

My thoughts: Her vocals were extremely pitchy and they were very rough. It was a bad song choice for her voice. I was expecting better from her because she has a lot of talent.

The judges: LA Reid said it was robotic, mechanical. Demi said the song choice was great but Diamond was a little reserved. Simon said she had some tuning issues, but she had massive improvement since they last saw her.

Diamond White

Contestant: Beatrice Miller
Twitter: @BeatriceMiller
Song: “I Won’t Give Up” by Jason Mraz

My thoughts: Most of the song was in her lower range and her lower range is horrid. She is also just singing because there is no way at her tender age that she could know the depth of love of which Jason Mraz writes. It was a bad vocal (extremely flat or sharp). She looked petrified.

The judges: LA Reid said he believes her and he loves her. Demi was impressed. Simon said the style was right but there were tuning issues/nerves. Britney said she was a true star.

Beatrice Miller

Contestant: Carly Rose Sonenclar
Twitter: @CarlyRoseMusic
Song: “Good Feeling” by Flo Rida

My thoughts: She needs to stop touching her hair with her left hand, but other than that distraction I thought she did a great job. Her lower register needs work. She sings the words, but does not feel the words.

The judges: LA Reid thought she has a beautiful voice but did not feel like she was having fun. Demi thought she has one of the best voices but she was not having fun. Simon said he didn’t feel like she was connecting to the song. Britney thought it was amazing, a great, great job.

Carly Rose Sonenclar

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L.A. Reid’s Over 25’s

Contestant: David Correy
Twitter: @DavidCorrey
Song: “My Love is Your Love” by Whitney Houston

My thoughts: I’m being hypercritical here, but I thought his pants were too saggy in the crotch. He is also doing that shaking of the right hand again when he is trying to put emphasis on his vocals. It is distracting. But when I close my eyes and just listen to him, I thoroughly enjoy his voice.

The judges: Britney loved it. Demi thought it was pretty good. Simon thought his performance was manic. L.A. Reid said it was really good.

David Correy

Contestant: Vino Alan
Twitter: @VinoAlan
Song: “Gotta Be Somebody” by Nickelback

My thoughts: His lower range was horrid. LA Reid picked a bad song for his voice. It was pitchy. This is not the Vino who wowed me in the auditions. And what’s up with his pants?

The judges: Britney said it was really good but she was a little bored. (Okay). Demi was rooting for him, but the beginning was shaky. Simon said the song arrangement for him was wrong. He is a soul singer not a rock singer.

Vino Alan

Contestant: Tate Stevens
Twitter: @TateStevensCtry
Song: “Tough” by Craig Morgan

My thoughts: I don’t like country music, but if I had to choose this type of song over a twang-like-thang that Sister C delivers, I prefer this because it soothes me versus my hair standing up on the back of my neck. I can relate to him. He emotes and connects. He has had a lifetime of experience to draw upon during his songs.

The judges: Britney said it was amazing. Demi said she was bored at the beginning but he stood on his own and gave her chills. Simon Cowell thought he was a good, honest man, a definite keeper. LA Reid thought it was really good.

Tate Stevens

Contestant: Jason Brock
Twitter: @JasonBroccoli
Song: “Dance Again” by Jennifer Lopez

My thoughts: Were there any other lyrics in this song than “dance again?” I was entertained, but would Jason be accepted as a mainstream pop star? Probably not. I do see a wonderful career for him on Broadway.

The judges: Britney said it was entertaining. Demi felt it was not the right song choice and he needed more sass. Simon likes him but everything about this performance was wrong. LA Reid enjoyed him and called Simon a hater.

Jason Brock

* * * * * * * * * * *

Simon Cowell‘s Groups

Contestant: Sister C (Cirby, Carli and Celbi)
Twitter: @OfficialSisterC
Song: “Hell on Heels” by Pistol Annies

My thoughts: Simon Cowell hates country music week on Idol, so to have a country music group is odd. When Simon tells them that they are not connecting with the audience, one of them says that they think it is because they don’t have a “sob story”, that they have been blessed. Actually they come across to me as those girls in high school who are stuck up. I don’t like their vibe. I hate the “twang.” I hate most of country music. But judging strictly on their performance, I feel no warmth from them, like they are just singing the words and not feeling them. And then I thought about it–because they have been blessed in their life (and that is always a wonderful thing), most singers have to channel from their road of pain, grief, love, all the extremes of life, living in a car in order to make a living — whatever. That is their missing element (even despite my dislike of the twang and dislike in general of country music. And what was Simon thinking having them sing their audition song again?

The judges: L.A. Reid said it was good but did not like that it was a repeat of their audition song. Britney liked it. Demi said they seemed stiff and they were lacking performance. Simon, of course, thought it was a fantastic performance.

Sister C

Contestant: Lyric145
Twitter: @Lyric145
Song: Mash up of “Boom Shake the Room” by DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince and “Gangnam Style” by Psy

My thoughts: I was entertained. Lyric Da Queen is the star of this group. I loved the energy and was grooving in my chair to the rhythm.

The judges: LA Reid thought the soul was taken out of them. Britney was genuinely entertained. Demi had so much fun. Simon Cowell thought they were sensational.

Lyric145

Contestant: Formerly LYLAS, now 1432, which means “I Love You Too”
Twitter: @1432
Song:  “We are Never Ever Getting Back Together” by Taylor Swift

My thoughts: They need some work in being a group but they sounded good for only being together a short time. I don’t like Taylor Swift songs, so I tuned it out.

The judges: LA Reid said it sounded like karaoke. Britney said their energy drew us in. Demi said 1 person in the group shined and when pressed by Khloe to name names, she said Camila. Simon thought it was fantastic.

1432, formerly known as LYLAS

Contestant: Emblem3
Twitter: @EmblemThree
Song: “One Day” by Matisyahu

My thoughts: I never particularly cared for these guys during the audition process. They looked like they were not taking things seriously. I thoroughly enjoyed this performance. Their vocals were great. Their command of the stage was great. I would say they are keepers.

The judges: LA Reid said he hated to say it but Simon got it right this time. Britney thought it was great. Demi has a crush on them and she was swooning. Simon said they were future superstars.

Emblem3

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

My picks for going home

From Simon’s group, time to say goodbye to Sister C. In Britney’s group, it is going to depend on her strategy, but I would say Arin Ray or Beatrice Miller is in danger. In LA Reid’s group, I think Vino is in danger (and he should not be because it was a bad song choice). In Demi’s group, I think Willie might be in danger, but I would have picked Jennel because I do not think she did as well as the judges heard in that theater. It pains me to say that since she is my second favorite contestant.

Who are your picks to leave tonight?





The XFactor: Top 16 For Season 2

25 10 2012

Demi Lovato made a very bad decision and let victory slip from her hands. She decided to choose Paige Thomas, CeCe Frey, Jennel Garcia, and Willie Jones for her team. It was not a surprise that she sent Nick Youngerman home, but JILLIAN JENSEN? Demi, have you LOST YOUR MIND? She is the only one in this competition who sings from her soul. Last year, I was screaming when Melanie Amaro was not picked, only to be relieved that Simon got to pull some strings and have an extra person on his team. I can only hope now that the same special circumstance might be granted to Demi so Jillian Jensen can be asked back. Willie Jones, while he seems to be a nice young man and has some talent, has nowhere near the level of singing ability and emotional connection that Jillian Jensen makes to every song she sings. Jillian is last year’s Melanie Amaro. Demi stated that this competition is not only about singing ability but about other factors (meaning, perhaps, that she does not have “the look” or “the vibe” that some of her other contestants have. Demi, you are crazy! Jillian DOES have the XFactor. The only thing that I can think is that Willie brings in a different type of voter–the country crowd which provides some variety to Demi’s team.

This decision makes as much sense as not putting Panda Ross through to the judges’ homes.

I did like that CeCe Frey lost her spots and shed some conceit in the process (a good thing). She always had a good voice, but I could not make any connection to her other than irritation at the way she was presenting herself during the auditions. It was a smart move on her part. If Jillian Jensen does not get to return to the competition, then I am throwing my support at this point to Jennel Garcia. However, that will depend on Jennel’s performances each week.

Baseball threw us a curve ball with programming last week. With a rain delay, Fox Broadcasting began showing a repeat of Ben and Kate. Then with the rain still occurring and the game still in delay, they showed exactly 2-1/2 of the decisions: Britney’s choices, L. A. Reid’s choices and 2 of the 4 of Demi Lovato’s choices. But the game was still in rain delay, so instead of just showing us the rest of Demi’s choices, they started showing the last episode of The Mindy Project and then cut it off in mid-stream as the game returned.

In addition to who we lost in Demi Lovato’s team, we said goodbye to James Tanner and Reed Deming on Britney’s team. I thought Reed would get to stay and Britney would send Beatrice home. On L.A. Reid’s team, I thought Tate Stevens and Tara Simon would go home (Tara being my new irritation), but instead he sent Daryl Black home (in addition to the obvious Tara Simon). Simon sent Dope Crisis and Playback home. In this group, Emblem3 is a great annoyance to me, and they did not perform well at the Simon’s home.

The teams look like this:

Demi Lovato’s Young Adults: CeCe Frey, Jennel Garcia, Willie Jones, Paige Thomas

CeCe Frey

Willie Jones

Britney Spears‘ Teens: Beatrice Miller, Arin Ray, Carly Rose Sonenclar, Diamond White

Beatrice Miller

Arin Ray

Carly Rose Sonenclar

Diamond White

L.A. Reid’s Over 25’s: Vino Alan, Jason Brock, David Correy, Tate Stevens

Vino Alan

Jason Brock

David Correy

Tate Stevens

Simon Cowell‘s Groups: Emblem3, LYLAS, Lyric145, Sister C

Emblem3

LYLAS

Lyric145

Sister C

YOUR TOP 16

The Top 16





The XFactor: L.A. Reid’s and Britney Spears’ Homes

14 10 2012

L.A. REID’S HOME

Group: Over 25’s.
Guest mentors: Justin Bieber and Justin’s manager, Scooter Braun.
Where: Beverly Hills, California

Contestants making it through in this category were: Jason Brock, Daryl Black (we haven’t seen much of anything on him), David Correy, Tara Simon (are you KIDDING ME?), Tate Stevens and Vino Alan. Those going home include Jessie Bryant (Houston boy), Freddie Combs, Jeffrey Adam Gutt, and apparently Panda Ross, but you would never know because they gave her no air time. Read Lindsey’s report on “Where is Panda?”

There is nothing like coming to California, anxiously awaiting to see who your mentor is going to be, when LA Reid and Justin Bieber pop out and the first thing you hear is (paraphrasing), “I don’t like you.” He “does not like them, but I have to figure out how to get one of you to win.” Talk a blow to the gut. Justin gave them a little more hope, “it doesn’t matter how old you are.” He adds that “When L.A. believes in something, he pours his whole heart and soul into it.” Hmmm. He just told the group he did not believe in them. Mixed messages.

Jason Brock
Song: “Big Girls Don’t Cry” by Fergie

It was a great start to the show. I think that Jason has a future career in music, but I almost wish that he would have tried out for “The Voice” where his appearance did not matter. I think the XFactor looks for more people who they can market in pop music or rap music areas. I would vote for him. I would like to see what he sounds like not singing a ballad. L.A. Reid thought it was a strong vocal. Justin felt that he did not hold anything back and gave it his all.

David Correy
Song: “Domino” by Jessie J

His hand-shaking was annoying and distracting to me as a viewer. L.A. said it gave him chills. Justin thought he was great, the voice was there, and he has a look to him.

Daryl Black
Song: “She’s Gone” by Daryl Hall and John Oates

This is the first time I have heard him sing. I enjoyed it a great deal. I think he should go through to the live shows. Scooter thought he had a special voice and a band behind him might work. L.A. thought his voice tone is not unique and that he was just singing. Justin thought it was powerful and strong. I see a pattern to Justin’s advice.

Tate Stevens
Song: “Back At One” by Brian McKnight

Tate confuses me as a viewer. He auditioned as a country artist. The songs we saw him sing at Boot Camp were from R&B artists. On this song, he was flat on his notes. Scooter said there was something about him that you want to root for. Justin thought he was charismatic, great voice, but when L.A. asked if Justin would write him a check for $5 million, Justin was not real sure about that.

Vino Alan
Song: “Sober” by P!nk

I got goosebumps. He was putting all his heart and soul into this performance. However, I do think he roomed with David Correy a bit too long because he has that weird hand-shaking movement, too. Scooter thought he was petrified but he stepped up. Justin emotionally felt it (versus unemotionally feeling it?–sometimes these sayings don’t make sense). L.A. Reid questioned if he was “the package.” He just did not know.

Tara Simon
Song: “The Reason” by Hoobastank

I do not know how this woman made it to the top 24. Her vocals are awful. That fact that she is making money as a vocal coach is a crime. She annoys me more than Cece Frey did (Cece has softened in my eyes after seeing her at Demi’s home). This song was horrible. She thinks that performing runs that are off-key makes you a good vocalist I suppose. For me, it is an easy vote to go home. Scooter thought she had a “big voice.”

BRITNEY SPEARS’ HOME

Group: Teens
Guest Mentor: will.i.am
Where: Malibu, California

Contestants that made it through were Beatrice Miller, James Tanner, Carly Rose Sonenclar, Diamond White, Reed Deming, and Arin Ray. People you thought did not make it included Dinah Jane Hansen, Ally Brooke, Camila Carbello, Normani Hamilton, but most of them were grouped together to form three new groups.

Diamond White
Song: “I’m With You” by Avril Lavigne

It was a good song for her to choose given her age. She had a few off notes. Will.i.am thought it was amazing but felt she cares about her moves too much. Britney said she needed to work on her stage presence and gain a little more confidence.

Reed Deming
Song: “Hey There Delilah” by Plain White T’s

He is very precocious when he speaks. I remember not liking his performance at boot camp, but this song and this performance gave me goosebumps. He has improved a great deal since his first audition. Britney thought he was nervous and that he can deliver better than he just did. Will.i.am said when he talks he is like this little emperor kid.

James Tanner
Song: “Party Like a Rock Star” by Shop Boyz

I did not care for it at all. Britney thought it was entertaining but she is not convinced it is strong enough.

Arin Ray
Song: “Starships” by Nicki Minaj

Before he sang, Will.i.am gave him some advice that he needs to spill it on stage. Britney told him to stay confident, be true to yourself, and bring the goods. I like him but it was a little boring and he was a little flat on some of the notes. Will.i.am said he has something, that he has potential XFactor in him. Britney said he needs to work on his vocals but she loves watching him.

Beatrice Miller
Song: “Titanium” by David Guetta and Sia

I think she is adorable . Her vocals were rough on some of the notes. Will.i.am said it was the right tone for her and it was fresh. Britney thought she needed to control her voice a bit more.

Carly Rose Sonenclar
Song: “Brokenhearted” by Karmin

At Boot Camp, I was a little disappointed in her performance, but this one was a home run. I had goosebumps. Will.i.am felt she was possessed, that she was like this little caterpillar and you think she is going to turn into this butterfly but instead she turns into a dragon. Britney said she is very talented but she is not sure if she will be able to cope with the pressure.

MY PICKS FOR GOING HOME

In the Over-25’s, Tara Simon is the easiest pick for me. She does not deserve the spot. The only reason why she might stay is because she is the only female in the group. My next pick would be Tate Stevens. He needs time to figure out what kind of artist he wants to be–country or R&B. His voice is more suited for country songs. In the R&B songs, his vulnerabilities are revealed in pitch. However, the person who may be in jeopardy based on the mentors’ comments might be Daryl Black.

My picks get harder in the teen group. James Tanner is unique in that he raps, but there is too much talent in this group for him to take up a spot. SPOILER ALERT: In the promos for next week, it looks like Arin Ray definitely gets through. I don’t know if I could pick a second person, but Beatrice Miller might be the one in danger. Carly and Diamond had stronger performances. We know Arin gets through, so that leaves Beatrice and Reed and Reed is going to appeal to all those tween girls out there.





The XFactor Boot Camp Task Two

8 10 2012

Sixty enter the stage, only 24 will move on to the judges’ homes. They paired up the acts, both having to sing one song. Both could make it. One could make it. None could make it. The pressure was too much for some of the singers with a combination of being off-key and forgetting the lyrics. For some, they only forget a few words; others completely shut down and drew a blank, knowing that they likely ruined their shot. Manipulations were afoot as well, the more dominant personality trying to convince the less dominant individual that the song choice was a good one, or in some cases ignoring the comments said that they did not want to do the song.

TARA SIMON vs. JENNEL GARCIA
(“Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac)

Jennel expresses her feelings that she did not want to sing that song and Tara commits to it anyway. Jennel’s demeanor and even the way she dresses are different. She looks nervous and it is a weak song for her. Tara, bubbling with overconfidence, performs worse than Jennel. Tara was overly affected. Britney Spears looks like it is painful to listen to it. Tara still thinks she rocked it after the commentary. Note to Tara: When the judges say that they don’t like the “song choice” it is a polite way of saying you sucked singing it without it being a personal attack.

VINO ALAN vs. DAVID CORREY
(“What’s Going On” by Marvin Gaye)

David starts out dissing the judges and calls them “roadblocks to his dream.” That is not a good start, but his vocal is okay (not perfect, but okay). Vino messes up his lyric (which I did not even catch) but the judges did not notice. They DO notice he has anger management issues. Vino sounded okay as well. I liked how David said he had great respect for Vino and wants them to go through together.

PAIGE THOMAS vs. CECE FREY
(“Secrets” by OneRepublic)

Paige said that Cece wanted to do “Secrets” and she did not agree and left the room saying that. Paige talks to a vocal coach and says she feels she is getting played in the matter, but gets a pep talk from the vocal coach that she has this moment and she has to make it work. When the judges asked how the song was picked, there was silence, followed by Cece falling over her words about how “they” picked the song which I did not buy. Cece wants to win “like oxygen coming out of my lungs.” Nice thought but carbon dioxide is what comes out of your lungs. Paige forgets the lyrics. Her lower range is OFF! She is flat. I did not like it at all. Cece is too affected. She needs better stage presence (less affect). I think this song is the worst she has done so far. She, too, is flat. Cece thinks she should go through instead of Paige just because Paige forgot the lyrics.

JASON BROCK vs. BRIANA WRIGHT
(“Titanium” by David Guetta and Sia)

They only show Jason singing and the song is not good choice for his voice.

L3VEL vs. EMBLEM3

They did not show this challenge.

DIAMOND WHITE vs. DINAH JANE HANSEN
(“Stronger [What Doesn’t Kill You]” by Kelly Clarkson)

This was a slow version of the show. Dinah’s lower range is rough. It sounded like both were trying to sing the song just a little bit faster than the piano player. Diamond’s lower range was a tad bit rough as well. The song was too slow– too sleepy– for me. Dinah is worried because she forgot the lyrics but I did not notice. Diamond reassures her (I like that–you can be competitors without being a cut-throat).

BEATRICE MILLER vs. CARLY ROSE SONENCLAR
(“Pumped Up Kicks” by Foster the People)

Two 13-year-olds battle. Beatrice needs to get control of her excessive vibrato. She looks like a young Maria Bello. For 13-year-olds I guess they did well, but I thought it was too flat and sharp so I did not care for either performance.

SISTER C vs. LAUREN JAUREGUI
(“These Arms of Mine” by Otis Redding)

I just do not like Sister C. Nothing personal. Their twang grates on my nerves. I am not a country music fan, but there is some country music I can listen to that sounds nice. Britney also thinks they are. Lauren did a great job.

BRANDON HASSAN vs. REED DEMING
(“Secrets” by OneRepublic)

Both are flat. I would choose neither.

JULIA BULLOCK vs. ALLY BROOKE
(“Knocking on Heaven’s Door” by Bob Dylan)

Both were flat but Ally was slightly better.

JEFFREY ADAM GUTT vs. UNKNOWN
(“If I Die Young” The Band Perry)

This is country music I can listen to. They did not show much of his singing, but it was rough in spots but I think he will get through.

WILLIE JONES vs. TATE STEVENS
(“Nobody Knows It But Me” by Babyface)

Willie got nervous and forgot most of the lyrics. But I think for the short time Willie is singing, he sings it better than Tate. Tate is overconfident that he nailed it. The judges think Tate threw Willie under the bus and try to decide if that is a good thing or not.

ARIN RAY vs. NORMANI HAMILTON (Houston girl!)
(“What Makes You Beautiful” by One Direction)

Hers was very hard to judge. It was weird and difficult to describe. It was like she was hitting these one notes for a second and moving on to the next note with no carrying over of the note to the next. It sounded like she didn’t even say, “you’re beautiful” and forgot a line of lyric before it. He was sour, flat on notes. I think the higher range was too much for him.

FREDDIE COMBS vs. JESSIE BRYANT (Houston boy!)
(“Up On the Roof” by The Drifters)

Both of them forgot their lyrics. When you forget the lyrics this badly, you have to have brought something awesome to the previous songs you have done to get through this next cut. I don’t think either of them will make it through.

JILLIAN JENSEN vs. LATASHA LEE ROBINSON
(“Stay” by Sugarland)

Whenever I hear, “I’m very confident”, 99% of the time that overconfidence is what will knock them down. Latasha forgot the lyrics. Jillian rocked it. I liked that she even tried to help Latasha out by saying Latasha knew the words before she came out. Jillian is my favorite to win and if she makes it all the way through, I will be voting for her.

NICK YOUNGERMAN vs. ONE4FIVE

Nick forgot his lyrics. They did not show the group performing.

JORDAN SHANE vs. UNKNOWN

Jordan forgot her lyrics.

CAMILA CABELLO vs. UNKNOWN
(“Your Song” by Elton John)

It was terrible.

OWEN STUART vs. UNKNOWN
(“Sexy and I Know It” by LMAFO)

The 10 seconds or less that they showed sounded okay.

LYRIC DA QUEEN vs. UNKNOWN

Did not show enough of the song to judge.

PREVIEW FOR NEXT WEEK

In one group going to the judges’ homes, I definitely see that Cece and Willie have made it (because of her spots and his haircut). It looks like possibly Jennel and Arin, too. But I could not make out the other contestants viewing from the backs of their heads or quick back/side shot.  In the groups it looks like Sister C is there.

Cece in the red dress; Willie in the jean jacket.

PEPSI XFACTOR FLAVOR CHOSEN

It was Demi’s choice of Dragon which Simon insists was his choice, too.

But the question remains: What happened to Panda Ross!?





The XFactor Boot Camp Task One

4 10 2012

The X-Factor Boot Camp Task One      

The contestants hopped on a plane to the Mondrian Hotel in South Beach in Miami, Florida for the next phase of auditions and eliminations. Some rose to the challenge. Some cracked under the pressure. And the judges wondered how they could have put through others.

The groups we saw tonight included Emblem3, Group Citizen, Sister C, L3vel, and Jetset. I don’t care much for the group sounds this year at all.

Tonight we also heard too many people try to do Whitney Houston. Some did fairly, but they should tell them no Whitney songs and no Adele songs and maybe no Mariah songs either. Diamond White, Paige Thomas and Trill Cece Frey all did, “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney song. For a 13-year-old, Diamond did a pretty fair attempt. Paige did better than Diamond, but she seemed to be out of breath.

Diamond White

Cece–well I don’t care for her at all. The young woman needs a lesson in humility. She is conceitedly overconfident, “On a scale of 1 to 10 how confident am I? How about 25?” Her conceit comes off in the song. Instead of connecting with the song and the audience, it was more about her beating Paige’s audition that immediately preceded hers. All ladies will make it through this task.

Trill Cece Frey

Paige Thomas

Austin Corini sang Bob Dylan’s “To Make You Feel My Love” most recently done by Adele. He has a very nice song, but this song was very boring. It’s unclear if he was in the final bunch making it through to task 2.

Austin Corini

The judges seemed to like Dinah Jane Hansen, Lyric Da Queen, Jason Brock, and Carly Rae Sonenclar.

Carly Rae Sonenclar

San Antonio girl Jessica Espinoza did well (in my opinion), but the judges in the end send her home.

Jessica Espinoza

Vixen Jennel Garcia performed Gavin DeGraw’s sexually charged “Sweeter” that certainly got a response from not only the judges but some of the male contestants.

Jennel Garcia

This year’s Josh Gracin, Vino Alan has a strong vocal performance on the song “Bad Company” and is put through to the next round.

Vino Alan

Then came the awful vocals: Johnny Maxwell (rapper who forgot his lyrics), Annie-like-looker Jordyn Foley, Manny Acosta, faint-at-heart Trevor Moran, feeling-good Nick Perrelli, and pastel-purpled Jake Garza. I really felt sorry for Jake because I have been on stage when the words just do not come out in front of a large audience and you crack. Of that group, Trevor Moran definitely does not make it through.

Tara Simon who showed Simon more than her animal-print dress murdered Queen’s “Somebody to Love”. Freddie Mercury must be turning over in his grave. She thinks she nailed it. Somehow they let her through.

Tara Simon

Willie Jones is an anomaly. I am not sure what to make of him. He has good and bad moments within the song, “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy” by Kenny Chesney. He is through to the next round.

Willie Jones

They divide the singers into groups. Group A includes: Diamond White, James Tanner, Jason Brock, Vino Alan, Jennel Garcia, Paige Thomas, Sophie Tweed-Simmons (the daughter of KISS rocker Gene Simmons), David Correy, Carly Rae Sonenclar.

Group B includes: Jessica Espinoza, Rizzloe Jones, Jordyn Foley (at which point I knew exactly where this group was going—home), Trevor Moran, Ben Westphal and Quatrelle Smith.

Group C includes: Jeff Gutt, Cece Frey, Tate Stevens, Freddie Combs, Nick Youngerman, Willie Jones, Johnny Maxwell, and Jillian Jensen.

Groups A and C get to stay; group B is sent home. My advice to Cece Frey: While your conceit and overconfidence might get you through to the next round with the judges, remember that America will be voting for you and no one really likes you right now. I suggest a healthy dose of humility if you want to stay any longer than week 1 once the voting begins. People will vote for a humble person who gave a good attempt, not even perfect, but good, but will quickly send home people like you.

I leave with the question America wants to know:  WHERE IS PANDA?

Panda