So You Think You Can Dance S10 Memphis Auditions

7 06 2013

LogoJoining resident judges Mary Murphy and Nigel Lythgoe was entertainer Wayne Brady for this trip to Memphis, the final city of the auditions. (Please note that I do my commentary as I am watching the show, so this is why everything is in the present tense). Of course everyone trying out appeared to be NOT from Memphis.

Dorian “BluPrint” Hector, age 19, Atlanta, GA

I wonder why he is called that aside from his two-tone blue hair, blue sweatshirt, blue jeans and blue sneakers. Wonder if he blue eyes? He is from Dragon House, home of Cyrus who stole his way into our hearts last season. Would Dorian leave a “BluPrint” on our hearts? I like how he called himself a malfunctioning robot because I immediately got the reference. I think he should go straight to Vegas. Mary puts him on the hot tamale train and he gets that ticket.

Curtis Holland, age 8, Miami, Florida

He is the third tap dancer we have seen in the edited auditions. I like his personality. His tap is like watching someone in double speed, or how they used to make those old silent movies. His choreography had equal measure of humor and skill. The judges send him to choreography and then onto Vegas.

Tucker Knox, age 22, Nashville, TN

Made it to Juilliard but was in a tragic car accident and broke his spine among other injuries. He has really beautiful lines and control. His gymnast abilities are impressive. It was not as good as Anthony Savoy, but I think he has a ticket to Vegas awaiting him (and he does).

Courtney Thurston, age 18, Clifton, VA

Contemporary dancer. Some moves surprised me but there was a lot of rolling around on stage. I thought she was average by the standards of the show now in its 10th season. Her father married her dance teacher. I like the father. He said he did krump dancing. The judges insisted that he come up on stage. Dad had a few moves, but he is no krump dancer. The daughter is going to Vegas.

Shanshan Qiao-Rothlisberger, age 25, Albuquerque, NM

Performing a Mongolian dance called Ding Wan Wu. It was quite beautiful and I think she should go through to choreography and that is where the judges send her. After the choreography round, the judges send her to Vegas.

Nico Greetham, age 18, Woodbridge, VA

He danced a very unique contemporary dance that incorporated these cool staccato, locking-type movements timed perfectly with the music. He is going to Vegas.

Elyse Frelinger, age 23, Los Angeles, CA

She performed a contemporary dance that resembled her day job as a trapeze instructor at the Santa Monica Pier. It was fluid and unique. She gets a ticket to Vegas.

Day 2

Jenna Johnson, Age 18, Provo, Utah

She looks like Megan Fox’s cousin. Her cha-cha partner is 17 years of age and cannot try out…this year. They hold 4 national titles so I am expecting great things. They were good. I know in some years they have had more contemporary dancers than ballroom so I was sure Mary Murphy was thrilled to see all them. Without further comment from the judges, Jenna gets a ticket to Vegas.

Novien Yarber, age 21, Huntsville, Alabama

He is NOT a hip hop dancer just because he is black (he wants us to be clear on that). This boy is full of technique, strength and creativity. Triple threat. Was it perfect? No. But I would love to see the choreographers get their hands on him in the top 20. He runs down for his ticket to Vegas.

Isabel Freiberger, age 26, Chapel Hill, NC

This woman can do the salsa! I wanted her partner to try out, too, but he was not. I liked this better than the cha-cha of the other contestant. The judges send her to choreography just to see if she can do other things. She does not get a ticket to Vegas.

Caleb Brauner, age 20, Blue Springs, MO

I lived in Blue Springs for 3 months. I went to the high school there, too, for those few months of my freshman year. He does a little of everything. He had a lot of comedy in his routine but the dance had a story that was not abstract or difficult to interpret. I loved it. Nigel asked his dad to come up on stage and do hip-hop with Caleb. His father is just as much fun as Caleb is. Of course he is going to Vegas?

Larry Booze, age 29, Macon, GA

My ankles hurt watching him move. The flexibility and fluidity of his movement was magic. The three judges send him on to choreography. My ankles hurt watching him move. At choreography he does the gentlemanly thing and withdraws to give his choreography partner a better shot of making it. M

Jasmine Harper, age 19, Lawrenceville, GA

Cyrus’ ex???? Girlfriend. For a minute I thought we were going to find out Cyrus had a secret ex-wife. She is among my favorite female contemporary dancers we have seen thus far in the auditions. After tormenting her for a moment, they give her a ticket to Vegas.  My sister used to live in Lawrenceville for many years.

Paige Pellicano, age 19, Detroit, Michigan

Her dad is an Elvis impersonator. She is rolling too much around the ground for me, but she is a beautiful young lady. They send her to choreography but not to Vegas.

Next week: So You Think You Can Dance Vegas Hell Week!





Celebrity Corner: Alex Ruiz of “Touch” Pops In

10 04 2013

TOUCH fans will recognize him from the episode “Enemy of My Enemy” as Vicente Corliss. He took the time to talk to the fans about TOUCH on Fox and other exciting events occurring in his life.

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Courtesy of Alex Ruiz

Your resume mentioned that you started acting at a very young age. Do you remember your first role?

Yes. Well, professionally, it was a Best Buy commercial. I remember I had to read for the employee part but I had grown a thick mustache for a play I was in called The Bald Soprano so they asked me to read for the father instead. It was until afterwards, shooting the commercial, where I found out that one of the main reasons I got the part was because they found my look hilarious with my mustache.

You have been in commercials, on stage and on television shows. Do you have a preference? And if so, why?

Well, it’s a tricky question for me because they’re all different. It’s a whole different atmosphere and work ethic for each one. I love being on camera, that’s what I really really enjoy and I know how difficult and fun and exciting and thrilling and rewarding being on stage can be but when it comes down to it, being on camera in a show or movie is what I really love and embrace.

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Courtesy of Alex Ruiz

Within the world of acting, do you have a preference as to drama or comedy that you think enhances your talents best?

Another tricky one. Well, I love comedy and I thought that comedy was what I would excel at. And it has, in a way; certainly in the commercial world. But, throughout the years, I learned how acting, in truth, is really feeling and living and I very much enjoy that. I’m a very private person and it seems that I open up completely when I’m acting, and I do that more often with dramatic parts. I’m not scared of comedy at all and I’m not scared to jump around and go toe-to-toe with comedy because that’s what I do most anyway. It’s like a defense mechanism for me and I use it instinctively in a lot of situations so I’m kinda used to it. But drama is something that really pushes me and makes me discover a lot of things in myself that I wouldn’t’ve noticed before. It’s weird, I know, but I guess other actors might know what I’m talking about.

The role of Vicente Corliss on Touch. Was this an open audition or a part for which you were recommended?

Both, kinda. I was called in after being submitted by my agent and fit the description. I came in, read, and immediately was asked to come in later that day to read for the director. I went to Fox Studios a few hours later and read for the main guys. Apparently, they loved it and offered me the part immediately.

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Alex Ruiz as Vicente Corliss on TOUCH

Had you watched the show before you got the part? If not, did you go back and watch season 1, or did you want to approach the role without that knowledge?

Yeah, I was told to watch the show before I came to read for the part to have knowledge of the premise. I don’t ever watch shows or movies or plays before or afterwards because I want to give my own interpretation, unless, of course, I’m asked to. I feel it’s best if you come with your own idea and choice for the part without any prior knowledge. Only if you have pure understanding of what’s being asked of you. But yeah, I watched two episodes and once I got the idea I stopped. I liked it though. But then again, I pretty much like anything Kiefer Sutherland’s in.  [Editor’s note:  ME TOO!]

What were some unique things that happened on this set that you have not encountered on other sets before?

Professionalism. In every way. I’ve been in a lot of sets and worked with a lot of people and the way everything was handled was so professional. From the way they treated David [Mazouz] to how Maria [Bello] came in and rocked her scene to how I was directed. It was a very boom-boom-boom-check the gate process and before I knew it the scenes were done and ready to go. We rehearsed once on a closed set and once we nailed it everyone was brought in to shoot it and bam, the scene was done. They expect you to come prepared and you appreciate that level of professionalism because everyone respects everyone else’s work and time.

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Maria Bello, David Mazouz, and Alex Ruiz’s scene in TOUCH

I like to think of every experience as a learning moment. Did you learn anything on the set (as an actor or on a more personal level) that you can share with us?

I feel like I learn something on every set that I’m a part of. I’m not sure if I can pinpoint exactly what that is but I know it and utilize it the moment I’m there. I think it’s really just listening. Not only to the director but to everyone around you. Literally everyone. The sound guy putting the mic on you has heard a billion things about everything that’s happened on every set he’s worked with so I listen to what (s)he says. On break I’m drinking coffee and the lighting guys talk about work and I infiltrate their conversation and just listen. I try to learn every facet of my job as possible by listening and being aware of how everything works. From the director, they’re all astronomically different and if you listen carefully and adapt to his world then you’ve got another little safe of knowledge stored in your brain that you can open up and use in another situation. The entire process is learning so I can’t really give something specific when it’s there from beginning to end.

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Maria Bello and Alex Ruiz in TOUCH

You know I have to ask…have you had a Touch-like moment in your life, something you felt was more than coincidence?

Of course! My family and I have an apartment that we stay at in Mexico that used to belong to my grandma who’s been deceased for about 15 years. I slept in her bed one night, which we do every time we’re there anyway, and I had a very strong dream about her. My brother was going through some tough times and I vividly saw her in my dream. I won’t go into specifics but it ended with her saying “he’ll be okay, he’ll be okay,” and I woke up screaming and crying. I’ve never had a dream like that before nor since and I’m totally convinced that it was my grandma talking to me directly. It was definitely Touch-like in the sense that my brother is completely happy and somehow my grandma calmed me by knowing it would be so.

Do you have any current projects on the horizon?

I do. I’m doing a Mexican novela called Dama Y Obrero in Miami right now. It’s a remake from a Chilean novela of the same name which had enormous success in Chile. The anticipation for it is quite big and I have one of the starring roles so I’m very excited for that. It’ll air on Telemundo later this year. I’m also in negotiations to star in a film which might have some big distribution but hopefully I’ll be able to film it after the novela. I also did a short called Best of Both Worlds directed by amazing director Michael Dunker a little less than a year ago which has made a big splash in the festival circuit and it’s getting financed to be made as a feature where I’ll be playing the same character. So yeah, lots of stuff this year, thankfully.

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Courtesy of Alex Ruiz

RAPID-FIRE QUESTIONS

What is the most played song on your IPod or MP3 player?

I just looked it up and it’s Cruel Summer by Bananarama. Imagine that. I’m a huge 80’s guy so I guess it doesn’t surprise me.

What is the last book you have read?

I read “Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children” by Ransom Riggs. It’s creepy as all hell because photographs visualize the narrative. Not a bad book. Right now I’m trying to finish “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn. A friend of mine recommended it and it’s pretty damn good so far.

Best advice that was ever given to you?

Lots of good advice throughout the years. But the most basic and impactful was my mom saying “oye, ve, y calla,” which means “listen, watch, and don’t say a word.” Works in every situation you’re in if you really think about it.

Sunrises or sunsets?

Definitely sunsets.

Favorite sport to watch?

Basketball. Been a Pistons fan all of my life.

Singing or dancing?

I do a lot of karaoke but my voice is terrible (to me, at least). Dancing I like. I’m talking salsa or mambo or anything that moves your hips without you knowing they’re moving.

Favorite TV show (besides Touch, of course 🙂

The British Office is absolute genius. Anything Gervais, really. I’m also a big fan of Forensic Files and crime shows of that sort.

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Courtesy of Alex Ruiz

Thank you so much, Alex, for the generosity of your time and your thoughtful answers. TOUCH fans: Help support Alex by liking his Facebook page and following him on Twitter.

IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1991503/?ref_=fn_al_nm_2

Facebook Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Alex-Ruiz/159956814141798?ref=hl

Twitter: @alex54ruiz





The XFactor Simon & Demi’s homes

12 10 2012

The day of the division of the contestants arrives. In the end, there will be 24 acts. After a brief montage of the contestants saying why they deserve to stay, the announcements are made.

Guest mentors at the judges’ homes will be will.i.am, Nick Jonas, Marc Anthony and Justin Bieber. The groups will be broken down into four groups. What is very cool is that I tweeted a few weeks back that I heard a rumor about who would get what bunch, and the rumor proved to be true.

DEMI LOVATO

Group: Young Adults Over 25
Guest Mentor: Nick Jonas
Where: Los Angeles, California

Contestants who made it through: Cece Frey, Willie Jones, Jennel Garcia, Nick Youngerman, Paige Thomas, and Jillian Jensen.  Interestingly Sophie Tweed-Simmons, daughter of KISS’ Gene Simmons, was not invited. It must be cold there in his shadow, trying to make your own way. On the one hand when you are turned down, you wonder if it is because of the family connection; on the other hand, you wonder the same thing. It is a tough place to be in. They did not show any of her singing, so I’m guessing it was not good enough. Also going home included Lyric Da Queen, and Ally Brooke.

JENNEL GARCIA:   At her “home”, Demi gave her some stage advice about not flipping her hair so much.
Song: “I Kissed a Girl” by Katy Perry

I thought she did a great job and only had 1 episode of hair flipping. You could tell she was trying to use their constructive criticism to improve her performance. Nick thought it was great. Demi thought her advice before the show somehow took light away from her performance.

WILLIE THOMAS:  No preadvice given (at least on camera).

Song:  He decides to sing “Nobody Knows It But Me” by Babyface AGAIN.  This could be great or this could be a disaster. I was pleasantly surprised. He has an incredibly nice voice.  Nick: He’s a star (I would not go THAT far), and that Willie has to define himself as country or R&B.

JILLILAN JENSEN:  During the advice session, Demi tells her how excited she is to be working with her. She has an incredibly voice. She laughed at herself about her John Mayer squinting look
Song: “Gravity” by Sara Bareilles

I got goosebumps and that is the tell-tale sign of who is going to win. I’m never wrong. Nick thought she was “sexy..”. She pulled off a beautiful song without giving into crying, but showing a full range of emotion.  My PREDICTION:  She wins.

NICK YOUNGERMAN
Song:  “Tik Tok” By Kesha.

I think it was too silly. Nick Jonas said he liked it. Demi said she could not tell if she liked it or hated it.

If you want to do a Tik Tok cover, you do it like these guys, VerseCity (now The Anthem):

PAIGE THOMAS is up next. She got air-time advice before she went on. I noticed she is wearing a leopard-spots print. Was that a dig to Cece, who she feels has been her competition?
SONG: “Turn Up the Music” by Chris Brown

The song makes me a little sleepy. Demi said she has a lot of insecurities. Nick pointed out this, “Can you get her back to the way she used to sing in the auditions.

CECE FREY: Demi, as diplomatically as possible to tell her that “sometimes her character on stage is unlikeable.” That led Cece to tear-up and Demi said that if she were to put some emotion like THAT into what she sings, it would be great.

SONG: “I’m Sexy and I Know It” by LMFAO

After the pep talk she likely could not change songs, so I’ll give her some leeway on that.  I did roll my eyes when I heard the title, but I was surprised that it was good. It looks like she heeded the advice and toned it down a bit. Nick and Demi thought that she took direction when very well.

 

SIMON COWELL

Group: Groups (was this to give a dig to Paula since all her groups went home quickly; that Simon can handle the groups and she could not?)
Guest mentor: Marc Anthony
Location: Miami, Florida

Three of the groups who were came in as groups made it through to the judges’ home. Many single contestants were brought back in and they created 3 new groups.
Groups who made it who auditioned as groups:
1) Sister C
2) Dope Crisis
3) Emblem3

The three groups created
1) Playback
2) Lyles
3) Lyric 145

PLAYBACK: (Members: Josh Metzler, Owen Stuart, Austin Corini, Brandon Hassan, Johnny Maxwell) Simon said that each of them were lacking a little something, but together as a group they are stronger.
Song: “You’re a Rich Girl” by Daryl Hall and John Oates

Personally I did not care for it. I felt it was dull. There were no harmonies which is essential for a group. Marc Anthony was bored; he wanted to look at planes. Simon disagrees.

EMBLEM3 (Members: Wesley Stromberg, Keaton Stromberg, Drew Chadwick): Their cocky faces were smacked down when Simon said, “If we shake hands on a deal and you renege, I’ll kill you.” The other contestants inside the house were making fun of Drew Chadwick who always seems to have his shirt open. Hmmm. The Dmitry Chaplin of The X-Factor.
Song: “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic” by The Police

I don’t like the way Drew sings and he missed his cue into the verse. Simon did notice. He felt they had lost their way a bit. Will that hurt the group or not? Marc said the younger one was lacking confidence, but he likes them.

SISTER C: (Members: Cirby, Carli, and Celbi Manchaca) Simon’s comments were to them: “Are people going to like you” because they come off a little “standoffish.”
Song: “Leavin” by Shelby Lynne

I like them better when they are singing gospel/R&B type of music versus turning up their intense country twang on a country song. I really could not stand their music before tonight, but tonight’s song was one I could like. Simon liked them. Marc thought it was a home run.

LYRIC145 (Members: Lyric Da Queen and the group previously known as ONE4FIVE members Jamelle and Julien Joseph).
Song: Party in the U.S.A. by Miley Cyrus

I loved it. It was my favorite song done by any of the groups tonight. Marc Anthony was thoroughly impressed and felt like she is a superstar.

DOPE CRISIS: (Members Jesse Stearn and Eli Brown):
Song: “Super Bass” Nicki Minaj

I did not like them. I don’t think they can sing. Simon and Marc Anthony think they did well, but how far could you push them?

LYLAS: (Members Dinah Jane Hansen, Lauren Jauregui, Ally Brooke, Normani Hamilton, Camila Cabello). Simon shares that this is the moment that can change their lives.
Song: “Impossible” by Shontelle

They are a bit more marketable versus Sister C. They did a great job.

 

MY PREDICTIONS

The three I think earn the spot for Demi’s group: Cece Frey, Jennel Garcia, and Jillian Jensen. Definitely Nick is gone because of his song choice. I’m unsure between Paige and Willie. Willie picked the same song he bombed on, so does that earn points or detract points? Paige’s song was just plain boring and her confidence is dipping.

The three groups I think earn a spot on Simon’s team: Sister C, Lyric145, and Lylas. Playback may get through because Simon liked them. I don’t like the cockiness of Emblem3 (Drew hurts their cause). Dope Crisis may get through, but I’m betting they don’t.





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