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 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