The Following Season 2 Preview

18 01 2014

TheFollowingPreviewLogoThe first five minutes of The Following‘s episode “Resurrection” had my adrenaline rushing at warp speed. It’s a year later. Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon) is trying to adjust to all the changes in his life and we find him in a much better space than he was at the beginning of season 1. He has a new job teaching criminology and is enjoying it very much. With the anniversary of Joe Carroll’s (James Purefoy) death approaching, people still loyal to Joe have hatched a plan to resurrect the cause in these very creepy Joe Carroll masks. Bronx trains are never fun to ride; this time is no exception.

There are many new faces joining the cast, including at least three alumni from Dexter: Keith Carradine, Valerie Cruz, and Sam Underwood. Sam was creepy as Zach Hamilton on Dexter and his role here raised the bar to a whole new sinister level. I found it odd that two cast members, Valerie Cruz and Connie Nielsen, look very similar to two cast members in season 1 of The Following. I doubt that is a coincidence, but you never know with this show. Joining the cast is Jessica Stroup who plays Ryan’s sister (not the same sister from last season). I like the brother/sister interaction that takes place between them.

What things are the same: Flashbacks to fill in storyline. If one looks carefully, there are little tidbits of things relating to Edgar Allan Poe throughout the episode. A lot of people die (and die horribly).

One criticism I have heard from people is that so many characters were followers of Joe Carroll in season 1 that it almost became ridiculous, especially the number of people within the law enforcement community. There is a fine line between fascinating and ridiculous. Oddly enough, it did condition my behavior as I find myself wondering while watching this episode which ones are friends and which ones are foes especially one particular individual.  I like that I cannot predict the outcome of a show or which characters are good or evil. It makes for a suspenseful television viewing experience. I know that by the end of the show a song for my childhood will never be listened to the same way again.

The Following returns on Sunday, January 19, 2014, after the NFC Championship Game.

(My thanks to Fox Broadcasting and Fox VIP for allowing me the privilege of watching the screener)





The Following Season 2 Teaser

25 10 2013

“The Following” returns to Fox Broadcasting on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 9/8 central!





XFactor Season 2 Finale Performances

20 12 2012

With the judges and the audience feeling like Emblem 3 would be the group to go through to the finale, they were stunned at the results.  A strong performance by Fifth Harmony guaranteed them a spot in the finale.

I am tired of filler stuff in these singing competitions. Doesn’t matter to me what it is or what network it is on, I don’t see the point of singing a song again that was already done. The exception for me for this would be if they were completely rearranging the music so it felt like a song with a very different vibe from the last time they sang it. Or it was something very, very early in the competition. With Fifth Harmony, it was a song that was just done last week. Granted it was their best performance ever, but I want something new. I want to be blown away–something that makes me want to pick up the phone and WANT to vote for somebody. Keep it to two songs and cut a half-hour off your show.

The evening did start with a lovely tribute to the Sandy Hook Elementary victims and their survivors with a modification of a lyric for “You Are Not Alone” by Michael Jackson.

They introduced the judges and the remaining contestants. I could not help but remember what I said last week to someone on Twitter: Demi would still have someone in the competition if she had not sent Jillian Jensen home.

ROUND 1: RESING A SONG YOU’VE ALREADY DONE AND MOST OF US TUNE OUT OR GO EAT DINNER OR GO TO THE BATHROOM

Since I have no comments about any of these because they were no different for me than the originals, I will just list the judges’ comments.

Carly Rose Sonenclar chose “Feelin’ Good” by Nina Simone. Since I have no further comments about their performance because it was exactly like the last time, I’ll just mention what the judges said. LA Reid said she had topped everything she had done. Demi said she was going to inspire so many young girls to follow their dreams. Simon said she sang it better tonight than the first time and he likes her competitive spirit. Britney said it was shocking how bright her star was.

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Carly Rose Sonenclar

Tate Stevens chose the song from the audition, “Anything Goes” by Randy Houser. Britney said when he does country down the middle he is right on. Demi said that the audience still loves him. This was the first time he turned it into a stadium performance. Simon said he agreed with Demi tonight. LA Reid said he was still lovable tonight.

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Tate Stevens

Fifth Harmony performed, “Anything Could Happen” by Elie Goulding. LA Reid said it was magical, that magic happens when they perform it. Demi said they were underdogs but they pulled through. Simon said they made him so proud. He likes sometimes being the underdog.

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Fifth Harmony

MY RANKINGS: Fifth Harmony, Carly Rose Sonenclar, Tate Stevens

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

ROUND 2: SING A DUET WITH SOMEONE FAMOUS WHO WAS AVAILABLE THIS CLOSE TO CHRISTMAS

Apparently they were short on time for anyone but the mentor to give comments which, of course, will be glowing. If they cut out that third song, they would have had time for the full panel to give critiques. I won’t list in this section what the judges said because of that reason.

Carly Rose said with Lee Ann Rimes (odd pairing since she is a country music star). They sang Lee Ann Rimes’ famous, “How Do I Live Without You.” Every time I hear this song I think of the ending of the movie, “Con Air.” It is a beautiful song, but this was not the right song for Carly. I think it was her weakest song ever. It showed all her vulnerable vocal areas that need developing.

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Carly Rose and Lee Ann Rimes

Tate sang “Pontoon” with Little Big Town. I had fun watching him with these ladies. He was eating it up. Watch out wife! God, I dislike country music but his song was better than Carly’s.

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Tate Steven and Little Big Town

The next one I could just SCREAM about. Fifth Harmony sang ANOTHER SONG THEY SANG IN THE PAST, “Give Your Heart a Break”, but this time with Demi Lovato. It was as pitchy as it was the first time they sang it. Demi sounded like she had run from her seat backstage because she was very out of breath, but the true performer she is, she pulled it off.

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Fifth Harmony and Demi Lovato

MY RANKING FOR THIS ROUND: Tate Stevens, Carly Rose Sonenclar, Fifth Harmony (mostly because they sang two full songs tonight they sang in the past).

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

ROUND 3: THE FIVE-MILLION-DOLLAR SONG (OR NOT)

Carly chose the very overdone “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen. In fact, I heard it just yesterday on The Voice. Simon looked all teary-eyed and given the tragedy in Sandy Hook, people’s emotions for songs like this are high. I do know it is one of his favorite songs from what he said on American Idol. It started off very, very rough. She needs to work on the lower end of her vocal range. But the second verse got better. It does not hurt having a choir behind you either. It was her best performance for me tonight. Was it her best performance of the series? No. LA Reid said it was an angelic performance and she did not oversing it. Demi said she sang like a ridiculously talented angel. Simon said she looked great and it was a beautiful version of the song. Britney said that song was worth $5 million so Simon should get out his checkbook.

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Carly Rose Sonenclar

Tate chose “Tomorrow” by Chris Young. It was a lovely song. It did not blow me away. No one is giving me chills. My goosebumps are my indicator that I’ve been wowed. Britney said it was great and she always enjoys what he does. Demi said she was almost crying because it is the last time she will see him perform on that stage. (Well, not really, he’ll sing in the results show). Simon said it was a fantastic night for talent; that it was a really, really good night. LA Reid said he consistently comes out and delivers.

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Tate Stevens

Fifth Harmony sang “Let It Be” by The Beatles. This song has special meaning to me because it was friend Diane’s favorite song. She has been gone for almost a year now from this earth. It was played at her funeral. This is the first time I wanted to turn off the TV (at least when it first started). Normani did a lousy job. The others did better, but their $5 million song was “Anything Could Happen.” Again, this is another one of those emotional songs given the grief the nation is feeling. LA Reid said they’ve come so far and it was beautiful. Britney said they have blossomed as a group. Demi said they have evolved and grown. Simon said he could not be more proud. Although biased, they deserved to win.

FH3

Fifth Harmony

MY RANKING: Carly Rose, Tate, Fifth Harmony

So where does that leave us? Fifth Harmony was my first round pick as favorite, Tate was my second round pick as favorite and Carly was my third round pick as favorite. I guess any one of them could win. But all in all when I turned off the television, I left not being blown away enough to buy any of those last songs. What I would have liked to see is an original song that no one has done ever before and hearing what THAT would have sounded like as a $5 million song. Perhaps they can think about doing that next year.





The XFactor Season 2 Semifinals

13 12 2012

Last week, CeCe Frey was finally sent packing along with Diamond White, with her own mentor agreeing that she should go home. The rankings were: Tate Stevens, Carly Rose Sonenclar, Emblem3, and Fifth Harmony. Tonight, one song was the contestant’s choice and one song was the mentor’s choice. After seeing the Pepsi Challenge choices the public made and hearing the contestant’s choices tonight, I think the mentors need to rethink their choices; the contestants and the public are picking better songs.

CONTESTANT’S CHOICE

Contestant: Carly Rose Sonenclar
Twitter: @CarlyRoseMusic
Song: “Your Song” by Elton John

My thoughts: Her very low range needs some work when she is singing quietly and not belting out a note. I was surprised. It is a very difficult song to sing. It was not her best but it was enjoyable. I think this is a good thing because the constructive criticism from Simon should be taken to heart. She is not perfect. But she is still going to win.

The judges: LA Reid said it was a risky song but she did things with the song he had never heard before. At first, Demi thought it was going to be very predictable, but it became her favorite song she has ever performed. Simon said it was a beautiful version of a fantastic song. However, it was not her best performance. He thought she was very nervous and he thinks she can do better. Britney said she has blossomed into a superstar and she is so proud.

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Carly Rose Sonenclar

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

My thoughts: I thought there was a disconnection between the song and his performance. He talked about bonfires being about guitars being key at these events, but he was not playing one. It was a good song choice and it was entertaining even though I hate country music.

The judges: Britney said she did not think it was his best. Demi disagreed and said it was a “freakin’ amazing performance.” Simon said he bought into the song being the type of music he wants to record. It was one of his favorite performances. He looked like a man who believes he can win. LA Reid said he lit this stage on fire and it was the most fun he has had doing the show.

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Tate Stevens

Contestant: Formerly LYLAS, then 1432, which meant “I Love You Too” , and now “Fifth Harmony”
Twitter: @FifthHarmony
Song: “Anything Could Happen” by Elie Goulding

My thoughts: I don’t know why I didn’t see this until now–maybe it was the way she put her hair in the ponytail to the side, but Camila Cabello looks like what Carly Rose Sonenclar might look like when she gets older (or they are sisters or cousins). I liked this song a LOT. This was definitely their very best performance. To coin a phrase from Randy Jackson, “They are in it to win it.”

The judges: LA Reid said it was the very best vocal performance they had ever done. Britney loved everything about it; it was inspiring girl power. Demi said they pulled out the sparkle that they needed and it felt great. Simon said they were the underdogs but “anything now can happen.”

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Fifth Harmony

Contestant: Emblem3
Twitter: @EmblemThree
Song: “Baby I Love Your Way” by Peter Frampton

My thoughts: There was a Jamaican reggae feel to it. Drew sticking his tongue out was very odd. It was pretty good but their individual vocals, when they are not rapping, are not quite polished.

The judges: LA Reid said they are charismatic and so charming. They just had their 5-million dollar moment. Britney said their performance was special and they were way more than just a boy band. Demi said for the first time since the auditions that reminded her of what made them special to begin with. Simon said if this did not get them through to the final, nothing will.

Emblem3A

Mentor’s Choice

Emblem 3: “Hey Jude” by The Beatles

My thoughts: It was good. I noticed Drew was not singing that much. It was a modern version of the song, but nothing can beat The Beatles.

The judges: LA Reid said they are teen heart throbs just like The Beatles. Britney said it was an “A”-level performance. Demi thought they weren’t yet The Beatles but they were getting there. Simon felt so proud. He said they had steel in their eyes and nailed both songs tonight.

Emblem3B

Emblem 3

Carly Rose Sonenclar: “Imagine” by John Lennon

My thoughts: David Archuleta’s performance was pretty good so I was not sure about someone else doing this song. Carly was worried about playing the piano. Seriously? A 15-second stint? That first big note was sharp. She looked angry singing the words, I believe trying to convey emphasis and conviction, but it was the wrong feeling for the lyric. It was lovely. Not great, but lovely. I lean more towards Simon’s criticism here.

The judges: LA Reid said she always knew how to go in and find that note. Demi thought it was amazing and loved that she took a risk. Simon said he would have kept her at the piano. It made a beautiful performance fussy. He did not like the arrangement and said it was overcomplicated. Britney said it was time for her to go beyond the stage (and into the real world).

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Carly Rose Sonenclar

Fifth Harmony: “Impossible” by Shontelle

My thoughts: What is Simon thinking? Did he just throw them under the bus? He criticizes others when they repeat songs. Just last week, he complained Diamond White did the same song again. The song, unfortunately, was just as pitchy as the first time they sang it. They’ll be the ones going home Thursday night.

The judges: LA Reid thought the song choice was lazy, but they did a decent job. Britney said it was pretty good and would be surprised if they did not make it through. Simon said it was a reminder of why he fell in love with them as a group in the first place.

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Fifth Harmony

Tate Stevens: “Fall” by Clay Walker

My thoughts: It was good. This genre seldom moves me so it’s not his fault. I don’t like the overaffect of his face when he tries to emphasize a feeling/meaning in the song lyric. His eyes almost go crossed. I’m certain he’ll be through in the finals, though.

The judges: Britney thought it was a direct hit. Demi said he deserved this. He did amazing and he was so talented. Simon said it was a great song, that he had made his mark here and he did enough to get himself into the finals. LA Reid said he was great every time.

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Tate Stevens





XFactor Season 2 Top 6 Perform

6 12 2012

XFactorLogoAfter Vino Alan was thrown under the bus last week and a surprise that Paige would be going home and not CeCe, the rankings looked like this: Carly Rose Sonenclar, Tate Stevens, Emblem 3, Fifth Harmony, CeCe Frey, and Diamond White. Congratulations to Mario Lopez who got married in Mexico this weekend. This week is “unplugged” and the results of the Pepsi Challenge. Unplugged will root out the real singers from those who just sound better with background singers and lots of background noise in the way of instruments. There is nowhere you can hide, nowhere you can run. With the Pepsi Challenge, the public decided everything, down to what the contestants will wear.

UNPLUGGED

Contestant: CeCe Frey (pronounced “fry” like “French fry” and not “fray”)
Twitter: @CeCeMissXToTheO
Song: “The Edge of Glory” by Lady Gaga

My thoughts: It was not bad but it wasn’t good either. She had a rough start. I’d call it average. However, after hearing Emblem 3, this was not my least favorite.

The judges: LA Reid said it was really good and he was becoming a fan. Britney disagreed and said at this point in the competition, it needed to be great. Simon said it was not worth a $5 million contract. It was too cabaret versus unplugged; it was good but not great. Mentor Demi thought it was one of her best vocal performances.

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CeCe Frey Unplugged

Contestant: Diamond White
Twitter: @DiamondKWhite
Song: “It’s A Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World” by James Brown, Etta James, Joshua Ledet and SO MANY OTHERS

My thoughts: I do not like when contestants do the same songs twice. I feel it is grossly unfair to the other contestants who have to learn a new song. And I get the feeling this is a song she has been doing most of her life. It was better than her first version, but it should have never been repeated. Kicking the stand was stupid.

The judges: LA Reid said she brought attitude and sang her butt off. Demi said it was risky doing the song again but she pulled it off and loved her kicking the stand. Simon said it was a little screechy in parts and wished she had done a different song. Mentor Britney said she was so proud of her, that she destroyed it.

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Diamond White Unplugged

Contestant: Carly Rose Sonenclar
Twitter: @CarlyRoseMusic
Song: “As Long As You Love Me” by Justin Bieber

My thoughts: Just crown her the winner and get it over with. It was a home run. She does need to work on her hand movements with her left hand as she pulls her head to the right. It gets old after awhile as she does it with every single song.

The judges: LA Reid said he loved her so much and it may be the best she has done to his tastes. Demi said it was better than Justin’s version. Simon said we were seeing a star emerge and it was one of his favorite performances. Coach Britney said she was so proud of her (she says this every single time, doesn’t she?). Each week she continues to make each song her own.

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Carly Rose Sonenclar Unplugged

Contestant: Tate Stevens
Twitter: @TateStevensCtry
Song: “Livin’ On A Prayer” by Bon Jovi

My thoughts: I don’t like this song as a country song. It was okay. It was pitchy in places. I did not see how this was unplugged with all the harmonies of the background singers and all the instruments.

The judges: Britney said she felt he was getting away from his country roots. Demi said it was boring and he skipped out on the high note. Simon said this was the second Bon Jovi song he has done. He encouraged Tate to choose his own material and not let LA Reid do it. LA Reid said he naturally disagreed.

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Tate Stevens Unplugged

Contestant: Formerly LYLAS, then 1432, which meant “I Love You Too” , and now “Fifth Harmony”
Twitter: @FifthHarmony
Song: “Set Fire to the Rain” by Adele

My thoughts: STOP….DOING…ADELE!! I am SHOCKED that Simon picked this given those were his words during the auditions. It was not good but it still was not as bad as Emblem 3.

The judges: LA Reid said he still did not hear harmony and thought their name was Fifth Unison. Britney did not see how they were separated from any other girl group. Demi said she heard harmonies but a couple of them should just be solo artists. Simon said this was pick-on-Fifth-Harmony week again. He said there were not any other girl groups on the market right now and there was a place for them. He said they deserved a shot in the semifinals.

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Fifth Harmon Unplugged

Contestant: Emblem3
Twitter: @EmblemThree
Song: “Just The Way You Are” by Bruno Mars

My thoughts: Drew is absolutely their weakest link. It was their worst performance yet. Each individual is not good but their harmonies and music usually compensate for what they are lacking, as well as their personalities. There is no hiding in unplugged week. And then Drew encouraging everyone to vote as they finished the song before their criticisms. No one else did that.

The judges: LA Reid said it was pretty good and at least one of Simon’s groups could sing harmony. Britney thought it was their best performance. Demi said they did great but not the best. It was like a downgraded version of the Jonas Brothers 5 years ago. Sting! Simon thought they had an amazing week.

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Emblem3 Unplugged

Pepsi Challenge

CeCe Frey: “Part of Me” by Katy Perry

My thoughts: It was sour from the start and it did not get better. She tends to be sour when she tries to dance. I liked her first performance better.

The judges: LA Reid was not loving it; felt it was karaoke. Britney did not agree and thought it was very entertaining. Simon liked it especially that she was so defiant. Demi thought she did a good job.

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CeCe Frey

Emblem 3: “Forever Young” by Alphaville

My thoughts: It was better than the first song but it was still very, very rough.

The judges: LA Reid thought they nailed it. Britney thought it was a superstar performance. Demi said they commanded the stage and it was better than their first performance. Simon thought they did really good tonight.

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Emblem3

Carly Rose Sonenclar: “If I Were a Boy” by Beyonce

My thoughts: Bodacious!

The judges: LA Reid said as a judge he was very nervous of her, but as a fan she never let him down. Demi thought it was a phenomenal vocal. Simon said she had a phenomenal night. Britney said she was the definition of the XFactor and it was stunning.

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Carly Rose Sonenclar

Fifth Harmony: “Give Your Heart A Break” by Demi Lovato

My thoughts: I enjoyed it. I think it was their best performance ever.

The judges: This time, LA Reid heard harmony. It was really good and was their very, very best performance. Britney said they did the song good. Demi thought it sounded better than her own version and they sounded so beautiful on it. Simon thought that America’s chose a great song and girl power (what?)!

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Fifth Harmony

Diamond White: “Diamonds” by Rihanna

My thoughts: This was not as good as her first song, but again that song was likely sung so many times in her life, she had that song mastered. It was good, but did not blow me away.

The judges: LA Reid did not love her rendition of the song. Demi thought she did it justice. Simon said the second half was better than the first half. Britney said this song was made for her.

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Diamond White

Tate Stevens: “If Tomorrow Never Comes” by Garth Brooks

My thoughts: This was MUCH better than the first song. There were a few off-key notes here and there but it sounded great. I actually know this song (even though I don’t usually listen to country music).

The judges: Britney thought it felt like a Tate Stevens performance. Demi thought he had a bright future. The song made her a little sleepy but she was really tired (a criticism which left Tate confused and me, too). Simon said welcome back to the competition. LA Reid said that was great.

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Tate Stevens

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

My picks for going home

Tough to say who will be in the bottom. Like I said just crown Carly Rose Sonenclar the winner already.





The XFactor Season 2 Top 8 Perform

29 11 2012

Last week was the perfect reason why this contest should not allow 13-year-old children. The pressure is too much. Even a confident Rachel Crowe from last year broke down into hysteria when she was no longer in the competition. CeCe Frey and Beatrice Miller had to sing for their lives, neither doing very well at all. Simon had the unfortunate position of deciding Beatrice needed to go home on Thanksgiving Day. America was not surprised Arin Ray was in the bottom, but he sure did. From first place to 8th place: Carly Rose Sonenclar, Tate Stevens, Vino Alan, Emblem3, Diamond White, Paige Thomas (who looked very surprised she was NOT going home), Fifth Harmony and CeCe Frey.

Demi Lovato’s Young Adults

Contestant: Paige Thomas
Twitter @PaigeAva
Song: “Never Gonna Give You Up” by Rick Astley

My thoughts: I loved her look. I loved the song. The dancing was odd. First it was just herself on stage dancing and then at the end other dancers joined in. It felt disjointed. This was her best performance since the live shows began. And I’m happy to say I understand every single word she sang.

The judges: L.A. Reid thought it was her best performance yet. Britney said the risk worked. Simon said for the first time she looked and acted like a legitimate pop star. Demi was so proud of her.

Paige Thomas

* * * * * * * * * *

Contestant: CeCe Frey (pronounced “fry” like “French fry” and not “fray”)
Twitter: @CeCeMissXToTheO
Song: “Lady Marmalade” by Patti LaBelle

My thoughts: This was CeCe’s best performance since the live shows began. I think it is too late though. I suspect she will be in the bottom 3.

The judges: LA Reid said he enjoyed the circus. Britney said she stepped it up a notch; really good. Simon said it was too much and compared her performance to too much chocolate cake. He said she should pack her suitcase. Demi was so proud.

CeCe Frey

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

Britney Spears’ Teens

Contestant: Diamond White
Twitter: @DiamondKWhite
Song: “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” by Whitney Houston

My thoughts: I am glad she did something upbeat; however, it was terrible vocally. Most of the song was off pitch. However, she is adorable and that definitely wins her points.

The judges: LA Reid said she had never had a moment like that. Demi was blown away. Simon said she was fearless and incredible. He believed the lyric. Britney said it was beautiful.

Diamond White

* * * * * * *

Contestant: Carly Rose Sonenclar
Twitter: @CarlyRoseMusic
Song: “Rollling in the Deep” by Adele

My thoughts: It was great. I was expecting something worse because very rarely can someone sing Adele, or in the case of Amanda Brown on The Voice, make it their own. For Carly, this was average. Her average is someone else’s awesome. No goosebumps for me this week.

The judges: LA Reid said she was insanely talented and loveable, but it was not her best performance. However, her second best is better than everyone else’s best. Demi felt proud of her even though she is not mentoring her. Simon said the first half was good, the second half was sensational. Britney said she took it to the next level. (PLEASE NOTE THAT PHRASE RANKS UP THERE FOR ME AS “HOW DO YOU FEEL?” WHEN SOMEONE IS GOING HOME). Stop it.

Carly Rose Sonenclar

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

L.A. Reid’s Over 25’s

Contestant: Vino Alan
Twitter: @VinoAlan
Song: “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling” by Righteous Brothers

My thoughts: He lost that loving feeling with this song. It was switched by LA Reid with only 1 day. It was a weird arrangement. Vino had a rough start and all the notes in the lower register were rough. I did not excite me at all. Usually I like Vino’s stuff. LA Reid made a bad decision.

The judges: Britney said it is the same thing from him each week–something needed to be freshened up. Demi agreed with Britney; she was not totally entertained. Simon that was not a good song choice and was actually uncomfortable. LA Reid said there were moments where there were timing issues.

Vino Alan

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

Contestant: Tate Stevens
Twitter: @TateStevensCtry
Song: “Somebody Like You” by Keith Urban

My thoughts: Much better this week. I am not familiar with this song and I hate country music, but this was upbeat and entertaining. There were a few off-key notes, especially in the higher range.

The judges: Britney said he was brilliant. Demi wants to marry a guy like him (a man who loves his wife the way he does). Simon said don’t dance but the good news is he was back with passion. LA Reid was proud.

Tate Stevens

* * * * * * * * * *

Simon Cowell’s Groups

Contestant: Formerly LYLAS, then 1432, which meant “I Love You Too” , and now “Fifth Harmony”
Twitter:
Song: “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You) by Kelly Clarkson

My thoughts: I cried when they showed the clip of the grandfather passing away. I understand how TV works and how exploitive it can be. It could sway votes and Simon needs every card in his favor right now. But I feel badly that she could not grieve in private. The genuine affection the girls have for each other is endearing. After hearing the judges’ comments, LA Reid makes a good point that there was no 5-part harmony going–just 5 young ladies singing the melody.

The judges: LA Reid said he heard unison and not harmony. Britney thought the song sounded great for a group. Demi said the energy got sucked out of the performance because it was weird they were just standing there for an upbeat song. Simon thought it was great.

Fifth Harmony

* * * * * * * * * *

Contestant: Emblem3
Twitter: @EmblemThree
Song: “I’m A Believer” by The Monkees

My thoughts: They sounded MUCH better this week. It was my favorite song of the night. The harmonies were spot-on. Note to Drew: I know you are pumped up about your performance on stage, but stop stripping off your shirt. It is getting old. We know you have awesome biceps.

The judges: LA Reid said he would sign them. Britney said she did not like the song. Demi said she did not know what Simon was doing with them and got them to say stuff on stage that wasn’t cool (like they had original stuff, they play instruments, etc., as if Simon was not letting them do something). Simon said this turned them into real pop stars. One of his favorite performances.

Emblem 3

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

My picks for going home

The bottom three will be CeCe Frey, Vino Alan, and Diamond White. But who leaves immediately and which two will have to sing for their lives, I am not sure.

Who are your picks to leave tonight?





XFactor Season 2 Top 10 Perform

22 11 2012

Two of the acts that I was hoping would win left the competition last Thursday: Jennel Garcia and Lyric 145. I guess that America just wants to hear cover songs and nothing original anymore. The list of how the contestants placed based on their votes. From first place to 10th place: Tate Stevens, Carly Rose Sonenclar, Vino Alan, Emblem3, Cece Frey (that is a surprise), Fifth Harmony, Diamond White, Beatrice Miller, Arin Ray, and Paige Thomas. Tonight they are dedicating their songs to someone special in their lives for whom they are thankful.

Demi Lovato’s Young Adults

Contestant: Paige Thomas
Twitter @PaigeAva
Song: “Everytime” by Britney Spears, dedicated to Colleen who took her in after her mother died.

My thoughts: It was a strange song. The lyrics match more of what you might sing to someone who is no longer with her. “Notice me, take my hand, why are we strangers when our love is strong.” Just a confusing pick. Her enunciation was a bit better tonight, but again, it sounds at time like she is stumbling through the lyrics. It was also pitchy, like right under the note.

The judges: Since it was Britney’s song, they let her comment first. Britney thought it was beautiful. L.A. Reid thought it was not good enough tonight to get her out of the last-place spot. Simon said at moments she sang really well, but her voice was muffled. He thought she could be going home. Demi said it was pitchy but she let her emotions take over.

Paige Thomas

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Contestant: CeCe Frey (pronounced “fry” like “French fry” and not “fray”)
Twitter: @CeCeMissXToTheO
Song: “Wind Beneath My Wings” by Bette Midler dedicated to her sister Kelsey who died at a young age.

My thoughts: Her story was very touching. I like this emotional CeCe. The song was less pitchy than last week, although it was very pitchy at the beginning and the end. She had a tough time on the high note. I doubt she is going to be in the bottom because she will get the emotional vote. No one is going to vote off the person who had a sister with a disability.

The judges: LA Reid said her emotion was genuine. Britney said it was amazing. Simon said he hoped the public will keep her in the competition. Demi said she was proud, that she poured her heart and soul.

CeCe Frey

Britney Spears’ Teens

Contestant: Arin Ray
Twitter: @ArinRaySings
Song: “Hero” by Enrique Iglesias dedicated to his brother who was a father figure in his life.

My thoughts: Don’t laugh, but in the wide shot, the red curtains looked like red condoms. My husband actually pointed that out to me. It was rough in places but it was a huge improvement from last week. However, there was no challenge in the vocals. I still think he needs to stop trying to have a relationship backstage with Normani and concentrate on his performance. I think he will be going home on Thursday.

The judges: L.A. Reid said the song was too big, a tough one for him. He gave a good performance but not a 5-million-dollar performance. Demi said she was bored. Simon said he felt Arin was trapped in a cage. He said he thought he was not seeing from Arin on this show what Arin the performer would do in the real world.  Arin said he was not doing what he wanted to do.  He wanted to be able to dance.  Britney thought it was really good.

Arin Ray

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Contestant: Diamond White
Twitter: @DiamondKWhite
Song: “Because You Loved Me” by Celine Dion dedicated to her mom.

My thoughts: I’m calling BS on the story about her mom. She said she had a 50/50 chance of “making it through surgery for scoliosis.” Doubt it. All spinal surgery carries a risk of paralysis, but I think the 50/50 chance was that it would actually be of benefit to her. It does not carry any more increased risk of death other than any other surgery. Cardiac surgery has a higher risk of death. Now, if she had complications after the surgery, like blood clots, pulmonary embolus, coma, etc., then I could see that. People tend to remember things differently as time goes on and exaggerate their responses. One thing they teach you in medicine. If someone says they are exercising 5 days a week, usually it is less. If they say they are drinking 2 glasses of wine per week, it’s probably more. Anyway, back to Diamond’s performance, it started off weak and pitchy, but she worked it out. She did a good job on the high note. But, again, I get back to the fact that these songs all sound like covers (nothing original about them).

The judges: LA Reid said she had never had a moment like that. Demi was blown away. Simon said she was fearless and incredible. He believed the lyric. Britney said it was beautiful.

Diamond White

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Contestant: Beatrice Miller
Twitter: @BeatriceMiller
Song: “Chasing Cars” by Snow Patrol dedicated to her twin sisters who have had some challenges in their lives.

My thoughts: When Carly Rose sings, she sounds like an adult. When Beatrice sings, she sounds like a child. She is suffering from vocal strain. It was pitchy and not good. It was, however, better than last week. I don’t think she will be in trouble, although she will be towards the bottom of the list again.  I think, though, she might be great for the Disney Channel.

The judges: LA Reid said Britney had good taste. Demi said it is like she is singing the same song every week. She needed something different and fun. Simon said this song meant something to her and that this week was better than last week. Britney said it was her best performance so far.

Beatrice Miller

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Contestant: Carly Rose Sonenclar
Twitter: @CarlyRoseMusic
Song: “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by Judy Garland dedicated to her brother who has always been there for her.

My thoughts: It was awesome. I had goosebumps. I think she may win this competition.

The judges: LA Reid said, “Wow girl.” She is a force of nature. Demi said it was amazing. Simon said he had heard more versions of that song over his career and that was one of the best versions of it. Britney said it was amazing.

Carly Rose Sonenclar

L.A. Reid’s Over 25’s

Contestant: Vino Alan
Twitter: @VinoAlan
Song: “God Bless The USA” by Lee Greenwood dedicated to our troops

My thoughts: Anyone who sings a patriotic song ensures they are going through the next week. Vino might get the #2 slot this week with that. I got chills. He did an excellent job.

The judges: He received a standing ovation. Britney said it was spot-on and amazing. Demi said there is something special about him. Simon said he could be seeing him at the #1 spot tomorrow (prior to Carly Rose singing). LA Reid was proud of him.

Vino Alan

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Contestant: Tate Stevens
Twitter: @TateStevensCtry
Song: “I’m Already There” by Lonestar dedicated to his father.

My thoughts: It was pitchy. His movements sometimes feel forced or manufactured, especially when he is trying to emphasize a lyric. Last run was good. This is a very personal song for me. I heard this song on the anniversary of my child’s death, and the chorus reminds me of what my son would want me to know–“I’m already there. Take a look around. I’m the sunshine in your hair. I’m the shadow on the ground. I’m the whisper in the wind, your imaginary friend. And I know I’m in your prayers. I’m already there.” The Lonestar version makes me cry every time I hear it; I did not get that from Tate tonight.

The judges: Britney said LA is doing a great job. Demi said it was not his best performance but it was incredible. Simon said he loves the song and story, but it was not as confident. LA Reid said America loves you.

Tate Stevens

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Simon Cowell’s Groups

Contestant: Formerly LYLAS, then 1432, which meant “I Love You Too” , and now “Fifth Harmony”
Twitter:
Song: “I’ll Stand By You” by Pretenders dedicated to God

My thoughts: Choirs always make you sound better. It was average. There was nothing that blew me away. I do like their genuine friendship that you can see between them on stage. No one dedicates a song to God and goes home either.

The judges: LA Reid said that was great. Britney said it was touching and beautiful and bravo. Demi said she was not crazy about the song choice but they made it beautiful. Simon said the competition would not be the same without them.

Fifth Harmony

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Contestant: Emblem3
Twitter: @EmblemThree
Song: “Secrets” by One Republic dedicated to their youth leaders who inspired them.

My thoughts: It was horrible at first but it sounded better later. I still like them. They might be the only original sound left in the competition.

The judges: LA Reid said it lacked emotion. Britney said it was well done. Demi said it was a great change of pace and they had more emotion. Simon said it was fantastic and they were such a pleasure to work with.

Emblem3

My picks for going home

The bottom two will be Arin Ray and Paige Thomas.  However, I think they are going to pull something about not sending anyone home since it is Thanksgiving Day.

Who are your picks to leave tonight?