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




Sister C


The Top 16

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

14 10 2012


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

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

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

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

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

David Correy
Song: “Domino” by Jessie J

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

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

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

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

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

Vino Alan
Song: “Sober” by P!nk

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

Tara Simon
Song: “The Reason” by Hoobastank

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


Group: Teens
Guest Mentor:
Where: Malibu, California

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Arin Ray
Song: “Starships” by Nicki Minaj

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

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

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

Carly Rose Sonenclar
Song: “Brokenhearted” by Karmin

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


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

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

The XFactor Boot Camp Task Two

8 10 2012

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

(“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.

(“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.

(“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.

(“Titanium” by David Guetta and Sia)

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


They did not show this challenge.

(“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).

(“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.

(“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.

(“Secrets” by OneRepublic)

Both are flat. I would choose neither.

(“Knocking on Heaven’s Door” by Bob Dylan)

Both were flat but Ally was slightly better.

(“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.

(“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.

(“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.

(“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.

(“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 forgot his lyrics. They did not show the group performing.


Jordan forgot her lyrics.

(“Your Song” by Elton John)

It was terrible.

(“Sexy and I Know It” by LMAFO)

The 10 seconds or less that they showed sounded okay.


Did not show enough of the song to judge.


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.


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?