What’s this all about? ‘The X Factor’ on a Sunday night, effectively ruining my other plans of sitting around and watching E! all evening? Indeed, it is! Thank you baseball rain delay! Regardless of my plans to catch up with Kendra and Nadia Bjorlin, I sucked it up and tuned into Fox, and I’m glad I did. What I got was another fast paced ’X Factor’ filled with 16 more performances from the remaining 32 acts. As Steve Jones said at the top of the show, “It’s time to face the music!” Steve is so dramatic! I got chills.
To start things off, there was an in-depth recap of what happened during part one of the Judges’ Home round. There were brief looks back at the 16 performances and what the judges said about each one. Then the show reminded everyone which judge had what category of contestants and where each category was performing geographically. Then they told me that the judges had hand selected each song the acts would sing for them at their homes. This cleared things up from part one. Either I missed the fact the judges were selecting the songs, or I was so involved with watching for Caitlin Koch that I completely ignored the fact. But I’m glad to have it all cleared up.
The first performance of the show took us to France and Simon Cowell’s girls’ group. Jazzlyn Little had been noticeably scared, to the point of near petrification, in each of her performances up to this point. Would she have her nerves calmed? Not even close. Jazzlyn was so scared to sing her remixed version of “I Will Survive” that she was shaking. I felt really sorry for her because I think she’s a pretty fantastic singer. Even though she was shaking, when Jazzlyn opened her mouth to sing, it was amazing. She has swagger, a great tone and a great look. It’s hard to believe she’s only 16. And she made it through the entire song without letting her nerves get the best of her. Simon thought she was good, but his assistant judge, vocal coach Savan Kotecha, thought Jazzlyn was a little too high school talent show. I can see that, but I think she’s fantastic nonetheless.
Next at bat was Brennin Hunt from LA Reid’s boys’ group, performing for LA and guest judge Rihanna in the Hamptons. During Brennin’s first audition, Nicole was making goo goo eyes at him, and he basically came across as someone who knew he was hot and played it to his advantage. So, what song did producers decide to play in the background of Brennin’s story? LMFAO’s “Sexy And I Know It.” How fitting. All he needed to do was a little wiggle wiggle and the night would have been done. For some reason, Brennin bugs me. I think he might be on the wrong reality show. He seems like he should be on ’The Bachelor,’ vying for the attention of Vienna Girardi and her crazy eye. But, he’s not on ’The Bachelor.’ He’s on ’The X Factor,’ which didn’t stop Rihanna from checking him out…up and down. Brennin sang his song, and while he sings well, something about him just comes across as fake to me. Rihanna seemed to agree with me. “I think he’s beautiful…but he’s a little corny,” Rihanna said. “He gives me 90s boy band.” Step by step indeed, Rihanna!
The first group out of the gate for the night was The Stereo Hogzz, who performed in front of Paula Abdul and her assistant judge, Pharrell Williams in Santa Barbara. The Stereo Hogzz were dressed a little T-Bird like for their performance. I really wanted them to sing “Greased Lightnin’,” just to make my experience complete. However, they did not. In fact, it seemed like only one of the five group members actually sings. That could be a problem, especially when you’re trying to lock down a group chemistry. They did have really good choreography, though. But choreography alone won’t cut it in a singing contest. It’s not ’So You Think You Can Dance.’ After they performed, Paula sounded a little like Kermit the Frog when she said, “Well, well well.” Pharrell said the Stereo Hogzz were good but, “They have to be a constellation…not just one star.” I really liked the way he put it. It summed up their performance incredibly well.
Over at Nicole Scherzinger’s “house” in Malibu, the over 30s were performing again for her and guest judge Enrique Iglesias. The first of the night was Burrito Guy, Josh Krajcik. A recap of Josh’s prior performances started things off before he took to the microphone and sang his version of Roberta Flack’s “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.” Josh seemed nervous before he started to sing, but Nicole told him to “Do your thang,” which appeared to loosen him up. He seemed a little off at first, and the song seemed a little low for his voice, but toward the middle, Josh shook his nerves and started to tear it up. He’s definitely one to watch in the competition. Steve asked Josh, “Is that the performance that will make you stop making burritos for a living?” Josh didn’t give a definitive answer, but I don’t think he’ll be making a burrito again anytime soon.
Back at Paula’s, 2 Squar’d took the stage. I don’t remember much about this quartet of girls. Mainly because I doubt they make the live shows, so producers figured we wouldn’t care that much about them. Plus, they don’t really stand out that much, so we could have seen a few clips of them, and I just forgot about them completely in the whole mix of hundreds of contestants and acts. Paula picked Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” for 2 Squar’d to sing. Uh oh. Was it good? Not really. There was one girl in the group who sang all right, but the others were just back up and didn’t do much. The one upside is the cohesiveness. The girls did act and look like a group, so they get points in that column.
Country crooner Tim Cifers was next. He cried before he sang because he missed his kids and talked all about how he was auditioning for ’The X Factor’ for them. I teared up a little bit because Tim was crying. I really need to stop having emotions. It really ruins my whole façade. Tim sang his version of “Dance With My Father” really well. His eyes even got watery while he was performing. He sounds like Luke Bryan, which is a good thing. I like Luke Bryan a lot and love his voice. It’s nice to hear someone with a similar tone. Rihanna thought Tim sounded like a real country singer, but LA wanted Tim to bring more to the table. I’d love to hear Tim more. I hope LA puts him through to the live shows.
Across the Atlantic, Rachel Crow, the youngest contestant left, was about to sing for Simon Cowell. Before she sang, Rachel had the quote of the evening when she said, “Whatever happens, it’s going to be epic.” She may only be 13, but I think that’s a pretty wise statement. I may even make it my life mantra. It doesn’t matter what happens in your life, but make sure it’s epic. Ah, Rachel. Simon picked The Backstreet Boys’ “I Want It That Way” for Rachel to sing. However, it wasn’t the straight out pop version everyone is used to. Rachel sang a darker, ballad version of the song, which I thought was fantastic. Rachel already has the X Factor. She is impressive every time she sings. Her one drawback could be her age, though. Simon might feel like Rachel needs more life experience before she can truly be appreciated as an artist. I don’t envy Simon; he has the hardest category to whittle down.
From the youngest contestant in the competition to the oldest. 59-year-old LeRoy Bell was next to sing for Nicole and Enrique. Nicole’s song selection for LeRoy was “Make You Feel My Love,” originally made famous by Bob Dylan, but most recently brought back into the mainstream by the incomparable Adele. I thought the song choice was the perfect one for LeRoy. His performance was awesome. I want to watch it again now. I got a little choked up during it. Yes, it hit me for some reason. Then again, so does Adele’s version of the song right now, which is why I’ve been sticking to my Euro pop. It doesn’t take many brain cells to listen to, and it’s all about just dancing and having a good time. After LeRoy sang, Nicole and Enrique debated whether he would be commercially viable as a performer at his age. Nicole thought LeRoy was holding back and that his nerves were getting the best of him. The show made it seem like Nicole won’t put him through, but we shall see.