November 1, 2012 - 4:54pm
BY GIBSON JOHNS
Daily Arts Blogger Gibson Johns recaps the latest episode of “The X Factor.”
Last night’s episode of “The X Factor” was the season’s first live performance show and gave us our first glimpse of the show’s new celebrity hosts Khloe Kardashian and Mario Lopez, who seemingly hosts a different television show every year.
Although they didn’t really add anything to the show, they are a vast improvement over last year’s emotionless robot of a host Steve Jones. I know there are a lot of Kardashian Haters out there, but I personally think Khloe is a riot and has potential to add some much-needed spontaneity to the show. Mario Lopez, on the other hand, is too cheesy to my liking, but he’s inoffensive enough.
Anyway, the Top 16 were all performing for a spot in the Top 12 as each of the four mentors are going to choose one of their acts to send home. So. Much. Pressure! Upon introducing the mentors and contestants, Khloe and Mario said that the theme was (a very loosely-enforced) “Made in America.”
Paige Thomas was first and ‘sang’ “What Is Love.” In her video introduction, Paige’s head was shaved by the stylists as per Demi’s mandate and now, Paige says, she “feels unstoppable.” Her actual performance was actually pretty impressive – it was a spectacle that revolved all around her. It felt like she was an actual pop star, even though her vocals were sub-par at best and she was wearing what appeared to be a spiky metal shower cap.
The first of the teens to perform was Arin Ray, who sang “Keep Me Hanging On.” Similarly to Paige, Arin’s vocals weren’t anything to phone home about but he definitely has some swag and knows how to keep you entertained. It was good, not great.
David Correy’s performance of one of Whitney Houston’s bests “My Love Is Your Love” was just kind of odd. He has a great tone to his voice but the whole thing looked and sounded desperate. As Simon said, it was like he was begging the audience to vote for him. He’s just always felt like he’s trying too hard, honestly. I don’t really get it…never really did.
Simon’s introduction of Sister C was that we should really like these girls — they’re nice! For a group that is constantly criticized for being boring, that wasn’t a very convincing preface for their performance. Their version of “Hell On Heels” showcased why they’re on the live shows in the first place – they can harmonize beautifully and have an excellent overall commercial image. But the personality to bring the audience in is just not there. They’re fantastic singers, but not fantastic performers.
Jennel Garcia was far and away the best of the “Young Adults” last night. She transformed Carrie Underwood’s country balled “Home Sweet Home” (which was also a farewell song on “Idol” a few seasons back) into an arena-ready banger. Although I agree that it seems as though Demi is trying to make her look and act like a miniature version of herself, I hope that Jennel will find a way to make her own personality more apparent.
“Hey Soul Sister” wasn’t the most obvious song choice for Diamond White, but with an added beat to the song added behind her vocals, it proved to be a surprisingly great choice by Britney. Diamond proved again that she knows how to work a stage and has the vocal chops to match — I love her.
LA’s song choice for Vino Alan — some song called “Gotta Be Somebody” by the insufferable Nickelback — was all wrong. He’s not a ‘rocker,’ he’s a soul singer. It was the complete wrong genre for him and, honestly, hard to listen to.
Lyric 145 was one of the stronger groups headed into last night’s performance show. They were put together by the mentors at Bootcamp and gelled perfectly together at Simon’s house. Their dynamic is still a great thing to watch on stage, but the song choice was, again, suspect – they rapped a mash-up of “Boom Shake the Room” and frickin’ “Gangnam Style.” Seriously. I agree with Simon in that a rap group on this show will need to be commercial, but having them sing “Gangnam Style” is the wrong kind of ‘commercial’ he’s looking for.
Demi had the stylists dye CeCe Frey’s hair blonde in preparation for the life shows — “new hair, new attitude” was her motto for the week. Guys, she has to be relatable or else she won’t win the show. Let’s be real, Demi – CeCe has no shot in hell at winning this thing. “Because the Night” was a solid song choice for her but, like her arch nemesis Paige, CeCe just does not have the vocal ability to become a convincing or worthy winner.
Tate Stevens’ “Tough” was good. Just that, though. Good. There was absolutely nothing special or memorable about his performance besides his classic country voice. Props to him for staying true to himself, but he’ll need to step it up if he wants to stick around.
Beatrice Miller is one of my favorite contestants, if not my favorite. As Britney said, there’s a fragileness in her voice that captivates you from beginning to end. Unlike the other thirteen year-old standout, Carly, she also has the ability to draw you in with emotion. She sang “I Won’t Give Up” and absolutely nailed it. Unfortunately for her, though, whoever styled her is a complete idiot. Beatrice looked like she was the result of Avril Lavigne getting in a fight with her crimper. I understand she’s thirteen, but Beatrice is not going to win anyone over with crimped hair. Like, come on.
Although he has one of my favorite voices of the season, Jason “Mr. Entertainment” Brock’s performance of J.Lo’s “Dance Again” was horrible. I couldn’t have thought of a worse song choice. I just didn’t get it. I get that Jason loves big productions and everything to be over-the-top, but why did LA and him choose that song?! Ugh. Just no.
1432, formerly known as LYLAS (they had to change their name for legal reasons), sang Taylor Swift’s “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.” 1432 singing Taylor Swift? Count me in. I think these girls have a chance to go all the way. LA and Demi criticized them for a multitude of things, but I think that’s just them feeling threatened by Simon having such a strong group.
Willie Jones was also given the wrong song: “Here For the Party.” He’s not the type of performer that can get away with singing songs like that – his voice is much better suited for a soulful song that he can inject his subtle country twang into. Demi just didn’t really get it right with her contestants last night.
Yet another talented contestant that got the wrong treatment was Carly Rose Sonenclar. She sang a mash-up of “Good Feeling and Something’s Got A Hold On Me” while her styling was an effort on Britney’s part to recreate the “Baby One More Time” music video. Carly sounded great as per usual, but everything else just felt off and she didn’t look comfortable during the performance.
Emblem3, the douchiest band on this season of “X Factor,” sang “One Day” and gave arguably the best performance of the night. The douche factor was toned down during their actual singing and they made Demi swoon. They have a cool look and interact confidently with the crowd. They could go far.
I don’t know about you, but I was definitely disappointed with this season’s first live show. Some of the mentors just don’t seem to understand their contestants! Also someone needs to teach Britney some new vocabulary — she said the word “amazing” approximately 6,000 times in two hours.
Who’ll be sent home tonight: Arin Ray (Teens), Paige Thomas (Young Adults), Vino Alan (Adults), Sister C (Groups)