THE X FACTOR: The Live Shows Begin!
This is it everyone- the live shows are finally here! Tonight is the night that the real competition begins. The finals have begun and the winner is among the 17 contestants that are performing tonight. On top of that, by the end of the episode, five more will be eliminated and each judge has to choose only three from their group to move on to next week. Pressure is on as the finalists perform live for the judges, a studio audience, and the viewers at home. Who will prove they deserve to take it all? Who will choke so close to the finish line? We will soon find out! Anything can happen when the competition goes live!
The much-anticipated live shows have started out with a bang! With bright, flashing lights and dramatic music, there is no denying that this episode isn't like any other that we've seen so far. We learn from the start that the contestants will be narrowed down to 12. Contestants from each category were coached over the past two weeks. They will each perform and their mentor will have to make the tough decision of which one (In Simon's case two) will go home.
First up are the boys. Brian "Astro" Bradley performed a very energetic rendition of "Jump." He was extremely entertaining and had fun ad-libs like, "The X Factor will make you jump, jump!" He is a true performer and interacts very well with the audience. In my opinion, he definitely has the X Factor! He received praise from all of the judges. Simon warned L.A., "If this kid doesn't make it to the finals you are literally insane!"
Chris Rene had a pretty good performance. His voice seemed a bit shaky, but despite his nerves, he held his own. This performance was not better or worse than any of his others. The judges had mixed opinions, but agreed that he had "truthfulness" in his performance.
Breaking away from his original jazz style, Phillip Lomax sang "I'm a Believer." His vocals weren't the strongest, but he was definitely entertaining. His performance was very fun and upbeat, much different from his previous performances. I enjoyed it and give him credit for stepping out of his comfort zone. The judges were unsure about his performance. Nicole and Paula both liked him and Paula said, "You know how to connect with an audience. Your smile is your golden ticket." Simon did not think his performance was good enough. L.A. thought he did well and was proud of him for not giving another Frank Sinatra imitation.
Marcus Canty gave a very strong performance. His vocals were great and he really worked the audience. All of the judges enjoyed his performance. Nicole said, "You just make it look too easy! You were born to be on that stage!" Simon praised him, "You gave it everything I would've wanted if I was your mentor." L.A. thought he did a great job and "stepped up to the plate once again."
The next category to perform was the groups. The Stereo Hogzz performed "Try a Little Tenderness." They were entertaining and had strong vocals and clean dancing. Their overall performance was very good and well put together. All the judges agreed that they were great and praised Paula. Nicole announced, "That was solid all the way around. Hands down to Miss Paula Abdul!"
The Brewer Boys sang "Faith." There performance was fun, but a bit mediocre. The judges were unsure about the performance. L.A. and Simon felt that they "didn't shine." Nicole and Paula enjoyed the performance.
InTENsity gave a high-energy performance. They were very entertaining and sounded great together. The judges all praised them. Simon said, "This is a music miracle," and compared their performance to "Glee."
Lakoda Rayne also had a really solid performance. They sang "Come On Eileen." The judges thought they did a great job (I did too!). They had good things to say about the performance and Simon praised Paula for the work that she has done with the groups (Paula was on a roll! All her groups really delivered!).
Paula decided that The Stereo Hogzz, Lakoda Rayne, and InTENsity deserved to move on. The Brewer Boys did not have what it takes to continue and were eliminated.
The Over 30s performed next. Dexter Haygood sang, "I Kissed a Girl." It was fun and entertaining and once again a little crazy. The judges enjoyed his performance and the interesting package he has to offer. Nicole told him he has the "Dex Factor!"
LeRoy Bell gave a soulful performance. His voice sounded beautiful. The judges all liked his performance. L.A. questioned why he isn't already a star and Nicole said, "You represent what this competition is all about." Simon thought he did well, but felt he lacked confidence- something that the other judges (and I) disagreed with.
Stacey Francis sang "Teacher." Her rendition was very powerful. Her vocals were amazing and her emotions were spot on. She has a lot of star power. The judges all agreed that she gave great performance. Paula said that she "told a beautiful story" and Nicole told her, "This all gave you wings." On the contrary, Simon liked her, but felt she needs a "massive shift in direction" (Simon has been very critical of Nicole's coaching tonight.).
Josh Krajcik sang a beautiful, a cappella rendition of "Forever Young." His performance was very solid and in my opinion, one of the best of the night. The judges also loved his performance and Simon called him "the real deal."
The last group to perform was the girls. Simone Battle gave an interesting performance. Her vocals seemed a little off, but she had good energy and showed off her rapping skills. The judges didn't really know what to say about her performance and questioned how she made it this far. L.A. told Simon, "Everything is right except your choice in contestant."
Rachel Crow sang a mash-up of "Baby"/ "Where Did Our Love Go" (Simon really seems to be inspired by "Glee" this week!) Her performance was sassy and very enjoyable to watch. Her vocals are great and she once again proved that she is a star. The judges enjoyed it, but Paula said Simon should have chosen a different song for her. Simon disagreed and said that she was "original."
Drew Ryniewicz (just Drew now) sang a soulful rendition of "What a Feeling." She sounded beautiful and her performance was flawless. She did a great job again and was one of my favorites of the night. The judges also loved her performance. L.A. said that she is a "star" (I couldn't agree more!) and Nicole said, "I'm speechless you take my breath away." Paula called her "way beyond her years" (You would never guess that this girl is 14 from that performance!).
Tiah Tolliver gave a theatrical (maybe a little over the top) performance of "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of These)." Her vocals weren't very strong, but she was entertaining and completely committed to the creepy tone of this performance. The judges were unsure about her. L.A. thought it was too much. Nicole called her fierce (that she was indeed!). Paula commented on her pitch issues, but Simon thought she was great.
Last to perform was Melanie Amaro who sang "I Have Nothing." She was great and really proved that Simon made the right decision of bringing her back last week. Her vocals sounded beautiful and her performance was very strong, also one of the best of the night. The judges enjoyed her performance. Nicole said, "You're just so special and I'm so grateful you are on this show." The others agreed.
Simon easily decided to put Drew and Rachel Crow through. He struggled with the last one that should move on. He ended up sending home Tiah Tolliver and Simone Battle home. He decided Melanie Amaro would move on (A pretty obvious decision if you ask me.).
And then there were 12. We made it through the first live show! Five of the finalists were eliminated tonight and Brian "Astro" Bradley, Marcus Canty, Chris Rene, The Stereo Hogzz, Lakoda Rayne, InTENsity, Stacey Francis, Josh Krajcik, LeRoy Bell, Drew Ryniewicz, Rachel Crow, and Melanie Amaro will compete in the live shows next week.
Don't forget to tune in to THE X FACTOR next Wednesday at 8pm for the next Live Show. Check back in to BroadwayWorld for another recap!
Visit TheXFactorusa.com for up-to-the-minute news, videos and information. Become a fan of THE X FACTOR on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TheXFactorUSA and follow the series on Twitter @TheXFactorUSA.
THE X FACTOR is produced by Syco Television and FremantleMedia North America. Rob Wade and Siobhan Greene are executive producers for Syco Television. Cecile Frot-Coutaz, Richard Holloway and Andrew Llinares serve as executive producers for FremantleMedia North America.
Photo Credit: Ray Mickshaw / FOX