X Factor Diamonds in the Rough: Episode 3

X Factor

Wednesday’s X Factor Episode 3

Wednesday’s X Factor showed clips from the Chicago and Seattle auditions, highlighting a few good singers, a few odd balls and a couple of possible diamonds in the rough.

Several talented minors took the stage and made their way through to the next round of the X Factor. Those who make it through the audition go to “boot camp” to get schooled by the judges. Sixteen year-old country singer Skyelor Anderson sang Billy Currants’ “I Must Be Doing Something Right.”  His music track went silent early during his audition, but Anderson paused briefly and then continued acapella, winning over the judges with his crystal clear voice and sheer pluck.

Showing some pluck of her own, 14-year-old Drew Ryniewicz dared to sing “Baby,” a Justin Bieber song originally produced by judge L.A. Reid. Reid warned her that he has a fondness for the song and so might be critical. Ryneiwicz did a slow twist on Bieber’s “Baby,” making the song her own, pleasing the judges and crowd alike. Seventeen year-old Francesca Duncan made it to boot camp with her version of Mariah Carey’s “Hero.”

Country duet Makenna & Brock made their way through to the next round of the X Factor singing “Colder Weather” by the Zack Brown Band. Their tight harmonies and great vocal blend could barely obscure the tension that lies beneath the singers’ bond. Brock clearly has an unrequited love-thing going for Makenna, who appears to be oblivious to his yearnings. If she hasn’t figured it out yet, she’ll know his feelings once she views this episode of the X Factor.

Visiting the X Factor from another dimension, J. Mark Inman put on another-worldly show, executing some quirky dance moves while singing Radio Head’s “Creep.” His breathy vocals and odd-ball persona worked on this number, mesmerizing the judges and the audience. Abdul voiced her approval, saying, “You’re definitely in a different jurisdiction, for sure.”  L.A. Reid summarized Inman’s paradoxical act, saying, “It sounded so bad, but felt so good.” Personally, I didn’t love it at first, but with a couple of viewings I’ll admit that Inman’s performance grew on me. His vocals might not be strong enough to get him through to the final rounds of the X Factor, but in the mean time, he might be interesting to watch.

Gravelly-voiced burrito slinger Josh Krajcik had a very unassuming presentation, but he blew away the X Factor judges and the audience with his rendition of Etta James’ “At Last.” His bluesy blend of Ray Charles and Joe Cocker, along with his laid back demeanor could make him an early contender among the male singers.

Boy group 4Sure dared to do a cover of Boys to Men’s “End of the Road, a song written by X Factor judge L.A. Reid. Their bravado, along with smooth vocals and tight harmonies, paid off. Reid, as well as the other judges, gave 4Sure a pass on to the next round.

A short snippet showed singer Elaine Gibbs gaining X Factor approval for her soulful version of James Taylor’s “You’ve Got a Friend.”  Handsome hipster Phillip Lomax crooned “Fly Me to the Moon.”  Charismatic and charming, Lomax lit the stage with his smile, but Cowell warned the 21-year-old waiter that he needs to work on his vocals.

As usual, the X Factor filled time with various not-ready-for-prime-time singers. Peet Montzingo had a modest amount of charm and a sub-par singing voice. He mostly made it to the limelight because he was the only average-sized person from a family of dwarves.

X Factor viewers saw a few seconds of Ivana Steelman doing some kind of sexified prance while warbling “Big Spender.”  Judge Abdul rolled her eyes and grimaced. However, Cowell, perhaps temporarily suffering from some sort of hormone-induced hearing impairment, praised the performance, saying, ‘…you remind me of Nicole [Scherzinger]. I think this is exactly what I would have seen with Nicole if she had been 20 auditioning for the show for the first time.”

Scherzinger, obviously miffed with the unflattering comparison, said that for her first televised audition she sang a Whitney Houston song on a show called Pop Stars.  Scherzinger defended her singing chops by recreating her early audition. She belted out a few lines of “I Will Always Love You.” Meanwhile, poor Steelman, perhaps recognizing that her 15 minutes of fame were quickly dissipating, shot dagger eyes at Scherzinger.

The third X Factor episode ended with an exercise in social persuasion. Without any sense of the impending irony of the title, and singing without musical accompaniment, 19 year-old Tiah Tolliver sang “Impossible” by Chantal, switching keys freely during the song. The two singers on the judge’s panel, Scherzinger and Abdul, were put off by Tolliver’s inability to stay in one key, but Cowell was impressed with Tolliver’s spirit. Though less impressed, Reid seemed to kowtow to Cowell, voting Tolliver through. However, Scherzinger and Abdul held their ground, refusing to give thumbs up to Tolliver. Angered, Cowell beseeched the hold-out judges to pass Tolliver on to the next round.

Reid suggested that Tolliver sing another song to try to win one more vote.  Tolliver sang a jazzy “It Don’t Mean a Thing,” once again without accompaniment. The X Factor live audience lapped it up, focusing on Tolliver’s powerful voice and stylized nuances, rather than her continued problem with key changes. Scherzinger and Abdul, still couldn’t get over the fluctuating keys, but Cowell pleaded with them, saying “This girl is potentially great.” He asked the audience if they thought Tolliver should get a “yes” vote, and the crowd thundered back approval. Cowell cajoled, “This is why we have an audience.” Giving in to the peer and audience pressure, Scherzinger reluctantly gave Tolliver the third vote, qualifying Tolliver for the next round.

Tolliver and the other contestants will get a chance to polish their vocals during the X Factor boot camp rounds, which begin next week.

X Factor Wednesday Night September 28 2011 Video Recap











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