X Factor Final 12 Perform
Call it the X Factor Spring as the X Factor final 12 take the stage. Finally, the people rise to power. Wednesday night the X Factor final 12 took to the stage, and their future no longer hinges on the judges’ fickle opinions. The fate of the X Factor final 12 acts rests with you, the viewing public. Viewers’ votes will determine who stays and who goes out of the X Factor final 12, the results to be revealed during Thursday’s broadcast.
Luckily for viewers, the judges brought their over-the-top sniping under control for the X Factor final 12 to perform last night. Last week the judges were constantly at each others’ throats, engaged in an epic, two-and-a half hour-long pissing contest. This week, judges Simon Cowell and L.A. Reid tossed a few snide remarks about, but all in all, their plus-sized egos clashed only occasionally. Tonight’s show was thankfully more focused on the singing talent.
Typically, the opening number on the X Factor goes to an act the producers appoint as one of the best acts of the night. Tonight’s opening honors went to Stereo Hogzz. The boys sang Janet Jackson’s “Rhythm Nation.” All four judges gave rave reviews to the Hogzz. Cowell laid the hyperbole on thick saying, “I don’t think there’s a band in the world right now who’s as good as you.” They’re not one of my favorite X Factor acts, but once they got past an iffy opening, their vocals and choreography were indeed tight tonight, so props to the Hogzz.
One of the X Factor final 12 remaining is Chris Rene, who sang the Carpenters’ “Superstar.” Rene sported a fresh X Factor look. He went hatless and had a new do, but I miss the old street-wise Rene. Mostly, I miss him doing his own material. His song Wednesday was okay, but it still pales in comparison to his performance of “Young Homie” during the auditions. “Superstar” didn’t gel until he did his own rap thing between the verses. The judges all praised Rene, but his performance was more yeoman-like than superstar.
LeRoy Bell once again delivered impeccable mellow vocals, performing Lonestar’s “I’m Already There.” Cowell and Reid liked his voice, but disapproved of Scherzinger’s song choice. Bell’s nuanced vocals always sound good, but Cowell and Reid want to hear more energetic, dynamic songs from Bell. Hopefully, voters will give Bell more time at the mike and Scherzinger will let Bell cut loose a bit. It’s great to get your mellow on, but when its the X Factor final 12 competition, someone should have told Bell t to stretch his chords a bit, because if he doesn’t he’ll be dwarfed by all the big voices he’s up against, and he’ll be sent packing sooner than he deserves.
Rachel Crow infused Katrina and the Waves’ “Walking on Sunshine” with her usual dose of charisma, winning kudos from all the X Factor judges. Abdul wanted to hear something that lets Crow show more of her range. If Crow makes it through the X Factor final 12 on Thursday, maybe mentor Cowell will give her a chance to sing a song with more range and soul.
Lakoda Rayne sang Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide.” They’ve tightened up their harmonies, but the X Factor sound guys cranked up the echo effects so much it was hard to hear just how tight their harmonies really were. Still, as Cowell and Reid noted, they’ve shown improvement as they’ve had a chance to sing together more. Cowell critiqued Abdul for dressing Lakoda Rayne in “prom” dresses, which is pretty harsh coming from a guy who usually wears a t-shirt.
Josh Krajcik Joe Cockered Chistina Perri’s “Jar of Hearts.” That’s right. I used Joe Cocker as a verb. Get over it. It was not Krajcik’s best performance, but Krajcik sounds good even on his worst day. The judges all raved, and Scherzinger said, “I feel like a proud mom, but we’re the same age so that doesn’t work.” There apparently was a pseudo controversy over Krajcik singing a girl song, but nobody complained when he sang Etta James’ “At Last” during the auditions. As the competition cranks up, I hope Scherzinger gives Krajcik a chance to wail. I’ve become accustomed to Krajcik knocking my socks off, but my socks didn’t budge a bit Wednesday night watching him perform along with the other acts of the X Factor final 12.
On the plus side Krajcik has finally figured out how to give host Steve Jones a proper bro’ hug. Two weeks ago, after Krajcik heard he made it through to the X Factor live rounds, Jones opened his arms for a bro’ hug, but Krajcik just stood there, leaving host Jones awkwardly hugging air until Krajcik tepidly put out his hand for a shake. Maybe it’s a product of proper mentoring, but Krajcik has apparently mastered the Hollywood bro’ hug. Giving Jones a bro’ hug is also good for the X Factor, as it can help quash the rumors that Jones is a robot.
Melanie Amaro did her diva thing to The Eagles’ “Desperado.” Amaro is so full of diva; she splashes it on everything, including this laid-back country rock song. Though he does have a stake in her, Cowell rightfully stated that Amaro is the one to beat in the X Factor competition.
Astro did a mashup of Naughty by Nature’s “Hip-Hop Hooray” and Missy Elliot’s “Get Your Freak On,” mixing in some of his own lyrics. That boy can rap beyond his years. We’ll see if hip hop fans are tuning in to the X Factor as the votes come in. I have to wonder how many X Factor voters are turned off by Astro’s super-sized ego. Yeah, he’s just a kid, probably suffering from the early stages of the common male adolescent affliction of testosterone poisoning, but I sincerely doubt that the X Factor final 12 viewership is loaded with hip hoppers, gang bangers or other people who fetishize big tudes.
InTENsity mashed up Kim Wilde’s “Kid’s in America” and LMFAO’s “Party Rock.” Reid called it “Fun, fun fun.” Scherzinger said it was “fun-tastic and fun-omenal.” To me it was ‘fun-damentally processed music” a Disneyfied, white-bread concoction aimed at tweeter Geeks. I’m not saying the kids lack talent. A couple of the leads did just fine, but it’s hard to detect much individual personality from anybody in this ten-member group with all the jumping, overpowering loud music and mishmash of song and dance. Whatever talent the individual singers have gets lost in the spectacle. Will InTENsity get their walking papers Thursday night? I suppose that depends on how many tweeters dig ‘em and vote for the X Factor final 12.
Luckily, not all the young X Factor final 12 talent got lost in over-produced numbers. Drew—formerly known as Drew Ryneiwicz—brought her unique vocal talent to Nelly’s “Just a Dream.” Drew’s dewy voice rose above the sparse backing music, as she lay in a bed of pedals singing up to an overhead camera. The tempo and accompaniment picked up, but her sterling vocals never got drowned out, so you could hear every break and clever nuance. Drew, keep this up and we’ll be seeing you on the X Factor stage for a long time.
Marcus Canty sang a song penned by his X Factor mentor L.A. Reid for Bobby Brown. Canty earned raves from all the judges for his rendition of “Every Little Step.” Canty gave a solid performance, but it was well short of electrifying.
Who was the last to perform on the X Factor final 12? Stacy Francis, performed Patty Griffin’s “Up to the Mountain.” Last week Cowell lambasted Scherzinger for not giving Francis a “church” song, so this week Francis stepped up to the pulpit and belted out a spiritual show stopper.
As good as Francis is, the shrillness of her upper register may irk some X Factor final 12 voters. She’ll be around for a while, but there are other talented singers who probably have wider appeal. For my money, Amaro gave the best performance of the evening. Drew delivers compelling, pitch-perfect emotional performances every week, and Wednesday was no different. She’s a definite contender. Krajcik and Bell gave good performances of songs that failed to highlight their strengths. Though I may be a minority in this view, I like Scherzinger and appreciate many of her comments. However, her song choices for Krajcik and Bell have been off the mark for two weeks running. Hopefully she’ll let them do some R&B, blues, soul or rock and roll so they can bring the house down and finally knock our socks off.
While there were several mediocre acts out of the X Factor final 12, nobody outright sucked. With the X Factor final 12 holding their own ground individually, it’s hard to say who is likely to get the X Factor boot. My nominations for the long ride home include InTENensity and Lakoda Rayne. They’re ad hoc groups thrown together from X Factor leftovers. They’re like Frankensingers, but without the endearing green skin, scars and neck bolts. Also, please don’t hate on me for this, but I’m thinking Rachel Crow is starting to wear thin. She’s charming as all get out, but she lacks the vocal maturity of her competition. I don’t expect her to go home, but I wouldn’t be surprised if she ends up in the bottom three. Thursday will tell who made it through the X Factor final 12 and who did not.