‘X Factor’ Recap: First Live Show Introduces New Hosts
We are so excited for the live 'X Factor' shows, but with the wonky FOX schedule as of late, we were a bit hesitant that the live show would actually air tonight. But here we are, Britney Spears has been blowing up our phones about it all, finally, really, and truly, the night is upon us.
Each team was introduced with their respective mentors/judges and we have just two things to say: Demi Lovato looked straight off the set of her Disney flick with the Jonas Brothers 'Camp Rock' -- and we weren't feeling it, given how hot and mature she has looked during the audition rounds -- and Spears looked to. die. for.
We finally got to meet the hosts of the show: Khloe Kardashian Odom and Mario Lopez, and they let us know that there was NO public vote tonight, but that tomorrow (Nov. 1), the judges (Brit, Demi, Simon Cowell, and L.A. Reid) were going to make the decision as to who stays and who goes.
Theme for all the songs this week is Made in America. Let's get right down to the nitty gritty.
Young Adults (Mentor: Demi Lovato)
Paige Thomas: Her mentor suggested she shave her head and Thomas went right along with it. But during rehearsals, she wasn't so great and Lovato even let her know she'd send her home if her live performance was anything like rehearsals. Sadly, her live performance of 'What Is Love (Baby Don't Hurt Me)' by Haddaway didn't impress us in the slightest; she wasn't strong and you could barely hear her in the mic.
Judges Thoughts: L.A. Reid didn't like the song choice; Spears thought she was a star; Simon Cowell said she nailed it; Lovato was proud of her, saying it was an amazing way to open the show.
Jennel Garcia: The girl changed her entire look, sporting darker hair with blunt bangs, and strong eye makeup during her performance of Motley Crue's 'Home Sweet Home.' She was good, but didn't really have a standout morning that viewers were probably waiting for.
Judges Thoughts: Reid was surprised and gave her performance a 10 and convinced him she could win; Spears thought she "completely rocked it out" and loved everything about it; Cowell thought she defined the theme and said he loved her; Lovato said she felt like crying and had the chills during her entire performance.
CeCe Frey: Frey ditched her pretty brunette locks for what looked to be a painful platinum dye job, and looked like Kesha threw up all over her, but we'll let that slide since she gave a really awesome performance. Her rendition of Patti Smith's 'Because the Night' was good, but her vocals weren't the strongest, and they were weaker than normal, considering Frey usually exudes confidence. But we have a hard time buying her as an original talent when she spends so much time trying to be different.
Judges Thoughts: Reid congratulated her on a strong performance, but said she left little to be desired vocally; Spears thought her vocals were weak sometimes; Cowell thought they needed her in the competition; Lovato felt she could do much better vocally.
Willie Jones: Nervous from the get-go, he wasn't sure how his voice would compare to his female teammates, and well, he was right. His performance of Gretchen Wilson's 'I'm Here for the Party' was overshadowed by the many gimmicks going on alongside him, and his unique voice was nowhere to be found.
Judges Thoughts: Reid said it was very entertaining and that it was an adequate performance; Spears felt like he's a true star; Cowell thought it was silly and didn't really "get it," noting that his vocals weren't there; Lovato thinks his performance could work well for 2012 and was proud of him.
Teens (Mentor: Britney Spears)
Arin Ray: Ray definitely has a Chris Brown feel to him: He's smooth, confident, and was working the crowd like he's been doing this for years -- but the background dancers, excessive background music and noise take away from the fact that this young teen can actually sing Diana Ross' 'You Keep Me Hangin' On.' He has the presence to be a star, for sure, but we're craving more of his voice and less of the theatrics.
Judges Thoughts: Reid thought he nailed it, but didn't think his vocals were on par with the track; Lovato said he had a lot going for him, but felt he was stiff; Cowell thought he had swag and was overall impressed; Spears thought he was a "little genius up there" and thought he was "on."
Diamond White: The girl has it all: voice, stage presence, and enough cool factor that people her own age will relate to and people older than her will appreciate. We already know White has a killer voice, so it's no surprise she nailed her rendition of Train's 'Hey Soul Sister.' She was comfortable on stage and totally made it her home, owning it by the end.
Judges Thoughts: Reid said it was really strong, but mechanical; Lovato thought the song choice was great and said she had one of the most powerful voices in the competition, but wanted to see her have more fun; Cowell thought Spears did a great job with White and said she came over as a relevant pop star; Spears said she impressed her and was so so proud of her.
Beatrice Miller: The Chloe Grace Moretz look-alike wasn't thrilled with her mentor's song choice (Jason Mraz's 'I Won't Give Up'), but faired well during her live performance. Again, like we've seen all night, she wasn't as strong as she normally is -- all of which could be tied to nerves given the fact that it's her first live performance, but it could make or break her.
Judges Thoughts: Reid believed and loved her; Lovato was impressed because "there was so much feeling behind your eyes;" Cowell believed the song choice Spears picked was actually good, but felt when she tried to push it, there was a tuning issue; Spears thought she was a true star.
Carly Rose Sonenclar: Spears decided to offset the fact that Sonenclar's got an "old soul" voice by dressing her up in a school girl outfit reminiscent of her mentor's 'Baby... One More Time' music video. Sonenclar's performance of 'Good Feeling' by Flo Rida was the strongest of the night vocally, as she totally owned the song and was completely comfortable with herself on stage.
Judges Thoughts: Reid thought she had a beautiful voice and his only critique was that he felt like she wasn't having fun; Lovato didn't find it believable and agreed with Reid that she wasn't having fun; Cowell disagreed, but said he felt like she wasn't connecting with the song, but thought it'd be "criminal" if she left the competition; Spears said her vocals were amazing and thought she did "a great, great job."
The Over 25s (Mentor: L.A. Reid)
David Correy: His emotion-filled renditon of Whitney Houston's 'Your Love is My Love' was pretty awesome, and Reid was smart to hold back on the excessive extras so that his charges voice would shine through. However, he sometimes spent a bit too much time ad-libbing with the crowd than singing, but made up for it with the last lines of the song.
Judges Thoughts: Spears thought he was amazing and admitted she wasn't expecting that; Lovato wasn't sure the song would be a good choice, but thought he sounded great; Cowell said it was a bit manic and desperate; Reid said he could actually hear him sing and it felt right.
Vino Alan: Why oh why would a talent like Alan choose Nickelback's 'Gotta Be Somebody' to sing? Actually, Reid probably chose it, but that doesn't take away from the fact that the song is kind of meh. He didn't start out the strongest, but hey on the plus side, he ended on the positive end of things -- but his overall performance was boring, and did we mention how it was an awful song choice for him?
Judges Thoughts: Spears thought he was really good and felt his effort, but was bored; Lovato found herself rooting for him because she felt his passion; Cowell really liked him and thought the song and arrangement "was completely and utterly wrong for you;" Reid thought he did just fine.
Tate Stevens: It's no surprise Stevens gave a great performance of Craig Morgan's 'Tough.' He's a country crooner completely comfortable with the title and the genre, and that's what's going to get the dad through the competition filled with bubblegum pop and bottled talent. He was consistent and not as pitchy as some as his fellow artists before him, so he was a shoe-in for being in the show for the long run.
Judges Thoughts: Spears said she was wowed by him; Lovato admitted in the beginning that he was bored, but ultimately gave her the chills; Cowell thought the show could give him a huge break, but said song choice was key; Reid was really proud and said he was a classic, making sure to note that he was "a keeper."
Jason Brock: His mentor Reid dubbed him "Mr. Entertainment," which should ring true since Brock has a killer voice. Needless to say, his version of Jennifer Lopez's 'Dance Again' was sick -- "Mr. Entertainment" he is. Brock knows how to work the crowd and his voice was one of the best of the night. It was consistent, which wasn't happening often enough during the first live show.
Judges Thoughts: Spears thought the song choice was bad, but said he was entertaining; Lovato didn't think it was the right song choice either; Cowell thought "it was utterly horrendous" and said it "doesn't get worse than that;" Reid enjoyed it and called Cowell a hater.
Groups (Mentor: Simon Cowell)
Sister C: They never really came off as super likable, so they had a lot to work towards during the live performance. 'Hell on Heels' by Pistol Annies was a good song choice for the sisters, as their voices clearly stood out as you'd expect during a singing competition, but they could use a lesson in stage presence from fellow judge Britney Spears. Final word: they're still not likable.
Judges Thoughts: Reid thought it was just good; Spears thought it was interesting and that they really delivered; Lovato thought they had a unique song, but said she was letdown by their performance; Cowell said it was a fantastic performance and that their vocals were "on the money."
Lyric145: This is exactly what an 'X Factor' performance should be like: fun and energetic. The rap group thrown together by Simon was obviously have a blast on stage, but the song choice was super questionable, especially when mashed with Psy's totally overrated 'Gangnam Style.'
Judges Thoughts: Reid said he loved them but didn't think it'd be a great first single; Spears was genuinely entertained; Lovato was a little worried because they were so good; Cowell thought they were absolutely sensational.
1432 (formerly known as Lylas): Due to legal reasons, they could know longer use the name "Lylas" and decided on the new moniker "1432" which means "I love you 2." The girl group tackled Taylor Swift's 'We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together' beautifully. They each had control of their voices and harmonized perfectly, considering they were all solo artists thrown together in a group. There were a few pitchy moments, but gave an overall strong performance, which was appreciated.
Judges Thoughts: Reid thought it was very talent show and karaoke-like, saying their mentor (Cowell) failed them; Spears said their energy "drew us in;" Lovato said only one person shined in the group and it didn't "click" for her; Cowell said they were fantastic.
Emblem3: They were a helluva group to be reckoned with. Their rendition of Matisyahu's 'One Day' was pretty spot on for the groups first live performance, and the young men definitely knew how to work the crowd with their pretty faces, which of course will come in handy. Vocally, they were in sync, strong, and relatively consistent give or take the few pitch problems -- but most of the contestants suffered from pitch problems tonight. Still, they're a definite frontrunner.
Judges Thoughts: Reid said Cowell got it right this time and called it "unbelievable," even going as far as to call them the "next pop sensation;" Spears said the trio was amazing; Lovato said they made her swoon, but couldn't look them in the eye when they sing because she's supposed to be a judge; Cowell said viewers just witnessed a future superstar.
FINAL NOTE: This was a painful first live show to get through. We understand hosts Khloe Kardashian Odom and Mario Lopez need to find their niche and get comfortable with one another as co-hosts, but pull it together!
Performance wise, was it us or did the good acts get the bad critiques, and the bad acts get the good critiques? We're not professionals, but something felt very off about it all. We could also do without L.A. Reid and Simon Cowell's constant bickering, as they both seemed to rip apart each other's groups, but we'll give them the benefit of the doubt considering it's the first show.