Credit must be given where credit is due. In a stretch of time in which X Factor was supposed to hibernate for a few weeks while no one watches the 2012 World Series, Simon Cowell’s crown jewel has managed to stay very much in the pulse of the pop culture nation (although at first for a major mistake).
When the “Judge’s House No. 2” episode of The X Factor aired on Thursday, October 11, there was to be one more airing (originally scheduled for Wednesday, October 17) followed by a fifteen day hiatus (an eternity in a momentum reliant reality program like The X Factor) to make room for America’s former pastime (do not get me started on why Major League Baseball is near irrelevant) in its annual October Fox primetime takeover. The buzz and drive that the reformatted and reinvigorated (I am looking at you Demi Lovato) reality competition talent program had accrued thus far was in danger of being lost to this unnecessary scheduling conflict.
Baseball couldn’t wait another week to be a nuisance when a rain delay during an NLCS game last Wednesday forced Fox scheduling executives to ere on the side of awful. The East coast X Factor was supposed to air a two hour episode from 8:00 PM to 10:00 PM. While waiting (a theme of the baseball viewing experience) for the Cardinals/Giants game to begin again, Fox’s (less than) finest decided to show a Ben and Kate rerun, go back go the game for a hot second break from the rain, inexplicably begin The X Factor at exactly 8:40 PM (I checked my dvr to be official) and then even more inexplicably, cut away a little more than half way through the planned two hours (with no warning) for a The Mindy Project rerun (another show undeservedly negatively affected by baseball). The viewer was left confused and Simon was not pleased, giving this take on twitter: “Have no idea what is happening to the schedule tonight. Have heard the whole episode will be shown next Tuesday. Sorry. It what’s known as a total F-up.” Fast forward to Tuesday, October 24. Fox graciously adds a half hour to regular primetime programming (thanks so much) and re-airs only the second hour of last week’s episode. If you usually do X Factor live, this disjointed viewing process could be a major turnoff. (This was not the first time that something like this has happened)
Despite these higher-up hiccups, this is still X Factor news during a time when the show is supposed to be mostly off the radar. In addition, two major announcements hit the airwaves. X Factor was picked up for a third US season and even more relevant to season 2, Khloe Kardashian and Mario Lopez were officially named hosts for the live shows beginning on November 1 (I have decided to hold my opinions until I have seen them in action…in Simon we trust).
So, what happened in these unfortunately scheduled two hours of programming over the past two weeks? Judges (it feels like finally) made their selections for the top 16 acts for the live shows. Let’s do a brief breakdown of the top 16.
TEAM BRITNEY SPEARS – TEENS – “They just have no idea what’s coming their way.”
CARLY ROSE SONENCLAR
Britney’s take: “Carly Rose Sonenclar is like an angel. Her voice is completely flawless. She’s a true star.”
My take: I concur. Carly Rose has a unique talent and is already, at thirteen, a seasoned veteran in the performing arts business. I think she is the one to beat in this category and maybe in this competition.
Britney’s take: “Beatrice Miller has the look, she has the personality, and she has the voice which I think is going to be very intimidating to the other teens.”
My take: I am not sure if she will be intimidating anyone, although I think she may have the most game in the teens category. She will find a way to differentiate herself musically from the other teens through song selection and/or style choices.
Britney’s take: “Arin Ray is the whole package. I feel like his voice has so much personality into it and when he performs, it shines through.”
My take: I am not sure what this means. I have yet to see the spark, the “X” if you will, from Mr. Ray, although I have a feeling that the tween and teen audiences will make a strong connection.
Britney’s take: “Diamond White is a spitfire. I think she is really funky and spunky and I think she is going to really surprise us.”
My take: I won’t be surprised if Diamond does very well in this competition. Her voice is incredible and I think she has a lot of the Rachel Crow charisma from last season.
How did my predictions go? Britney chose 4 of 4 shoulds and 3 of 4 woulds.
TEAM DEMI LOVATO – YOUNG ADULTS – “The battle is officially on.”
Demi’s take: “Willie Jones is so original and incredibly unique. There is absolutely nothing like him in this competition.”
My take: There may not be anything like him in this competition and for that, America may connect. As a singer, I think he may be more gimmick than substance.
Demi’s take: “Paige Thomas – no doubt – she’s a superstar. You can tell when she walks in a room; everything about her is a star. She has what it takes to win.”
My take: I have doubts, Demi, and do not think she should be here (at least over Jillian). If anything, Paige may lack “what it takes to win” and has shown this emotional volatility since her first audition.
Demi’s take: “Jennel – she’s got the attitude and she’s got one of the best voices in this entire competition. I’m so excited that she’s in my group.”
My take: I am so excited too. Considering what we have seen so far, Jennel has a whole lot of “X” in her factor. I am thrilled she has made it this far and look for her to be an easy sell to American audiences.
Demi’s take: “CeCe has the stage presence. She may not be the most likable person in the competition, but I believe that I can get America to fall in love with her.”
My take: This backhanded compliment (if you can even call it that), says it all. I love Demi, but as an inexperienced, first time judge, I just don’t see us making the CeCe connection early enough in the live shows to keep her around.
How did my predictions go? Demi chose 3 of 4 shoulds and 2 of 4 woulds.
TEAM L.A. REID – OVER 25s – “This is where it gets competitive.”
L.A.’s take: “David Correy is a great voice, and talent, and charm so I expect big things from David Correy.”
My take: I like David Correy, but he may have already had his moment on this show. The Vino comparison is inevitable (the tattoos will do that), but Vino more easily differentiates himself vocally.
L.A.’s take: “Jason Brock’s voice is angelic. This is a very tough category, but this is flamboyance at its finest.”
My take: L.A. is not sure what to do with Jason Brock at this point. I do think that Jason Brock knows what to do with Jason Brock. If he can come out strong in the first few live shows and survive, L.A. will get on board.
L.A.’s take: “Tate Stevens is someone that you have to take seriously. He’s the real deal. He is an American classic.”
My take: An American classic like baseball? (Too soon?) I like Tate’s story and his drive, but I feel like a middle-aged country singer is a bit cliché.
L.A.’s take: “Vino Alan may have the strongest voice in the entire competition. He’s the greatest example of don’t judge a book by its cover.”
My take: Yes and yes. Vino has a gifted voice and I think with some correct marketing, could win over America’s hearts. He has L.A.’s full support.
How did my predictions go? L.A. chose 3 of 4 shoulds and 3 of 4 woulds.
TEAM SIMON COWELL – GROUPS – “Now it gets serious.”
Simon’s take: “I love this group of girls. I see massive, massive potential here.”
My take: As do I. I was very impressed with their audition at Simon’s “house.” They are relatable and their “have your pick” diversity (vocally and in terms of looks) will connect with various musical tastes.
Simon’s take: “They look great. They have great voices. I think they’re professional. I think they sound great and you just don’t ignore talent.”
My take: Yep, they are great, Simon. It will be interesting to see how America responds.
Simon’s take: “I like this combination. The two guys needed her and she needed the two guys. They’re different.”
My take: They really worked in Miami. I am not sure they have a particularly high ceiling, but as the only rap artist remaining, they will likely find a loyal audience.
Simon’s take: “I think they could be the surprise in this competition. I think they’re funny, difficult, trouble, but everything I like in a boy band.”
My take: I am not a fan and don’t get why they are at all innovative or interesting musically.
How did my predictions go? Simon chose 3 of 4 shoulds and 3 of 4 woulds.
What did you all think? Who are your favorite contestants? Is baseball really this annoying?
Next week: the first X Factor power rankings leading into the live shows, November 1.
David J. Bloom can be reached on twitter @davidbloom7 and writes about pop culture and the NBA for Bishop and Company. His weekly THE CHALLENGE: BATTLE OF THE SEASONS Power Rankings appears every Monday on Derrick Kosinski’s ultimatechallengeradio.com.