Tag Archives: Jennel Garcia

The X Factor – The Top 12 – Where America’s Rankings Are Revealed

For the first time (that anyone has ever heard of) in the history of live voting competition programs, this week’s X Factor live results show revealed the actual ranking of America’s vote.  Although the producing of this reveal was clumsy at best and unprofessional at worst (poor Mario and Khloe were understandably thrown off by some uncomfortable camera shots), the information is invaluable to the mentors, to future votes, to the contestants, and to the formatting of this column.  What follows is my analysis of the rankings, discussion of Wednesday’s loosely themed “movie” night set of performances (a major comeback for the show from an awful first week of live shows), and some advice to each contestant going forward.  In case you were still reeling from last week and missed out, Britney was still incoherent, although her “amazing” usage was kept in check.

 The Top 12 (as ranked by America)

 1.  Tate Stevens (should be 5)

Is this the right ranking?  Tate deserves to be ranked high, but this high?  His “Dead or Alive” rendition is a clean, clear-lined country performance that does not say much more than confirm that Tate is a cowboy.  I like his story (working with asphalt seems quite oppressive) and I genuinely think his “awshucks/happy to be here” persona is as genuine as they come.  I also think it helps that with Sister C gone, he is the only artist pushing the country palette.  I look forward to seeing whether a more nuanced theme (movie night is not that) will push him to show more artistry.

What needs to happen going forward?  More of the same will do fine for Tate and he may be safest staying in his home country zone.  At some point he is going to have find a little of the “X Factor” (beyond his background, he is severely lacking this quality).

2.  Carly Rose Sonenclar (should be 2)

Is this the right ranking? At worst, Carly Rose should be a finalist in this competition, so America got it right.  Thank goodness Miss Carly Rose knew that last week’s overproduced, “not at all her” performance was a major Britney misstep.  Her stripped down “It Will Rain” not only featured the best voice in the competition (and she is only 13!), but I also thought it gave her an opportunity to express this incredible connection and soul that emanates from her performance.  Simon is right.  She could be a real star.

What needs to happen going forward?  At a minimum, Carly Rose needs to stay clear of her mentor, Britney Spears, who two weeks in to the live shows, seems to be completely out her element.  Carly has been working toward (as displayed in her home video) a date with Simon Cowell since the age of 2 and has enough (this is really remarkable) self and musical knowhow to do what is right.  As long as he continues to display artistry, we should see her have a shot in the finals of this competition.

3.  Vino Alan (should be 8)

Is this the right ranking?  This is a bit of a surprise, considering every moment he is not singing seems utterly confusing (I loved when Simon had to direct him back to centre stage to finish the critique).  “When a Man Loves a Woman” is the right direction to take (kudos to LA for getting it right this week and America seemed to notice), but I think from the standpoint of recording artist viability, Vino has a ways to go (Demi expressed this poorly, but she was not far from the truth).  Beyond classic soul covers, where else can Vino go?  He should be somewhere in the middle of the pack.

What needs to happen going forward?  I think that Vino should find some music in the Otis Redding, Marvin Gaye, Sam Cooke, or Al Green arenas to continue to build some momentum in the coming weeks.  Also, his judge verbal reactions may want to be muted, X Factor production team.  They come across as a little bizarre.

4.  Diamond White (should be 6)

Is this the right ranking?  Possibly.  Diamond White was errantly sent home last week (Britney just doesn’t get it) and thankfully has been given another shot.  She is an incredible talent and vocally, did an outstanding job on Whitney’s “I Have Nothing,” but at 13, she should not be performing such a song against mostly adults or for that matter at all.  It is the song of a WOMAN (capital W) and Diamond is the most 13 of the 13 year-olds.  Again, Britney needs to get out of the way even more here (Diamond’s white outfit also made little to no sense).  Diamond is probably ranked a little too high and certainly should not be above some of the upcoming groups.

What needs to happen going forward?  Diamond must find song content that allows her voice to soar while acknowledging that she is very much a girl, not yet (even close to being) a woman.

5.  Fifth Harmony (should be 3)

Is this the right ranking? In a vacuum without looking at the other acts, a fifth place America vote ranking could be just right.  The artist formally known as 1432 (and before that Lylas) had a beautiful (and harmonized finally) performance of “A Thousand Years” that gave this loyal TV viewer almost chills.  Simon was working his magic this week with these five ladies, crafting a sound and an image that could compete in this competition and has real potential in the industry.

What needs to happen going forward? They need to keep their name (America will not forgive a fourth name change) and continue on this path that Simon so effectively fostered.  More harmony, more Camila, and more rehearsal will keep them around for a long time.

6.  Emblem3 (should be 1)

Is this the right ranking? This is absolutely the wrong ranking.  Emblem3, as Simon pointed out, should have been ranked number 1 and at worst, number 2.  I have largely been a holdout on these three until this week.  I was thoroughly entranced with their brilliant and relevant “My Girl” and “California Girls” mashup (with some One Direction hooks underneath).  They are electric, marketable, and could become huge.  I was genuinely surprised they were so low.  Look for America to get it right next week and beyond.

What needs to happen going forward?  Simon was genius this week and may want to provide a ballad to will the younger teenyboppers even more into the movement next week.

7.  Jennel Garcia (should be 4)

Is this the right ranking? If Demi knew what she were doing with Jennel, no, but based on what Demi has provided her, it is about right.  Simon was correct in pointing out that the entire look that Demi has created is wrong and that Jennel should return to her original audition roots.  This “I’m a rocker chick” direction misses the point entirely.  Jennel, more than anyone left in the competition, may have the “X” in the “X Factor” and this is developed through artistry, the right song selections, and an understanding of what Jennel has to offer.  I am not sure Demi gets it.

What needs to happen going forward? Beyond Simon or LA taking over, Jennel needs to worry less about image and worry more about her own connection to the material.  She is at her best when you can tell that it is Jennel performing, not some fabrication of the hair and makeup room.

8.  Paige Thomas (should be 9)

Is this the right ranking? It is close to it.  I wouldn’t place her above any of the acts ranked higher and I don’t think that many of the acts below are as good.  Her completely over the top theatrics on “Take My Breath Way” continue to conceal the reality that, as LA plainly pointed out, she is “good,” but not “great.”

What needs to happen going forward?  Paige needs to find music that better hits the sweetest spots of her voice and rely less heavily on the theatre.

9. Lyric 145 (should be 7)

Is this the right ranking?  Yes and no.  Lyric 145 is doing great work (although bizarre, their Alice in Wonderland fused “Supercalifragilisticexpiadlidocious” from Mary Poppins was oddly captivating), but I am not sure that they have much to say as a recording artist.  Simon has created a dynamic image that will be interesting to watch.  They could have been ranked above Paige and maybe Vino as well.

What needs to happen going forward? They have to find more truth in their material that connects them to their Queens and Flint, MI upbringings.

10. Beatrice Miller (should be 10)

Is this the right ranking? Yes.  Poor Beatrice has the distinction of now being the third best thirteen-year-old in the competition.  Her “Iris” made no sense for a recording artist (and made little to know sense as a teenager).  Again, Britney’s “mentoring” (it has to be in quotation marks at this point) is subpar and misguided.

What needs to happen going forward?  Beatrice needs to find some upbeat material that better connect with her age and her interests.  Heavy mid-90s rock ballads may need to be shuffled out of the rotation.

11. Arin Ray (should be 11)

Is this the right ranking?  Yes, he is in my bottom two or three.  Arin Ray is a sweet guy and much improved according to LA from last season (I am not sure how you can really remember what is contribution to Intensity was in 2011 X Factor), but I am not sure there is much there beyond a pleasant and eager seventeen year-old voice.

What needs to happen going forward? He needs have a performance that the young ladies and gents swoon over and fast.

12.  CeCe Frey (should be 12)

Is this the right ranking?  Well done America.  Although Demi has made a mess out of CeCe Frey (as in French, Mario Lopez), CeCe may have already been a mess to begin with.  Her “Eye of the Tiger” was a disaster.  If you look at all of Demi’s artist (and Britney’s for that matter, besides this week’s Carly Rose), you wonder if X Factor producers were right after all picking judge/mentors who are so young.

What needs to happen going forward? At this point, she is nothing to lose, so a 180 reinvention that rebrands her as something wholly different would not be a bad thing.

Eliminated – Jason Brock

On the scale of “devastated” to “bu-bye”, how do I feel about his departure?  Satisfied.  Although I will miss “Mr. Entertainment” and his silky smooth voice, he may have warn out his live TV welcome (“For the Gays and Japan!”).

My rankings:

  1. Emblem 3
  2. Carly Rose Sonenclar
  3. Fifth Harmony
  4. Jennel Garcia
  5. Tate Stevens
  6. Diamond White
  7. Lyric 145
  8. Vino Alan
  9. Paige Thomas
  10. Beatrice Miller
  11. Arin Ray
  12. CeCe Frey

What do you think?  Do you like the new transparent rankings?  Was Emblem3 America’s biggest mistake?  Will Demi continue to ruin her acts?  Is Britney studying more phrases to add to her judging repertoire?

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 SEASON Power Rankings appears weekly on Derrick Kosinski’s ultimatechallengeradio.com.




The X Factor Top 16 and Why Simon Hates Baseball

ImageCredit 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)

ImageDespite 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.” 



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.