Tag Archives: Khloe Kardashian Odom

The X Factor Season Finale Part II Running Diary – The End is Here

Last night, the final three acts of The X Factor performed for the last time before America’s final vote.  Tonight’s season finale part II is supposed to be a celebration of the season and will feature the big reveal of the winner of the $5 million recording contract.  As has become my way in other Wednesday night show recap/columns, I thought a running diary was the way to go.  Unlike the first performance of tonight, this diary was written live


8:00 – It’s the X Factor red carpet and a “countdown” until the show begins.  This is ridiculous.

8:01 – It’s LA Reid!  He looks like a hobbit next to Khloe’s Gandalf.

8:02 – It’s Demi Lovato!  She looks incredible, is incredible, but does not seem to be enjoying this silly interview with Mario Lopez.  Can you blame her?

8:02 – It’s Simon Cowell!  Khloe’s interview goes nowhere (a constant theme of season 2).

8:04 – It’s Britney!  It’s Pitbull!  It’s One Direction!  Honestly, this red carpet routine feels uber-staged and insincere.  This is embarrassing.

8:06 – The montage from last night reminds me of just how bad LeAnn Rimes performed last night in her duet with Carly Rose.  If Carly Rose loses this, I am holding the “I am worried about you” version of Miss Rimes accountable.

8:08 – Did Pitbull get his nickname because he kind of looks like a pitbull?  Can someone explain this to me?

8:10 – The packaged descriptions of the top three finalists (“the family man”) are too packaged (another unfortunate theme of this season).

8:10 – Hmm, what just happened? (I went back and watched.  Here is what happened: Mario says, “Right now America, here are the X Factor top 3!”  Then there is an excruciating six-second pause in which Mario and Khloe are frozen.  Next, in silence, Mario and Khloe cross stage left and begin to talk, but the mics are turned off so you don’t hear their attempts to save the moment.  Flash to a picture from outside of the red carpet of an SUV limo that may have been taken earlier in the evening.  Mario’s mic comes back on and he makes some joke about how the contestants are so nervous that they are “making a deal” if one of them wins.  Good try, Mario.  Khloe laughs nervously and says, “I think we are ready.”  Mario then again announces the top three and crosses stage right with a smile that says he wants to strangle whomever screwed this moment up so badly.  All of this epitomizes so much of what has been wrong this season)  That was unprofessional and inexcusable.  Wow.

8:11 – Lip-synching opening performances should not be happening on a season finale of a Simon Cowell produced reality competition program.  This is a complete mess so far.

8:12 – The walkthrough, SNL-like opening montage (“Look at all the performers that have come before you!”) is meant to be fun.  Only Camila from Fifth Harmony seems to be having any.  CeCe is getting her makeup done in the chair!  Look, there’s Diamond White!  Give her a hug Carly Rose!  This is just embarrassing.

8:18 – The LA Reid “animated at the judges desk” montage set to the Nutcracker suite is the best produced segment on The X Factor in many weeks.

8:21 – I have written this many times before: if I were a fan of country music, I would really dig Tate Stevens.  His voice shines on this slow-tempo Christmas jam.  This is the highlight of the night so far.

8:25 – This video montage from Tate’s family and friends from back home in Belton, MO is a genuinely beautiful moment.  His reaction to his mom and his son is what this show can be all about.

8:26 – Khloe, please be quiet with your “how did it make you feel” questions.  They are unnecessary and silly.

8:32 – The whole Simon “is the Grinch” montage feels very 2003.  Are they going to bring out Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard next?

8:34 – I am a sucker for “Baby, Please Come Home” and I am (admittedly) a sucker for Fifth Harmony performances.  Win or lose tonight, there is definitely something “X” as a factor with these five young women.

8:37 – Director of the X Factor: please show Dinah’s reaction to Dinah’s family and Normani’s reaction to Normani’s family.  Thank you.

8:38 – Quick update: Camila’s little sister Sofia is now the highlight of the episode.

8:39 – Fifth Harmony members all have seemingly amazing families.  This was a beautiful segment.

8:44 – Mario tells us that it is about to “get really intense in here.”  Is he describing the meeting he is about to have with Simon when Simon lets him know that he will not be returning next season?

8:45 – The Britney reaction shots video may highlight an underlying truth: is Britney’s body language communication more effective than her verbal communication?  Answer: Without question.

8:46 – Yeah, it was probably time for Carly Rose to tackle Mariah.

8:48 – These “funky toy soldier” dancers backing up Carly Rose are doing great work.  It is unclear whether they are young people or not.

8:50 – Doris, Carly’s piano teacher, is a special woman.  “Go Carly!”

8:52 – No, Mario.  It is hard to explain how montages like that make one feel (although Carly Rose manages an eloquent answer because she is just that good).  Stop asking, please.

8:53 – This Khloe interview with a fan is unintentional comedy in its ultimate form.  Steve Jones would be proud.

8:58 – Hello unexpected Khloe costume change.

8:59 – Fifth Harmony is in third place!  (This is not entirely unexpected).  Khloe’s first comment is unintelligible. (“Fifth Harmony, you guys are out of the competition, but you guys fought a crazy fight to stay where you guys have.”) Has Khloe been taking Britney’s speech classes?

9:03 – Quick final take on Fifth Harmony – I give Simon much credit here.  He recognized that there was something special with this combination of voices and personalities and mentored them to an improbable third place finish.  They were always engaging and enjoyable to watch (the anti-Sister C) and certainly fill a gap in the marketplace.  I wish them the best of luck in the future.

9:10 – Khloe continues to ask awful questions of the Stevens and Sonenclar families.  Simon and X Factor brain trust: let’s find some new host talent for season 3.

9:14 – Watching this video montage of the entire season inspires this lingering thought: Jennel Garcia deserved to go further in this competition.

9:17 – When asked what her favorite moment of the season was, Britney’s reponse: “The whole season has been pretty amazing to me.”  Classic.

9:18 – What is Drew Chadwick talking about?  Renting a cabin and going snowboarding?  Thankfully, one thing Khloe did learn this year: take away the mic from Drew Chadwick before he finished a sentence.  We will all be better for it.

9:23 – My wife’s comment: “Pitbull looks like an old, creepy guy.  He is not even that good and this song is stupid.”

9:25 – She continues, “He has a little ghost goatee.  That is disgusting.”  Speak the truth.

9:32 – The chemistry between Demi and Simon is undeniable.  Of all the things that need to continue in season 3, this is it.

9:36 – One Direction came and went.  Honestly, it was too easy to tune them out.  I want the “biggest boy band in the world” to more effectively hold my attention.

9:42 – Carly Rose and Tate on the stage one last time and together singing a duet is a potential treat.  Unfortunately, “The Climb” is stuck in no-man’s land for their two diametrically different voices.

9:46 – The Tate and Carly Rose hug at the end is an unexpected moment.  These two finalists really care for one another.

9:48 – Simon has now unbuttoned three additional shirt buttons.  He is trendsetting a new form of shirt called the “Helm’s Deep V-Neck.” (And no, I am not sure what this spontaneous pun means either.)

9:52 – Khloe’s costume change no. 3 does not work.  This bedazzled pink and gold get-up is off-putting.

9:54 – This is it….the winner of The X Factor and the $5 Million dollar recording contract is…

9:55 – …Tate Stevens!

9:55 – Tate and then LA’s hug with Carly Rose is complete class.  Credit to both of these men for understanding what it must feel like for a thirteen-year-old girl to come this far and then fall short.

9:56 – Carly Rose is visibly disappointed.  Don’t you fret, girl.  We will be hearing more from you soon.

9:58 – Demi and Simon have a sweet moment next to one another when they watch Tate sing through his “I am the winner” song.  If anyone was going to beat Carly Rose, I am happy that it is this talented and kind man.

9:59 – Emblem3 are making fools of themselves on stage.  Tough lasting impression, lads.

10:00 – The final image of the season? Camila giving Tate a congratulatory hug from behind as we fade to black.  The X Factor season 2 season is now in the books and I think we all need a little break…

Stay tuned for a reflection on the whole season and an assessment of the current state of X Factor affairs in the coming days (or weeks).  Until then, happy holidays to all!

David Bloom can be reached on twitter at @davidbloom7.  His THE CHALLENGE POWER RANKINGS appear weekly on Derek Kosinski’s UltimateChallengeRadio.com. 

The X Factor Top 4 – It’s Finally Time to Tune In

The X Factor takes a fair amount of self-referential pride in being a trendsetter, a buzz machine that drives popular culture, and a weekly live event that supposes to be the centerpiece of the musical universe.  In reality, little of this has been true in its first and now (nearing the end of) second United States season, but, in order for it to succeed, The X Factor and its most essential promoters (the hosts and the judges, the mad men from Pepsi-Cola, not always Fox) must believe it be true.  Khloe and Mario (congrats on the marriage this past weekend), befuddled and overmatched as they may be, are paid to facilitate a consummate self (as in The X Factor’s self) promotional tour.  They spend their weekly three hours of live airtime reminding the viewer just how important the many happenings on the stage are.  They improvise questions (habitually disastrous and poorly timed) of fabricated significance, they react to playful banter between Demi and Simon as if they are observing moments of unheard of dramatic tension, and they introduce each judge entrance and contestant performance as if the fate of the universe (listen, the opening credits justify my hyperbolic metaphor) is in play.  Unfortunately, we too often see through the work (a generous term) of Ms. Kardashian Odom, the artist formally known as AC Slater, and the publicity junket juggernaut to find all of the glitz and glamoured overproduction disingenuous.  Does this competition and all the baggage that too often comes with it really justify a $5 million recording contract prize?  Do any of these contestants even deserve it?  Should the brain trust of the show be sent to the naughty corner?

With these questions and thoughts too frequently pervading the audience psyche during each weekly viewing, something made this week’s shows featuring an audience “choose your own adventure (at least in CeCe’s case) of a song” Pepsi-Challenge and an “unplugged” performance feel so different.  On one level, the judges panel (excluding Ms. Spears who wears her passion on her sleeve, except she doesn’t seem to wear any sleeves) could not have been more committed to their mentees and the performers at large.  Simon (always strives to reach the $5 million ceiling of the show), LA (finally grooving after faltering earlier in the season), and Demi (with newly sharpened edges and some refreshing honesty) went to bat for the contestants and the competition itself.  They were passionate, clear, forward-thinking, enthusiastic, and largely accurate in their understanding of performance success or lack there of.  They cheerleadered the answer to the big “so what?” question that the X Factor must continually face with a contagious energy.  I cared because they cared.

Although judge positive activity (in its many manifestations) is an essential component to the success of this show, ultimately, it is about the contestants, and for the first time all season, this group of contestants left everything on that stage.  Maybe this is a byproduct of the depreciating numbers and proximity to the finals, but something universally clicked and we, the audience at home, were finally faced with the music (stealing X Factor puns is my right).  Riding the birth of a Carly Rose star nation wave (she is really in a different league), the momentum throughout the first night of performances was filled memorable musical moments and heightened clarity as to who these artists are right now and what they may become.

Two eliminations later, we are down to the top 4, and for the first time all season, the buzz (especially surrounding the privilege of experiencing a Carly Rose Sonenclar performance) is worthy.

Before we scout out the top 4 contestants and take a moment to honor the fallen two, here a few side notes that must be addressed:

  • Drew Chadwick of Emblem3 wore sleeves all week.  Apparently the memo was received.
  • The Sony X headphones segment was vomit-inducing (in a Survivor private cinema showing of Jack and Jill kind of way).  The product placement propensity is one thing, but to ask the contestants to discuss the origins of their love of music synonymously with their use of the Sony X headphones was unforgivable.
  • The segments involving conversations over tea between Carly Rose and Diamond could be made into a very watchable television show (I so wanted to hear more of their analysis on last week’s Vino exit).  It could be called “Teenage Tea Talk” or “An Afternoon with Carly Rose and Diamond” or “Britney said what?” (clearly my show titles need some work).
  • I know I mentioned this a little bit above, but Demi is doing great work on this show.  For a few weeks there she was struggling to find her mentor wings (and maybe never did), but her seat at the judge’s table continues to bring insight and perspective (whether I agree or disagree).  Her ability to frame her own opinion, challenge contestants with largely tangible constructive criticism, and articulate her ideas in a compassionate way have all impressed.  We sometimes forget how young she is to be doing this very high-profile gig so well.  Whether she is back next year or not, I am proud to have become a fan of Demi Lovato (now off to the naughty chair with you).

Now to the top 4 and some goodbyes to Diamond, CeCe, and Demi’s mentor role…

The Top 4 (as ranked by America)

1 (2) Tate Stevens (should be 2)

Is this the right ranking? This displacement at the top is not the right ranking (Carly Rose should be a definitive number 1 – more on that in a bit), and despite a mini-comeback with his Pepsi-Challenge Garth Brooks tune that fit in the best part of his wheelhouse, the acoustic “Living on a Prayer” is not soon annulled from the record.  For many weeks now, I have been asking for Team LA/Tate to explore the “countrification” of a song outside of Tate’s comfort zone genre, so I do applaud the attempt.  Simply put, this attempt failed.  As high note limitations were illuminated by not attempting the iconic chorus lead vocal, so too were artist limitations.  This is no offense to country music, the sanctity of its industry, and an acknowledgment of its continual instances of crossover appeal, but its niche audience (albeit a huge one that can from time to time dominate the billboard popular music charts) has a certain American cultural ceiling (the metropolitan cities on the coasts are not central audience hubs).  Tate is the same way.  He can be a successful and even a very good country singer (or so I am told by Demi), but he not of the caliber of singer/performer to deserve a $5 million recording contract.

What needs to happen going forward to win? At this point, Tate needs to stay country.  I think that he may not be capable of the crossover artistry that I have craved and his best chance at winning is to keep doing what his fans love him for.

2 (1) Carly Rose Sonenclar (should be 1)

Is this the right ranking? No.  Carly Rose should be number 1 and should win The X Factor.  I agree with LA that Carly Rose’s performance of Justin Bieber’s “As Long As You Love Me” was record ready.  She, probably in ways that she has not before, showed such incredible and nuanced musical restraint that allowed some of the less travelled components of her artistry to shine (in contrast to her impressive big note belts that have highlighted previous week performances).  I have heard the song once or twice before Wednesday night, and, through this lack of familiarity, heard it almost fresh as a real Carly Rose track.  As mentioned last week, like Adam Lambert on AI before her, her vocal and performance capabilities are so awe-inspiring that I eagerly await each new performance in a middle school crush kind of way (the butterflies and goosebumps begin with the anticipation).  Although “If I Were a Boy” had some moments slightly below the pitch on some of the high belted notes (see Simon and Demi – she is human after all!), the idea that she continues to attack some of the best female vocal performers in history (and this week, she didn’t even have a choice) and so competently perform them, is simply remarkable.  With four acts left in the competition, it is not too late to jump onboard the Carly Rose Sonenclar train to tune-in to witness the birth of this star.

What needs to happen going forward to win?  She nailed the nuanced artistry this week on her Bieber track.  Now, I am with Demi that combatting an uptempo number should be part of Carly Rose’s next challenge.  With the finals just a few weeks away, she must work to find new ways to increase her voting block and overtake Tate once again.

3 (3) Emblem3 (should be 4)

Is this the right ranking? No, they should be fourth, and the difference between Emblem3 and Fifth Harmony is widening.  Last week, Demi called for a change-up from the physically clumping reggae/ska/pop performances that Emblem3 seem to have stalled at.  Wesley responded with talk about “playing their own instruments” and “writing their own songs.”  This comment was curious because from the start of my Emblem3 journey, I have questioned their musical abilities (certainly as singers) and have struggled to consistently understand their dynamism, but coming out of the acoustic “Just the Way You Are,” a no-frills attached performance was not a friend of changing my opinion.  Unlike Carly Rose, who, when singing Celine or Beyoncé, benefits by living up to the comparison to the original, Bruno Mars is an amazing vocalist and the boys of Emblem3 did not come close, thereby hurt by the comparison.  Even more disappointing was the performance of Drew “sleeved this week” Chadwick who finally got the opportunity to sing outside of his faux-rapping style that we have grown accustomed to in earlier performances.  Sadly, he really shouldn’t be singing (let alone in a $5 million competition) at all (he has the most bizarre vowel usage) and his guitar seemed to only add background filler to the track.  I am happy that these boys love music and skateboarding and I think they have found a way to fuel some of their more negative energies or tendencies, but this is the big leagues and they should not be a part of that.

What needs to happen going forward to win? I don’t think they can win.  With fewer acts, they are more exposed as teenage boys who crashed a party that they should never have been invited to.

4 (4) Fifth Harmony (should be 3)

Is this the right ranking?  I would have them ranked ahead of Emblem3, but well below Tate and Carly.  Fifth Harmony (or Fifth Unison as LA would like to think, brilliant) were solid to good on both of their performances (they set fire to the rain, but it blew out quickly), but, in LA’s request for more substantive representation of the their name in their song arrangements comes a challenge they have yet to overcome.  What is their musical identity?  I do appreciate that recent weeks have had fewer “pass the solo” to all performer moments and have focused more on one or two leads (Lauren has been the primary beneficiary, more Camila please), but I still don’t get what I am hearing beyond five pretty good to awesome solo artists.  Demi was sweet to applaud their version of her “Give Your Heart a Break,” but I can objectively disagree with her assessment that they did it better than the original.  They still have too much Fifth Unison going on and not enough time to right the ship to victory.

What needs to happen going forward to win?  Last week I wrote: I want to connect more them as a musical artist and less as a sweet, “so happy to be here” teenybopper story.  This remains true and as Carly Rose and Tate have started to define who they are (or not in the case of Tate’s Bon Jovi fail) in musical terms, Fifth Harmony is still finding that footing.  Material that provides a more dynamic harmonic background (think a female version of Mumford and Sons, in cases like this I yearn for a group like Sister C) could propel them closer to the final.


CeCe Frey (should be 6)

On Wednesday night, CeCe Frey tried to take on Lady Gaga and Katy Perry (the audience’s choice) and did a solid showing, but her fate was sealed a long time ago.  Simon keeps applauding her for being a fighter and for “making this competition interesting.”  I agree, but it has been for all the wrong reasons.  CeCe has spent Season 2 of The X Factor as a competitor on this edge of glory who has provided the editors a through storyline of futility, overconfidence, and unhealthy competition.  The Paige and CeCe bootcamp sing-offs and all access initial audition behind the scenes footage never gave the audience a chance with CeCe.  She was polarizing from the start (some of it is just the way we react to her), but, if they really believed in her talent (albeit closer to false than true), why not cultivate it instead of making her into a pawn in a contrived narrative?  Notwithstanding, CeCe’s time had come and she took it all in stride.  She is a woman who grew so much during the X Factor process and whose production team did not let the audience always in on these changes.

Diamond White (should be 5)

One of my favorite moments of Thursday night was Diamond’s comment to Mario and Khloe after having been eliminated about how Cher Lloyd (a successful recording artist that had not reached my purview until her performance on The X Factor several weeks ago) also finished fifth on The X Factor (in the UK) and that this could bode well for Diamond in the future.  This optimism, this sparkle in her eye, and her exceptional vocal talent will be missed.

My rankings:

  1. Carly Rose Sonenclar
  2. Tate Stevens
  3. Fifth Harmony
  4. Emblem 3

What do you think?  Did you forget about Melanie Amaro too?  Can Carly Rose retake number 1 before the finals?  Why did Drew start firing an air machine gun after his second performance?  Is Drew the new Vino (a live tv director’s nightmare) when it comes to unscripted microphone chatter?

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 8 – A Star Is Born

The X Factor decision to air the live results elimination (and don’t forget a rousing performance by Cher Lloyd!) on Thanksgiving night is a consistent reminder of this season’s production team brain trust failure.  As the NFL preemption yielded an 8:15 EST start, I still had an inkling of hope that maybe they would save the elimination for next week.  Unfortunately, my wishes were not their command, and on a night when America sits together in connected harmony, X Factor presented the disharmony of (not one but) two eliminations.  This decision all but eradicated the small amount of goodwill brought on by Wednesday night’s “I am thankful for you” (frequently over the top emotional) tear festival.  The good news in all of this (and maybe Mario could refrain from butchering her last name pronunciation as Sonenblerg as he did Thursday night, just embarrassing), Carly Rose Sonenclar had an X Factor moment, a two and a half minute journey “somewhere over the rainbow” that makes sticking around for the many pitfalls along the way (Khloe had a particularly challenging time this week) well worth it.  On Wednesday night’s X Factor, America saw the birth of a star.

Here is my take on the top 8 as voted by America, beginning with Miss Carly Rose “don’t you dare forget this name” Sonenclar taking her rightful place at number 1:

The Top 8 (as ranked by America)

1 (2) Carly Rose Sonenclar (should be 1)

She is thankful for: Her older brother Russ, who, according to an inside source who attends college with him, is a really sweet guy.

Is this the right ranking? YES!  YES!  YES!!!!  Carly Rose Sonenclar is the one beat and this week, according to Simon (even in perhaps an understatement), she “blew away the competition.”  Her “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” (the Eva Cassidy-like arrangement) was breathtaking, transformative, and finally (Carly Rose’s only real obstacle to winning) felt accessible.  As the wave of Carly Rose admiration begins to build even more height and depth over the remaining week’s of X Factor’s second US season, it will be her viable recording artist ascension that we tune in for.  We are all witnesses.

What needs to happen going forward?  This week’s stunning performance was as close to flawless (song selection, arrangement, execution) as you can get live.  I think it is important that every song that Carly Rose delivers in the future is of her caliber, quality, and ability.  Stay away from throwaway and transient pop tunes and embrace the material from the great American or Popular Music Songbook.

2 (1) Tate Stevens (should be 4)

He is thankful for: His dad, who sacrificed his own musical career aspirations as a drummer to be able to support his family.

Is this the right ranking? It is not that Tate had an off week, it just wasn’t his week (and somewhat surprisingly, he managed to hold off Vino Alan, who, by all accounts, was the runner-up to Carly on Wednesday’s nights show).  I think Tate is a warm and cuddly story, but his viability beyond this show (and certainly as deserving a 5 million dollar talent competition) remains a question.  Now that Carly Rose is placed where she belongs, if some of his upper tier competitors have transcendent performances, I could foresee Tate falling down even more.

What needs to happen going forward?  I think Tate needs to have a performance that stretches his artistry within his genre.  Think David Cook’s brilliant “Always Be My Baby” from several Idol seasons ago.  He did an off-type Mariah Carey song in his own and it was very successful.  Run of the mill country ballads (albeit well executed) may not bring him back to the top.

3 (3) Vino Alan (should be 3)

He is thankful for: The troops (there had to be one) due in part to his experience singing for them on a base near his house (they wouldn’t allow him to serve because his head tattoos were not going to work in the military).

Is this the right ranking?  Vino Alan knows how to deliver a patriotic ballad the night before Thanksgiving (and I do agree with Simon that “God Bless the USA” has a pleasing melodic line).  This was his best performance to date (by a long shot) and came across as sincere when singing (as discussed previously, when Vino’s mic is turned on after the performance, unexpected and peculiars things seem to happen).  Vino at number 3 (he could have even been second) seems about right.

What needs to happen going forward?  We are often told how much Vino has gone through in life, but have yet to see a song selection effectively connect to his backstory.  I want LA to find material that will give Vino a bit more authenticity because the “gooey on the inside” common allusion is not what he projects on the outside (let’s just say that a dark alley may not be the place that I want to meet Vino for the first time).

4 (4) Emblem3 (should be 5)

They are thankful for: Their spiritual leaders who have housed them, clothed them, and taken them on outdoor journeys filled with martial arts and survival skills (the moral of this story is to find me my own spiritual leader).

Is this the right ranking? Yeah, it just about right.  Their cover of “Secrets” by OneRepublic was a little boring.  On a positive note, Emblem3 seem to be maturing as people (not enough to avoid obnoxious “Hi Mom, I am on camera” walk byes backstage) and have clearly bonded with Simon.  The spark of creation that we witnessed a few weeks ago (X Factor able) seems like a long time ago at this point and I am just not sure they have the talent to compete with Carly Rose.  When they were next to Beatrice and CeCe as the only non-safe act remaining, I was not surprised and this is not a good thing (even if their inclusion was just to create more drama).

What needs to happen going forward? I am starting to realize that their musical scope may be more limited than I thought.  Their reggaed emo-pop m.o. has been done and done, but I am just not sure what else is there for them.  Simon needs to find them a song that does their thing better than they have ever done it before.  I would not be surprised to see them hover close to elimination next week (if some of the acts under them on the leader board step to the plate).

5 (7)  Diamond White (should be 2)

She is thankful for: Her mom, in what might of have been the most heartfelt thank you of the evening.

Is this the right ranking?  No, I think Diamond could and should be even higher.  Her “Because You Love Me” nailed the theme and evidently nailed her beautiful mother/daughter connection.  I believed every word and so did Diamond.  In a Carly Rose-less competition, Diamond would be the girl of the moment, but she is sadly compared to Carly Rose’s crazy (alien dare the judges say) talent and professionalism.  Regardless, Diamond is wonderful singer and a special young person.

What needs to happen going forward?  The last two weeks I wrote this: 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.  This week, she nailed this.  More of the same for Diamond will continue her rise in the rankings.

6 (10) Paige Thomas (should be 8)

She is thankful for: Colleen, a beautiful surrogate mom (Paige’s tragically passed away when she was six), who took Paige in when she was a young teenager and has been there for her ever since.

Is this the right ranking? No, this is one of the biggest surprises of the week.  I love Colleen and Paige’s story, but unfortunately, her performance of Britney’s “Everytime” was one of the worst performances of the live shows, filled with unexpected and inexcusable pitch problems and overdramatic shaky voice syndrome.  I may have even preferred Britney’s vocal rendition (at least auto-tuned is tuned).  Based on her performance (and past performances), Paige should have gone home.

What needs to happen going forward?  I think Paige’s journey to be an over-the-top costumed, stage production heavy, but vocally average performer may be irreversible.  Her last chance may be to strip everything back and just sing again on a topic that does espouse tears (one of Paige’s perennial struggles).

7 (6)  Fifth Harmony (should be 6)

They are thankful for: God.

Is this the right ranking?  Let’s start with their thankfulness.  I take all pre-performance videos for what they are: melodramatic, but at times touching.  Fifth Harmony’s love fest did not hit the right notes with me and felt too fabricated and impersonal.  This led to a performance of “I’ll Stand By You” that the judges seemed to love, but I had trouble connecting with.  I look at this week as a bit of a mulligan for this fabulous five.  Look for a little comeback next week.

What needs to happen going forward? I will back off my assertion last week that they are a dark horse to win this thing (there is no way that Carly Rose will lose to this group), but I think they still have a runner-up ceiling.  Next order of business for Fifth Harmony is to define their sound (to their credit, I think they have found and discovered – albeit packaged – a group identity offstage).

8 (5)  CeCe Frey (should be 7)

She is thankful for: Her late sister Kelsey, who tragically passed away when CeCe was very little due to complications related to CP.

Is this the right ranking?  It is close to correct, although I would definitely have her above Paige.  Her performance of “The Wind Beneath My Wings” was delivered honestly and beautifully to Kelsey.  Besides Diamond, I thought this was the best execution of the “I am thankful for…” theme of the week.  I give her credit for doing what she did after watching her pre-song video, but after weeks of tears from both her and Paige, it is hard to discern how much of it is real and how much is theatrics.  Sorry.

What needs to happen going forward? I am still not sure.  Her “it” or “X” as always been a factor with CeCe, so I would play more into that next week.  If there is another double elimination, I would expect her to go home.

EliminatedArin Ray (last week in 9th place)

Arin Rsy should be proud of how far he went in this competition.  From the beginning, I think he was always little overmatched and this week’s reaction to judge critique displayed just how hard this type of show is for a person of his age (see: Beatrice’s reaction to being eliminated).  I wish the best and hope that he and Normani can continue to kind of be something more than friends.

EliminatedBeatrice Miller (laat week in 8th place)

Beatrice did an admirable job of singing through week after week of Britney’s drab modern/alternative rock song selections (as a huge Snow Patrol fan, I struggled through “Chasing Cars” this week).  Her ode to her two twin sisters was really sweet (Did you catch the moment when the surprise visit almost was “derailed” when twin number 2 tripped on the stairs en route to her Beatrice reunion hug?  The producers tried to edit it out, but twins number 1’s point of contact would have been missed, so leave it in the background did they.  Tough moment).  Again, especially after answering “no” to Khloe’s irresponsible “Are you ok?” question after having been eliminated (Beatrice was sobbing at the time, so she is obviously not, Miss “struggled mightily this week” Kardashian Odom), this is a tough road for a thirteen-year-old, and Beatrice should hang her head high.

My rankings:

  1. Carly Rose Sonenclar
  2. Diamond White
  3. Vino Alan
  4. Tate Stevens
  5. Emblem 3
  6. Fifth Harmony
  7. CeCe Frey
  8. Paige Thomas

What do you think?  Will Arin and Normani stay close?  Did Carly Rose correct Mario’s pronunciation of her name?  Do Khloe and Mario rehearse any of this?

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 – 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.




Britney is not amazing as The X Factor stumbles into live shows

NIGHT 1 – Wednesday

There is really no way around this: Wednesday night’s first X Factor live show of the season was an unmitigated disaster.  The sixteen final acts (four from each mentor’s category) performed a hodgepodge of nondescript, throwaway songs mostly overblown with unnecessary and painfully distracting dancers and stage production that would lead a first time viewer (“Auditions aren’t for me, but let me check out the first live show!”) to question the overall talent and struggle to find more than a few favorite performers to root for.  Many acts (especially the mentees of Demi and Britney) were given hideous and peculiar makeovers that looked like they were either put through a 1985 VMA Awards time capsule (in Demi’s case), Britney Spears’ 1999 closet (what she did to “Hit Me Baby One More Time-ify” Carly Rose was unconscionable), or “Yo MTV Raps” wardrobe room (Lyric 145, who LA reasonably questioned for selling out).  Loyal viewers from the beginning of this season wanted to know what had happened to their favorite acts (What was Jason Brock doing?  Why is Demi pigeonholing Jennel as a rocker chick?) and were further confused by others (the constructed rivalry between CeCe and Paige became a competition of who could look the least human).  This was just a mess.

In fairness to the X Factor brass (and furthering the theme of last week’s column), the abrupt Giants sweep of the Tiger in the World Series moved the X Factor airing up one day, so maybe they weren’t ready.  Maybe the format of this week (no public vote, judges select the final twelve) led Simon and friends to make the first live show an audition for next week and thereby wanted to hold back any semblance of quality.  Who knows?  What is clear is that the final twelve (and the mentors in their song selection and overall guidance) have their work cut out for them next week to reattempt to engage the American public in these aspiring to stardom musical acts.

Since this was the first live show, I must note how both the live debuts of new hosts Mario “having a strong career second act” Lopez and Khloe “daughter of Attorney Robert” Kardashian Odom and first-time judge/mentor Britney “tightly handled” Spears faired (Yes, this is Demi’s first live show as well, but she is honest, natural, not always affective, but refreshingly unrehearsed).


Mario Lopez, channeling Idol season 3 Ryan Seacrest, is a hosting/entertainment show professional.  He reads the teleprompter with the best of them, knows how to handle producer instruction in his ears, and is not easily rattled when live problems arise.  He will never take Steve Jones-like risks (most of the time a great thing, although I do miss the limitless unintentional comedy of a Steve Jones hosting experience), yielding a smooth execution that will never excessively standout or dramatically underperform.

Khloe Kardashian Odom, who is really diving into the hosting deep end here without knowing how to swim, had a respectable debut and will only grow into the role (wardrobe body part accentuation notwithstanding).  When teleprompter reading, she is a work in progress, often struggling with word emphasis, cadences, and timing.  This will improve and it will certainly help to have Super Mario by her side.  Khloe is at her best when she is let loose to improvise (multiple times referring to “sexy Simon”) and hold judge comments accountable.  In this exchange with Demi (maybe the most real moment of the episode) after 1432’s (what is up with this name?) performance, Khloe channeled her late father’s courtroom skills:

Khloe: “Demi, who was the one that clicked for you, Demi?”

Demi: (not hearing or ignoring the question) “Next up, we have my final contestant from my group…”

Khloe: “Demi, Demi, who was the one that clicked for you?”

Demi: “Oh, I am…they should figure it out on their own?  I am not going to say it right here…”

Khloe: “I want to know and I think they should know so they know how to work better together.”

Demi: “I think that they should all just…you (with a point)”

Mario: (chiming in) “Ok, it took a little interrogation.”

Khloe: (not backing down) “Which one?  Carmella?”

Demi: “Yes, I think you all should learn something from her.”

This is a refreshing live TV exchange and more of this from Khloe is only a good thing.


Here is a complete breakdown of the sixteen comments made by Britney after the sixteen acts with some of my brief observations to follow (I sometimes struggled capturing punctuation and grammar of Britney speak):

“I felt, I just feel like you’re outrageous, you’re outrageous, I love everything about it, the costumes are beautiful, your performance was great, and I think you are a true star.” – after Paige Thomas (Does she even know what “outrageous” means?)

“I am so proud of you, I can’t believe.  You were a little genius up there and I love the performance the way you gave it.  And, it was on, I loved it.” – after Arin Ray (As opposed to the way you didn’t give it?  Little genius?  Really?)

“You were amazing.  You completely surprised me.  I was not expecting that and I felt you.  It was amazing.” – after David Correy (Note: The word “amazing” was used two times.  Oh, there will be more.)

“I thought it was very interesting.  I thought you guys – I wasn’t expecting that, and I felt like you really delivered.  You had a great performance and I think you were stunning.” – after Sister C

“I felt like you rocked it out.  You completely rocked it out.  I love your hairstyle.  I love the way you dressed.  I loved everything about.  It was really amazing.” – after Jennel Garcia (Note: The use of “Amazing” for a third time.)

“You impressed me so much.  I am so incredibly proud of you and I’m, you were amazing.” after Diamond White (Of course, above all else, “amazing” (number 4).)

“I really feel like you were really good and I feel your effort and but I was a little bored.” after Vino Alan (At least this appears to be a break from the “amazing” script.)

“I was genuinely entertained.” – after Jason Brock (Her emphasis on “genuinely” is classic.)

“I agree with LA. I felt like overall it was a really great performance.  I loved your outfit.  I love your performance.  It was really great, but your vocals were a little weak sometimes.” after CeCe Frey (Read this back one more time.  She really struggles with sentence structure variation.)

“I feel like you wow me every time you perform.  Every time I see you I’m just like “I know you get the girls, you get me” and I think you’re amazing.” – after Tate Stevens (What is she talking about?  “I know you get the girls”?  What does this even mean?  Note: “Amazing” number 5.)

“I disagree.  I think you are a true star.  You are amazing.  You are the best and I loved it.  It was great.” – after Beatrice Miller (“Amazing” number 6.  Beatrice’s response to Mario’s question about what Britney is like: “Britney is the best.  She totally gets what it is like to be a kid.”  I fear this is all too true.)

“I really feel like you could have chose a better song but overall it was really interesting and entertaining.” – after Lyric 145 (You know “interesting” can often be used as a euphemism for “I don’t like it” or “I don’t get it.”  I think for Britney, “interesting” means interesting.)

“I felt like your energy just drew us in and you were very, very honest.  I was pleasantly surprised.” – after 1432

“I feel like you are a true star.  You have what it takes.  I was definitely entertained and you are amazing.” – after Willie Jones (“Amazing” number 7.)

“I felt your vocals were amazing and you did a great, great job.” – after Carly Rose Sonneclar (“Amazing number 8.)

“Your trio is amazing.  You are absolutely adorable…(the audience it too loud to hear)…you guys were amazing.” – after Emblem3 (And, finally, “amazing” 9 and 10).

The transcript does not even come close to encapsulating the struggle that is Britney’s live verbal expression.  She is a mess and seems to using a word bank of eight words (amazing, interesting, love, great, entertaining, I, definitely, felt).  I know this was her first night, but I am concerned going forward that we are in store for more of this inconsequential babble.  It begs the question (especially considering her disastrous mentor artistic choices this week) if she will be able to support her very talented teens.  Can you imagine if Khloe had interrogated her?  What would she have said?  (“You are amazing.”)  My take: I think like all parts of her 2012 life, Britney is carefully controlled by her handlers.  Everything she says, does, and eats is predetermined or meticulously edited (including concert performances).  This is her first sojourn into live expression in some time and the philosophy of her handlers this week was to give her some token phrases to work from and to keep it all brief.  I hope that she is allowed a little more leverage going forward so we at least get a sense of what (and dare I say if) she thinks on her own.


After Jason Brock’s horrendous (Simon’s word) performance he asks, “Mario Lopez, can I pinch your butt?”  Mario responds, “Oh, we have to keep it PG-13 up here buddy, live show.”  Classic.

NIGHT 2 – Thursday

This week, the public sits back and (mostly) does not enjoy, while the mentors choose two of their acts to immediately go forward to the final twelve and two of their acts to perform a “save me song.”  Post “save me song,” Simon, Britney, LA, and Demi must keep one of their acts and send their other act home.  Briefly, here is what went down.


Demi immediately sends Jennel Garcia and Paige Thomas to the safe place.  Jennel is her biggest no-brainer, who, despite some misguided rock angst fabrication on Wednesday night, is the only Demi contestant that has any shot in this competition.  Paige Thomas’ Rhianna-lite performance Wednesday night (“outrageous” according to Ms. Spears) was weird enough for Demi to lead her through.  CeCe (despite some pitch problems and an overall creepy affect) clearly differentiated herself (in a good way) from the one trick Southern gentleman, Willie Jones, ending his X Factor life.

Moving on to the top 12: Jennel Garcia, Paige Thomas, CeCe Frey

Who has a chance to win this competition: Jennel Garcia

OVER 25s

Now that LA portends to be more on board with his Over 25s group, I have gone in an opposite direction and left Wednesday’s live show unsure of what to do with any of these men.  LA selected Tate Stevens (the conservative choice, a good singer, not much more) and Vino Alan (visibly vindictive for Britney’s “boring” comment) to move on.  David Correy’s “way too much” rendition of Kelly Clarkson’s “Since You’ve Been Gone” (Demi and Simon were so on point with their comments) and Jason Brock’s “One Moment in Time” (a great song selection, the too high key yielded some unreachable high notes) were aptly like judging, according to Simon, “two horses at the pack of the pack.”  LA made the right choice by keeping Jason who could use better mentoring and less “Mr. Entertainment!” from Mr. Reid in future weeks.

Moving on to the top 12: Vino Alan, Tate Stevens, Jason Brock

Who has a chance to win this competition: At this point, no one


Britney made a mess of her group this week, so we all felt relief when she correctly put Carly Rose Sonneclar through to the top 12.  Her selection of Beatrice Miller was a bit of a surprise (especially to the emotional, Beatrice).  Arin and Diamond both strutted their vocal stuff leaving Britney with “like the hardest decision ever.”  She chose the perhaps more ready for primetime Arin (I am not sure I really get it) over Diamond White (such a sweetheart).  Is it too late to assign Simon to both the groups and the teens and have Britney sit back and sip Pepsi?  I don’t think she would mind!

Moving on to the top 12: Beatrice Miller, Carly Rose Sonenclar, Arin Ray

Who has a chance to win this competition: Carly Rose Sonenclar


Simon’s category had the best showing on Wednesday night (although I was kind of with LA on the hip-hop-less Lyric 145 performance) and all his groups have something to add to this competition.  However, his selections of Emblem3 (the frontrunner at this point) and Lyric 145 to the top 12 were the right decisions.  Sister C was Simon’s group casualty and as little C sister pointed out, maybe they should stick to country and stay away from pop.  1432 is saved for another week, although their second name (they used to be Lylas) is not.  Simon wants an on-line competition to make a better name.  It is not a good sign that this five girl construction is still in search of a viable name at this point.

Moving on to the top 12: Emblem3, Lyric 145, the artist formally known as 1432/Lylas

Who has a chance to win this competition: Emblem3.  I finally understood why they are the frontrunners this week.  Although never going to be my jam (this bad behavior will not help), they are going to be very attractive to young music consumers who want to watch three young, good looking dudes have so much fun onstage.  I think their talent is in this charisma (certainly not musically) and like always on The X Factor, in Simon we trust.

What do you think?  Is season 2 of The X Factor Emblem3‘s to lose? Is Britney going to add more words to her vocabulary?

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 every Monday on Derrick Kosinski’s ultimatechallengeradio.com.