Nov. 3, 2011 at 9:04 AM ET
If anyone was hoping that “X Factor” would bring the edge that “American Idol” has lacked in recent years ... well, based on Wednesday’s episode, you’re going to be disappointed.
The judges did not offer a great deal of guidance beyond praising everyone’s performance. True, Simon and Nicole did snap at each other again. At one point, Simon dismissed her comment by saying “the grownups are talking.” That’s the kind of substantial critique that “Idol” has lacked since he left. Nicole later responded by telling him “sometimes less is more,” which in this case referred to his criticism of her song selection and not the strategy she uses while picking her wardrobe.
But the musical acts could do no wrong. It got more than a little ridiculous. “I don’t think there’s a band in the world right now as good as you,” Simon told the Stereo Hogzz. Really? Because I’m pretty sure everyone watching has a ton of examples.
The other two groups were equally puzzling. L.A. Reid correctly pointed out that Lakoda Rayne is a “tweener” -- it’s not quite pop and it’s not quite country. Of course, the four members have been singing together for approximately 10 minutes, so maybe we should give them at least until their frozen yogurt trip with Paula to figure that out.
And Intensity’s members talked about wanting to be something more than a kids group, then shrewdly began their medley with Kim Wilde’s “Kids in America.” Newsflash to Intensity: People think you’re a kids group because, well, you are. Look in the mirror. Embrace your niche.
The judge most likely to lose one of their acts this week is Nicole and her beloved over-30s. Don’t worry -- it’s not going to be Stacy Francis. The judges all lover her, she got to close the show, and plenty of others did worse.
Josh Krajcik got universally praised for his song and performed it well enough but ... “Jar of Hearts?” Really, Nicole? A burrito guy is singing for his life, his fate in the hands of the fans for the first time, and you give him a Christina Perri song? He’d better hope the fans get what he was trying to do there. And Leroy Bell was his usual self with “I’m Already There” by Lonestar -- sweet, earnest, and not really connecting with the audience.
For the boys, the most frustrating of the three performers was Chris Rene. Why can’t they just let him sing his own songs, instead of making him do covers? He’s not as comfortable onstage as he was in his first audition, though that performance was good enough that he’s still got a lot of rope.
It’s hard to know what to make of Marcus Canty, who played the Bobby Brown card to the hilt and was a little uneven, but has a lot of potential. But Astro looked a lot better, and anyone who can bring back Naughty by Nature gets huge points. “Hip-Hop Hooray” indeed.
Simon’s trio of women were generally excellent. Melanie Amaro showed the danger of universal praise -- she was much better than her rivals, but the judges had already complimented everyone so lavishly that the plaudits she got seemed tame. Drew (just “Drew” now, since her last name is “Ryniewicz” is either not cool enough or too hard to spell) seemed to wow the judges more than the audience, while Rachel Crow continued to play the Shirley Temple role to the hilt with “Walking on Sunshine.”
Who’s going home? We’ll find out tonight. But whoever it is will at least go home knowing that the judges all thought they did great.
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