On Thursday, “X Factor” announced the 32 acts to make it to the Judges House stage of the competition, where they will apparently hang out in the guest rooms and absorb the knowledge of their mentors in the hopes of reaching the live shows.
The episode raised a number of questions. How can Nicole Scherzinger afford a palatial estate? Is Gina Rene is just a tiny bit jealous that her brother advanced and she did not? And how quickly will the Instant Groups formed by the judges at the end of the competition gel?
It was mostly a happy episode (and a tearful one – thanks to the use of Whitney Houston’s “One Moment in Time” for part of the montage), but that doesn’t mean there weren’t awkward moments. For example, when L.A. Reid asked Stacey Francis if there was anything else she’d like to share before her final performances.
“The day that I arrived at boot camp, my dad died,” she said.
You know that moment at a party where somebody says something mortifying and time stops? That’s what happened here. Awkward!
At any rate, Francis advanced, so her decision to miss her dad’s funeral paid off. Here’s the rest of the final 32, and the judges who will mentor them.
In sports terms, the girls would be high-upside. A lot of them have noticeable flaws: Rachel Crow gives off a Shirley Temple vibe, Jazzlyn Little and Tora Woloshin act like they’re not sure they deserve to be there, and Simone Battle is coming off a solo of “Your Song” that truly was her song, because she forgot all the words.
Simon gets to mentor this group, which is fantastic news for Tiah Tolliver. She’d be in big trouble if it were Nicole, since every time she opened her mouth Nicole glared at her like they were fighting over the same dude at the senior prom. Drew Ryniewicz, Caitlin Koch and Melanie Amaro look to be the favorites at this point, but that could change in a hurry.
This is the L.A. Reid group, as the show continues to set up the rivalry between he and Simon. He gets an interesting mix of guys to work with, starting with Chris Rene. Rene’s highlight remains his initial audition, but that was good enough to make him a huge favorite early and he definitely has that x-factor that the show is looking for.
L.A. also gets teen rapper Brian Bradley, who he said was too young after the group performances. Skyelor Anderson and Nick Voss don’t seem quite ready, it’s hard to see a crooner like Phillip Lomax going far, and Brennin Hunt may be a little too precious to make it out of this stage. But watch out for Tim Cifer and Marcus Canty.
As someone who is over 30, I appreciate “X Factor” not calling this the old folks group.
I have to admit, I’m curious to see how the over-30s react to the coaching of Nicole Scherzinger, who at 33 is younger than most of her charges. Stacy Francis, for example, has a big voice but doesn’t like to rein it in. Dexter Haygood has stage presence and personality, but goes back into James Brown cover mode as a fallback. Christa Collins’ most memorable moment so far has been when she cried after advancing and her gobs of black eye makeup ran down her face.
Tiger Budbill and James Kenney seem like nice guys who will need to step it up here, while Elaine Gibbs has a big voice but hasn’t gotten a ton of airtime. The two favorites seem to be burrito man Josh Krajcik and Leroy Bell, the youngest-looking 59-year-old in history.
This is going to be the hardest category to mentor according to all the judges, which of course means the show assigned it to Paula. I doubt too many people would allow Paula to watch their child, much less a houseful of dozens of musicians. This should have 24-hour cameras and be its own reality show spinoff.
It’s also an uninspiring ensemble, so much so that the judges took a bunch of the rejected boys and girls and turned them into group acts to advance (kind of a slap in the face to Makenna and Brock, no?). Most of the other acts are nice listens who you’d never give $5 million to, like The Anser, Illusion/Confusion and 4Shore. The Stereo Hogzz and 2Squar’d are intriguing, and the Brewer Boys seem charming enough, but that act may get old quickly.
Tune in next week to find out both who moves on and How the “X Factor” Judges Really Live.
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