Pop Culture

'X Factor' cuts 5 acts in XL episode

Ray Mickshaw/Fox / Today
Tiah Tolliver lit up the stage on "X Factor."

In a special event designed to accommodate the World Series and torture fans with itchy remote control trigger fingers and short attention spans, “X Factor” cut the field from 17 acts to 12 over a gargantuan 2½ hour episode Tuesday.

One by one, the four judges heard their mentees sing and then decided which three in each category would make it to next week. For those who couldn’t resist the opportunity to change the channel, or who didn’t have 150 minutes to devote to a singing competition, here’s what happened.

You know the acts who made you wonder what in the heck the judges were thinking when they picked them for the live shows?

They got the boot.

L.A. Reid sent home crooner Phillip Lomax, a nice-sounding young man who’s a much better for for “American Idol,” or a jazz retrospective at the local senior center, or some other competition that is not this one.

Nicole Scherzinger said a tearful goodbye to Dexter Haygood, perhaps because his constant screaming was giving her and everyone else watching a migraine.

Paula Abdul agonized and agonized and then kicked off The Brewer Boys, a very entertaining duo with a bright future somewhere, but not in the same commercial class as the three acts she kept.

And after sniping at his fellow judges for criticizing his picks, Simon Cowell did the conventional thing and let go of his strange love for Tiah Tolliver and Simone Battle.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t some polarizing acts remaining. Rachel Crow can be annoyingly cloying. Stacy Francis always seems to be one comment away from a meltdown – L.A. channeled the audience when he told her “You know what I’m most proud of? You’re not crying. So don’t start.” The judge-created groups InTENsity and Lakoda Rayne could get old quickly.

But all in all, there wasn’t a lot of controversy. The acts picked were the ones most would have expected.

We also learned on Wednesday that:

  • Steve Jones apparently has a clause in his contract that pays him based on whether the show finishes on time. He cut the judges off and herded them along like a frazzled tour guide in the airport security line.
  • Every judge thinks they would be the best mentor for every one of the contestants, and would have made much better song choices had they been in charge of everyone.
  • The latest attempt to make Nicole Scherzinger interesting is to give her a manufactured feud with Simon. Because that approach worked so well for Kara DioGuardi on “Idol.”
  • Most importantly for the future of Simon’s pet project, the diversity of acts that the “X Factor” setup produces gives it a deeper and more entertaining field than the typical “Idol” group of finalists. Instead of a bunch of people in the same age range singing the same type of songs, there are soloists from 13 to 60 and the group acts to break up the monotony, which at least make these supersized episodes more watchable.


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