September 29th, 2011
10:30 AM ET
I really didn't think that Fox's "X Factor" could find more interesting people than it did the first week, but then I watched Wednesday's episode. It definitely gets better with time.
It's the second week of auditions, this time in Chicago and Seattle. The best WTH moment took place when a middle-aged lady took the stage and said that she wasn't there to sing. Rather she wanted to audition to be a judge!! The actual judges put up with her for a couple of seconds before they told her "no" and kept the show moving. I do give her credit for finding a unique way to get on stage in front of millions of people when singing was not an option for her.
I'm not quite sure if this show had more qualified singers than last week, but I'm certain it had more diverse singers. Here's who I'm betting will be most likely to succeed:
Brock Wade & McKenna
This interested-but-not-dating couple truly intrigued me. They've been singing together for four years and they say they're best friends. You wouldn't have guessed it from the way they came on stage, but these two harmonize really well together. They came across as a little shy and lacking in confidence, but they really nailed "Colder Weather" by the Zac Brown Band. So much so that the crowd gave them a standing ovation. They got four "Yes" votes from all four judges. I'm sensing an "X Factor" marriage proposal between these two before the end of the season.
When this guy took the stage I didn't quite know what to make of him, although he did seem like possibly the nicest person you'd ever have the pleasure to meet. His song choice was "Must Be Doin' Something Right" by Billy Currington, but the music stopped just seconds after he began. Everyone looked around in silence, and then out of nowhere Skyelor continued to sing sans music. Perhaps it was his uniqueness, or the fact that very few African-Americans had auditioned belting out country ballads the way Skyelor did. At times, he even sounded like an untrained Tim McGraw. But in the end he won over every single judge.
When people get on stage and say they're different, my gut reaction is to roll my eyes, but J-Mark actually is. A graduate student studying in Europe and getting a degree in Philosophy, he says he doesn't want to be another cookie cutter artist. He sings Radiohead's "Creep," and although he can't really hold a tune that well or for very long, it's what he does with his body that intrigues people.
Before he even sings one word, he starts to do a sideways moonwalk of sorts with his feet, and then while he sings he leans to the left and then far to the right while keeping his balance. It's weird, but still captivating to say the least. The audience and the judges don't know what to make of him. Although the judges stop short of telling him he is a great singer, they are captivated enough to keep him on and push him through to the next level of the competition. I think he will be the best entertainment for the show as it progresses.
He takes the stage looking like he slept in his car a few days and didn't have a place or time to shower. Simon looks extremely annoyed when Josh says he is going to sing Etta James' "At Last," but then he begins. He sounds like a cross between Joe Cocker and Michael Bolton, if you can imagine that. This robust singing WOWS the audience in the first minute with his high notes hitting ALL the right keys. It's amazing, he manages to hold onto notes longer than anyone should.
Drew is interesting, because of all the people who performed she perhaps was the riskiest. She considers herself part of the Bieber nation...so much so that she decided to sing the Justin Bieber song "Baby" and add her own twist to the song. She sang it a capella, but that did show the strength of her voice; she can really hit the high notes! Not surprisingly, she got four "Yes" votes. I can't wait to see what else Drew can do.
Peet, whose back story is way more interesting that his singing, takes the stage to do his version of Bruno Mars' "Billionaire." But it doesn't take long for Simon to stop the music. Almost all of the judges agree that he has that star quality and should be famous, but he just can't sing. Something tells me he might be contacted by a reality TV production company to have his life chronicled. Just saying.
I have to admit I was worried for this teen boy band before they even sang one word. They said they wanted to sing Boyz II Men's "End Of The Road" which is hard to live up to, especially considering the fact that L.A. Reid wrote the song, according to Simon. But in less than a minute we see why they chose that track. I've never heard a quartet wearing skinny jeans sounding that great in a long time. Naturally, the group gets the go ahead.
This guy didn't win the judges over unanimously. His only saving grace while singing Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On" was the fact that he held a very high note for a while towards the end. But I'm not quite sure that makes a great singer. L.A. Reid held out because he didn't feel Tiger was truly exceptional, but Tiger still managed to capture the approval of the other three judges.
At a time when the show was dragging a bit, Phillip woke me up. He came on stage with the hat and the swagger of a Hollywood veteran and it was refreshing. His song choice was "Fly Me to the Moon," and he carried it off well. Simon warned him that his voice is off the mark right now and encouraged him to work on it, but in the end he makes it to the next level.
This is the reason I love "X Factor," because they saved the drama for the end of the show. How long did you think it would take before the judges had their first big fallout? It was bound to happen, and it did over Tiah Tolliver. This teen might have made an enemy out of Nicole right off the bat when she told them she wanted to wanted to go platinum, double platinum and diamond. Nicole seemed to roll her eyes, while the other three judges praised her look and confidence before singing.
But then she chose to do a rendition of Shontelle's "Impossible" a capella. The problem with this is of course we hear the good, the bad and the ugly with her voice. She has talent, but she's pitchy.
L.A. Reid and Simon were willing to work with her, but Nicole wanted another song. Tiah takes a few minutes and then sings again. Paula was still unconvinced, so Simon literally begged Nicole to change her mind, which she eventually did. I couldn't believe the panel of judges was seriously a house divided over this singer. I'm waiting to see if she will truly live up to her potential.
What do you think of the judges' choices?
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