Simon Cowell's 'X Factor' returns: How was it?
September 12th, 2013
11:45 AM ET

Simon Cowell's 'X Factor' returns: How was it?

Simon Cowell is nothing if not persistent.

After seasons 1 and 2 of "The X Factor" failed to produce a global star or a must-watch panel of judges, the T-shirt loving Brit is back with another retooled expert lineup.

But in the eyes of some critics, not even the lovely Kelly Rowland and Paulina Rubio, who have joined returning judges Demi Lovato and Cowell, can save this show's flaws. Thankfully, Wednesday's hour-long season 3 premiere had bright spots of talent.

Although the reality competition is still doing the tired "watch-and-laugh" routine with less accomplished vocalists, there was nothing to laugh about with Lillie McCloud's performance. The 54-year-old - yes, 54; we know, we hate her too - mom of three and grandmother of seven had masterful control while singing CeCe Winans' "Alabaster Box," and moved some of the judges to tears.

Another surprising highlight came from the singing couple Alex & Sierra, who performed an alternative version of former "X Factor" judge Britney Spears' "Toxic."

Simon wasn't convinced that they'd be able to pull it off, but in the end the judges ate the pair's love story right up:

And then there was 13-year-old Rion, a bubbly Floridian who doesn't let a birth defect stand in the way of her dream. Cowell called her take on Carrie Underwood's "Blown Away" the easiest "yes" he's ever handed out:

And last but not least, there was Carlito Olivero, a born-and-bred Chicago native who got the Los Angeles auditions off on the right note with Rihanna's "Stay." Lovato had him pegged as a cross between Frankie J and Trey Songz, while Cowell was convinced Carlito's a star in the making:

But after watching those hits and a few misses, most critics were unconvinced that this season of "The X Factor" is going to be a vast improvement.

"Not sure how I felt about that episode. Paulina and Kelly both seemed OK," said Hitfix in a recap. "Neither was embarrassing, (neither) was especially memorably successful."

The Daily Beast had a much stronger opinion on the new lineup, calling the combination of Rowland, Rubio, Lovato and Cowell "ghastly."

"If Britney Spears doesn't prove to be must-see TV," the critique said, recalling Spears' season 2 gig, "then 'that girl who was in Destiny's Child–not Beyoncé' and 'she's a Latin singer...I think...but, no no, it's not Shakira' don’t stand a chance."

MTV tried to view the premiere with optimism, calling it a "promising start for the talent show that has had trouble gaining traction in the U.S. so far."

Entertainment Weekly, too, is working hard to see some potential.

"The U.S. 'X Factor' has never been good, but (Wednesday's) relatively benign hour-long premiere suggested season 3 might not be terrible," EW said. "This can work, this time. Maybe. There's a chance."

What did you think of the season 3 premiere last night? The two-hour second half will air on Fox tonight at 8 p.m.


Filed under: Music • television • X Factor

soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. carolyn

    I have liked the show from the beginning, but was disappointed that Jeff gut did not win. does anyone know what will happen to Jeff now? I hope he gets a recording contract...

    December 21, 2013 at 8:28 pm | Report abuse |
  2. bi convo filed

    Done

    October 4, 2013 at 12:02 am | Report abuse |
  3. DIMPLES 38

    KELLY WHY YOU GET RIDOF THE GUY WHO SOUND LIKE RAY CHARLES, AND THE LADY WHO SING R&B THE X FOOTBALL PLAYER, YOU ACT LIKE YOU DID NOT WANT HER AT FIRST, THE FIRST 4 PEOPLE YOU HAD WERE JUST AVERAGE PEOPLE ,NO STAR APPEAL, THOSE 2 MEN ARE AVERAGE , THE GUY YOU GOT RID OF HAD THE X FACTOR. THE LADY YOU GOT AT THE END, THE 52 YEAR OLD. IS THE ONLY GOOD PICK YOU HAVE,YOU NEED TO LISTEN TO YOUR HEART NOT PEOPLE.

    October 3, 2013 at 12:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Gramma

      I tape the X FACTOR and have only watched 2 performances more than once... The young lady that sang Whittany Houston's "I Will Alway Love You" and the young man that sang "Amazing Grace".... The young lady was beyond GREAT... when a song gives Gramma goose pimples.. It's a winner to me..

      October 3, 2013 at 11:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • bimbo43

      Gramma getting laid

      October 3, 2013 at 11:59 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Alvarez

    A large steaming pile of my poop will be making an appearance on the show soon.

    September 15, 2013 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Richard Fore

    It was stupid. Plus Simon is a fornicator.

    September 13, 2013 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Yemi

    Love Kelly Rowland and think she's a good addition to X factor. Let's keep watching – it is only the beginning!

    September 13, 2013 at 12:43 am | Report abuse |
  7. susyrod

    Who's idea was adding Paulina Rubio? She is vulgar, talks too much and acts like she is some super star...I can't even describe the crowd that she normally attracts in the latin market. Furthermore, I find it very disrespectful for her to call every female contestant 'mama', 'mami', etc. These ladies/girls are not her children or her mother
    and that is a very condescending phrase when used with someone you don't know or are familiar with......Poor poor choice of judgement....

    September 12, 2013 at 10:02 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Rebecca

    I have no idea who the spanish women is but if i wanted to listen to people speak spanish I would watch a spanish channel !! Love Simon and I think Kelly Rowland was an excellent addition to the show.

    September 12, 2013 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Rebecca

    Demi lavota has to GO! She has the most irritating voice and is a total moron I don't even understand why she is back this year??

    September 12, 2013 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Disappointed

    Seems like this is going to be another boring season. The new judges add zero credability to the show.....Kelly is really a never-been solo artist and Paulina is a nobody in the USA as far as I know. Not to mention her English is terrible and you can't understand the few words she speaks. They needed someone like LA Reid who is a music giant to be a judge – replacing him with two nobodys is just lame.

    September 12, 2013 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • M.A.P.

      Not only was Kelly Rowland 1/3 of the highest selling female group in history, she went on to have a pretty successful solo career – "when love takes over", "put it in (work)" and dirty laundry have all received good airplay. As a solo artist, she has sold over 24 million records worldwide.

      September 13, 2013 at 6:18 am | Report abuse |
  11. palintwit

    If it wasn't for me that oil well in the Gulf would still be leaking. I was the one who suggested to BP that they plug it with a week's worth of John McCain's soiled grampy diapers. And voila! It worked.

    September 12, 2013 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
  12. M.A.P.

    I just imagine Simon to be exactly the character he portrays on the show. An arrogant rich prikk! KElly Rowland is awesome tho. I love Dirty Laundry.

    September 12, 2013 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |

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