September 22nd, 2011
09:58 AM ET
Fox's 'X Factor' lands with talent to spare
After months of hype and a judge switcheroo, Fox's "X Factor" has arrived.
A lot was crammed into this two-hour premiere. It was slick, glossy, fast-paced and at times over-produced. But I LOVED it. No other singing competition has shown that vast amount of talent in a long time, although NBC's "The Voice" came very close.
But before we get to the contestants, let's talk about the host and the four judges.
Welsh-born TV host Steve Jones kicked things off (and yes, he definitely had my attention. Who is this über good-looking guy from across the pond, and why hadn't I heard about him before?) as auditions began in Los Angeles and Seattle.
Simon Cowell, former Pussycat Dolls singer Nicole Scherzinger (who replaced U.K. singer Cheryl Cole), record label executive L.A. Reid and my favorite "American Idol" judge of all time, Paula Abdul, sat together judging countless contestants of various ages. The sometimes mean but always frank Cowell didn't pull out the fangs, but he was honest and told a few contestants "no" when it came time to vote them to the next level.
My favorite line from him of the night was when he told a female duo who were auditioning that one was singing while the other sounded like she swallowed poison! Good old Cowell is back. All four judges have their distinct styles, and when put together it becomes the perfect puzzle. That's enough to make me want to stay tuned the entire season.
On to the contestants: The ones that advanced were beyond stellar. They either had distinct voices, were extremely entertaining or had that...well, "X" factor.
Let's focus on the unforgettable contestants. First up was 13-year-old Rachel Crowe. She's an adorable kid who showed up to the audition with her sister and single mother and won the crowd over within seconds of doing her cover of Duffy's "Mercy." Her voice is bigger than any 13-year-old I've heard in a long time. Paula told her afterwards that she did exactly what we need people to do on this stage.
Of all the remaining contestants, Siameze Floyd, Simone Battle, Stacy Francis, Marcus Canty and Chris Rene were all memorable.
How can I describe 30-year-old Siameze? Well, he's 1/2 Prince, 1/4 Rick James and 1/4 Lenny Kravitz in size 2 jeans and a mesh T-Shirt. His voice is okay, but it was his stage antics and diva mentality that caught everyone by surprise. He actually said, "I have the look . I have the attitude. I have the talent. So let's do it!" Hmm.
When he finally takes the stage, the music plays and he immediately starts doing a dance that was very reminiscent of Michael Flatley's "Lord of the Dance." From there he launches into singing Rick James' "Give It To Me Baby," and it took off from there. He gyrated all across the stage doing the splits and jumping up and down. It seems he took a few pages out of Prince's handbook. Very entertaining for sure, but I don't know if he has the vocal chops to get far in this competition. He was given the thumbs up, so we shall see in the coming weeks.
USC student Simone Battle described herself as fierce, which Simon declared was annoying. But after doing her rendition of the Pussycat Dolls "When I Grow Up," Simon became very interested. All the judges wanted to see the 21-year-old progress to the next level except for L.A. Reid, who said he was underwhelmed. But it only takes three out of the four to agree for the contestant to head to the next round.
Single mother Stacy Francis, 42, had the tearjerker story of the night. She has two kids and for years had her self-esteem squashed by a boyfriend who constantly told her she was too old and not talented enough to become the singer she wanted to be. The "X Factor" was her chance to step out and prove she's got what it takes.
She stepped up to the mic and belted out Aretha Franklin's "Natural Woman." She hit all the right notes and was super polished in her delivery. The judges loved the way she held notes for what seemed like forever. She's going to be the one that many people root for because of how far she has come later in life. She might just be the one to watch on this show.
Twenty-year-old Marcus Canty took the stage and explained to the judges that his two-year window post-high school to make it in the industry was drawing near, so this is it. He then leaps into Stevie Wonder's "I Wish." And boy, he probably made Stevie Wonder proud! L.A. Reid was dancing and so were Nicole and Paula. All four judges said yes.
And then there was 28-year-old single father Chris Rene. He admitted to abusing drugs and alcohol at a young age and thus was sent to rehab. He told the judges he had been clean for 70 days, and this was it for him. He performed an original song called "Young Homey." He rapped part of the song and sang in other parts, and it was a really nice mixture of hip-hop with some R&B notes.
He was one of the few contestants to get a standing ovation from all four judges. Paula and L.A. Reid even high-fived each other. Such a great moment. Simon chimed in saying, "There is something about you...What I like is that maybe you need the show, and maybe we need you!" And there you have it. Rene moves to the next level, but he did have to promise Reid and the rest of the judges he will stay clean and out of trouble.
If the talent pool in Los Angeles and Seattle is any indication of what is to come on Thursday night, then I will have to stick around for this must see TV.
What do you think? Did "X Factor" live up to the hype?
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Tgis show is a joke and not a singing talent show. It's got lots of laughs and very little talent...
I tried to watch the show. I really did. Though I guess I'm not the target audience. I don't particularly care about reality tv. I never really watched Idol.
I'll admit this show was "intriguing". However, it was way over produced. For a two hour audition show, I expected to see atleast 50 performances or something. But, with so many commercials, and then so much back story on the judges, the contestants, etc, this show could have been condensed into 30 or 40 minutes.
Literally, there was one segment in the show where it was 5 minutes of commercials, 2 minutes of the actual show with 1 performance for 30 seconds and then the judges talking for the rest, and then another 6 minutes of commercials.
Also, Paula getting "sick" over seeing a man's penis? (He actually didn't have his penis exposed, he was wearing a thong...google it). She's a pop star from the 80s, I'm sure she's seen her fair share of genitals...
Either way, I'll relegate myself to watching clips of this show. I can't waste another 2 hours watching snarky judges and tv promos.
not as good as american idol – its a mix of america's got talent and idol – whats the diff? i did not like it – contestants were not as good as idol or americas got talent so whats the point of watching a third talent show? all the hype and it was a dud. plus it was hazy, shadowy – too many commercials! simon never should have left idol. his head got too big.
From the beginning it looks and feels like America's Got Talent without the buzzer. I am sure there will be another derivative of this "American-Idol/Got Talent" formula. I am holding judgement to see if this will get any better, a grand prize of $5 million isn't a game changer.
You don't send a plumber out to do an electrician's job. That's why these shows are bogus. You cannot "fabricate" talent, not lasting talent, anyway. Go out and listen to some real, live music, played by truly talented hard-working aspiring people that don't care about fame and fortune, but DO care about sharing with you the feelings that stir their souls.
Music is art, and art is entirely subjective. To compare singers, to look for "perfection" (which is entirely damaging to music if you know anything at all) in any musical performance is just ridiculous. Another talent show, backed by tons of money. Again, these TV producers have you right where they want you. 90 percent of the people posting on this article are ranting and raving about Simon and Paula, and not the entertainers. It proves one thing: that it's not (and never has been) about the music, but instead, about the drama. If you think these shows are about music, and that the real world of music operates this way, then you seriously need help. TV has ALWAYS been about PRODUCERS, nothing more, nothing less. Get real, America. Turn off that TV and get a life.
I found there were too many commercials which spoiled the whole show. There were 5 minutes of show and then 5 minutes of commercials. It broke the show up too much!
For those of you who were hoping for the old Simon, it's not happening. He's become an eyeliner wearing reality judge robot, reading all his rehashed American Idol lines from a script, giving gooey smoochie praise to contestants who wouldn't have even made the first cut on American Idol.
This show is an American Idol knockoff big time. The producers have just thrown in some new catch phrases and glitzed up the venue so it 'appears' to be a bigger deal. You are going to get the same old stuff with Simon and Paula.
I kind of agree with Depley. X-Factor with all the pre-first show hoopla ended up to be pretty much the same as American Idol. Okay, there is music in the background, this way is better than people just standing in the middle of a room and singing on their own. The rest is the same. Couple of okay singers, some horrible, yet they get on TV, while others who made it through did not (other than a flash in those summary clips). Out of the two hours broadcast a few minutes worth of listening music. Why would this be better than AI, or any of the other similar talent shows? Most of the show the meaningless stories, the judges blabbing endlessly why they liked or disliked somebody. What is the point? Now they decide who is advancing or who is not. Perhaps they should explain the borderline cases, but why the obvious ones? We know it. We can hear it. Eh....it is all the same.....
Simon Cowell will be a success on any show wants. "Idol" was as boring as watching paint dry this year. In my book, Simon IS the whole show, and Paula is the perfect panel-member to oppose him. LOVE the X-Factor and Idol can go away now, thank you (especially after it became "hillbilly idol" this year!)
I watched the show for 5-20 minutes then turned the channel. What I saw was untalented singers with "Johnny Bravo" suits, moves or looks getting put through to next level. Some of them singing in a style that annoys the heck out of me. I am not a fan of the "run" thing, just sing the song and quit the vocal gymnastics. This show is what is wrong with the music industry, auto-tune and find the "look" and everything will sell, just watch us. Music today is just headed the wrong direction, and people like Simon Cowell are forcing it down your throats.
The talent pool in Seattle and LA are irrelevant. Chris Rene is from Santa Cruz CA. You remember? Same place as James Durbin and MANY other famous musicians. See a pattern yet?
WTH is James Durbin, and what is he famous for???
that's all serious dating. Millions of members with good economic
condition and high quality. Someone suitable is here waiting for u.
with other single black, white girls and men in your city.. It is
my favorite club for mixed love....
- Blackwh’itemeet.C_0‘_M -
I enjoyed this show very much. For me, it underscored my feelings that Idol is played out. That show was hijacked by the teenyboppers years ago. Idol took a little time to get the numbers it has today, and I bet once the X-factor has been around awhile, it will get the same numbers Idol gets if not more. Idol is yesterday's news. I can guarantee that whoever wins this competion, they will be better than Lee DeWyze.
Sorry for the grammar error. And I am a teacher. Nice job!!!
Loved watching Chis and Stacy. Very talented people. I am a teacher and showed the inspiring clip of Chris Rene's story and video to my students and they loved it and said they would buy "Young Homey" if it were for sale. There you go. The straight from the consumers mouth. I think to many people here try to read to much into a show like this instead of taking it for what it is. Even if it is fake, the talent was amazing and I wish the contestants well.
This is far better than any other singing talents shows outthere. I love the fact that there is an age limiit but only the minimum age is required and the rest basically is sky is the limit. You can also compete as a group or as a solo artist . This does ehnance the talent pool and for sure gives the people who were told you are too old another chance in life
Loved the show!! I definitely will be tuning in each week. Glad to see Simon and Paula back together. Thought L.A. Reid and Nicole were great, as well. I like the fact that it includes contestants of all ages. I think the show lived up to and exceeded the hype.
That first 13yr old first contestant was really NOT good. She was wayyyyyy off pitch a number of times.
I love this show but I'm very surprised the judges were so impressed by Stacy Francis, she was not good, although I'd be interested to see what LA could do with her. Marcus was by far best of the night. Siameze was a joke taken to the extreme. The only judge who has my attention is LA Reid. I love how he never gave in to Simone even though she is so damn hot! Rachel Crow has great pipes and an amazing personality. Chris Rene was really good but I doubt but I need to hear him sing a popular song, he was just repeating his signature riff over and over again. Marcus is the only real standout so far, he has "old school" power which was so good to finally see! I was holding back tears.
Wow! The show was better than the hype! But...you don't need the goofballs. Also, the whole thing with Paula leaving the stage to vomit was obviously planned. She left her mike on....come on, we're not stupid. I like LA, Paula, and Simon, but not sure yet about the switch in the fourth judge. What talent they have found!!! It's going to be a X-factorabulous season!!!
I LOVED IT! I LOVE THE FACT THAT SIMON COWELL IS IN CHARGE OF HIS OWN SHOW AND HAS PAULA BY HIS SIDE. CHERYL WHO? EXACTLY. THE TALENT IS GOOD!!! LOOK FORWARD TO WATCHING THIS... AS I STOPPED WATCHING THAT OTHER SHOW WHEN PAULA LEFT. GLAD SHE IS BACK!
Do Bill Clinton Stuff......What Stuff? OH, THAT stuff.........sick.......
Expressions on faces in audience and judges priceless......
Uh, wrong show buddy........better show for ya would be SNL......better call up Lorne
Oh, your a dud by the way
This show is an insult to the american public. First of all the audience was way too loud and rediculous and unbelievable that they would be loving every minute of this show without massive applaud signs everywhere. This show was crude, stupid, insulting, boring and completely a waste of time. I would rather watch idol on it's worse day than this absolute trash! If you like this show I suggest you join the Tea Party and vote for Perry.
The fluke performers were plants. Even the good ones were reading off scrpts. Got too cheezy to watch.
Turned it off after the first hour. Seemed like I was watching American Idol. Nothing new here....
First of all, Simon, take off the eyeliner & mascara, you look like a drag queen without the wig. Second, do they not pre-screen the acts? That fellow showing his bits & pieces to a family audience was so uncalled for. Where was security? Did the show allow this to get ratings? Some of the singers were worth waiting to hear.
I feel like I've seen this show a million times. It brought NOTHING new to the genre and I was bored out of mind. Next!
I watched some of it and during a commercial switched channels, got involved in another show and forgot to go back....oh well...it reminded me of A.I. anyways. Every time the cameras went to the audience, I found the lighting horrible. I'll watch a few more shows, I'm sure, but doubt I'll watch all season....
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hppzwETY8RI This is my cover of Frank Sinatra's! I really would love to audition for a show like this, but unfortunately cannot 🙁
Wow, you are talented. All the best to you, you're going places.
xfactor? what a lame name for a show...I would never watch this garbage.
I think they should have kept Cheryl Cole over Nicole. I thought Cheryl was interesting and honest Nicole seemed a bit lost and just went with the flow.
Honestly? I thought it was one of the worst shows I have ever seen! The talent was mediocre at best, and the bad editing of the audience clapping and laughing?? I am one of Simon Cowell's biggest fans, but this show was major FAIL!!!!
The formula is essentially the same as in American Idol. However, the age brackets and the 5 mln prize bring a little extra. I think Stacy Francis, Marcus Canty, and Chris Rene are amazing, real, raw, unadulterated talent. The problem with American Idol they try to fit all contestants into this nice polished Disney box. I hope X factor doesn't make the same mistake. So far though it's really nice to see Simon and Paula together, and the talent so far is very special. I will be watching. As far as this show killing American Idol, this has nothing to do with it. The shows are on different schedules, they're not competing. Chances are people who watched AI will watch X factor and will continue watching both shows, I know I will. These shows are ultimately appealing, with all the injustices and inequalities in our society today, these shows are the last outpost of American Dream, dream of moving from one social layer to another, which in real life became practically impossible. They also give people a sense of control, most people are grossly disillusioned with politics, government became too separated from people, but at least it counts when we vote for an American Idol, or an X factor winner.
Stacy was 'super' polished in her delivery. Can we PLEASE stop using that out-of-date descriptive word? Forty year old people were using in it every other sentence in the 1970's for crying out loud.
As with great songs, even if the artist is average, the production can make a hit. In my opinion, the talent was average but the production and format was amazing. The X Factor will be a hit but none of the auditions last night will never be heard beyond their short run of fame. NO TRUE TALENT...
You know what? I no longer care what goes on in these shows. The true winners never win. And I'm sick to death of it. This country glorifies mediocrity and its disgusting.
Overdone, OverHyped, OverProduced, Over Its time! The X Factor feels like it was produced by someone with ADD. The shock value with the Pants Down singer was an insult to my intelligence. I tuned out and turned off. Will not watch this show. Too many shows like this....
I hated every minute of it.
Way, way, way too much drama. For goodness sake, just sing! Love that Simon's back though.
I tried watching it and didn't like the show at all. I won't be watching this season.
the show is EXCELLENT!!!!!! I SEE A HUGE HIT IN THE MAKING!!!!!
the voice is a rip-off of x-factor in the united kingdom!!! i bet you'll see the similarity of both shows head to head. judges will mentor their groups of karaoke wannabes. then all of the judges will critique each contestant on the live shows. then the public will vote them off each week. same ol' same ol'... nothing new! nothing different. the voice is a ripoff of the x-factor in the uk which has aired for years now! then all of the judges will sing together... oops... this year will only be 2 judges singing on the x factor in the united states.. hahaha...
After all the hype and anticipation, X-Factor delivers great talent and some funny moments, but since it arrives after other talent shows have become well-established, I can't help but feel it is a copy of stuff already on TV. Even the bickering between Simon and LA Reid is reminiscent of Simone and Paula on American idol. X-Factor started wth an incomprehensible 5-6 minutes during which no effort was made to introduce the show or explain the concept "X-Factor." The "behind the scenes" segments seemed strangely out of place. the presence of a cheering or booing audience greatly distract from performances which are needlessly prolonged. Ameican Idol does a better job of presenting this stage of the talent search process. Asa judge, Paula is continung her tradition of useless commentary. Simon seems to be in good form. I have new respect for LA Reid who seems brilliant, insightfull, intelligent, and a keen observer.
Hate X Factor. Too much drawn out uninteresting stuff on judges and contestants. Naked guy should have been pulled immediately – leaving him on and in edited version was cheap sick way to get ratings? No thanks. Junk. Much prefer American Idol with progression of hopeful kids to get to "Hollywood".
Now doubting some of the talent on the show. They were good but I don't think X-factor/American Idol has anything on Sing Off. Watch it! Singing at its purest form. Acapella!!
Sing Off is great! That girl group, Delilah, is amazing!
Any show that would put that naked guy on and not call security right away to take him off will NOT get my vote. The stupid show is taped - they did not have to include this, let alone let it go on forever. Very poor judgement. They lost me - I believe they owe the public an apology for this! Like Paula, I walked away, but I didn't come back ~
....too bad, you missed a good show
Loved IT! Glad to see Simon Cowell back on TV!
OMG Simon is back and no more CAN'T SING HAS BEENS trying to self promote over discovering unknown talent that CAN SING!!! I LOVE LA Reid. Guess how many of my CDs have his name on them? He IS a hit maker. I think I still have LAs Black Enterprise cover. hahaha He is the perfect match for Simon......my daughter and I enjoyed the show. She said she would have sang Amy Winehouse for Simon/LA and BLEW IT AWAY! hahaha We did live in England so we know GREAT music and singers..aint that right Adele? hahaha
I CAN ONLY HOPE THEY GOT THE NAKED GUY WITH INDECENT EXPOSURE, I AM SURE THERE WERE KIDS IN THE AUDIENCE AND WATCHING THIS...........JUST SHOW THE GOOD SINGERS AND NOT THIS KIND OF NONSENSE.
He was not naked. He was wearing a thong. The producers, however, edited the show in away to make it appear that he was naked.
http://www.realityblurred.com/realitytv/archives/x_factor/2011_Sep_22_geo-godley-not-naked <– source
Loved X Facor!!! OMG This show is the real deal.. I stopped watching American idol after seeing the first couple shows, AI is not the same anymore and very boring. AI does more for JLO than what she does for AI. Great to have Paula back. Only thing, Please anyone who expose themselves should be taken off stage immediately. Chris and Stacey had me crying LOL.... love them
Did not care for the host (yawn). They spent WAY TOO MUCH time on the judges ... we know who they are already, even the fake Randy .. would have been nice to have seen three or four more contestants. There are some very talented people performing however.
Love it, the fake Randy! Exactly what I was thinking!
Typical audition episode. A few good singers shown mixed with lots of crazies.
Worst of the crazies was some guy that dropped his pants, exposing his private parts. If any more junk like that is shown, I'm not so sure I'll continue watching.
An American Idol knock-off. Exactly the same scenario, including the "funny" moments with people who don't have a clue, glory moments, emotional moments. Whatever. FOX probably figured that they can milk a second show. But the amount of commercials!
I liked the show. Excellent judges that know what they are talking about. Do not watch AI anymore. Very poor judges acting stupid....................
I do not understand why they let that man who exposed himself keep singing? Isn't there some law about that? They shoud have stopped him and took him off of the stage..........
This review is clearly a manipulated piece of PR fluff – the author of this blog has no credibility at all. it is a flop in the ratings and it is one of the laziest and worst shows to ever air.
AGREED!! The absolute WORST!
It is way better than american idol, great to see simon and paula back together...great show!!!
I don't think I saw the same show. I didn't think any of the contestants was a potential $5 million caliber act. Paula and Simon were back to hanging all over each other which I find annoying and a distraction. Were there children in the audience when that guy was prancing around half naked on stage? If so, they shouldn't have allowed him to continue. As much as I like Simon I doubt that I'll watch any more of it. Maybe I'm just over singing shows.
EXACTLY – they should have yanked naked guy as soon as he dropped his pants, instead of letting it go on, and then including it in the edited show? Insulting to the audience. And I just want to hear the singers and not listen to the sob stories...
As soon as the guy pulled that stunt, I turned the show off. They should have not aired it for so long and they should have pulled him off the stage sooner....they were going for the shock factor and they lost me as a viewer in the process!!!
Lucy, I'm with you on both points. My family and I turned it off.
Not sure I liked it. There were so many commercials and extra stuff that I lost track of the performances. I don't have it in me to take on another talent show. I'm an Idol fan through and through. I do miss Simon though. And LA seems cool.
It's so much like Idol. I miss Simon but was surprised how much I liked L.A. – I think his observations are spot on. I agree that it was sickeningly overproduced – thank goodness for DVR letting me fast-forward most of the beginning. And I'm glad they replaced Cheryl Cole – that accent irked me. I don't mind it every now and then but I wouldn't want to hear it every week.
Elle, it's a British accent – if you don't like it, you're not going to enjoy this show, because Simon Cowell and Steve Jones have versions of the same accent, and they will be on every week.
It's not a briths accent like Simon's, and if you think they're the same then you really have a bad ear. Hear accent (really it's more of a regional dialect) irked me too because her inflection is all over the place. It's because she is from notthern England. People couldn't understand her and that's why she had to go. I have nothing against her personally, I am sure she is a fantastic judge...in the UK. But she was not right for the US version of the X Factor. Didn't you keep hearing the contestants asking "what?" when she spoke to them?
I loved Cheryl Cole on the British version of the X-Factor. You can understand her as much as Simon or the host. Besides, she's much cuter and smarter than the drama queen also known as Paula Abdul!
I just can't remember the last time I saw something as pathetic as X Factor......oh yeah, it was American Idol. Over-produced doesn't even come close to the cheese factor in this show.
I never thought I would like X Factor. Surprise, I luv this show. I don't know what the difference is between this show and the others. Maybe that's why it's called the X Factor. There is just something about this show that is off the charts. I agreed with the judges on all contestants except for Simeone Battle. L. A. Reid is correct in not feeling it and I am truly surprised Simon thinks he can make her a superstar.
I liked the 1 hour but didn't like the second
The X Factory premiere did not live up to its hype. Very contrived. The awful contestants were obviously staged and actors hamming it up for the cameras for their 15 minutes of fame. Seen it all before. Nothing new. Too bad the American viewing audience is not sophisticated enough to see this for the rubbish it really is. Will someone walk out of obscuirty and away with 5 million dollars when all is said and done? I seriously doubt it. I've seen the contract contestants have to sign and they can revoke the prize money at will for any reason.
Wrong. This show absolutely destroyed American Idol. That show is over. Simon just bent them over, defiled them, and kicked them to the curb without cab fare.
Outstanding format for a talent search.
Um, it's X Factor (no y). Obviously not the sharpest tool in the shed (but definitely a tool).
Simon alone is a great show, how about adding L.A, Paula, Nicole and oh, my God, the contestants, are you kidding? My wife actually tape it while she was watching it and as soon as it was done, she went back and watched 6 of the contestants over and over again.
This is the show.....
Yes...youre being kind...it blows
American Idol is so much better just for not having that self centered a** simon on it.
Loved it!!!! I love the variety and all of the entertainment! Sorry you didn't, but there are always other shows for you to watch!
So negative Marta for only seeing one show. LOL
To my way of thinking this show is just like American Idol except it has Simon and Paula.
This is so much better than Idol, if for no other reason than I don't have to watch that self-important idiot Ryan Seacrest. Simon is the only judge from Idol who was always truthful – OK, sometimes rude, but always truthful, which some of the contestants need badly. I think this will be a fun season, and I was prepared not to like it!
15 minutes of that show was enough for me. I think Marta IS RIGHT ON THE NOSE in her opinion and judging from most of the replies to her comment, she can "rest-her-case"!
You act like you know him.
Excellent!! I can't get enough of this show! It is far better then American Idol or anyother. You go Simon!!!
Should have kept Cheryl as a judge and not Paula!
It's Simon and Paula that are going to make the show....period!
I agree! Paula and Simon have chemistry but if you have ever watched the British version of the X Factor, you will know that the chemistry between Cheryl and Simon is definitely there. I like Paula but I would rather have Cheryl in as a judge than her!