For the first time during the debut season of ‘The X Factor,’ viewers were finally able to participate in the voting and have and say in who will go forward and who will be eliminated. So the remaining 12 acts pulled out all of the stops to get votes, right? Well, some of them did, and some struggled a little.
The show kicked off pretty quickly with the first act, Paula Abdul’s group effort, The Stereo Hogzz. Producers tried to introduce us to each of the group members, but all of their names started with the letter ‘T,’ so I really can’t name any of them. It was still nice of the producers to make an effort to distinguish them as individuals. One of the things that impressed me most during the set-up story was how hands-on Paula is with her acts. She was actually doing the choreography herself, which I thought was pretty cool. It made me have to watch her “Straight Up” video after the show to see her dancing back in the day. She still has it! Paula picked “Rhythm Nation” for The Stereo Hogzz to sing. The vocals off the top of the song were pretty rough. I wasn’t sure they would be able to turn it around. They kind of did, but not enough to make me want to vote for them. The choreography was good, but there were too many blaring vocal errors to make me a believer. I will stick with my membership card to Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814 for now. But the judges completely disagreed with me. They all sang the praises of The Stereo Hogzz. Were they not listening to the same thing I was? Or did the 30 degree drop in weather take a toll on my hearing? Who knows. Either way, I did not pick up the phone.
Chris Rene from LA Reid’s boys’ category was next. He performed a song called “Superstar” that I am not sure I had ever heard before. Which is probably good, since I had nothing to compare it to. I really wish the show would show me more of Chris’ personality, though. It’s just all about his rehab stint. Which yes, it’s a great story and wonderful that he’s stayed clean, but there’s more to a person than rehab, right? When Chris came out on stage, I thought he looked much better than he has in previous weeks. Perhaps it’s just that he wasn’t wearing a hat. If you watch ‘The Simpsons,’ you know a good hat can make or break a Malibu Stacy doll, so maybe it’s the same case with Chris: a good hat can make or break the performance. While Chris did a great job, it didn’t seem like staying on pitch was his main concern. Granted, there were aspects of his performance that were good: his swagger, rapping and FIRE ON THE STAGE, but I don’t think he did enough to stay out of the bottom vote getters. Once again, I disagreed with the judges. They each sang his praises and went on and on about how wonderful he was. So maybe I am wrong yet again, but I don’t think Chris Rene is going to win the competition.
Nicole Scherzinger’s Over 30 category sent out the next competitor with LeRoy Bell. We all know LeRoy is 60, but I did not know he had six grandchildren and a 13-year-old. The math involved in all of that boggles my mind. Are some of the grandchildren older than his youngest child? Not that it matters, but the relationship of the child and the grandchildren hurts my brain to think about. Aunts? Uncles? Cousins? I don’t know how it works. Beyond making my brain hurt, LeRoy did manage to stir up my ears with his subdued performance of Lonestar’s “I’m Already There.” While Simon Cowell thought LeRoy had a confidence problem, I thought he was the best so far compared to the first two acts. Simon also questioned Nicole’s staging choices, which caused her to quip, “Sometimes less is more.” Meow. The Pussycat Doll still has her claws! It seems like Simon picks on Nicole more than anyone else, so I am glad she is fighting back. Regardless of Simon’s opinion, I thought LeRoy did a good job. He definitely proves you are never too old to chase your dream.
The first of Simon’s girls to perform was America’s latest sweetheart, Rachel Crow. Rachel’s song for the evening was “Walking On Sunshine,” which for some odd reason, Simon changed the chorus to “You’re My Sunshine.” Umm. What the what what, Simon? You can’t just take a well known song and change the lyrics all around. It’s not like you’re Christina Aguilera singing the national anthem at the Super Bowl and taking “artistic liberties” with the song. Leave one of the world’s most beloved songs alone! After I got over my anger of Simon making sweet little Rachel sing the wrong words, I settled on Rachel blowing it out of the water like she usually does. She has such a great voice and growl when she really gets into the song. Having said that…as fantastic as she is, I really think she needs a song soon to show off her range. Something with lots of high and low notes. Yes, she’s cute, but I think she needs her diva moment to really cement her case for winning ‘The X Factor.’ The judges all loved her, as they should have. There’s really not a bad thing that can be said about Rachel.