'The X Factor' Top 32 revealed, judges assigned categories to mentor
More group time:
- The Chris Rene-Brennin Hunt group gets "What's Going On" by the late, great Marvin Gaye. Awesome song for these voices, I predict - and then they do. It's very good. Matthew Johnson is a great one we haven't really seen before. Chris Rene doesn't sound as good as he did on his audition song.
- The Country group gets "I Won't Let Go" and it's a great piece for every single member. Hannah Bethel is a stand out, as are Thomas Wells and Tim Cifers. They all do very well.
- The Emma Henry group (we've seen her on "Idol," I think) gets "Chasing Cars" and the guy who leads it off is not good. Hannah Jackson has an interesting voice, very torn on her. Emma is another weird one. The two guys, the Brewer Boys, are pretty good. This group just kinda rubs me the wrong way. Hmph.
The groups are brought on stage in groups of either yesses or nos. We see Emma Henry, Austin Simmons, Kelly Warner and several others go home, including one girl with dreads who has a right little fit in the lobby.
The Next Stage
There are now roughly 64 acts left. The next challenge is they are given 35 songs and have to pick which represents them as an artist. Half of them are going home the next day - and they perform in front of a live audience.
We obviously don't get to see all 64 acts, so we get a montage instead. Highlights include Rachel Crow kicking us off with "If I Were a Boy" and it's pretty solid. She seems so much older than 13, gosh. Other stand outs include Tiger Budbill on a very interesting arrangement of "Billie Jean" that includes an awesome high note; Josh Krajcik on an "Up to the Mountain" that is rocking the blues vibe.
Some lowlights include Simone Battle totally biffing it - she forgets the lyrics and so makes them up on the spot. Yikes. 4Shore has a terrible arrangement. Some 14-15 year-olds stripping off their jackets. Siameze screeching like a cat. Makenna and Brock making it even more painstakingly clear she needs to be a solo act. Brennin Hunt getting away from his country roots and going John Mayer on Alicia Keys' "Someone Like You."
This montage of weird arrangements leads into Simon having a little fit about the "weirdo versions" he's hearing. Um, Mr. Cowell? Remember how the last several seasons on "Idol" (basically since David Cook) you've been lambasting people to make songs their own? This is what happens, moron. Sure, sometimes that stuff works (see: "Hello," "Heartless" and "Ring of Fire") but most of the time people are going to take a song that was a hit for a frigging reason and frigging ruin it.
Back to some highlights: The Stereo Hogzz do "Cry Me a River" and it's a little ... over-rehearsed? Kind of too Broadway? I can't quite put my finger on it. I still think these guys should advance - they're very good. But something rubbed me the wrong way about that.
Brian Bradley, Phillip Lomax and Chris Rene also have some nice performances. Nick Dean is still too breathy for me.
Stacey Francis is up now and drops the bombshell of how her dad died the first day of Boot Camp and she didn't leave to go home for it. Geez. She takes on "Summertime" and I just figured out why I don't care for her voice very much. She sounds like Fantasia. I'm not a fan of that nasally voice that comes out at various times. Stacey has some great moments in the song, but her big high shrieky note is not my favorite either, nor is her last note, which isn't on pitch. I just don't think this girl is as good as everybody acts. I don't know. *shrugs*
Tiah Tolliver is her same vampy self that I don't love. Cari Fletcher is pretty milquetoast on "I'm Already There." Drew Ryniewicz gets us back on track with "Like a Star" and Caitlin Koch rocks "Cry Me a River." She's spectacular.
Leroy Bell, who crazily is 59 years old, then blows us all out on "To Make You Feel My Love." He makes it totally sound like it could be an R&B hit. I hope he advances.
The Top 32
The acts are brought out in the groups they are in - boys, girls, over 30s and groups. Only eight acts of each are advancing. The girls are: Caitlin Koch, Tora Woloshin, Simone Battle, Drew Ryniewicz, Rachel Crow, Jazzlyn Little, Melanie Amaro and Tiah Tolliver. So I was a total waterworks mess, not only seeing them cry for themselves but from seeing how happy they are for the girls who made it. My waterworks dried up at Tiah. I'm sorry, I think she's kind of gross.
The boys are next: Brennin Hunt, Brian Bradley, Skyelor Anderson, Nick Voss, Tim CIfers, Phillip Lomax, Marcus Canty and Chris Rene. It's not as emotional watching the boys make it.
The groups are: the Stereo Hogzz, 2squared, 4Shore, The Brewer Boys, Illusion Confusion and The Anser. Weirdly, we don't see two of the groups be named. Weren't there supposed to be eight?
The over 30s are: Elaine Gibbs, Tiger Budbill, Leroy Bell, James Kenney, Josh Krajcik, Christa Collins, Dexter Goodman (he cries and cries and Paula hugs him and I cry and cry, good lord) and finally Stacey Francis gets the last spot. Duh. Bummer on Gina Rene.
The judges then bring a bunch of the people on stage and put them in groups and ask them to perform as groups. That explains the two groups we didn't see. Awww.
So next week we have Judges' Homes - that ought to be interesting. The judges find out which category they are mentoring. My predictions before we find out are - Nicole girls, Simon boys, L.A. Reid groups and Paula over 30s.
When the judges get the calls, it goes Nicole over 30s, L.A. boys, Paula groups and Simon girls. So I was totally wrong on all counts. I can see L.A. and Simon doing the categories they got. I think it's very, very interesting that Nicole got over 30s. Is it because they are seasoned and she's the greenest judge in the industry? So it's easier? Because she's so young and so right up the alley of the under-30 female contestants.
Paula on groups actually makes some sense - she was a dancer/choreographer way before she was a singer. And I actually always loved her dancing more than her singing, so she could do very well with the groups. On the other hand - harmonies? Hmm. I really could have also seen Nicole with the groups.
Interesting. Can't wait to see it all go down. What do you think, "X Factor" fans?