The X Factor: Learning To Let Go
Wednesday night The X Factor extended its two-hour format to two and a half hours, allowing us to see each team - Boys, Girls, Over 30s, and Groups - perform, as well as the judges' elimination decisions. While 2.5 hours is quite long, the fact that the show didn't get crazy and make us wait over lengthy commercial breaks for the judges' decisions, but got right to the point with judges making their final choices immediately following their team's performance was good. I call that refreshing reality television. Oh yeah, and host Steve gets to dress up and be the only person in the camera shot a whole bunch of times! No longer a bridesmaid!
Photo by FOX
Each judge was required to move three contestants forward, which means L.A., Paula, and Nicole had to cut one act while Simon had to cut two. If you recall, at the end of the "judges' house" round of competition Simon had a change of heart and added a fifth, previously-eliminated contestant, Melanie Amaro.
So who will move on to the next round of live shows?
Team L.A.: The Boys
First up is tiny rapper Brian Bradley, who everyone is now referring to as "Astro," and who performs "Jump" by Chris Cross. He is high-energy, on point with his lyrics, and overly-cocky as usual. The crowd and the judges love him. Chris Rene is a crowd favorite who didn't seem to warm to his song, Madonna's "Love Don't Live Here Anymore". That said, the judges love him and his unique qualities; Simon sees his potential as a recording artist, and I see what a difference a haircut makes.
Phillip Lomax croons his way through a somewhat perfunctory performance of "I'm a Believer" by the Monkees - is anyone else in this category really in danger of going home? Doubtful. Finally, Marcus Canty delivers on "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me" by Culture Club. L.A. Reid sends Phillip Lomax home, and it's clear it wasn't a difficult decision.
Team Paula: The Groups
First up is Houston group Stereo Hogzz, who are by far the best group in the competition. Their version of Otis Redding's "Try a Little Tenderness" is almost flawless - their harmonies and their choreography are blossoming under Paula Abdul's coaching. InTENsity is next (the mash-up of 10 solo artists the judges put together to compete as a group) and they appropriately perform a mash-up: "Footloose" and what the Internet says is "The Clapping Song." In spite of my distaste for the new Footloose remake, I like the performance - while some of them are clearly more talented vocally than others, they do well for a new group.
The Brewer Boys are cute and fun and I warm up to their George Michael "Faith"/Hall & Oats "Rich Girl" mash-up, but it's lacking a little something. Not Bieber bangs, but something. Finally, Lakoda Rayne does "Come on Eileen" by Dexys Midnight Runners. I'm a die-hard fan of the original, so I remain unmoved, but the audience and judges love it.
Paula chokes her way through her decision, and lets the Brewer Boys go. They apologize for letting her down and I think she is approaching apoplexy, but Host Steve hurries things along and Paula remains upright.