The Top 16 And Khloe Kardashian Haunt The 'The X Factor' Halloween Show
November 1st, 2012 10:43am EDT
I was thinking of writing a whole long breakdown of our new hosts, but why would I do that when I can just quote the endless source of inspiration that is sure to be Khloe Kardashian:
“No Fighting, No Biting” – Setting ground rules for the judges.
“Or is it the Hex Factor?” – Trying to incorporate Halloween.
“Three sisters? That could work!” – Comparing Sister C to her family.
“OK. This is freaking me out.” – Remarking on some lame Halloween visual.
“Stop flirting with me!” – to a mocking Simon Cowell who correctly noted that the air conditioning must have been on full blast inside the theater.
It’s impossible to say that Khloe Kardashian is worse than Steve Jones, only because Steve Jones is the absolute baseline which nobody can sink below, but she came pretty damn close.
Oh, and Mario Lopez was there too. He was fine. Falling somewhere between Carson Daly and Quddus on the live reality hosting totem pole.
I can’t help but wonder what would happen though if Khloe was left up there, by herself, live, without a net. That would be a show unto itself.
Speaking of the show, 16 people sang last night. Let’s get to the longest ‘X-Factor’ recap of all time, shall we?
Paige Thomas Sang: “What is Love?” by Haddaway
LA Reid Said: You look like a star, it feels like stardom, but I’m not sure about that song choice.
Britney Said: You’re outrageous. I loved everything about it. I think you’re a true star.
Demi Said: I’m so unbelievably proud for you.
Simon Said: You’ve just come out here tonight and nailed it.
Halloween starts in full swing and rather than going as her supposed doppelganger Rihanna (y’know, Doppleganger in that they look nothing alike), Paige apparently thought that Aaliyah from ‘Queen of the Damned’ was the look du jour.
Unfortunately, Paige did not decide to masquerade as somebody who could sing, getting completely drowned out by the backing track and only barely saved by an excessive amount of echo that couldn’t hide the fact that her voice is about as interesting as a wet piece of Balsa wood and not nearly as strong.
Demi said in the clip package that Paige isn’t that strong of a vocalist, so she’d try to cover it up. Apparently, in Demi’s world, if you put on a porcupine spike wig and surround Paige with the other members of Oingo Boingo, nobody would be able to tell she couldn’t sing.
I don’t think anybody was fooled. Maybe if she’d thrown in the ‘Night at the Roxbury’ guys.
Arin Ray Sang: “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” by the Supremes
LA Reid Said: You nailed it. That was really good. Your vocal wasn’t quite on par with the genius of that track.
Britney Said: You’re outrageous. I loved everything about it. I think you’re a true star.
Demi Said: I feel like it was a little stiff. I want to see you dance better.
Simon Said: I think Britney put too much around him, but you do have that self-confidence of a pop star.
How cool was the arrangement of this song? How now was it? I thought it was an Usher song when it first started. I’ve probably heard this song 17,000 times, but Arin twisted it into something I just heard on Top 40 radio for the first time.
Now, despite that awesome arrangement, Arin didn’t quite hit the Usher highs with his performance. He didn’t even grab any Jason DeRulo swagger in there. His vocal was lazy and muddled and he didn’t command the stage with the presence necessary to sell the song.
Everything is there for him to turn into a pop star by competition’s end, but he couldn’t quite pull it all together out of the chute.
David Correy Sang: “My Love is Your Love” by Whitney Houston
LA Reid Said: We could really hear you sing. You sounded really really good and it felt right.
Britney Said: You completely surprise me, I was not expecting that. I felt you a lot.
Demi Said: It was actually pretty good.
Simon Said: I thought your performance was a bit manic and verging on desperate. It just felt like a random song choice.
Taking the big stage the human charisma vacuum…remains a human charisma vacuum. I guess in the wake of Steve Jones’ departure somebody had to do it. It’s like the rock at the end of ‘Lost’.
Correy just doesn’t have it. He has the most generically mediocre voice on the planet. Like a Bruno Mars impersonator decided he wasn’t going to give his all that night.
He brings nothing to the stage in terms of presence, just a lot of tattoos, a gold chain and crowd hype moves that died out at about the same time as the Macarena. Just a big ball of forgettable.
Sister C Sang: “Hell on Heels” by Pistol Annies
LA Reid Said: That was good. In the beginning I was concerned, but it was really good.
Britney Said: I felt like you really delivered. It was really interesting. It was stunning.
Demi Said: It let me down. You guys seemed really stiff.
Simon Said: From any standard around the world, that was a fantastic performance.
I can see Simon thinking just now. “God. How did I get these country girls on my team? What is this twangy nonsense they call music? Is that a banjo? Christ. I need these girls gone immediately.”
Well, they certainly did their part to help him here. Firstly, it’s clear that only the middle girl has any semblance of a voice as the only part of the performance that went easy on the eardrums was her big flourish at the end. The rest, was just a humdrum cornucopia of either bad harmonies or vocals you could hear at 2AM in any dive bar in West Texas.
I call sabotage on Simon’s part. Though I don’t think he needed to do much to do it. So let’s just call it point shaving.
Jennel Garcia Sang: “Home Sweet Home” Motley Crue
LA Reid Said: I did not expect that. That was a 10. You just convinced me that you could win.
Britney Said: You completely rocked it out.
Demi Said: I’m so unbelievably proud of you, I feel like crying.
Simon Said: You just defined the theme Made in America. I think Demi has tried to make you a clone of her, but the performance was amazing.
It’s always kind of alarming to see just how much they alter the contestants’ appearances with the makeovers. It verges on, “Hey, they look kind of better” to “What sadist did that to him/her?”, but it never quite works out.
Here, Jennel looked like a brand new person and finally in a good way. Gone was the shrinking violet who was in danger of being overshadowed on stage by the mic stand and in came a little pint-sized rock goddess who could actually inject life into a tune.
That’s not to say this was a blowaway (despite the overuse of the wind machine): I still don’t think her vocals quite reached those full glam metal heights she wanted to hit, but this was kind of a shock for somebody I expected to have the producers forget to include in the running order because they’d already forgotten about her.
With this, I think she’ll stick in a few memories.
Diamond White Sang: “Hey Soul Sister” by Train
LA Reid Said: I thought that was strong, but at the beginning it felt a little bit mechanical to me.
Britney Said: You impressed me so much. You are amazing.
Demi Said: I thought the song choice was really great. You’re so adorable, but I would have liked to see you have a little more fun.
Simon Said: You came over as a relevant pop star.
I really wish Diamon had sung the theme to ‘A Different World’ because then maybe this insane 90s afro-centric stage setting would have made a little bit of sense instead of taking somebody born on the edge of the 21st century back to a time when Will Smith was just getting into fights on basketball courts.
Despite the odd set decoration, this performance was fun enough. About all you can expect from a tweenie singing to the best of her ability. Again, the excessive echo drowned out her vocals so it was hard to get an accurate reading on her voice. Of course, that could all be part of the plan.
With all those distractions, it was hard to get any sense of who Diamond White is, what she could be, or even how well she sings. We did get a good sense, however, of what the inside of Sinbad’s brain must look like. So it wasn’t a complete waste.
Vino Alan Sang: “Gotta Be Somebody” by Nickleback
LA Reid Said: You’ll prove them wrong again.
Britney Said: I feel your effort, but I was a little bored.
Demi Said: I find myself really rooting for you because I see the passion behind your eyes. I just have a hard time seeing you as a pop star.
Simon Said: I think the song and arrangement of the song was completely and utterly wrong for you. It made you into some horrible cover singer. I think you’re more of a soul singer than a rock singer. (Then an Expletive was Deleted)
Vino Alan on Halloween. I was expecting so much. Like the rage seething inside of him to summon lightning strikes on stage. Or it to start raining blood inside the arena. Or him to shoot fire from his eyes as a means of getting focused.
What did I get instead? Some weird combination of Everlast, Tony Bennett and the worst of early-century schlock rock. Like 3 Doors Down. Or Lifehouse. Or…Nickleback.
Yes. Let’s discuss that song choice. Is LA Reid unaware that Nickleback is about as popular in America as the Hantavirus and Boggle? Has he been aware of the pop music scene in the last 10 years? Has he ever actually heard Nickleback?
Of course, he could have just been trying to summon the rage from my man Vino. And after that shouty and awkward performance, he could be beating himself up again tonight to an astounding effect.
If you see the headline tomorrow morning, “Zombie Apocalypse Begins in Los Angeles: X-Factor Contestant’s Rage Though to be the Catalyst”, don’t be surprised.
Lyric 145 Sang: “Boom Boom Shake the Room” by DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince with a little bit of “Gangnam Style”
LA Reid Said: I love you guys, but it sounded like somebody put you in a washer, dumped in bleach and took all the soul out of it.
Britney Said: I was genuinely entertained.
Demi Said: I had so much fun watching you guys.
Simon Said: I thought you guys were absolutely sensational.
Here are two things that are clear about Lyric 145: Lyric Da Queen is a star and the 145 portion is essentially useless, coming off like the Baha Men’s wannabe cousins.
While that my true, I don’t think Da Queen works as a solo act. She needs the other two dudes to back her up. She just doesn’t have enough substance to survive on her own but with that little bit of oomph, she really comes out as a finished product. Like a cool bass line you don’t notice backing a great guitar riff.
Unfortunately, 145 could not be contained behind her and sang a few bars of ‘Gangnam Style’ in what was nothing but a jarring bit of distraction that made me think I was having a stroke for a minute. I don’t know why we needed to have that in the middle.
If Cowell continues this group as Lyric Da Queen as the frontwoman and 145 as her backup, I think this will really work. If he goes with that tag team method, they may be just as successful as Tag Team.
Leopard Face Sang: “Because the Night” by Patti Smith
LA Reid Said: You left a little to be desired vocally, but it was strong overall.
Britney Said: I loved the performance, but I thought your vocals were a little weak sometimes.
Demi Said: I feel like you could do much better vocally. You are a pop star.
Simon Said: You’re fearless and you’re interesting.
Leopard Face is some kinda pop star all right. What kind exactly, I have no idea.
It seemed here like Demi was trying to make her a gay icon crossed with a Thomas Dolby Fever Dream all in one shot. Complete with the electric Day-Glo and synthed-out backing track.
Yes, the vocals were kind of the undercard here as Lovato upped everything around her to try and make us forget this was the girl who judged everybody before outsinging them. Maybe she didn’t want her to flash those huge pipes again. It would be too unlikable? I don’t know, but this wasn’t the same raging fire vocals we’ve heard before.
But I love Leopard Face and I love all the crazy nonsense so I totally loved it. Especially her crazy crawl to the camera at the end. This was really like something out of the 80s VMAs. She had that much poise and confidence and just the right amount of makeup.
Though she’ll always be Leopard Face to me.
Tate Stevens Sang: “I Thought I Was Tough” by Craig Morgan
LA Reid Said: I thought it was really good. You are a classic.
Britney Said: Every time you get me. I think you’re amazing.
Demi Said: I was a little bit bored at the beginning, but you stood on your own and you gave me the chills. I think you’re such a star.
Simon Said: I know exactly what kind of artist you should be.
Tate is an absolute pro. It’s that simple. I have no idea what he’s doing here. In a world where there’s 9 million country acts making a living either touring, on the radio or starring in sitcoms as a lead-out to Tim Allen, it’s amazing to think that somebody this polished would be completely undiscovered, but here we are.
His vocals aren’t perfect, but they’re just about there. That’s the only real criticism I have for him. I don’t know much about country music, but he seemed to be on a par with about everybody I’ve ever seen perform on television in the brief snippets I get before I realize it’s the CMA Awards and not The Grammys.
And maybe he’d make me want to stick around.
Beatrice Miller Sang: “I Won’t Give Up” by Jason Mraz
LA Reid Said: One of the key ingredients in stardom is believability and lovability. I believe you and love you. (That’s actually two ingredients, by the way)
Britney Said: I think you’re a true star.
Demi Said: I thought at first you seemed nervous, but when you came out with at rock star thing…yeah. I was really impressed.
Simon Said: I think the style of music was right. Personally, I felt that when you tried to push it we had some real tuning issues.
Ever been to a kid’s talent show? Like 8th grade. You see a kid try to do a magic act. You see a kid do the cup stacking thing. You see a kid fall flat on his face trying to break dance. You see it all.
Then you see that one kid. The kid who decides to take on a current pop song. Sometimes they play the piano too. That kid suddenly takes you out of your stupefied misery and you say, “Hey! This kid is amazing! They could be on the radio!” And you really believe that.
Well, you only believe that because they’re good for their age. And in the midst of the other acts you’ve seen, they really do seem like Mariah Carey in her prime.
Well, Beatrice gave you a chance to see that same performance on live TV. Replete with the same sour notes and forgotten lyrics you’d expect at a talent show. Except she’s competing for $5 Million, not a blue ribbon and some extra credit.
Also, special note must be paid to the giant Avatar image of her that popped up near the end of the song on the big screen. Was that a Halloween manifestation meant to haunt my nightmares until Christmas? It looked like the kiddie version of Vigo the Carpathian.
Thanks for not letting me get any sleep tonight, Beatrice.
Jason Brock Sang: “Dance Again” by Jennifer Lopez
LA Reid Said: I enjoyed you. We had fun.
Britney Said: You could have chose a better song, but it was really interesting and entertaining.
Demi Said: I think it wasn’t the right song choice.
Simon Said: I like you, but that was utterly horrendous. Everything about it was wrong. To me, it doesn’t get worse than that.
Ugh. What has LA done to my favorite? He’s turned him into some Tom Jones parody complete with the ridiculous suit and stage production that would do much better on the 70s strip than anywhere in present-day America.
It was almost like Jason went to cabaret fantasy camp with this performance. All the trappings here there, and I thought he really suffered for it.
This is a guy with a stunning soul voice who doesn’t need all the craziness to make it work. To put him in something like this is a disservice and makes him look more like a cruise ship entertainer than a pop star.
And I think he’s the latter.
1-4-3-2 Sang: “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” by Taylor Swift
LA Reid Said: Very talent show. Very karaoke. Horrible Production. Your mentor really failed you.
Britney Said: Your energy really drew us in. I was really really surprised.
Demi Said: I feel like tonight there was only one person that shined. It didn’t click for me tonight.
Simon Said: You are fantastic. There is work to do, but you’re going to prove what great vocalists you are.
These girls still definitely look like three solo acts thrown together. There’s no cohesiveness to their look, their style or anything.
But the sound? Well they sound like they’ve been performing together since the womb. The vocal arrangements were absolutely flawless and devilishly entertaining, injecting some extra soul into this humdrum pop record. They also did something we did not see from Sister C – they harmonized. Y’know. The whole point of singing with a group?
I think this is a group we’ll get to hear a lot more of. And making me seem a little more confident in my pre-season assertion that a group is going to win this year.
Willie Jones Sang: “Here for the Party” by Gretchen Wilson
LA Reid Said: It was an adequate performance.
Britney Said: I feel like you’re a true star.
Demi Said: Nowadays, people are liking unique fresh things.
Simon Said: I thought it was silly. I didn’t really get that.
What was the knock on Willie Jones? The one that Britney so beautifully articulated during boot camp week? Oh yeah! That Willie can’t actually sing.
He did nothing to disprove that here. Essentially mumbling his way through both the verse and chorus of this bit of country nonsense and looking like he was walking across a scorpion pit while doing it. At least he was dressed like a pimp who owned a honky tonk bar in Monaco.
The only saving grace for Willie was when he went down low with his cool little country twang again. Like Scotty McCreery. The problem is that is all he can do. Literally his only move vocally. So unless they start having him sing the villain roles in operas, I don’t think he’s going to be able to do much in this competition.
Carlyrose Sonenclar Sang: “Something’s Got a Hold On Me” by Etta James
LA Reid Said: It didn’t feel like you were having fun. You’re amazing though.
Britney Said: I thought your vocals were amazing and you did a great, great job.
Demi Said: You have one of the best voices in this competition, but seeing you with other kids, it’s not really believable.
Simon Said: I don’t think you were connecting with the song, but it would be criminal if you were to leave the competition tonight.
Wow. The creepy pint-sized devil woman has got some soul! Like soul to spare and then some.
I didn’t think it was possible for somebody so young to kill a vocal on an Etta James song, but Carly had the rhythm, the runs, the flair, the sass and the little bit of dirt to do this one right. No teensy kidz-bop for her, she’s ready for the big leagues. An astonishing bit of impressiveness.
I have no idea why we needed to put her in a schoolgirl uniform and have wacky dancers behind her. Her vocals were the star. She could have come out in a burlap sack and the result would have been equally as impactful. If anything, it was a disservice – if you’ve got a vocal talent like that, anything else just dumbs it down.
And she’s ready to be the head of the class.
Emblem3 Sang: “One Day” by Matisyahu
LA Reid Said: Even a broken clock is right twice a day. [Simon] got it right this time.
Britney Said: You guys were amazing. I could watch you all night long.
Demi Said: You boys make me swoon.
Simon Said: You are seeing a future superstar.
I don’t think it really matters what these guys do. Did you hear those tweenie girls screaming? They’re going to win. I’m going to go ahead and call that right now. Unless they start committing hate crimes on stage, they’re going to sail through this competition. This is exactly the group I was expecting when I said a group would win this show before the year: Cute boys who don’t blow you away, but are just good enough to be heard over the screeches from the audience.
This was a competent performance. Not great. Not mind-blowing. But very much exactly what they need. 10 more of those and they’re splitting $5 million three ways.
‘X-Factor’ proved last night that it separates itself from other singing competitions by essentially taking the “hopeful” aspect out of the proceedings and making it a competition of performances. Performances extensively choreographed, designed and arranged to essential make the aspirants afterthoughts. It’s certainly unique, but it doesn’t make it seem like a competition among performers as much as it does among the judges and producers putting their performances together.
Of course, this is still ostensibly a singing competition and the judges are going to save two from each category. Here are my picks:
For the tweenies, I’m going with Carlyrose and Arin Ray. The judges were hard on Carly, but she seemed like the standout of the group and I can’t imagine them dumping America’s sweetheart so quickly. Arin has the most potential and he deserves to stick around.
For the young adults, it’s clearly going to be Jennel and Leopard Face. Jennel was the most surprising improvement over the boot camp and judges’ homes rounds and now looks like a contender. Leopard Face is already a rock star and has to stick around from an entertainment/love-to-hate standpoint.
For the Over-25s, it’s Tate and somebody else. I have no idea who that somebody else will be. Vino was horrendous, David Correy is David Correy and Jason Brock was a sideshow. I’ll take David Correy out of that group as the judges seem to have a soft spot for him.
For the groups, Emblem3 is clearly moving on and I think Lyric 145 joins them. They’re two unique to not have stick around.
Check back tomorrow when we round out the top 12 and unveil this year’s first round of power rankings.
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