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Thursday, September 22, 2011

The X Factor Series Premiere

Photo: Ethan Hickerson
Did you watch the premiere of X Factor USA on Wednesday night? It certainly had some moving moments. It had some bizarre ones too. I like the fact that nearly all ages can compete, and having live auditions in front of such a huge audience was a nice twist.

The only real negative for me was a lack of diverse musical styles. Nearly every contestant who got on the air was either into pop or R&B. Hopefully we’ll get to hear some rock and country mixed in as the auditions continue.

Here are a few thoughts about the contestants:

Rachel Crow: Loved her. Loved her personality. At 13, she brought down the house with her rendition of “Mercy.”

Terrell Carter: Dude can sing. I think he’ll go far in the competition.

John Lindahl: Plenty of personality. Great stage presence. Not sure he has the voice, but time will tell.

Siameze Floyd: If this were a celebrity impersonation competition, he would win. He’s Prince, minus the voice. He can dance and move, but that’s where it ends. Can’t believe they put him through.

Dan and Venita: He is 70. She is 83. They are married and make a beautiful couple. I loved the way Dan kept reaching out to touch Venita’s hand during “Unchained Melody.” Unfortunately, they just couldn’t sing.

You Only Live Once: My cat nearly jumped off my lap when one of the girls started doing her death metal scream. And the stunned look on Simon’s face was hysterical. “It was like you were singing,” he said to one of them, “and she swallowed poison,” he said to the death metal girl. I was hoping they would put them through just to see how they would follow that performance.

Linda Ostrofsky: A 61-year old screaming “I Touch Myself”? Come on. There is no way in the world this was a legitimate audition. This had to be a gag, a dare or a hoax.

Miranda Singleton: She said she wants to be the next Madonna. She sort of had Madonna’s look down, but the voice … not so much.

Simone Battle: She likes the word, “fierce,” which to her means confidence and exhibiting fearlessness. She had plenty of that, but she relied mostly on tight red shorts. My problem with her was her voice, which wasn’t all that hot in my opinion. She just seemed more concerned with her dream of “becoming a pop icon,” than with actually wanting a platform to say something of substance through her music. But she’s through to the next round. So, we’ll see. The one thing that resulted from her audition is – Simon and L.A. Reid aren’t afraid to disagree and they did so often.

Stacy Francis: A 42-year-old, single mother of two who says she doesn’t want to die with the music in her. Even before I heard her sing, I was rooting for her. She killed it during her audition, singing “Natural Woman,” bringing everybody to their feet, including the judges. I loved her “Wooooo” at the end.

Geo Godley: A 43-year-old “internet blogger,” as if there were another kind. I’m not even going to get into this guy’s audition. Let’s just say he disrobed. Another farce. There’s no way this was a legit audition. He’s just a guy looking for his 15 minutes, and he got it thanks to the show’s bad decision to air his audition.

Marcus Canty: A 20-year old guy who loves life and watching kids at his church. His mom told him he has two years to make a go of his singing career. He was at the end of his two years when he took the stage. I wasn’t as blown away with him as the judges were, but he can certainly sing. He’ll be fun to watch.

The Answer: Not my kind of music, but they are good.

Nici Collins: Can’t sing a lick and she made weird screeching noises. And again, I just can’t imagine this was legit.

T for Two: No. No. No.

Darren Michaels: Attempted to sing “Like a Virgin,” but didn’t come anywhere close to singing.

Chris Rene: Another contestant with a compelling story. He got into drugs and alcohol at an early age, has a two-year old son, hauls trash for a living and he has a dream. He sang an original hip-hop song called “Young Homie,” which was filled with hope. He says he’s been clean for 70 days and knowing his backstory made the song even better. Loved what Simon told him: “Maybe you need the show, maybe we need you.”

What do you think about the premiere?


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