The X-Factor: Live Show – Top 17 Podcast

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Episode 26 direct download

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Time Stamps
0:00 – Introduction: Our thoughts on the live show stage and production and Steve Jones
4:23 – Eliminations: Phillip Lomax, The Brewer Boys, Dexter Haygood, Simone Battle and Tiah Tolliver
12:27 – The performances we loved: Brian “Astro” Bradley, Leroy Bell, Josh Krajcik and Drew
19:05 – The performances we didn’t like: Chris Rene, Marcus Canty and Lakoda Rayne
23:51 – Controversial/Lukewarm performances: The Stereo Hogzz, InTENsity, Stacy Francis, Rachel Crow and Melanie Amaro
32:24 – Wrap-up

Episode Length: 34:34

The X-Factor, from its first audition episode, was full of flash and bombast. Everything was big! This didn’t prepare us for the over-the-top production values found in the first live show, which featured floor-to-ceiling monitors, a transparent stage with flashing lights, smoke machines and a small army of backup dancers. The only thing missing from the spectacle was pyrotechnics. It made an impression, but we’re not convinced it was necessary to be flashier than American Idol. In the end, it came down to the performances whose quality was independent of the special effects employed throughout the evening.

Indeed, stripped down performances made for some of the best moments in the show. Josh Krajcik gave a soul-stirring performance of “Forever Young,” eschewing instrumentation in favor of a controlled vocal tone that rang out and filled the room. Drew followed suit with a low-key arrangement of “What a Feeling” carried by the haunting qualities of her voice. Both contestants established themselves as strong contenders for America’s vote and the five million dollar record contract. Leroy Bell did things his own way when singing “Nobody Knows.” Even though it’s not a song best suited for his artistic style, Leroy ran with it and let his charisma and smooth, intense voice carry the song, showing how his past experience as a song writer and an indie performer will turn him into a dark horse for this competition. He doesn’t have a lot of buzz behind him, but he’s one of our favorites and the comments we find for him are very positive.

This is not to say that flashy and fun performances didn’t have merit. Brian “Astro” Bradley’s opening hip-hop mashup of “Rump Shaker” and “Jump” demonstrated his rapping prowess, spitting forth rhymes and rhythms in quick machine-gun bursts. Even with multiple re-watches we are in awe of his ability as a hip-hop MC. InTENsity and the Stereo Hogzz, while having issues in each of their respective performances, were fun to watch and showed that Paula Abdul can and will take the groups category in a positive and constructive direction.

Some performances have us worried. Chris Rene, Rachel Crow and Melanie Amaro all had some problems in their songs with vocal issues creeping in during important moments. We’re the least worried with Melanie Amaro, as it appeared that nerves got the better of her due in no small part to the mind games Simon Cowell has played with her. If she knocks it out of the park on the next show she’ll be fine. As for Chris Rene, the song highlighted his limited range and downplayed his smooth R&B flow, which is the opposite of what we think L.A. Reid would want from him. He needs a song that recalls the moments from his audition or his fan-base will dwindle in the coming weeks. Rachel Crow was the most controversial performance for us. The judges and many online fans loved it, but we didn’t like the song choice and heard multiple vocal errors in the verses of the mashup. Simon is placing her in this child performer box that she is going to outgrow in one or two years, which is a dangerous place to put her.

The eliminations were the correct choices as they consisted of the poorest performances of the night. Dexter, Simone, Phillip and Tiah all had over-wrought set concepts and backup dancers coupled with sub-par vocal performances. We actually enjoyed the Brewer Boys, but since the groups category had an even level of quality it was hard to argue for another group to leave. We would have sent Lakoda Rayne packing because of our music preferences and distaste for their pop country aesthetic which still feels uncomfortable on them. We’re not upset about any of the losses from the first live show.

We’re curious how America will take to the remaining contestants. Who will America love? Who will the fanbase hate? It’s up in the air and gleaning information from the internet buzz will only get you so far. The upcoming week of live shows should prove interesting!

And finally, we give you this:

A lucky pause of the DVR!

Let us know what you think after listening to the podcast! Leave us a comment here, on Pure X-Factor or tweet us. We love feedback and will respond either with a comment or in our next published show.

  1. marge stein
    November 2, 2011 at 2:44 PM

    Please tell Simon to:
    Stop using white eye makeup under his brow.
    Substitute another opening shot where he greets his “girls.” He looks like a lecher!
    Teach Nicole how to respond to a cue. She looks like a deer caught in a headlight.
    Stop using theatrics to build up a dispute among judges. It is so obvious, and condescending to the viewer.
    Who decided to book the idiotic guest judges : i.e. Inglesias et al. Not a smart move.
    Was the Ryan Seacrest wanabee chosen because of his british accent? Send him to Seacrest School.
    I expected much more from LA Reid. He should stick to menswear shows.
    It’s hard to believe but I think the best judge, so far, is our old friend Paula. She does seem to work hard to help her groups. Unfortunately, there are no winners there.
    Summing up:
    We need Simon to stop play acting and be himself (or whomever he was on Idol).
    You need to cut back on the commercials. You are going to lose people to other shows out of frustration.
    All the judges (except Paula) need a good shaking up. No more false arguments, no more lies, no more excuses. Play it honest, and tell Simon to speak to the real viewers, not the paid yes men, when he wants to create a new show.

  2. Sue Mix
    November 20, 2011 at 5:23 PM

    I just watched the Tivo of X Factor I had recorded and was appaled that Astor out beat the lady that was sent home. Give me a break this kid Astro came out cocky with an Attitude and he was kept on the show? Simon ever since you were even on American Idol I always valued your opinion until you Kept Astro. This kid is a Rapper that’s what the kid’s of today need more crap they can’t understand . The one that should win the 5 Million Contract is Rachel Crowe. She’s a very talented little girl who’s had a hard life. Rachel has an amazing voice for her age. If Astro wants to win he needs to drop the Attitude of being better than the rest of the People on the show. Astro needs a dose of Reality and he seems to be like his shit don’t stink . And Believe me there’s better singers on the X Factor than him

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