RECAP: X Factor and the Big Band Night


It’s big band night on X Factor, which probably meant absolutely nothing to most of the contestants, as almost all picked a contemporary song and turned it to fit the theme. The performances were mediocre as per usual. And I’ve officially decided, this is the last time I’ll ever keep up with X Factor.

Rion Paige sang John Anderson’s “Swingin,” which got her praise from all the judges. Her vocals were not on point, as she seemed to struggle through the song as she skipped around on stage. She sounded out of breath the majority of the time, so I’m not quite sure how to take Simon Cowell’s comment that she showed what kind of artist she would be in the “real world.”

Restless Road gave a painful rendition of “Life if a Highway.” Sure, Kelly Rowland was right when she said the guys sounded more cohesive, but that didn’t stop lead singer Colton Pack from bombing a good majority of his solos. Why he’s still the lead singer, I’m really not sure. Demi said they “look like stars up there.” Okay, then.

Jeff Gutt impressed with Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good.” The simplicity really allowed his spot on vocals to shine through. He felt genuine with his performance. The judges agreed it was his best performance so far. I’m still not sure I can see Jeff having much of a career after the show, but he is by far the most consistent.

Jeff Levi stole the show with Bruno Mars’ “Treasure.” This kid has the best stage presence out of anyone on this show. It comes so naturally to him, and so far, he’s the only contestant I can see “making it” outside the competition. The judges loved it, but Simon felt the choreography was a bit dated and theatrical.

Carlito Olivero was cheesy beyond belief while performing a medley of Ricky Martin’s “La Copa de la Vida/Maria Maria.” This performance was much better than his past few, but that doesn’t mean much. He’s back to his “latino” roots, and as a latina, I don’t care for it. He doesn’t have as much “swagger” as the Ricky Martin’s and Enrique Iglesia’s of the world. He stills seems to be trying way to hard, and he doesn’t seem original. The judges loved him, Kelly noting that he finally looked like was having fun.

Alex and Sierra completely reworked Taylor Swift’s “I Knew You Were Trouble.” The outcome was ambitious, and while some moments didn’t work for me, it, again, showed the duo’s creativity. These guys would have been better suited for a show like The Voice, but what can you do? It’s nice to see contestants taking risks on such a stale show. Alex still performed circles over Sierra, but her voice and stage presence is improving fast. While Kelly wasn’t a fan of the rendition, Demi said, “You guys made me like it… It’s so different from the original song… and that’s what artists do, you turn a song into your own.”

Lillie McCloud sang “Summertime” from Porgy and Bess. To be completely honest, I don’t have much to say about her performance since Candy Crush stole my attention during her performance, except during the super powerful last note, which allowed her to show more range. She has the best voice on this competition by far, but she’s dull. Simon told her the entire performance was too contained, which Kelly simply replied, “Shut up.”

The last solo act was Ellona Santiago with “Mama Knows Best” by Jessie J. Her vocals were much better than last week, but she still hit a few sharp notes. I understand that other 17 year old artists have worn outfits like hers on stage, but Ellona just looks too young to pull it off. It made me uncomfortable to watch her prancing around in super short shorts. Her dancing, the stage, the outfit, the dud notes, all made me feel like I was watching a pop star wannabe still. The judges threw tons of praise at her, except for a tiny bit of criticism from Simon who remarked, again, to lose the dancers since “it’s a bit dress up now.”

All the contestants came together for a group number of “Cry Me a River,” which I’m not even going to bother critiquing because those things are horrendous. Also, way to try to bring in a celebrity mentor a la The Voice…

Although I’ve given up trying to figure out how America will vote…:

Prediction: Lillie McCloud and Carlito Olivero will be sent home.

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