Last nights X Factor had some outrageous 80s Halloween costumes (for the 80s themed night), horrendous dancing by Mario Lopez, and mostly horrifying performances from all the contestants. At this point, the show is only worth watching for the one or two redeeming performances, but only if you can sit through the rest of the two hour show cringing at flat notes, off key harmonies, weird staging, bad costumes (yes, costumes), and Paulina Rubio.
Immediately at the top of the show, Carlos Guevara was sent home, which was not at all surprising. Although, I was expecting Tim Olstad to get the boot first. After the quick goodbye, Lillie McCloud took the stage with Chaka Kahn’s “Ain’t Nobody.” I feel bad for this woman. Simon Cowell’s comment about her being dated is going to stick with her for the entire show. She wore a younger outfit, she had dancers and a DJ on stage with her, surely she would come across more current! But, she didn’t. The whole thing felt a little bit desperate. While it was nice to see her moving around on stage, she slacked on her vocals a bit. Simon somehow saw this all as her successful “attempt to be current.” Moving on…
Carlito Olivero flopped for the third time in a row. His vocals could only improve after his disasterous performance of “If You’re Not the One,” last week, so he should pat himself on the back for that feat. Unfortunately though, he was eaten up by everything else going on onstage. Although he showcased his dancing ability, he didn’t take any control of what he was doing. He didn’t focus enough on either his dancing or singing, half-assing each. Kelly Rowland commented on his struggle and noted, “You’re supposed to be smooth.” Paulina, in an attempt to say he looked scared on stage, said, “You’re struggling with your face.” Simon doubts that he’ll stay in the competition to redeem himself next week, and we agree.
Rion Paige, who made us all feel old when she revealed she thought the Spice Girls were from the 80s, sang Pat Benatar’s “We Belong.” Rion started off shaky, but picked it up towards the end of the song. The thirteen-year old lacked any connection to the song’s lyrics, though, and delivered a dull performance. Simon told her she always puts 110% into her performances, but needs to have more input in her song choices. I believe it’s officially time to call it; Simon has gone soft.
Next up was Sweet Suspense, who left the judges unimpressed with their cover of Toni Basil’s “Mickey.” The girls had a cute stage set up, and looked great. But just like last Wednesday, who was really singing? The backup vocalists played a large part of their song, and again, it was hard to tell where the voices were coming from. Kelly didn’t feel like the girls were coming together as a group. Demi laid out some harsh criticism, saying they were too focused on the choreography and the most interesting part of the performance was the fire. When Simon interrupted to say it was the best performance of the night, Demi chimed, “They’re no Fifth Harmony!” Ouch. Oldest member of the group Summer Reign looked like she going to burst into tears.
Funeral director, as Simon appropriately called him a few weeks ago, Tim Olstad had the strangest performance of the night with “Against all Odds” by Phil Collins. Tim is the perfect example of why not everyone with a good voice is a star. He lacks any sort of stage presence, and was completely overshadowed by the strange dancer in front of him. Demi agreed with the sentiment stating, “You do have an excellent voice… but no X Factor.” Simon was too distracted by the dancer and said it looked like a murder movie.
Kaya Cohen turned Madonna’s “Borderline” into an Amy Winehouse, Duffy-esque song. While Kaya’s stage presence is improving, she still has a lot of work to do. Some of the movements felt staged and awkward, while a few looked organic and seamless. She has a few bum notes, but overall, had one of the best vocals of the night. No comment on her outfit because that’s not her fault. But these contestants need to learn to say no to their stylists sometimes…
Restless Road had the perfect song in Kenny Loggins’, “Footloose.” The song allowed them to still have their country twang, while sticking true to the theme of the night. Lead singer Colton still had some pitch problems, but wins “most improved” this week. The band as a whole have a lot of work to do still, with vocals and their stage presence, but these guys aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. The judges threw praise at them, but did mention that the other two guys, Zach and Andrew, need to step it up.
Rachel Potter was another victim of strange staging with her rendition of Heart’s “Alone.” She was awkwardly hanging onto a fence while singing, which made her performance come off as a joke. Some shaky notes and a peculiar scream towards the end of the karaoke arrangement left me disappointed. Demi predicted she could win this thing, while Simon had some reservations about Rachel’s vocals. Unfortunately, Rachel may be in danger.
Ellona Santiago was feeling very ambitious with Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.” She never really quite found the melody, hit some bum notes, and even fell in the middle of the performance. The dance moves, the outfit, the dancers, the staging, screamed “I’m cheesy!” While yes, the girl has talent and has potential to become a pop star, she needs better guidance. Simon said most of the performance “mad,” and would like to see less choreography.
Josh Levi proved that the judges decision to have him back was worth it. He sang Paula Abdul’s “Straight Up,” and made it current. This mini Bieber proved he could command the stage, as he shined through all the back up dancers and made the show entertaining. His vocals still need some work, but he’s improved greatly. Kelly told him, “…you have just arrived.”
Jeff Gutt performed Journey’s “I Just Died in Your Arms Tonight.” His performances was what I expected it to be. The predictably isn’t good for Jeff. He did nothing to liven up the arrangement, which made the performance a bit boring. It’s unfortunate that Jeff wasn’t in his teens or early twenties in the 80s, because he would have fit right into a classic 80s rock band. Simon admitted his problem with Jeff is that he isn’t showing originality, and that he needs to push himself to come out of his comfort zone.
To conclude the night, Alex and Sierra performed “Addicted to Love” by Robert Palmer. The duo were separated by a wall for most of the performance, which was exactly what I’ve been wanting to see. Sierra proved she didn’t have to be starring at Alex to give a sexy performance. The duos vocals weren’t as on point as usual, but the performance itself was an improvement for me. So, the judges comments were a bit surprising. Kelly and Demi didn’t like the separation, and Simon noticed that Sierra lost the melody from the beginning. I enjoyed it, people love them, it’s pretty obvious the couple isn’t going anywhere for a while.
Prediction: Tim Olstad and Carlito Olivero will be going home tonight.