This week on X Factor we finally discovered how the “Four Chair challenge” works.
Each contestant is to perform in front of the four judges. After performing and receiving feedback, the contestant’s mentor decides if they get to take a seat in one of the four chairs, or if they go home. Once you’re in a seat, it doesn’t mean you’re safe until all 10 contestants have performed. If all four seats are taken and another contestant has been told “You made my final four” (except, as we see, not really), the mentor can decide to switch out a seated contestant, and send them home. Weird right?
First up for the four chair challenge were the over 25s with mentor Kelly Rowland. The performances proved that Kelly’s team is on the weaker side, with only two performances showing any sign of the “X Factor,” (although I’m starting to think that on this show that means little).
Victoria Carriger, 41-year old mother of eight, sang first. She performed a weird rendition of “To Make You Feel My Love,” and just like in her first audition, had weird enunciation issues. Were the over 25s really that bad that Carriger made it to the top 10 over the others? Probably. Simon told her he wouldn’t put her through based on that audition. But Kelly, taking the strategy most of the judges probably will, decided to fill up her seats first, in case nobody performed better (and on this show, it seems to be likely).
Kristine Mirelle performed next. Either she was not memorable at all in her first auditions, or this is actually the first time we’re meeting her. She did an … interesting version of Britney Spears’ “Oops I did it Again.” She proved to have a miniscule amount of talent. Demi told her it was pitchy, and Paulina, who seems to never have an original thought, agreed. Simon on the other hand, liked her potential. Kelly tells her to take a seat, and like Carriger, will probably get switched out.
The theme for this round seems to be strange versions of pretty amazing songs, and Jeff Gutt followed suit with “Amazing Grace.” He has an interesting raspy rocker voice, which didn’t fit this soft, yet powerful song. However, my opinion doesn’t matter yet, and the judges seemed to love it. Simon went so far as to call it the best performance of the night so far, and sadly, it was true. Kelly tells him he has a seat, as she quickly shrieks, “I HAVE ONE MORE CHAIR.” Kelly’s acting chops need to be perfected a bit, since she, and the viewers know, that two of those seats are easily replaced.
Rachel Potter turned “Irreplaceable” into a country song. She was out of breath the whole time, which in turn led to tons of pitchy moments. Demi told her it was kind of rough after Rachel admitted she’s been sick. She gets a seat anyway.
Ex- football player Lorie Moore sang “I’ll Make Love to You,” a boring choice in my opinion. She has a powerful voice, but I see no signs of an entertainer, if starting a game of Candy Crush about 15 seconds into the song is any indication, anyway. Demi agrees with my sentiment, and tells Lorie she’s not sure if she’s looking at a superstar. Paulina, of course, agrees with Demi. Simon didn’t like the choice of the song, but sees Lorie’s talent anyway. Kelly says, “I don’t know if you’re ready for this industry, this competition,” but has Lorie take Kristine’s spot after a heartfelt speech she gives about working hard, which let’s be real, was probably used as a pep talk before one of her football games.
We meet Allison Davis who was only given a short clip during auditions. Her package reveals only three of the judges sent her through during auditions (is this the only person the judges didn’t all agree on?) How she made it this far is a wonder to everyone as soon as she sang the first two words of Ke$ha’s “Tik Tok.” The performance only became worse. This looked more like a reject audition performance than a fight to stay in the competition. This is a perfect example of why the judges shouldn’t have based their top 40 based on one audition… Needless to say, she was sent packing.
Jeff Brinkman gave a pretty dull performance of “Without You.” Although he has a unique tone, it also seems like one that could get old really fast. He did enough to earn a spot in a chair, and Carriger got a well-deserved boot.
Denny Smith, also known as Santa Clause, sang “Midnight Hour,” which the audience loved. This should have been a huge indicator for Kelly, since this is an AUDIENCE voted competition show, but she unfortunately sends one of the only acts that has talent and is entertaining home.
James Kenney sang a beautiful rendition of “Lean On Me,” which proved to be the best of the night. Everyone loves him. Instead of taking into consideration what the audience was telling her and sending Potter home, Kelly switched Brinkman with James. Bad choice.
Lillie McCloud was the last to perform for Kelly’s team — and she delivered. McCloud sang “A House is Not a Home” perfectly, and left Demi clearly in awe. Lorie Moore was given the boot, which was a bit surprising given Kenney still had a seat, and Lillie took her place.
So, the four to move on in the over 25 category are; Jeff Gutt, Rachel Potter, James Kenney, and Lillie McCloud.
Next up were Demi Lovato’s girls. First up, 20 year old Bree Randall who looks exactly like Diana Agron. She definitely has the look down, but her voice needs work. She sang The Wanted’s “Glad You Came,” which didn’t allow her to showcase any ability — if she has any. Simon told her she “brought the right outfit, right personality, but you didn’t bring the voice.” Bree began to grovel, as many of the contestants have awkwardly done so during this round, and she gets a seat.
Khaya Cohen showed her talents with Bruno Mars’ “Locked Out of Heaven.” She even stepped up her performance game a bit. She gets a seat. Jamie Pineda sang a half-karaoke sounding- half pretty decent performance of “Don’t Speak”. She also gets a seat!
Ashley Williams, with another boring song choice, sang a pitchy rendition of “I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing.” Simon told her there are much better singers in this competition, which makes me question why we haven’t seen them. But she gets a seat anyway.