The longer these go on, the more this show feels like a second-rate America’s Got Talent.
Part of it is Cowell’s own fault. When Idol blocked him from bringing X-Factor to the states for five years, Cowell’s response was to create and produce the “Got Talent” series. Got Talent was derivative of X-Factor, but here in the states, we didn’t know that, as X-Factor didn’t run here. So now that X-Factor is here, its shock value has already been marred by a “been-there, seen-that” feeling.
But we did get a second helping of Cheryl Cole and her non-offensive persona! In honor of that, I present the following tribute.
Most of the auditions were nothing to write home about. Even those put through were mostly forgettable, or just odd. I have to believe they did find talent, but it was just that they were so busy showing us the freak show they didn’t have room to let us see any of it. I’m really hoping that when we get to bootcamp next week, we’ll see people who can sing and not a random assortment of odds, ends and carnival freaks.
There were a couple worth mentioning….
After ten years of watching these shows, I thought they had lost their ability to fool me. I’m pretty good at guessing by the edit which will be the surprise good auditions, and which will be the painful flops. Perhaps it was the complete dearth of good male auditions up until now (and the few-and-far-between female ones), but I was 100% expecting Josh Krajcik to be a trainwreck. The edit was all about his horrendous overbearing mother who had driven 9 1/2 hours to bring her unwashed schlub of a thirty-something frycook son to X-Factor so he could show the world how talented he was. I was completely ready for a trainwreck performance and for mom to fly off the handle and freak out at Simon and Company for not being able to see how awesome her failure-to-launch spawn was.
Then he opened his mouth, and goddamn if it wasn’t the best performance we’d had in the entirety of the audition phase. It was the best male performance we’d had by miles. I was truly taken aback.
Now, it wasn’t the best voice I’d ever heard in my life. It was, if judging by Idol standards, a “good” audition, the kind you get to hear about ten of per audition episode, and you try to remember, hoping he comes out the other side of Hollywood Week. But by X-Factor standards, it was winner’s circle worthy. LA Reid continued to be my favorite judge by sharply prodding about the schlub look–“I’m on to you. You know what you’re doing. This is your before look, isn’t it?” Yes, I think LA Reid is a huge improvement over Randy Jackson.
The other audition worth noting was Drew Ryniewicz. Her mournful rendition of Beiber’s “Baby Baby” was a revelation. Less revealing for her, and more that under the wads of cheese, the sea of over processing and the mounds of Beiber hair, there’s a lovely song hidden in that track. More stunning was that googling her didn’t turn up failed record albums and shadowy producers feeding her that amazing arrangement. Instead it turned up local “Town Idol” pageant wins. Girl’s about as real deal as they come these days.
Other than that…nothing. There was one over-50 gospel singer who wasn’t given much back story, but did have a good church voice (Simon loves those.) Everyone else we saw them put through was, at best, merely average. The girl who took up 20 minutes at the end trying to win over one female judge really wasn’t all that, but she was better than half of what we’d seen go through already, so I couldn’t figure out why Paula and Nicole were suddenly fussing about needing real talent. The less said about the professional student who mentioned Pi and Algorithms in his interview (thereby stamping himself with “nerd” cred) and his bizarre douchbag rendition of Radiohead, the better.
Also, if Nicole is going to go all Kara DioGuardi and compete with the contestants, we can replace her as of yesterday. I’m still fighting to get #shutupnicole trending. Bring back Cheryl!