Archive for October, 2011

The Live Show: Where Insanity Meets Talentless

After weeks of manufactured drama and filler, we have finally arrived at the live portion of X-Factor. On the plus side, this means we got to hear Melanie Amaro sing live. On the down side, this means we had to hear everyone else sing live. Of course, none of that really matters on this show. The whole singing bit is mostly just a tedious detail necessitated by the whole “singing competition” genre. No, instead X-Factor is truly about Thriller-esque werewolf costumes, legions of backup dancers, seizure-inducing light shows, country-western backdrops and Justin Bieber mash-ups. The show was entirely insane in the best way possible. (Well, no, that’s not entirely true. The show was 2.5 hours long which is far too long for anything that isn’t the Super Bowl or a compilation of Youtube videos of funny cats.)

I guess I have to discuss the terrible awkwardness that was the judging panel and host, too. This wasn’t even a good terrible awkwardness. It was just uncomfortable. All the judges clearly hate each other and have no problem randomly bickering over nothing. On top of that, their opinions are all biased to the point of worthlessness and their inflated egos totally hinder their ability to mentor. But whatever, that’s all to be expected from a Simon Cowell-led judging panel. The real story is that Steve Jones is an impossibly bad host. Up until now, he’s been somewhere along a sliding scale of middling to insignificant. In his first live show at bat, he managed to be a stiff, uncomfortable time Nazi with all the subtlety of a James Durbin performance. Steve, I don’t care how late your show is running, you always let Queen Paula wax poetic about the colors and textures of her precious babies. Local news can wait ten minutes to run that story about killer beetles in your drinking water, so give Melanie Amaro her fifteen minutes, damnit. You are much more fun when you’re getting electrocuted.

Anyway, enough about all that nonsense, onto the insanity!
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The X-Factor Judges Have Really Big Houses

Well, now that I’ve seen each of the top 32 contestants perform in an immaculately manicured backyard, I feel as though I can accurately assess their abilities. Before I wasn’t quite so sure I had a proper grasp on all of them, but I’m good to go now that I know where each ranks with regards to the truly artist-defining quality of “ability to work a porch.”

… so yeah, I thought the format of this round was a little awkward. I mean, who thought, “hey! Let’s have the contestants all go to these super lavish mansions and then have them perform in the most randomly chosen outdoor spots possible. And we’ll also have them sing to really loud, polished backing tracks because that totally works well with the whole one-on-one setting we have going. And to top it off, we’ll add some random famous person!” Most of the time, it worked well enough. Simon’s lackeys were all annoying and useless, but I think Mariah Carey would’ve just been awkward and useless, so I’m not too upset. Rihanna, Pharrell and Enrique were actually more useful/entertaining than I thought they’d be.

I probably had more general thoughts, but four hours of any TV show is too much in one week, so I’m just going to pretend it didn’t happen. Because I’m entirely too wordy and I have thirty two contestants to cover, I’m going to devote no more than one sentence to each contestant. (Spoiler: I can write really, really long sentences.)

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