Saturday, October 13, 2012

X-Factor USA 2012 - Judge's Homes Performances Recap

No introduction. No time.

All sorts of things went down on Wednesday night's "X Factor" so lets get into it right away, starting with who made the top 24 and were shipped off to the judges' houses round.

Below the Top 24 is the recap of the "young adults" and "groups" categories who performed on this episode as well.

TEENS Mentored by Britney Spears

 • Beatrice Miller: Let's go, Jersey Girl! Maplewood native Beatrice, the soulful little 13-year-old was a judges' favorite despite being boring during boot camp.
• James Tanner: We haven't seen much of this kid. I think he raps and sings? I guess we'll find out together...
• Carly Rose Sonenclar: No surprise here. Carly's audition was phenomenal, she was awesome in boot camp and is a front runner to go very far in this competition. She is one to watch, as Simon would say. • Diamond White: Again, no shocker. Diamond might be better than Carly. Her version on "I Have Nothing" in boot camp was killer and she has the look, the swagger and she is only 13. Another contender for sure.
• Reed Deming: This is a "we want the young audience right now" move. The kid has the Justin Bieber thing going, has a pretty good voice and might do well, but he is not a superstar.
• Arin Ray: Good thing they said Arin's name. My remote may have went flying. A strong contestant last year, Arin has stepped up his game this season as a solo artist and I look forward to seeing more of him. He is a real talent.

 YOUNG ADULTS (17-24 years old) Mentored by Demi Lovato

 • CeCe Frey: First in this group is fiesty CeCe, who despite her attitude, which I am still convinced is largely a product of editing, has a very strong voice and deserves the spot. Her rendition of "I Will Always Love You" in boot camp was top-notch.
• Willie Jones: Not sure how I feel about this one. The judges see more in him that I do. I have to agree with Britney Spears that his natural singing voice just isn't that strong. Maybe he just hasn't found his niche yet. We'll see how he does. • Jennel Garcia: The sexy, little Latina rocker chick made it through. She's another from this age category who has shined and absolutely deserves a spot. If she keeps choosing the right songs, she can go a long way.
• Nick Youngerman: WHAT? HOW? WHY? The kid who rapped Vanilla Ice in his audition and forgot his words in boot camp is going through? I did not see this one coming. I assumed he was going back to clean toilets ... WOW.
• Paige Thomas: Anyone who watches enough reality TV saw this coming. The rivalry between Paige and CeCe has been front-and-center so far this season and will continue full-force. Paige deserves it, I guess. She has a good look and a pretty good voice. I'm still Team CeCe though.
• Jillian Jensen: And last but not least is the sentimental favorite, Jillian. I can't lie, I smiled pretty wide when they said her name and beyond all the crying, weeping, sobbing, wailing and running mascara, Jillian does have a strong, raspy voice. Good for you, Jillian! Screw those bullies! OVER 25's Mentored by L.A. Reid
• Jason Brock: Yes, he's flamboyant and a little too over-the-top sometimes, but Jason does have an awesome voice. Not sure if America will go for him if he gets that far, but he has proven he deserves some more attention.
• Daryl Black: Oh, yeah. I forgot about Daryl, who L.A. Reid called the next Nat King Cole in auditions. Daryl got little airtime if any in the boot camp episodes, but his audition was fantastic. I look forward to hearing him again.
 • David Correy: No surprise here for the Brazilian Bruno Mars. Yes, I am the only one calling him that right now, but it might catch on! Anyway, David has been very strong this whole time, is likable, his higher register is very powerful and should do well going forward. • Tara Simon: Ugh. I knew this was coming. Tara, who by no means deserves to be kept is just one of those feather-rufflers the judges keep around to be a spark plug — in a bad way. Tara has over-sung every song, almost screwed Jennel and I hope she crashes quickly.
• Tate Stevens: Good for Tate, his rosy cheeks and his cowboy hat. Tate is by far the best country singer on the show and adds some diversity to group. Even if you're not a country fan (like me), you can't deny his voice and his passion.
• Vino Alan: Great choice in keeping Vino around. His tones are so unlike anyone else in the competition and he is definitely unlike anyone else. Another plus: Now Vino doesn't have to beat Simon to death on network television.

NOTE: Definitely bummed that Jeffrey Gutt didn't make it through. He seemed a bit dull in boot camp but his audition was freaking amazing. Too bad.

 GROUPS Mentored by Simon Cowell

• Sister C: They have annoyed me a little throughout this whole process. Not sure how they will do.
• Dope Crisis: Who? I don't think I've seen them once...
• Emblem3: The only group with any real pizzazz in this competition. I assume they'll make it to the live shows. How could they not?
• Playback: A bunch of guys thrown together by the judges, including Johnny Maxwell and Austin Camini.
• Lylas: A bunch of girls thrown together including Ally Brooke and Dinah Jane Hansen.
• Lyric 145: A rap group made up of Lyric Da Queen and 145.



Jennel Garcia: She sang "I Kissed a Girl" by Katy Perry and it was good, but not as good as before. It was a little too subdued considering the content of the song and Jennel works better with a whole stage to move around, not just Demi's living room.
 Willie Jones: Gutsy move by Willie re-singing "Nobody Knows," the song that he flubbed in boot camp. It wasn't mind-blowing but it wasn't bad. He still hasn't sold me. At least he remembered the words this time.
Jillian Jensen: She gave a great rendition of "Gravity" by Sara Bareilles and cemented herself as one of the top acts in this group. Very strong voice that is even stronger when she's not crying. And Demi loves her like a sister.
Nick Youngerman: He rapped "Tik Tok" by Kesha. No, I will not spell it with the dollar sign. And I still don't buy Nick as a serious act. I would like him better at karaoke night after a few drinks.
Paige Thomas: She killed an acoustic version of "Turn Up the Music" by Chris Brown. Demi didn't like it, but she was awesome. I'm afraid she is too similar to other artists, though.
 CeCe Frey: CeCe sang an almost jazzy version of "I'm Sexy and I Know it" by LMFAO and honestly, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Out of the six in her group she has by far the strongest belting voice and this showcased her ability to pull it back a little. I cannot see Demi cutting her.


Playback: Oh jeez, I can hear the girls screaming already. This thrown-together, cutesy boy band was actually really polished in their version of "Rich Girl" and might actually have a chance at success this season. Simon loved them.
Emblem3: Singing "Every Little Thing She Does is Magic," this trio of California guys warmed my heart. They are not the greatest singers in the world, but I can hear them on the radio and they have a style all their own. The guy without his shirt came in late on a verse, but who cares? Oh yeah ... Simon does.
 Sister C: I've more or less hated this group from the get-go, but they were much better in this audition, singing some country song I didn't recognize. This is probably a bad sign, but they are much, much better when they aren't singing together. The tall, blonde girl has a very strong voice. And it doesn't hurt that they are all beautiful.
Lyric 145: This was a match made in hip-hop heaven. This rap duo and solo artist turned group was on fire in their version of Miley Cyrus's "Party in the USA." Yes, they rapped Miley and it was very cool. Great chemistry right off the bat.
Dope Crisis: A cool mix of rap and singing on Nicki Minaj's "Superbass." Not sure if they stand out quite enough.
Lylas: Oh, the patchwork girl group. It didn't work last year and even though I loved a few of these girls as solo artists, I'm not sure they are going to work as a group. They're rendition of "Impossible" was largely five individual performances mashed together. Not bad, though. Simon thought it was "unbelievable." I need to see another performance.

They can't vote, but they sure can sing. Both the teen and over-25 groups sang Thursday night in the judges' houses round on "X Factor" and the half-dozen 13 to 17-year-olds really put on a show for Britney Spears, while L.A. Reid's group left their judge wanting more. On Wednesday, the judges have to narrow down their respective groups from six to four, rounding out the top 16 who will move on to the live shows. Both Britney and L.A. have some tough decisions, but for the pop queen, her losses will be much greater.

OVER 25's PERFORMANCES Mentored by L.A. Reid and special guest Justin Bieber Jason Brock:

I have enjoyed Jason's general vibe so far, but his rendition of Fergie's "Big Girls Don't Cry" was little too whiny. The extra-slow rendition coupled with his high tones just didn't quite work. Not sure America would vote for him with his flamboyancy and all.

David Correy: Singing Jessie J's "Domino," David sounded great, but his vocal tricks are a little too over the top sometimes. The performance was definitely heartfelt, but on occasion he seems to force the emotion. Also, I cannot stand all of these ridiculously slowed down versions of pop songs that everyone is singing. A little tempo, please!

Daryl Black: OK, "X Factor" clearly doesn't care much about Daryl. They didn't even show his whole performance. For the few seconds the did show, he seemed pretty good. Smooth voice. L.A. wasn't crazy about it.
Tate Stevens: Did the dude in the cowboy hat just sing Brian McKnight? I think he did. And it wasn't terrible, but it wasn't great either. Tate has a strong, country voice and I think it will get him to the live shows, but this was the wrong song choice. L.A. was digging the song, though.
Vino Alan: Killer. Great rendition of Pink's "Sober." Vino's voice is extremely powerful, soulful and sounds like no one else. His look is tough with all the tattoos on his head, but his talent is undeniable. Justin Bieber was feeling it. If there was a winner from the over 25's based on these auditions, it would be Vino.
Tara Simon: I didn't think I could hate "The Reason" by Hoobastank anymore that I already do. But Tara, the lone female in this category, helped me out. The diva continued her over-the-top style and butchered the song, belting far too much. Awful.

NOTES: If was a betting man, I'd say that Daryl and Tara will be the ones to hit the road on Wednesday. L.A. really wasn't into Daryl's performance and Tara is just awful. I'd say that Vino and Tate are locks to make it through, but who knows.

TEENS PERFORMANCES Mentored by Britney Spears and special guest

• Diamond White: It's no secret at this point that Diamond is a complete beast. Her version of Avril Lavigne's "I'm With You" only solidified her status as one of the top dogs remaining. Her range for a 13-year-old is fantastic. wasn't crazy about it.

• Reed Deming: Whoa, I underestimated this kid. His heartfelt rendition of "Hey There, Delilah" was much better than I remember him being. Britney thought he didn't deliver quite enough. I have to disagree. That was great.
• James Tanner: I didn't remember James Tanner before this performance and I probably won't after. Turns out he is a rapper and his uninspired version of "Party Like a Rockstar" was no more than decent.
• Arin Ray: This guy has got to make it through to the live shows. Singing an acoustic (what else?) rendition of Nicki Minaj's "Starships," Arin's tones were right on-point. He has the look and the moves. Strong performance.
• Beatrice Miller: Maplewood native Beatrice was a mess before hitting the mini stage, crying and ready to puke. Apparently her nerves went away in a matter of seconds, because once she started singing, the Jersey girl gave a great, bluesy performance of "Bulletproof" by David Guetta. The best she has sounded in this competition.
 • Carly Rose Sonenclar Carly has been the golden child of the competition so far — getting a lot of airtime. Honestly, I was rooting for her to fall a little, but her version of "Brokenhearted" by Karmin was sensational. Her voice is undoubtedly the most polished of this group. They saved the best for last with her. called her a dragon. I think that's a good thing.

NOTES: After this showing, James Tanner is a definite goner, but the other elimination could go in any direction. I would say that Arin and Carly are definitely in, but the other four are all very close. Nothing will surprise me.

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