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'The X-Factor' recap: Potential, not obvious talent, the key to getting through

THE SKINNY: More auditions. It was basically the same show as the first two, with more talent than the second but no where near what the first had. There was actual drama between the judges not agreeing on talent, and Fox wisely saved it for last. The thing to take away from Episode 3 was the judges were letting kids through even if they lacked the talent. They're looking for singers but also likeable personalities. Have the audience turn on you and you're of no use for the judges.

8:01 — Another two hours. Here we go.

8:04 — We're going through the overblown judges introduction again? So unnecessary.

8:06 — "Just friends" auditioning together. Brock is in love with MacKenna but she says they're "just good friends." They perform a Zac Brown Band song. It sounds good (her voice is better than his by far) but they don't have much chemistry. Not buying into them being the next Lady Antebellum. Four yeses.

8:18 — Simon sums up this episode so far: "What in the bloody hell was that?" Slow start.

8:20 — Skyelor, a 16-year-old polite southern boy, sings a country song and his music — during his first ever audition, mind you — cuts out. He catches his breath and sings a capella, getting the crowd behind him by not being embarrassed. He was poised. Even without the best voice, he won over the crowd and judges. Four yeses.

8:30 – You will need to Google "J. Mark Inman audition" tomorrow. Include "Radiohead Creep" and then forward it to everyone you know. Thank me later.

8:43 — Rather disheveled Josh Krajick says he will sing Etta James' "At Last." "Really?" asks Simon. And here comes the crazy part: Josh sounds decent, with a gravelly voice that allows some emotion to creep in. Simon calls him "honest." Another four yeses. It's another example of the judges voting in unison and speaking in hyperbole. There's been little conflict tonight, and it's a snore. 

8:53 — Welcome back, Nicole Scherzinger. You've been missed, I guess. I will miss Chery Cole's accent.

8:59 — Can I get that hour back?

9:04 — Drew is a 14-year-old Bieber lover from Chino Valley, Arizona, so of course, she sings the Biebs' "Baby" as a ballad. It sounds like Coldplay's "The Scientist." It was super hammy but she looked straight off a school bus, and she has a crazy enthusiastic family (the dad falls to his knees at one point), so it's kind of sweet. Four yeses.

9:16 — Peet, the normal-sized son of two dwarves, is 21, but he hates to say it because he "always wanted to be a teen heart-throb." He does Bruno Mars' "Billionaire" but changes it to "Famous" and it's comically bad. It's another segment that lasted too long.

9:29 — Four Sure, a four member boy band, sings Boyz II Men's "End of the Road." The judges loved it; I was laughing the whole time. These guys couldn't really sing! The judges' enthusiasm really has me perplexed. Let me know in the comments if I'm completely off-base here, but I swear those guys sounded awful.

9:33 — This episode has made it clear the judges will allow mediocre contestants through as long as their auditions are watchable. If they're charming during the interview before the song, they still have a decent shot at getting through. There's some real garbage getting yeses.

9:43 — "D.O.A." is an obvious but funny expression on "The X-Factor."

9:45 — Nicole sings Whitney and it's so over-the-top. Smells like desperation in a "See-I-have-talent-and-deserve-to-be-a-judge" way.

9:49 — Simon thinks he sees "THE VISION" with Tiah, a girl who sang passionately but off-key a capella. He is openly upset with the judges (Nicole and Paula) who've said no. This is the most fired up we've seen Simon yet, and he sells it well. He throws a pen after Paula "goes with her gut" and says no. They give her one more chance to turn the nos into yeses. She sings some "doo-wops" and Nicole gives her the yes she needs. It's hard to imagine her getting very far when the competition gets a little more serious. The end!

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