‘X Factor’ ’80s Night: You Like to Think That You’re Immune to the Stuff
Tim Olstad goes '80s
Wednesday was '80s Night on "The X Factor" — or a "fantastic '80s dreamscape," as host Mario Lopez declared in his best Doug Henning/Richard Simmons voice. So that meant the already garish "XF" soundstage became a veritable Lisa Frank rainbow of fingerless gloves, leg-warmers, wannabe Solid Gold Dancers, and all other sorts of neon-hued processed cheese. But you know what? I sort of liked the cheese. It was kind of rad, fer shur.
Let's face it, "The X Factor" seems cheesy and dated pretty much every week, no matter what the contestants are singing. This week, at least, everyone on the show embraced the cheese, and I was right there with 'em, embracing it with my own dolman-sleeved arms. I let the Chaka Khan rock me, I let the so-fine Mickey blow my mind, and I just died in "The X Factor's" arms.
One contestant who didn't get to embrace the '80s, however, was Carlos Guevara, who was eliminated at the top of the episode based on the votes from last Thursday's do-over show. I felt bad for the kid, but perhaps this was for the best; word was he'd been planning to cover Tears For Fears' "Mad World," and no reality show contestant other than Adam Lambert or the combined Season 1 cast of "The Glee Project" should ever touch that song.
Carlos won't be the only castoff this week: On this Thursday's results show, two more contestants from the top 12 will be voted off. Which two? Let's recap this week's '80s performances and figure out who was totally awesome and who was totally gnarly:
Lillie McCloud (Over 25's) – Of all the contestants, Lillie seemed to have the advantage this week. I mean, this woman was actually recording semi-hit records in the 1980s (under the stage name Nicole McCloud), so she knew this musical era a whole lot better than, say, Rion Paige. Lillie's mentor, Kelly Rowland, loosened up Lillie's curls and tried to loosen up her cabaret act with an uptempo song, Chaka Khan's "Ain't Nobody," and it mostly worked. Lillie seemed more youthful and current; it was refreshing to see her work the stage in a well-filled-out pair of jeans (like she'd wanted to last week), instead of belting a ballad in an Oscars gown. However, the song didn't really showcase Lillie's massive range, and the choreography she was assigned compromised her vocals in parts. (Simon Cowell couldn't resist pointing out how out-of-breath Lillie was by the song's end.) Paulina Rubio, a judge so ineffective she makes last season's Britney Spears look like a fount of wisdom, said something about Lillie being "multi-faceted." Simon called Lillie a "naughty little thing" and accused her of flirting with him. (Don't flatter yourself, Simon.) Demi Lovato told her, "I don't know why you didn't take off in the '80s. Maybe this is your time right now." Overall, I think this was a strong performance, but I'm still waiting for Lillie to pull off another "Alabaster Box" magic moment. I hope she has it in her.