So "The X Factor" is going to be a little less fabulous from now on. And a whole lot less fun. Why? Because Jason "Mr. Entertainment" Brock was the first contestant to get booted off the show this week, leaving a trail of exploding glitter and showgirl feathers in his wake on Thursday's results show. He shall be dearly missed.
But at least Jason went out in style, as only he could, belting out Bonnie Tyler's epic "Total Eclipse Of The Heart" as his swan song and boldly declaring, "I did it for the gays and Japan!"
On behalf of the gays and Japan--and myself--I thank you, Mr. Entertainment.
Perhaps it's no huge surprise that, despite having the highest number of Twitter followers, Jason received the fewest votes. (When the judges went to deadlock between him and his fellow bottom-two contestant, CeCe Frey, it was revealed that he had in fact placed last.) Jason was always polarizing, for sure. But then again, other contestants on the show (Emblem3, Lyric 145, and of course CeCe) have been polarizing as well. More damningly, Jason's "mentor," L.A. Reid, never really had his back. L.A. was rude and dismissive to Jason at the Judges' Houses, actually forgot his name live on the air, and assigned him songs that in no way defined the type of artist Jason could become (a J.Lo dance track one week, churchy R. Kelly the next). If only Jason had had a mentor who was truly invested in him, he may have gone farther.
But who knows? Maybe America just wasn't ready for this particular brand of Brock 'n' roll. Maybe Jason would do better if he just auditioned for "The X Factor Japan" next season.
The bigger surprise of the evening, actually, was the show's refreshing transparency in its decision to reveal the rankings of the remaining 12 contestants, from first to last place--something no other talent show had ever been willing to disclose before. (Heck, "American Idol" won't even let contestants' iTunes sales numbers be made public.) Obviously, we already knew that CeCe was in 12th place, but much of the rest of the list was mighty astonishing indeed:
1st - Tate Stevens
2nd - Carly Rose Sonenclar
3rd - Vino Alan
4th - Diamond White
5th - Fifth Harmony
6th - Emblem3
7th - Jennel Garcia
8th - Paige Thomas
9th - Lyric 145
10th - Beatrice Miller
11th - Arin Ray
12th - CeCe Frey
13th - Jason Brock
Yes, you read that right: Tate Stevens was in first place. The most un-"X Factor"-y of all the "X Factor" contestants--older and utterly unflashy, a singer who's never painted leopard spots on his face, performed while suspended in mid-air in a Pink harness, surrounded himself with hoochie dancers, or in any way tried to appeal to the show's supposed youth demographic--received the most votes. A guy who croons country, Simon Cowell's most-loathed musical genre. Ha.
Meanwhile, Simon's golden boys Emblem3 didn't even make the top three (the look on Simon's face when he heard this news was PRICELESS); Lyric 145, who arguably gave the most amazing and original performance of the week, were way down in ninth place; and Arin Ray, a guy who went home in 12th place last season as a member of the group InTENsity, narrowly missed another early elimination this season with an unimpressive 11th-place finish.
Ironically, despite his vehement, phone-slamming protests over getting "stuck" with the Over-25's, and his overall incompetence as a mentor, L.A. Reid ended up with two contestants in the top three. This was even more ironic considering how aggressively "The X Factor" had courted the teeny-bop vote all season. Apparently teens aren't really voting for this show, since two of the youngsters on Britney Spears's Teens team were near the bottom of the list.
It sure will be interesting to see if these results numbers will galvanize any of the respective contestants' fanbases to vote more (I have a hunch that may be the motive behind the decision to reveal the rankings in the first place), or galvanize the lower-ranked contestants to try harder and/or switch their strategies. It'll also be interesting to see if these rankings change as the season goes on. Tune in next week, when the top 12 perform, and find out.