The X Factor Recap: Eighties Is Enough
Informal poll time, X Factor watchers!
The most confounding portion of tonight’s Top 12 performance telecast was:
A. Paulina Rubio’s continued employment in the face of her enthusiastic incompetence
B. Paulina’s insistence on using the word “America” while introducing her acts (Gurrl, it’ll take more than that to win us over, I’m afraid)
C. The screaming of the
D. Mario Lopez’s obscene attempt to recreate a classic Michael Jackson dance move
E. Writhing ladies leading into various ad breaks (I didn’t hallucinate that, did I?)
F. The inclusion of an interpretive dance to “Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)”
G. The fact that a mentor and/or contestant thought “Against All Odds” would be viewed as anything other than an unwelcome assault on viewers’ ears
OK, OK, before you answer the question down in the comments, let me come clean: I’m not trying to hate-watch The X Factor. That would be a disservice to the 12 hard-working acts attempting to overcome seizure-inducing lights, batallions of background singers, checked-out mentors and cruel stylists who interpret the term “theme night” as “second Halloween.”
And in fact, four or five singers tonight left the impression that they could — maybe even should — be viewed as viable artists who belong on the charts alongside (or perhaps above) Season 2 standouts Fifth Harmony.
Which is why I keep watching and recapping and, yes, railing against Simon Cowell and his cronies, who seem hellbent on a Thelma & Louise trajectory — straight over the cliff, then a cut to final credits. Heck, if this show provides me with one more terrific Alex & Sierra download before Christmas, I could easily justify a Season 4.
Anyhow, because of last week’s voting snafu, the episode began with one contestant getting the boot based on last week’s Thursday voting tallies. The doomed singer: Carlos Guevara, who didn’t bother to remove the gum from his mouth when Mario called him to center stage for a hasty goodbye.
But enough about the voyage of the damned, let’s cut to letter grades for tonight’s performances!
Lillie McCloud: Chaka Khan’s “Ain’t Nobody” — Grade: B | I gotta be honest: I feel a little bad for Lillie. She pretty much nailed every note of Chaka’s dance-soul classic (even if she colored within the lines of the original). And yet I couldn’t escape the sense that some of her inner sparkle got buried beneath the tortured hair and the houndstooth-check blouse — tied at the waist to denote that she’s not old-fashioned, dammit! If she lives to fight another week, I think Kelly should instruct Lillie to stop being so polite and start channeling the raging diva that’s hissing silently behind her clench-toothed smile. It might not make her America’s sweetheart grandma, but it would at least make her real.
Carlito Olivero: Miami Sound Machine’s “Rhythm Is Gonna Get You” — Grade: B | The judges really came down hard on Carlito this week, but to my eyes and ears, the Latin heartthrob actually looked pretty comfortable with the night’s most intricate choreography — and managed to stay on pitch for a good 85-90 percent of his notes. Give some credit where it’s due: It’s not easy to sound cool when you’re tackling Miami Sound Machine. And even though Paulina griped that he “struggled” with his face (!), I suspect any befuddlement she detected came as a result of her word-salad introduction: “Carlito, Carlito can sing, can dance, can give it all. Here is for America!”