The X Factor Recap: Rain of Terror [Updated]
You know there’s something seriously wrong in the world — or at least on your TV screen — when a 13-year-old boy is looking into the camera and, without the slightest hint of irony or humor, declares “this is the climax of my life.” Hello, and welcome to The X Factor.
I’m still not sure why there was no “TV: MSP” warning in the upper left side of my screen — that’s short for “Middle-Schooler, Please!” — but Fox’s second-string reality singing competition isn’t really to blame. Sure, judge L.A. Reid continued to perpetrate the myth tonight that life (or at least the opportunity to have a big-time singing career) ends at 24, but that’s just a a symptom of our youth-driven modern age, isn’t it?
And a symptom of an age where baseball is still considered the national pasttime — and here I thought it was sitting on the couch, stuffing one’s gullet and guzzling vino in front of the telly — a rain delay of the Major League Baseball playoffs between the Cardinals and the Giants (no, that’s not one of Simon Cowell’s X Factor groups) meant a delayed start time and and early finish for Top 16 Announcement Night (for east-coast viewers). (Get all the details on the scheduling snafu here.) In fact, only 10 of the acts who’ve made it to the Season 2 live shows were announced during the east-coast telecast. Simon Cowell was not amused, as evidenced by his post-show Tweet: “It [sic] what’s known as a total f up.“
West coast X Factor junkies might want to close their browser windows now. For the rest of you, let’s run down the contestants who were shown advancing to the live shows (listed by category, in order from least to most promising):
The Teens (age 12-16) mentored by Britney Spears
Yowza this is an evenly matched category! Britney didn’t cut the Easter egg dye that accidentally stained her lower locks, but she certainly cut her two weakest links — middling rapper James Tanner and Bieber-y young’un Reed Deming, who has clearly been groomed since the womb to speak in digestible sound bites about his reality-show “journey” (such as the “climax” comment from my opening paragraph). The duo were sent to some kind of quarrantine room — so as not to spread the contageon of their low blood-charisma counts — while their four rivals slaughtered a ceremonial goat in Simon’s backyard. (I kid! I kid!) My favorite part of Britney’s segment came when she made an insane, twisted face, then croaked “That’s horrible!” after she kicked James to the curb. My least favorite was every time Britney called someone “sweetie.” J’enough! Actually, maybe we can turn that bit of verbal compulsion into an at-home drinking game? Huzzah!
(Side note: After Reed was ousted, the director played his gracious farewell about being happy for the quartet who’d advanced, then cut to a shot of a tranquil Pacific view outside Britney’s home. At that moment, I could not shake the image of Haley Joel Osment’s robot boy sinking to the bottom of the sea at the end of Steven Spielberg’s A.I. Please someone tell me I’m not alone in my macabre reverie!)
Anyhow, based on auditions, Bot [typo, and it stays] Camp, and final performances, I’d rank the Teens as follows, though, really you could arrange them a dozen different ways and be just as right as I am:
4) Diamond White: I know, I know…I hate myself for putting her fourth out of four, too. Nobody puts Diamond in a corner! Especially if that corner containe no TV cameras!
3) Carly Rose Sonenclar: Note how confident this kid is, stating before she knew her fate that it was possible she might not advance, not because she didn’t perform well, but only if she didn’t turn out to be what the show was looking for.
2) Arin Ray: Will he get votes from all the members of his pre-fab fofmer Season 1 kids’ group InTENsity? If “yes,” that’s good for at least 10,000-20,000 votes, no? (They had a lot of kids on that stage last year!)
1) Beatrice Miller: How can you not fall for a young lady with 100 bracelets wrapped around her wrist, and a perfect control of her own pitch?
Over 25s mentored by LA Reid
When L.A. initially participated in his “I don’t want to mentor the Over 25s!” temper tantrum, I figured it was just a producer-driven interlude to stir up a little midseason drama. But again last night, he welcomed his half-dozen remaining contenders by declaring, “It’s no secret that this is not my favorite category.” Why the face? Does L.A. feel like his contestants are so old and decrepit that his only options are assigning them something from the Lawrence Welk Show archives or hiring a nurse to euthanize them? I do not get — or appreciate — this man’s attitude.