And then there were eleven.
But first, this hour-long edition of ‘The X Factor‘ began with all the finalists participating in a huge production number, and then it was time for the most commercial-packed 60 minutes of filler this side of, well, “American Idol.”
If you had any doubts about why being in a Pepsi commercial is almost as glamorous a first prize as the $5 million, look no further than Outasight, who made his TV debut singing, “Tonight is the Night,” which just happens to be the theme to the soda company’s much-seen ‘X Factor’ spot, and is now climbing up the airplay and sales charts.
And then it was on to the Top 10 finalists, and it was no shocker when the list included but a single group, Lakoda Rayne, who are certainly charming, but were my pick to face elimination. And despite the fact they were given a pass until next week, given that two groups received the least amount of public support doesn’t bode well for the gals at all, prom outfits or not. Even Paula Abdul turned up her nose at Simon’s criticism of the girls’ “four seasons” outfits from the night before. “Like I would take fashion advice from Simon Cowell.”
Apparently, the two acts receiving the lowest amount of votes will compete against one another, with the judges getting the final vote. If the four panelists deadlock, the one with the least votes are booted off.
In the end, it came down to a face-off between the old school, as represented by The Stereo Hogzz, a group solidly in the mode of Motown outfits like The Temptations and the Miracles, and InTENsity, a hastily assembled outfit that even Cowell referred to as “Glee kids.”
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The Stereo Hogzz performed a Destiny’s Child number, “Emotions,” with a silky-smooth lead from the group’s star Trace Kennedey, but it was considerably lower key than their dynamic take on Janet Jackson’s “Rhythm Nation,” and it left Simon in a quandary when it came time for his decision. “Based on last night’s performance, I would think it’s you, but I see a gap in the market for you kids,” he said before eliminating the Hoggz.
InTENsity gave a spirited performance of former “Idol” winner Kelly Clarkson’s “My Life Would Suck Without You,” another showcase for star-in-the-making Ellona Santiago, but it wasn’t enough to turn the ears of either their mentor Paula, nor Nicole or L.A., who both saw growth in the Hoggz before being rushed to judgment by Steve Jones, who makes the trains (and the show) run on time.
In a decision that surprised no one, hastily conceived teen-pop group InTENsity became the first casualties of ‘The X Factor’ voting public, finishing in the bottom two, and then eliminated by three of the four judges. Simon Cowell was the only dissenter, turning thumbs down on The Stereo Hogzz, whom he praised just the night before by saying, “I don’t think there’s a band in the world as good as you.”
Apparently, tonight the Houston-based Hoggz weren’t even as good as InTENsity, at least in Cowell’s opinion. InTENsity mentor Paula Abdul, who saw two of her groups face off for the last spot in the Final 11, admitted, “It’s difficult for America to identify with groups,” before eliminating the made-for-Disney group from the competition.
So, it was out with InTENsity, and a reprieve for the Stereo Hogzz as the real heavy lifting begins next week, cutting the 11 down to a Top 10.
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Here are our takes as we head into another elimination round:
POWER RANKINGS: THE MAGNIFICENT ELEVEN
1. MELANIE AMARO: With the best voice in the competition, and Simon’s blessings, she is the current odds-on favorite.
2. DREW: Another Cowell tout, she’s got the goods, but will she wilt as the pressure grows?
3. JOSH RAJCIK: An audience favorite and a unique talent, he has that transformative quality that is key to picking a winner of this type of show.
4. MARCUS CANTY: A true all-around entertainer, with a pleasing, humble personality to boot. Will L.A.’s attempt to turn him into the next Bobby Brown hurt rather than help?
5. RACHEL CROW: She’s adorable and a real trouper, but will cuddly translate into votes as the competition heats up?
6. STACY FRANCIS: The real question is, will her show business past come to harm her credibility?
7. ASTRO: The kid’s got moxy to spare, but after a few more weeks, will we feel like slapping him around?
8. CHRIS RENE: He’s still a threat, but the rehabbing trash collector will have to up his game as his rivals show more flash.
9. LEROY BELL: He’s certainly got the Boomer votes, but will his low-key approach pale as the younger contestants gain momentum?
10. LAKODA RAYNE: My pick to get booted, but never underestimate the appeal of four pretty gals in primary color gowns.
11. STEREO HOGZZ: They slipped by this week, but their days would seem to be numbered.