One thing’s for sure, you can’t say that the X Factor judges are too soft on the competitors anymore. They tore into them, and each other, during last night’s Rock Theme night and were more critical than any other night since this competition began.
This show seems to be suffering from a Theme identity crisis. Last week was Movie Soundtrack Theme, and we were treated to songs with very obscure movie references, at best. Who even knew that You, Me, and Dupree even had a soundtrack??? I’m not sure that calling this week’s theme of “Rock Night” was really quite accurate either. We saw several of the contestants singing several different genres, including reggae, soft rock, rap, and pop, and whatever it is that Drew sings. Oh, and of course there were a few actual rock songs thrown in there.
Here is the rundown of the Top Ten:
BOYS UNDER 30 (LA REID)
Chris Rene: Chris changed it up a little this week and went with a Bob Marley medley of No Woman, No Cry / Everything’s Gonna Be Alright that sounded pretty smooth together. One thing about this guy, he’s not afraid to be original. He can’t get away from rapping, at least a little. It was a very interesting mix, between the reggae, the rap, and the mash-up. Yet somehow, it all worked. Simon blasted him for not doing Rock on Rock Theme night, which led to the first of several dumb arguments between him and LA over what is, and isn’t Rock. LA contended that Marley was in the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame and is played on Adult Rock stations.
Astro: Another one who can’t seem to stray too far from his roots, yet seems to make things work for him. Last night Astro gave us the Diddy version of I’ll Be Missing You, which also includes The Police’s Every Breath You Take. Say what you will about this kid, but he has talent and he knows what he’s doing up there. It’s scary, really, considering that he’s only 14. I don’t think this was quite as good as last week’s Losin’ It, but it was nearly as good.
Marcus Canty: Marcus went old school with Janis Joplin’s Another Piece of My Heart. Too bad the dozens of dancers around him were so damn distracting. Vocally, he was good and he hit most of the notes. He put a nice R&B flair on it. Way too much stage crap going on around him.
GROUPS (PAULA ABDUL)
Lakoda Rayne: Well, ok, there is only one group left after my former favorite group, Stereo Hogzz, was sent packing last week (deservedly so, by the way). For the second week in a row, LR went with a Fleetwood Mac song. This week’s choice: Go Your Own Way. And I will say that I think this was one of their better performances. At the very least, I don’t think they are in danger of being in the bottom two, for whatever that’s worth. They went group and individual, and while they sounded better than they have in weeks, Paula’s assertion that they can pick up where the Dixie Chicks left off is more than a bit of a stretch.
GIRLS UNDER 30 (SIMON COWELL)
Rachel Crow: Last week Rachel stole the show with a soulful version of Etta James’ I’d Rather Go Blind that belied her years. Last night she nearly did it again with another R&B version of The Rolling Stones (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction. I swear, this girl was born 40 years too late. She would have fit right in with the likes of Martha Reeves (who she sounded an awful lot like last night, by the way), Little Eva, and that bunch.
Melanie Amaro: Simon once again wanted to showcase Melanie’s voice, and did so in a beautiful way with her singing REM’s very haunting Everybody Hurts with nothing but a grand piano behind her for accompaniment. It was quite jarring. This girl has got one powerful set of pipes and she can hit both high and low register with equal ease. This would have been a great week to hear to tackle a Heart song and really see what she’s made of.
Sadly, while retaliating against Simon for saying that Chris Rene’s use of Bob Marley wasn’t Rock, we were told by noted and well respected music producer LA Reid that this fantastic rock ballad isn’t Rock either. How disappointing. I guess The Scorpions Winds of Change isn’t either, by LA’s bizarre standards. Did I miss a seismic shift in music somewhere?
Drew: All I have to say about Drew is, WTF??? I barely even know what she’s singing because I can’t even listen anymore. It all sounds exactly the same to me. She’s taking songs and slowing them down to some barely recognizable speed and pitch, in that weird, creepy, monotone she has. Last night she destroyed U2’s With or Without You. Let me state here and now, for the record: I don’t get it.
OVER 30 (NICOLE SCHERZINGER)
LeRoy Bell: Last week I said that I thought LeRoy had a really good voice but was missing the connection to the song. Paula issued the exact same sentiment last night. Good to know someone is reading me. I think the same thing applies this week. He gave a very weak, uninspired version of Bob Seger’s We’ve Got Tonight, normally a beautiful song when sung with some power behind it. Sadly, that’s something that LeRoy seems to be in desperate need of.
Stacy Francis: Oh, Stacy, Stacy, Stacy. What are you doing??? You had so much promise in the beginning. Her version of Meatloaf’s ballad It’s All Coming Back to Me Now was a train wreck. I’d be surprised if she hit three notes on key. This song was clearly way out of her league. She should have stayed with something much simpler, or even gone with The Pretenders, or something totally different like 10,000 Maniacs. I’d have least still respected her in the morning.
Josh Krajcik: One of the only people to seemingly take the theme of the night seriously, Josh went hard core rock with The Foo Fighters rocker, The Pretender. In it, he gave the performance of the night and showed that passion and connection that I wrote about last week. And, he showed that he belongs on a big stage. I think his burrito slinging days are over.
GOING HOME: STACY FRANCIS