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The X Factor Top 17 Review: It's Just Drew

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I complained last week that The X Factor had done very little to differentiate itself from American Idol up until this point. Well, that changed with the first live show, as it showcased something Idol has yet to in 10 seasons: an utter and extensive lack of talent.

Sure, there were a few bright spots in the Top 17, most of which came out of the girls category, but it was quite obvious that while searching for the artist with the X Factor these judges forgot to also look for good singers.

The Brewer Boys Top 17

Before we move on to the individual performances, let me first recognize what the judges have decided to do for criticism of the contestants they didn't like. Because L.A., Paula and Nicole can't hate on these singers, they have chosen to just trash on whatever judge is mentoring that performer, and then say something nice to the contestant immediately afterwards. It's cowardly, it doesn't help the people on stage to hear such hypocritical analysis, and most importantly it takes up more of my time.

I'm going to try and make this quick because there were 17 acts! First up were L.A. Reid and the boys...

Astro "Jump" - The kid formerly known as Brian Bradley impressed the judges and the crowd with his revised version of Kris Kross's "Jump." His rapping was fast and seemingly good, but his stage presence was terrible, as exemplified by the moments he was yelling at the crowd that x factor will make them jump.
My Score: 5/10

Chris Rene "Love Don't Live Here Anymore" - I enjoyed Chris and his original song during his first audition, but this was a far cry from "Homey What You Trippin' On."  He mixes singing and rapping well enough, but he's not good enough at either to excel here.
My Score: 3/10

Phillip Lomax "I'm a Believer" - If anyone was before, they aren't believers of his after that.  This was a very America's Got Talent type of performance as he brought out a ton of ridiculous dancers and karaoke-d his way through this ridiculously played out song.  It was a terrible choice of song, which L.A. seemed to have trouble with all night.
My Score: 2/10

Marcus Canty "Do You Really Want To Hurt Me" - He definitely has the most marketable voice of the boys, and his first live performance was fine, but it had a very dime of dozen feel to it.  There have been a bunch of Marcus Cantys on American Idol over the years that don't make it past Hollywood Week.
My Score: 5/10

Astro, Marcus Canty, and finally Chris Rene made it through to the Top 12.  As expected after that performance, L.A. sent Phillip Lomax home.  For a judge who seemed to have promise, Mr. Reid seemed to really slip up with his song choices in the first live show.

Let us now move on to Paula and the groups...

The Stereo Hogzz "Try a Little Tenderness" - The thing about this performance was that it was just weird enough to be popular in today's music world.  The lead singer was as good if not better than any of the boys, but those guys that jumped in to rap were pretty terrible.  I did, however, love their enthusiasm after hearing positive comments.  Random dancing can go a long way with me.
My Score: 4/10

The Brewer Boys "Rich Girl/Faith" - Maybe I am biased because this is the type of music I enjoy most (the kid plays a mandolin for crying out loud), but I thought this was better than anything we had heard up to this point by a country mile.  The way they transitioned back and forth between the two songs was seamless, and they're the only ones to this point that showed to have any musicality.
My Score: 8/10

inTENsity "Footloose" - Of course the judges were going to love their Frankengroup, but come on, this was awful.  It was the thing everyone hates most about American Idol.  When all 10 finalists sing a "group song," they're all out of sync, they take turns singing solos, and everyone fast forwards through the performance.  This is not the next Glee people.
My Score: 2/10

Lakoda Rayne "Come On Eileen" - I enjoyed this, and the girls definitely have something going for them, but why did it sound like there were 15 voices singing that song?  If they're not good without all of those filler voices, that doesn't seem all that fair.
My Score: 5/10

The Stereo Hogzz, Lakoda Rayne, and finally inTENsity made it through to the Top 12.  This wasn't a surprise given the judges’ comments, which were mostly negative on The Brewer Boys, especially from L.A.  This is a shame, because they are a couple of talented kids.

Against my better judgment, let's move on to Nicole Scherzinger and the old people...

Dexter Haygood Top 17

Dexter Haygood "I Kissed a Girl" - Does anything need to be said here?  This was just embarrassing for everyone involved, like we all knew it would be.  One question though, what were all those Matrix guys doing on stage?
My Score: 0/10

Leroy Bell "Nobody Knows" - Leroy pulls out a very decent to mediocre performance of a Pink song, and takes a gigantic lead in the category.  It was nice and pleasant. That's it.
My Score: 4/10

Stacy Francis "Teacher" - Maybe we are starting a trend with the older folk.  There was nothing from this performance that stood out.  Someone who certainly made a splash in her first audition didn't do the same this time around.
My Score: 3/10

Josh Krajcik "Forever Young?" Well three is a trend, and this was the third mediocre performance in a row.  Burrito Josh had one thing going for him (against him?) though.  He didn't really sing a song.  He basically just said "forever young" a bunch of different ways.  It was definitely not to the melody to the original song.  In fact, it didn't have a melody at all.
My Score: 4/10

Stacy Francis, Josh Krajcik, and finally Leroy Bell made it through to the Top 12.  Wooooooooooooooooo!  The nightmare that was Dexter Haygood on a talent competition is over.  I wish him the best in life, but he never deserved to be on this show.

And now, we finish off with Simon and his girls...

Simone Battle "Just Be Good To Me" - Simon and his projects.  This was awful and everyone knew it.  Simon obviously didn't admit it, and the rest of the judges hated on Simon while complimenting Simone on a job well done. Gutless.
My Score: 2/10

Rachel Crow "Baby/Where Did Our Love Go" Mixing Motown with Bieber was interesting.  I mean she definitely outdid Usher's little bro, but it's still a terrible song, which hurt her a bit here.  She still showed off her great, powerful voice, but I've seen her much, much better than this.
My Score: 6/10

Drew "What A Feeling" - I wouldn't have shortened the last name and gone with Drew Ryne.  The performance?  Beautiful.  In tone, structure, phrasing, it was fantastic.  I loved that she kept it slowed down throughout.  What a feeling indeed! BEST OF THE NIGHT!
My Score: 9/10

Tiah Tolliver "Sweet Dreams" - Like Nicole, I was a bit scared by this performance, but it definitely wasn't the worst of the night.  It wasn't even the worst in this category (cough, Simone, cough), but it still proved that Caitlin Koch should have been in this part of the competition.
My Score: 4/10

Melanie Amaro Top 17

Melanie Amaro "I Have Nothing" - It was definitely one of the best out of this sorry group of 17, but it wasn't in my top three "I Have Nothing" performances in reality tv history (see Trenyce, LaKisha, and Kat McPhee).  She showed power and a lot of potential as we move forward, definitely worthy of Simon's fake save.
My Score: 7/10

Drew, Rachel Crow, and finally Melanie Amaro made it through to the Top 12. Unsurprisingly Simon's favorites, Simone Battle and Tiah Tolliver were eliminated.

I would like to say more but I'm afraid Steve Jones will cut me off. Until next week, let us know who your favorite of the night was in the comments. And don't forget to tell me my scores are all completely wrong!

Review

Editor Rating: 3.5 / 5.0
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Dan Forcella is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.

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i don't like any of the categories other than the girls. The over thirties are blah the boys do have anything special and the groups are just a major FAIL!!! (idk what simon was thinking putting those 10 kids together in a group--there is a reason i do not buy kidzbop. As for the girls i don't get why everyone loves Drew so much. she is just blah to me..ive found every performance of hers boring. she has no range, no presence on stage and no umpf... i also have never gotten y simon loved Tiah so much...she was always pitchy. but i adore Crow!!! she is spunky and fantastic! and Melanie---that girl can sing and they both have presence on stage! they're great! Now Simone Battle..I feel feel sorry for her cause i watched her music video "He likes boys" and it's good. she is a pop star. she can dance, and sing and has amazing presence on stage! she was just unfortunate to have a horrific song and arrangement!!! i think that she could have gotten far if it wasn't for that.

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The thing about a lot of reverb and voice processing is that it makes terrible singers sound acceptable and great singers sound mediocre. For a singing competition it sure does have a lot going on other than singing which detracts from the performances and makes it almost impossible to judge the contestants. 2/10

Danforcella

CM, Yeah you're probably right about Melanie, but the song is so played out at this point from Idol performances.

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Fairly critical and I can dig that. You hit the nail on Drew. However, Melanie's performance blows the other two you "I have nothing" renditions you listed away. Not even close.

Danforcella

All, I just had to delete a comment for being hostile. Remember, I am no more an expert than any of you. Just because you disagree with my opinions, it doesn't mean that you have to curse at me. Let us know who your favorite was, and we can all rally around who we think was the best of the week. My favorite this time around was Drew. Dan

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lol @ the people saying that melanie offers nothing more than a loud wail and then say drew is the best of the show. are you kidding me? melanie has range and know when and when not to use it, she hasnt had a bad song YET while drew hasnt shown anything passed sticking to a couple of octaves and sounding mousey. give me a break, melanie amaro is winning this competition.

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I really can't believe how bad Dexter was. Why the hell would they choose Britney Spears/Katy Perry songs for his first live show? It almost looks like Nicole sabotaged him. Anywho, I think it will come down to Drew and Josh. I

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I think your point system is pretty low. I'm not as down on the acts as you seem to be, but I do agree with many of your points. I also believe that from the start, who was going to stay and who was going to go was pretty predictable (although I would have kept the Brewers over Frankengroup). I will say, however, that I think Nicole Scherzinger is a weak link as a judge and mentor. I think if one of her charges makes it through to the end it will be in spite of her, not because of her. If this show is going to succeed beyond one year, Nicole has to vanish from its future.

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You need to be a little more open minded and have a better understanding in different gendres of music. You admitted to your biased criticism by stating the Brewer Boys is "Your type" of music. You come off very biased, or you simply don't understand any other type of genre fully. Especially in the boys category and Chris Rene. Saying he can't excel in either singing nore HIP HOP? I won't be negative nor closed minded in my response, instead I will assume you simply don't know what you're really talking about due to being kind of ignorant. I don't know what show you were watching, but the only thing I remotely agreed with was your critique of Drew. She was definitely top 3 last night. In my opinion, Chris is my favoirte due to his unique ability compared to the other contestants, on an overall scope. If you check out Josh, his music ability is probably the greatest on the show, outside of his voice. He is an amazing guitar player as well. With that said, from last night, top 3 were Drew, Josh, and Brian Bradley.

Danforcella

Kayla, Chris Rene was my favorite from the start. I hope he does better as things move forward. I definitely don't have the musical background of a Simon or L.A. This is just one viewer's opinion. Let's hear yours. Was Chris your favorite? Or did someone else peek your interest?