|THE X-STEN FACTOR|
Kristen the Yellow Lab and I are pleased to say, "THEY'RE BAAAAACK!!" Our favorite team of crazy cougar and acerbic Brit have returned to us at last!
And Kristen and I plan to blog every hyperbolic, bloated, talent-shy, over-the-top, hubris-filled moment. For, ladies and gentlemen, THIS is the X Factor!
|Will clap for food.|
The premise of the show is a combination American Idol and The Voice with just a dash of America's Got Talent. For the early rounds, the Factorettes perform in front of four judges, Simon, Paula, Nicole Someone Or Other (The Pussycat Dolls), and L.A. Reid (a major recording executive and producer.) Unlike Idol, but much like The Voice and AGT, the wannabes give their initial audition on a stage in a massive venue peopled with a pavlovian-like audience trained to leap to their feet at the first high note. Like The Voice, the four judges will each choose a group of contestants that they will coach, assign songs, and champion to victory. Unlike Idol and The Voice, but much like AGT, the talent is questionable at best. Got it? If not, here's a handy formula for future reference:
American Idol + The Voice - Chairs + Hot Host - Great Talent + Sob Story x Cheese =
X FactorHot Host opens the show with his charming Welsh accent by introducing us to the four judges. Except, instead of Nicole, we've got Cheryl Cole, the lovely judge of Britain's XFactor. Apparently, she was all set to be one of the stars of the stateside version and had recorded a few audition episodes when the producers decided Americans are too yokel-like to understand Cheryl's British Geordie accent. And yet.... we understand Paula.
|"OMG! i h8 u!!!!!"|
|"BTW, I'm not potty-trained."|
Kristen and I will give her this much. What she lacks in quality, she makes up for in quantity. This child has a big, big stage presence and more soul than anyone who has only lived on this earth 13 years is entitled to possess. The four judges have no choice but to push her through. . The girl has "it." We just wish she'd waited a few more years to audition so that all that sparkle doesn't end up on the front page of The National Enquirer some day soon.
Commercial Break. Why yes, Adam Sandler has yet another movie coming out in which he plays a nerdy buffoon? Why do you ask?
Things move along much the same for the next part of the show. Some hunky dude who Cheryl claims "Has got the package" makes it through on muscle bulk alone. Another teenaged girl and a Bieberish boy who said his only experience is performing in school shows also get a pass to the boot camp rounds.
Honestly. What is this? A talent competition? Listen producers, This is America! Give us something to mock and make it fast, or we're all switching over to Modern Family at 9 p.m.
|"A shampoo so rich, you only need to lather once."|
Dan, age 70, introduces us to his bride of 16 years, Venita, age 83. (Oh, Venita! You cougar, you!) Venita says that if they win the $5 million, they will tour the country in their RV, performing at the most beautiful senior centers in America!
The rest of the hour is filled with some footage of Simon and L.A. vehemently disagreeing. Apparently, if one says potato, the other says pahtahtoe.
Finally, we have Stacy Francis, a 42 year old single mother who does not want to die with the music in her. She tells the judges she came from an abusive relationship where she was told she was too old and no good. But, this show, X Factor, is her last shot. Naturally, she's very good, and everyone gets goosebumps and the audience leaps to it's feet. Stacy sobs and sobs, as the mascara pours down her cheeks. The background music swells, and she gets four resounding yes's from the panel!
The first audition is a man named Geo Godley who is performing a song he wrote himself called, "I'm a Stud." Kristen and I agree that unless he's referring to himself as a vertical wall support, he's just a big old liar. He decides to drop trou to prove us wrong. Paula rushes backstage to puke because the sight of a manhood belonging to anyone over the age of 30 is foreign to her. Particularly one with a giant X over it. Geo is booed and sent packing. Apparently, "Pants On the Ground" doesn't work for everyone.
Next is a guy group called The Answer. Their first mistake? Being a guy group where the average age of the guys is 25. Their second? Being a guy group.
Then, a rehabilitating junkie by the name of Chris Rene takes the stage. He is 70 days clean and sober. He chooses to do an original called "Young Homey." Kristen and I snicker, because... "Young Homey?" HAHAHA!! Except it's good. Really good.
Simon tells Chris, "Maybe you need the show. And maybe the show needs you." All four judges pass him through, but L.A. and Simon warn him that he must stay on the straight and narrow. Can he? Only 70 days sober and being tossed into the pressure cooker of reality television? We shall see. Some feel the show should have given him a pass as he is too soon into rehab. But, isn't Chris a grown man who can make his own decisions? He made the choice to audition. Shouldn't that be respected? Again... we shall see.
Day 2: September 22, 2011Tonight's show takes us to hot-hot Miami!
The first half hour consists of five bad auditions. We're given some blathering blather-box named Ashley who simply will. not. shut. the. freak. up. She also can't sing. She's followed by a series of delusional acts, including singing cowboys, a mother-daughter whose rejection causes one of the family members to break all sorts of Homeland Security rules, and a sweet teenager who needs a degree from the School of Hard Knocks before she'll be ready for the biz. All of this is edited to convince us that Simon and Co. have not put through a single act in Miami all day long. And we're just gullible enough to believe it!
This is why we now have all our hopes pinned on one Nick Voss, a young man who looks like a cross between Elvis, Vanilla Ice, and that cute guy you randomly meet at the bar when you're in college who seems kind of cool until he gets back to the dorm and turns into a psychopath with mommy issues.
At any rate, Nick Voss is, according to Kristen and myself, just weird. He does a very odd interpretation of Elvis Presley's "Trouble," and has a strange tone to his voice. We'll pass, thank you very much. But, the judges don't. So, Nick Voss saves the day.
But, not for long. We get a teenager who sees ghosts, compelling Paula to confess that she, too, sees dead people!
This is followed by a series of boring, yet proficient auditions. (AKA: People who made it to boot camp, but whom we shall never see again in our lifetimes.)
Then, out comes 18 year old Melanie Amaro. She has "choir geek" written all over her. Plus, the hubris is in the song choice - Beyonce's "Listen." Kristen and I roll our eyes, awaiting yet another disaster. But, Melanie is not only good, she's great. She gets four immediate yes's and is on her way to saving the show! Choir geeks for the win!!!!
Now, the show moves to Dallas, TX. The location inspires Nicole to say things like, "I love fried chicken and gravy, ya'll!" Apparently, Nicole doesn't realize she's in cattle country.
And that's all she wrote for first week auditions! Is the show better than Idol? No. Not yet. But, Kristen and I have decided our attitude towards X Factor USA can be summarized in a song by Spanky and the Gang.