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'The X Factor' Recap: The Judges Reveal The Top 17 (VIDEO)

by Laura Prudom, posted Oct 19th 2011 3:00AM
X Factor Judges['The X Factor' - 'Season 1, Episode 9']

You've got to admire the tenacity of 'The X Factor' producers, attempting to milk two hours of TV from what basically amounts to a ten-minute announcement. I doubt that any self-respecting audience member actually appreciates these wasteful episodes (I can't recall if 'The Voice' devoted two hours to who the judges picked to advance to the voting rounds, but 'Idol' has been guilty of it for years) -- let's face it, they're the reality equivalent of a clip show and reduce most of us to teeth-gnashing, garment-rending frustration about fifteen minutes through.

All you really want to know is who the judges chose for their respective final fours, right?

In that case, I'll delay you no longer -- hit the jump and save yourselves two hours of boredom, or, if you were unfortunate enough to sit through last night's episode, hit the jump so that you can vent your frustrations about Simon Cowell's baffling life choices.

Simon Cowell's Girls
-- Simone Battle:
One of numerous girls to apparently bring out Nicole and Paula's catty side during auditions, I've found Simone obnoxious from the get-go. Still, when she's not choosing ill-advised Pussycat Dolls songs and dressing like Hooker Barbie, she actually has a fairly agreeable tone. I still don't understand why Simon persists in pronouncing her name "Simone-ey," though.
-- Drew Ryniewicz: An earnest 14-year-old with a terminal case of Bieber Fever, Miss Ryniewicz (I'm certainly going to have fun typing that name all season) has a phenomenal voice and should, if there's any justice, go all the way to the finals. Her performance of Roxette's 'It Must Have Been Love' gave me chills last week.
-- Tiah Tolliver: Certainly the most controversial (and baffling, and misguided, and conniption-inducing) choice of the night, Simon chose to forgo the outstanding Caitlin Koch -- who had a voice to rival Drew's -- for the pitchy Tiah, who rubbed both Paula and Nicole the wrong way during auditions. She finally managed to (grudgingly) sway Nicole into voting her through in her first audition, but I'm hoping America will remedy her mistake, and Simon's, as soon as the live voting begins.
-- Rachel Crow: Another young performer who's sweet as apple pie, Rachel is perhaps not the most talented of the teens (her voice can't hold a candle to Drew's) but she has more charisma and stage presence than most of the acts twice her age. Still, Simon seemed to pull another upset by choosing her over the far more talented Melanie Amaro, until ...
-- Melanie Amaro: Yes, Simon saw the error of his ways (although not over Tiah and Caitlin, to my irritation) and after choosing his top four, he had an eleventh-hour change of heart, flying out to Florida to surprise Melanie and her family at home and declare her the 17th and final contestant. Her happiness almost made up for Caitlin's snub. Almost.



I'd bet on Drew to go the furthest in this category, but I also think that America will continue to be charmed by Rachel despite her vocal shortcomings. 'Idol' hasn't had a female winner since season 6, and 'The Voice' kept the testosterone flowing, so I'm not sure whether a girl will be capable of winning 'The X Factor' either, but between Drew and Melanie and Stacy Francis in the Over 30s, perhaps Simon's new show will buck the trend.

L.A. Reid's Boys
--Brian "Astro" Bradley:
The precocious 15-year-old rapper who wants to buy his mom a house if he wins. For 15, he seems a little too arrogant, and L.A. voiced concerns over whether the kid would be able to stay grounded and maintain the right attitude if he was put through, which is a valid question. Still, he's undeniably talented, and he's doing something that hasn't been done in these singing contests before, so I'm intrigued to see whether the audience embraces him.
-- Chris Rene: A total no-brainer; Chris is arguably the most recognizable contestant so far (aside from Stacy Francis) and his troubled past has made him an instant favorite with sympathetic viewers. He's got a unique voice, a gift for songwriting, and a child to support, so I'm hoping he goes far and the pressure doesn't prove to be too much for him.
-- Phillip Lomax: The smooth crooner who was forced to sing a swing version of Rihanna's 'Please Don't Stop the Music' to Rihanna -- so cruel, L.A. -- has been a divisive figure so far, given his retro vibe, but he's certainly easy to listen to.
-- Marcus Canty: He had a memorable audition thanks to a Stevie Wonder track and a relatable story, after his mom gave him an ultimatum to make his musical career work within two years or find a real job.

L.A.'s group is undoubtedly the strongest and most consistent across the board -- I think that Phillip will probably be the first to go from this team, while Chris has the best chance of winning the whole competition.

Paula Abdul's Groups
-- The Brewer Boys:
I think that this duo has been pretty consistently mediocre, but in Paula's world, perhaps that makes for an excellent mentoring opportunity. I can't remember anything they've sung, only that they have a disturbing penchant for flipping their hair in unison, and I don't foresee them going far in the competition.
-- Lakoda Rayne and InTENsity: I honestly didn't think that either of the Frankenstein groups were good enough to warrant a pass to the voting rounds, especially after Paula seemed so enamored of 4Shore and The Anser, but much to my bewilderment, both the awkward country foursome and the ten-piece teen group were sent through. I guess perhaps the judges felt obligated to stick with them in order to justify their decision to cobble them together in the first place; god forbid we start doubting their judgment!
-- The Stereo Hogzz: 4Shore's matching t-shirts and The Anser's promise rings were no match for The Stereo Hogzz's dapper suits. And I guess their singing ability, too, but I didn't find them more or less remarkable than any of the other (generally lackluster) groups.

Paula has definitely found herself saddled with the weakest category, but I wonder if audience goodwill towards her will keep her contestants around longer than they deserve to be.

Nicole Scherzinger's Over 30s
-- Josh Krajcik:
He's the cuddly guy next door, but the devoted husband certainly has an interesting enough voice to merit his inclusion over a dud like James Kenney (who works "five" jobs, though two of them are at the same place and another two are being a husband and a father). I'm rooting for the burrito seller -- he's genuinely talented and seems genuinely nice.
-- Dexter Haygood: Like me, Nicole obviously loves an underdog, because even though the formerly homeless Dexter gave an admittedly terrible performance last week, Nicole still wanted to give him a chance (and made me cry in the process, damnit). He hasn't got a chance in hell of winning, but why not let him live the dream for a little longer? (Oh, because this is a singing competition, you say? Touché.)
-- Leroy Bell: Possibly the most attractive 60-year-old in the world, Leroy was an obvious choice (but still felt like a long shot) so I'm happy to see him getting the chance to compete. He's got a glorious voice, but I worry that he'll get lost in the shuffle.
-- Stacy Francis: The other no-brainer; there was only room for one weepy diva in the category, and unfortunately for the also-supremely talented Elaine Gibbs, that title was always going to fall to Stacy Francis, whose rendition of 'Purple Rain' was incredible last week (and who has perfected the art of mascara tears).

Given the overexposure of both, I wonder if it could come down to Stacy and Chris in the finale, or whether the other contestants will be able to distinguish themselves enough in the coming weeks to catch up to their lead. I certainly hope that they do, otherwise it'll be the most blatant audience manipulation a reality show has ever gotten away with. Right now, I'm kind of rooting for Drew, purely because her voice is the most unique and already sounds album-ready.

'The X Factor' airs Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8PM ET on Fox.

So there you have it, your Top 17. Did your favorites make the cut, or do you disagree with any of the judges? (I'm looking at you, Simon.) Share your reactions below!


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jdport

It's really a shame, becaue I think they had enough talent there to select 16 acts that most everyone would have agreed at least merited a chance on the live shows, but they chose to go for controversy over substance. My favorite moment of the show so far was watching the faces of the 3 yes men (Simon's producers and vocal coach) as they agreed reluctantly... incredulously to Simon's continued support of Tiah's potential. You can blame the hurrican for that - Mariah Carey would have NEVER let that one slide.

October 21 2011 at 6:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Linda

So bitterly disapointed that Jazzlyn and Tora are not in the live shows! I really can't believe it! Tora rocked her audition and had charisma. Jazzlyn was awesome and looked like a star. In the clip from Judge Simon's house, it looked like Jazzlyn was the star of a video! What a shame. Both of these girls have the X factor! SIMON!!! You got it wrong with those two....I could see them in the finals.
Also, James should be in for the over 30--he was wonderful
Paula, I love you but......you let 4shores go?? They were TERRIFIC!
Astro, talented, but get rid of your attitude!

October 21 2011 at 1:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
dororobinson

I am VERY disappointed with the final selections for X-Factor. There should have been NO question about Melanie Amaro! She has the voice that could win it all. Jazzlyn and Tora deserve to be with the girls instead of Tiah and Simone. Simon wasn't thinking with his head on those two...or maybe he was...just a different "head". I think that most of America disagrees with Simon on choosing Tiah and Simone. Time will prove he was wrong. Tim, the country singer, should absolutely be in the running. He has a voice that could already make a country album. I just hope that someone scoops him up and gives him that chance. Brian, the "entitled" brat rapper? Come on! I would not have selected him on his attitude alone! He needs to learn some humility and EARN his way up. Tiger should have made it in over Dexter. I like Dexter and his story and all, but Tiger is definitely the more talented of the two and deserved to be in it. The groups are another story. I just don't know what these judges were thinking on some of their choices. They let better talent get away. Doesn't make sense. I feel really sad for the ones who didn't get chosen and should have. I'm almost tempted not to watch the show anymore because they have destroyed my faith in them doing the right thing. There is absolutely some awesome talent that went through but some awesome talent also got turned away and should be there. Really sad, and as a viewer it's also very frustrating. I just hope that someone like Melanie or Drew wins the 5 mil.

October 20 2011 at 5:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
golfpop

Caitlin was better then the 5 Simon put through to the final 17. What a sham!!!!

October 20 2011 at 3:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
cindysantiques

You sent Tim home! He had the most incredible voice. I hope some major label picks him up, and he makes lots of country songs and becomes a talent to be reckoned with, despite the X-Factor. Good luck to you Tim, love your voice!!!

October 20 2011 at 2:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
flour65

Of course I don't agree with all their choices. I think they sent some of the best singers home and kept some of the worst. You wonder how they choose. Tiger was phenomenal and should have won the whole thing, And Brennin was not only gorgeous but has great talent. Simon keeping the girl who forgot all of her words was something forbidden to him on Idol........ The lil rapper is too nasty for this caliber of show. You should have 5 winners at $1 milion each rather than one at $5 million. And now that the whole world has seen the "Judge's houses" I realize the show is more about them than the contestants. Rihanna may be talented and beautiful but she had no personality for judging. Enrique, he just had to smile, nothng more was necessary. Good luck to all, my favorite to win is Rachel Crowe, she is meant to be a "STAR". All the drama of some of the others just depresses people - enough with that, I want to be entertained, not sad.

October 20 2011 at 1:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Sylvia

I like rap, but that 15 year old rapper is a bratty rude kid with and has no place with the singers to compete. I can't believe he got through as just doing rap. I thought it was for cool, beautiful and awesome singing entertainment, his rap is the same thing over and over and you can't even understand him, whats he doing there? It is a shame picking him left out a good singer entertainer who deserved to be there more than him. All the other singers were good choices.

October 20 2011 at 1:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Vicki

That 15 year old rapper is a rude little snot whos attitude is being rewarded by putting him through. What hs he doing there anyway...he's a no talent nothing spaecial punk!

October 20 2011 at 10:30 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bill

Can't wait to see the judges try to mentor their picks. Nicole will try and make Dexter "current", and talk him out of his Disco shoes and wardrobe. lol... good luck with that. LA Weed is going to have fun trying to tame his little bratty rapper boy. Paula will try and "dirty up" the Justin Beeber boys. And Simon alone with the ladies in his mansion... scary thought!

October 20 2011 at 8:21 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Bill

No one is mentioning Jazzlyn Little! I thought she had the real underdog factor going for her. Awesome singer, cute, quirky, but a not full of herself. And Simon picks 2 overrated Diva's (Simone and Tiah)?? Of course he gave her some crappy pop tune to sing. Also the chick with the tattoos (Tora Woloshin) way outsang either of the 2 divas. Her version of "Satisfaction" rocked! She had a quirky coolness to her that would have added something interesting to the show. But the 2 divas had better legs, and we know where Simons head (and eyes) are at. Has he learned nothing from A.I.?? Bring back Jazz and Tora, and ditch the divas!

October 20 2011 at 7:48 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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