The X Factor is down to the final six contestants of its second season, and I think it is high time for a little season-in-review/prediction post for those who watch the show. Overall, the season has been a bit (cue the smug Simon Cowell) boring. The performances have been just as gaudy as season one, but, the contestants have been, dare I say, lacking. I felt this way about the stock of season one talent as well. While that may be the case, there are a few acts that do garner excitement, and some of these act still remain on the show (except for Vino, who I am still unhappy was booted).
Disclaimer: This is just my opinion. Feel free to disparage me in the comments. What do I know? Right? I’m eager to hear your opinions!
Let’s hit on the new judges first. Simon and L.A. are music-industry staples. They understand the business. While I do believe that Simon continues to be a little too nice, I will not carp on that because it is his show, and he does not want to come off too honest. To a point, Britney Spears also understands what it takes to be a pop star. She is one of the biggest stars of the last two decades. Spears, though, has been mentally nonexistent at the judges table. Behind a largely vacuous exterior are several brief, ineffectual comments. She speaks in platitudes, and it does seem like every one of her comments has been planned and written out for her. Does this surprise anyone? After he nervous breakdown, it would have probably been wise for her to retire from the scene entirely. There was money to be made, though, and I cannot blame her and her associates for jumping on the money train. Ms. Spears is a profitable brand. Her talent is unmistakable, and she does seem like a kind, loving individual. My complaint is only with her judging, and I believe it is sub par. However, I must admit Demi Lovato has been a surprise. She is staunch, stubborn, and cogent (at times). She, though, is too young. I believe she has done a terrible job with her team, and the last of her contestants will be ousted come this Thursday. She also does not understand that music is a business. Her complaints are unfounded. She is not a producer or an experienced music veteran. She does not reflect the industry, which in some ways adds a fresh change to the table, but it often just makes her look like a little girl making attention-seeking comments at Simon Cowell.
On to the contestants. In this post, I will how I believe the last few weeks will go – from sixth place to first place. I will include a video of their performance last week.
6.) CeCe Frey
The reason why CeCe Frey is still in this competition is somewhat unclear. The judges have been difficult on her, and this has increased her sympathy votes. Through her cocky, garish exterior is an individual with actual talent, so that helps her case. Stripped down, her voice is impressive. She is also easy on the eyes, and that doesn’t hurt. This performance above though represents why she will be gone next. Demi has done an awful job picking songs for CeCe. She has turned her from a diva to Ke$ha to a balladeer. Where does CeCe stand? She wants to be Ke$ha. Everything from the spots on the face to the eclectic outfits suggests it. This week, viewer’s choice, CeCe performs Katy Perry. Fittingly, on the following night, when Ke$ha performs, CeCe will be sent home.
5.) Diamond White
Diamond is a 14-year-old Beyonce sing-alike. She models herself after Beyonce and Rihanna. Her voice is limited. It is not as good as CeCe Frey’s voice, but she is singing Rihanna this week (comfort zone), and will achieve just a tad more votes than CeCe. Her elimination will be less about her and more about the talent in front of her.
4.) Fifth Harmony
There have not been many succesful pop girl bands. Spice Girls, TLC, Destiny’s Child, Pussycat Dolls – what did all of these bands have in common. I’m not vain, blame the public. Destiny’s Child had Beyonce. That band was carried by its tremendous lead vocalist. I’m not saying Fifth Harmony doesn’t have the “look” to succeed. They certainly do not have Beyonce. The band is made up of young girls with mediocre to above-average voices. Honestly, this band has better vocalists than Emblem3, but Emblem3 will make it further because they are in higher demand on the market. I do not see Fifth Harmony succeeding outside of this competition, and I see them being eliminated fourth.
3.) Carly Rose Sonenclar
This is my first surprise pick. Let the backlash begin. How can I say the best singer in the competition will end up third, especially since she has been #1 in the voting for most of the weeks? Scratch that. I’d be willing to say that this unassuming Freshman from Westchester, NY may have one of the most exciting voices I have heard in a few years. Her voice is masterful. She has perfect tone and timing. At times, she goes on natural runs that are actually unreal. She also sings with passion beyond her years. Her performance of Adele’s break-up masterpiece was mind-blowing because I doubt Carly has seen her fair share of nasty splits. So why do I have her finishing third? The market. Where does she fit? Can she fit into the Adele category of singers. That is where she needs to be. I don’t see her dancing. If she DOES fall into that realm, I think Carly can be quite succesful. It may very well happen. She will get a recording contract no matter where she finishes in the competition. But, I am going to go with the two acts that already have set niches.
The SoCal boy band. Simon can’t wait to get these boys over to the studio cutting their first album. Emblem3 is his American One Direction. Boy bands are big again – for whatever reason – and Simon was specifically looking for his next money maker this season of X Factor. He found it in Emblem3. And, this time, he didn’t even have to put them together himself. The band has talent, yes, but it is the effervescent personality of the surfer boys that gives them their kick. There is the quiet one with the sweet voice, the loquacious lead singer, and the off-the-wall, reckless rapper (who has a marked habit of taking off his shirt). If all goes according to plan, win or not, Emblem3 will be up the charts in no time.
1.) Tate Stevens
That bring us to #1. Tate Stevens is a genuine Country music star who chose to put his dream on hold so he could support his wife and children. He is a loveable and charming individual with a warm and amicable personality that shines through the television screen. He will also soon have the grand prize. Let’s put the story aside. Stevens is a prototypical modern Country star. He has the look. He has the voice. The judges know it, and the voters know it too. And while I may not be much of a Country music fan, I hope he wins and is succesful. He is a feel-good story with tremendous talent. You cannot get any better than that.