Tag Archives: Simon Cowell

6 to 1 – A Look at the Remaining X Factor Contestants and Predictions

3 Dec

X Factor Season 2

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.

2.) Emblem3

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.

The Three We Expected – The X Factor – NOW Who Will Win

16 Dec

The sun has set on Marcus Canty and the X Factor top three have been revealed. Competing for the $5 million prize is the smooth Chris Rene, the powerful Melanie Amaro, and the granular Josh Krajcik. The question now, obviously, is who is going to win? We have been asking this question at the Music Court since L.A. Reid clearly corrupted short-lived crooner Phillip Lomax’s chances of making it out of the top 16 by making him sing a mawkish, corny version of “I’m a Believer” while surrounded by the superfluous X Factor dance crew. I mean, come on, even the other judges called Reid out on this clear attempt at making his job of eliminating one of his team members easier.

Anyway, so, yes we have been watching this over-the-top spectacle for weeks now and we are down to the top three. I like how this show has eliminated contestants. Some of the judges may be mugwumps (looking at you Paula and Nicole), but the eliminations have followed mostly followed script and we are down to the top three that, based on all of the performances, should be the top three. And while there have been some surprises along the way, I am not surprised by the contestants in the finale. Marcus looked fully content when he was told he would be going home last night by way of an awkward, tall hug from the Welsh “host with the height” Steve Jones.

In what will most likely be an epic finale of the X Factor, three judges will have a chance at crowning their contestants with the final prize. But who will it be? We have explored the possibilities endlessly on this blog (it’s good television, what can I say!) – Check out some of the posts here, here, and here (which features a post from October where I say the best in their respective categories are Chris Rene, Drew, Josh Krajcik, and the Stereo Hogzz). Well, I was right on two of them. I do have Chris Rene winning in that post and I have him winning still. But, like I have said numerous times, I also can see Josh or Melanie winning the competition.

I will not tire you with more analysis – click on the here hyperlinks for more of that – but I do want to pose the question of who will win again. So keep voting (DO NOT VOTE FOR EMPTY SPOT – had to put that in because we can’t have less than four choices) in the poll below and let’s see who you all think. To help you vote I am going to post my favorite performance from each of the three contestants still in the show.

Chris Rene:

Melanie Amaro

Josh Krajcik


1.) Chris Rene

2.) Josh Krajcik

3.) Melanie Amaro

Who Do You Think Will Win The X Factor – Poll Results – The Crow Elimination

12 Dec

So where are we now...


Here are the results in no particular order (X Factor joke – funny, ha?). Around a week ago I put up a poll on the blog asking the question: Who Will Ultimately Win the X Factor? You can vote in the continuing poll here. We have the results. And they are telling.

UPDATE (12/15) – We are back to a tie. Josh Krajcik and Chris Rene have five votes. Melanie is in third with three votes. Both Marcus Canty and Rachel Crow (ELIMINATED) received zero votes. Look for a post tomorrow on the top three. The voting is tight and I believe this is telling of the entire competition. It also demonstrates why last week’s over-the-top emotional roller coaster is/was unnecessary.

Last week, as you should know by now if you follow the show with any diligence, Rachel Crow, the vibrant and jocular teenager with the spirit of an actress and a mature voice, was ousted from the show. She was up against Marcus Canty, the blissful – almost intoxicated – faithful R&B singer with solid chops. It is safe to say that most thought Canty was on his way out. He had been in the bottom two of vote getters (which comes down to a sing-off and a final judges vote) for straight weeks. This was Rachel Crow’s first appearance in the bottom two. It came down to the maudlin and (I’m going Yiddush) schmaltzy hip/hop artist/judge Nicole Scherzinger, who, while being unequivocally hot, is starting to really get on my nerves. She sent it into deadlock. It would come down to America’s votes. The lowest vote getter was Crow and in response she collapsed on the stage crying. Nicole was actually booed on stage when host Steve Jones asked for her opinion. She too looked sickly.

The whole ordeal seemed fake to me. It smelt like a soap opera. Crow, a budding actress, played the part of the grief-stricken contestant exceptionally well. But perhaps this is just the cynic in me. She was eliminated though and Marcus remains for another week. The question really is, does this matter at all. The simple answer is no.

Yes, it made good television and ratings are essential, but, this following week will almost inevitably see the end of Canty’s run and, like the Music Court voting suggests, the remaining three will be Rene, Amaro, and Krajcik. Who will win? I stand by my prediction from the beginning. It will be Chris Rene. Can I see Amaro or Krajcik taking home the $5 million prize, though? The answer to that is a strong yes. Anyway you look at it, the X Factor has some tricks up its sleeves, so continue watching this gaudy singing competition, because, even if you are not a fan of the singers, the drama is titillating/

The X-Factor – Predictions for the Top 12

27 Oct

There is this show on Fox called the X-Factor in case you haven’t heard. I actually don’t believe that a show has been more hyperbolically hyped than the X-Factor in the history of American television. It is the most over-the-top reality singing competition I have ever seen.

Basically, the show is hybrid American Idol (for those most familiar with Simon Cowell‘s first US project) and The Voice (another US show that was probably based on the UK version of the X-Factor). The show, which unlike American Idol has much looser age restrictions (12-), features four judges who mentor four different teams of performers (girls, boys, over 30s, and groups). If you haven’t been watching, the show is now up to the Top 12, and American now gets their hands on the performers and chooses who moves on and who is ousted from the seizure-inducing lights, oversized video screens, and odd camera angles of the live show. Remaining in the conversation are 3 members of each group, and, honestly, they are all pretty talented.

I, because I am apparently a huge sucker for reality singing competitions, have been an avid watcher of the show, and feel that this is a good opportunity to give my predictions for the rest of the way. What are my qualifications? I have watched every singing competition show since American Idol premiered and have a pretty solid track record of picking winners.

Below, I am going to choose who I believe will be the top performer to remain in each group. Now, since it is America’s turn to decide, no grouping is safe, and acts can go home despite their affiliation. What I’m saying is that the next three weeks could possibly see all three groups getting out. Will that happen? Probably not. But it is now possible. After I choose my “best of the grouping,” I am going to pick my expected winner of the show. I’m torn between a few performers and I think the judges/producers of the X-Factor have done an excellent job of making this difficult on voters. It’s going to be fun. Shall we begin?


Chris Rene

Chris Rene has the most inspirational story of the competition. A recovering drug addict with a son generally takes the cake. He also has something exceptionally important for the show. Unadulterated talent. Rene is a double threat. He won over the judges with a performance of a self-made rap/hip-hop song (which I will post below). But the man can also sing. His voice is smooth and delicate. His range is not fantastic (I think he is still maturing as a singer), but it is absolutely good enough to propel him to the end of the competition. Rene also carries himself with (as I labeled yesterday when watching a recording of the show with my family) a humble swagger. He just seems that he must have confidence in himself. The way he moves and performs would suggest it. But his sincere respect and emotion certainly portray him as humbled by the competition.

This is the direct opposite of one of his direct competitors, Astro, a teenage rapper, who is simply not young enough to understand what humble even means. His cockiness is funny and I can’t hold it against him. He wants to be a rapper. A rapper needs to be overly confident. It helps him, but also hurts him. I just don’t see it going over well with the American public (despite L.A. Reid‘s clear hopes of making him his next Justin Bieber – Reid, one of the judges, signed Bieber). His other competition is Marcus Canty. Canty is interesting. He may have the best voice in the competition. Seriously, he sounds like a young Stevie Wonder. He is an excellent performer and can seriously be an Usher-type musician. He is just a bit forgettable and doesn’t have Rene’s story. That’s why my pick is Chris Rene.


Drew has an eclectic, original and fantastic voice. It is effortless and ethereal (as judge Nicole Scherzinger described it). It’s not quite pop and not quite country, but a hint of a southern twang layers her clean chops. Drew (her last name is Ryniewicz so someone decided that they should just call her Drew – adding her to the endless list of artists who have changed, or eliminated their last names – see Gene Simmons or Bob Dylan, or should I say Chaim Weitz Hebrew and Robert Zimmerman) is an incredible talent and an early, understandable favorite. I am picking her because I just think she has the most subtle, incredible voice on the show. I mean, come on, she is 14 years old. Quite impressive.
Simon Cowell (the girls group leader) picked the strongest combination of contestants. Going up against her is Melanie Amaro (originally eliminated by Simon, but then brought back after Simon admitted his “terrible mistake” – which was as clear of a publicity stunt as I’ve ever seen). Amaro is a concoction of Jennifer Hudson and Mariah Carey. Her voice and range are spectacular. She is stiff competition. Then there is 13-year-old Rachel Crow, whose bubbly personality will put her on Broadway after The X-Factor. Guaranteed. She is an actress, who happens to have a good voice. Amaro can gain popularity as a ballad singer and Crow is infectious and can be a serious teen-talent, invoking images of youthful female 60’s singers (as my dad aptly pointed out). Crow did do some Surpremes last episode. The category is difficult and I’m going with Drew because she brings something too original to the table to give up.

Josh Krajcik

Josh Krajcik, who has staked his claim on the show as burrito-maker turned Joe Cocker-esque crooner, will win the over 30’s category because he is the closest thing the show has to a rock singer. Seriously, think about it. He is the only one. Krajcik’s bluesy, soulful voice remarkable. His unkempt look only adds to his appeal. He is likeable and his voice is powerful at all ranges.
The other two over-30 performers are Leroy Bell and Stacy Francis. I like Bell and Francis. Francis is an old-fashioned ballad singer with a voice tinged with exasperated passion (something that comes with years of trying and failing). Bell has a sweet, sultry, Motown-esque voice. Both artists should have been picked up years ago, but for one reason or another they were not. Bell and Francis will carry the older vote more so than Krajcik because they resemble the “dreams never die” message. I think Krajcik will carry some younger votes (and the rock crowd) and, because more young individuals watch this show and vote, he will be the last one standing in this group.

Stereo Hogzz

Unsurprisingly, two of the remaining three groups were acts that the judges created from performers who did not make it to the judge’s home round. Yes, the judges made two groups, coached them, and sent them out to perform. Since the egos of the judges are, I don’t know, kind of big, their creations have gotten some favoritism. Judge Paula Abdul, to her credit, did a great job with the groups, and one out of the two judge-created groups deserves to be in.

Stereo Hogzz was not a judge created group, but they will be the last one standing from the category. Why? They are a reincarnation of the Boyz II Men R&B, hip-hop fusion boy bands that were popular in the 90s. There is a place for that in the market today. Stereo Hogzz’ most recent performance showed exactly what they are and can be. It was R&B mixed with a bass/techno breakdown. I think that they will succeed even if they do not win.
They are competing against a InTENsity and Lakoda Rayne. InTENsity is a combination of a bunch of under 20s. Some are budding artists. Some are not. The sound is Glee-like, but even more corny and dull. They are cute, but, won’t remain long. Lakoda Rayne, on the other hand, can be supremely succesful. The equation is awfully simple. Four good-looking girls singing country music and harmonizing. Each has good enough lead potential with decent enough vocal distinction. This was a smart combination. I didn’t like them at first, but now I think that they can give the Hogzz and everyone else a run for their money. They may be slightly forgettable, but I actually believe that they can do well after the show.
So here we go. Who will win? Most likely, it will not come down to such an even split. It could. But I seriously doubt that the top four has performers from each category. I am very tempted to say that the winner will be Drew, and I know many people feel this way. But I have a hunch. I believe the winner of the show will be Chris Rene. I think so because he has the full package. Likeability, good voice, good story, lasting power, solid look, marketability, and the important ability to both rap and sing. He takes home the prize. Drew comes in second or third.
This prediction would not be full, though, without a dark horse. Looking over the remaining contestants, I am attempting to narrow down a top four. I think that the groups will be the first grouping to have no acts left. I’m going to give two dark horses. First, watch out for this Lakoda Rayne group. They are the only quasi-country group (unless you consider Drew country, which she is not, but she could pull off any song it seems). Remember last year’s American Idol. It came down to two country singers. Country is HUGE in the US. Lakoda Rayne can go to the end or they can be out in two performances. It can go either way. My second dark horse is Marcus Canty. If L.A. Reid does this correctly, he will turn Canty into Usher. At least he will try to do that. If he does, Canty can lose the forgettable label and become a favorite. Upbeat, modern song choices mixed with creative choreography and wardrobe will help with this.
No matter what, this is going to be interesting. That is only my opinion and please don’t shell me if you don’t agree. I want to know what you all think? Comment below and let’s talk about it.
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