It’s Britney, Bitch.

I know I’m running a little behind on this fall season of reality singing television, but NEVER FEAR people.  I’m here, I’m watching, and I’m ALMOST caught up.  After watching all of the audition episodes, here is my top 10 list of ones to watch out for during X Factor Season 2 (In no particular order, and sorry I don’t have pics for all):


Carly Rose Sonenclar (13) – This “little diva,” as Britney called her, sang Feelin’ Good, which was a FABULOUS audition.  So much polish and professionalism all inside a little teenage baby face.  Her vocal control is amazing for any age–and she is only 13!  I predict she’ll go far in this competition.

Jennel Garcia (18) – This aspiring rocker chose Ooh La La for her first round audition, which was full of rock and grit.  Although I think she needs the help of a stylist, and choreographer, and a band, she has great vocal tone and control – two things that are hard to teach.  Watch for her to be even better with the standard X Factor performance theatrics.

Jillian Jensen (19) – You will remember this one because it is the only time I have ever seen Simon cry!  In fact, she made everyone at the judges table tear up.  She bleeds emotion when she sings—but be wary of holding on to that pitch!  With Jillian it will be all about song choice, where she can find the right lyrics and melody that she connects with.  That way, the audience will connect with her.

Dinah Jane Hanson (15)- This girl has a CRAZY voice!  wow, I cannot believe she is 15.  She slayed that song, and I think we haven’t even scratched the surface with her talent.  Wow!

Diamond White – (13) Another 13-year-old to watch, Ms White belted out Man’s World.  She is adorable with a great voice, but needs some refining.  Song choice is going to be key for her—finding something that lets her shine vocally, but still allows her to be a young girl.  I see her on a Disney Channel show, stat.

Jessica Espinoza (22) – Jessica came from a tough background but is determined to succeed in music.  She chose Nobody Knows (Pink) for her first audition.  She has a great, soulful voice with so much passion and depth.  There were some bum notes, though.  She will need to focus on nailing her pitch through all of the emotion.

Panda (50-something) –OMG  I love this woman!  Her personality is feisty, she has a crush on Simon, and she has a great gospel voice to boot!  She gave a totally jammin’ audition performance, but can hopefully pull of future performances sans oxygen tank.


Jeffrey Gutt  (37) – This rocker sang Hallelujah and in my opinion, is THE one to watch in this season of X Factor.  He made a great song choice and a great first impression.  I am excited to see him do more hard rocking stuff, as well, which I am confident he can pull off.  He has great vocal interpretation, makes things his own, and has experience on stage.  I am so pumped to see him on this show.

Tate Stevens – Anything Goes – He has a great male country voice, good back story and the drive to work hard.  He is the type that idol would usually recruit, except he is too old.  Is he totally original?  No.  But he will fit in the country format well.

Jason Brock (34) – His glitter and vocal explosion spewed out New York State of Mind in the most awesome fashion.   He is unbelievable—I cannot WAIT to hear what this guy has up his sleeve.  He has a versatile voice, an infectious personality, and will be awesome to watch throughout the competition.

And before we go any further, I have to say I *LOVE* this judging panel.  The girls both have their little quirks, and It remains to be seen with how they are on live performance shows, but thus far, it is awesome.  Way better than the Nicki/Mariah Diva Drama goin’ on with Idol.  I mean, honestly.

America picks, and is stuck in the Clinton Administration (Top 4)

Yep, Rachel Crow left last week.  And although apparently America voted her off, Nicole could have singlehandedly changed this outcome.  But alas, she effed it up for everyone, and was crying harder than a 13-year-old girl…literally.


But this is all old news, and tonight we get to hear the Pepsi choice song that was mysteriously pushed back from last week.  Spoiler alert: America sucks at choosing songs.

1. Marcus Canty

I’ll Make Love To You by Boyz II Men – I suppose I can’t fault him for song choice, so I guess I’ll fault America.  FAIL America.  Fail. And the performance?  The dancers?  Not a fan.  It all just drowned out the mediocre vocal stylings.

2. Chris Rene

Fly by Sugar Ray – Chris is never good doing covers.  And of all the covers to do, this was one of the lamest choices.  The performance was weird, the staging was weird.  America can’t choose the songs.  Lesson learned yet, xfactor?

3.Melanie Amaro

Hero by Mariah Carey – Again, and America fail on the predictable song choice, but a flawless performance nonetheless. The weird minor chords on the first verse were ineffective at “changing up” the song, and felt like a half-hearted rearrangement, as they progressed into the original major chords as the song went on.  It could have been arranged better.  That said, I’m not sure it could ahve been sung any better, even by Mariah herself!

4. Josh Krajcik


Come Together by The Beatles – Look, a song choice not from the mid-90s!  Didn’t hate it, didn’t love it.  I do like this song, and I like this song for him, but I didn’t love the arrangement.  Maybe it was the grim lighting or Josh’s fighting face, but something felt off.

5. Marcus Canty

Careless Whisper by George Michael – I kind of liked the spin they put on the song–mixing some GeoMich with some dance beats.  Didn’t love the production so much, but I disagree with Simon that it was horrific. 

6. Chris Rene

No One by Alicia Keys – I loved the first half of the song with him at the piano, and when he got up from the piano I would have loved if he would have busted out some of his own lyrics or something.  But no…the rest of the song was heavy on the backup singers, and off key singing.  Bleh…this could have been so much better.  But he does get props for the first half!

7. Melanie Amaro

Feelin Good by (most recently) Michael Buble – I mean, it isn’t my fave that she has ever done, but she is always amazing.  I do appreciate this song choice more than the predictable song, but I guess I just don’t love the song in general.  That said, she better effing make the finale  

8.Josh Krajcik

Hallelujah – I loved this performance, and I don’t even particularly love this song. Nice work, Josh!  The piano was played with soul, and the interpretation was emotional and spot on.  I loved it…really!

Best of the night was Josh’s Hallelujah.  I can understand why he was pimped.  Marcus was the worst of the night and most definitely deserves to be sent packing tomorrow.  If I can rank the remaining performers it would be:

4. Marcus

3. Chris

2. Josh

1. Melanie

Chris and Josh might swap, but I’m not sure.  Chris has had more brilliant performances than Josh, but Josh is much more consistent.  However, if Melanie doesn’t win the crown it is serious blasphemy.


And remember to follow me on twitter for unedited, off the cuff comments.  @idolreview18.  (Not that this entire website isn’t unedited and off the cuff. )

Top Five Live!

Yo yo yo.  (I had to insert a little Randy.  One month till Idol, have to start gearing up!)

So after last week’s “shocking” elimination of Drew and Astro (Spoiler: I was not shocked), The media created all of this controversy between Paula and Simon.  “They’re feuding!” “They haven’t spoken in six days…here is Billy Bush to reunite them!”

Its all crap I tell you.  Drew was sent packing because I don’t think she had the polish of the rest of the performers.  Astro was sent packing because people never forgave him from his on-stage outburst of arrogance two weeks prior.  I think Astro will get signed by LA Reid and with a bit more finesse could be a real player in the rap format. Drew?  Well, she either has to go country or Radio Disney.  Only time will tell.

But lets focus on the remaining five.  There are big voices all around.  Which will be great for double performances tonight…of what theme, you ask?  Well, X Factor continues to have a free for all mentality in themes, with round one being “dance music” AKA anything a DJ has ever remixed, and round two being “contestant’s choice.”  Sometimes I long for the challenge of 70s disco.  Perhaps an “Eighties Ladies” light would be awesome.  But I digress…lets get to the reviews, shall we?

1. Melanie Amaro

Someone Like You by Adele –  She has been blessed with a serious instrument, and singing an Adele song in her voice, almost takes away from the Adele-esque intimate nuances of the  song.  I do think Melanie’s voice was better on the dance remix version.  But lets just talk about her voice for a sec…always on pitch, never nervous she won’t hit a note, she is reliable, precise, well executed and amazing.  Like the Aaron Rodgers of X Factor contestants.

2. Marcus Canty

Ain’t Nobody by Chaka Kahn – He is a good singer, of course, but I still think he is really generic!  I still haven’t bought my ticket for the Marcus train.

3.Rachel Crow

Beautiful Girls – I like her enough, I do!  And I think there is a market for her, and I think her personality is well suited for TV.  But where would her album fall into today’s market?  Radio Disney, I guess.

4. Josh Krajcik

We Found Love by Rihanna – Again, I feel like these male artists who flip songs have been extremely prevalent on Idol throughout the last four-ish seasons.  They are fine and very exciting on these shows, but in the real world, I mean, where is Kris?  Where is David Cook?  Not on the radio, I’ll tell you that much.  I mean, they both has a flash-in-the-pan radio career, but not a long relationship with the airwaves.  So, I like Josh, and I think his voice is great.  But in terms of realistic viability?  Not sure he can cut it.  (Also, my apologies for spelling his name wrong for 3 months…I think that is right now).

5. Chris Rene

Live Your Life by TI/Rihanna – More Rihanna, huh?  Well, I liked him much better doing this song, than Josh doing the last Rihanna song.  I 100% agree with Simon, though.  He is not the best singer, he is not the best rapper, he is not the best dancer.  But overall, he has a pretty strong combination of these.  As a recording artist, I can see where he might fit in.  It would take him awhile to build up some cred with the Rap/RB format, but backed by LA Reid, I’ll bet he could become a part of some collaborations with some bigtime people to try and break in. 

6. Melanie Amaro


Believe by Whitney/Mariah – I know there is the “Thou Shalt not sing Whitney or Mariah” commandment on Idol/X factor.  Melanie sang both in one song.  However, she has the chops to be able to pull this off.  LA Reid is right – it is safe FOR HER.  It is usually a huge risk…but her voice is so amazing, it appears safe.  Maybe she needs to sing a big Kelly C song?  Or an even edgier rock song (I keep suggesting Pat Benatar!) to put more edge in her image? IDK.  Anyway, she can sing anything.  ANYTHING.

7. Marcus Canty

A Song For You by Donny Hathaway – This was really great, actually!  This is one of the first times I have genuinely liked Marcus.  No gimmicks, just some good, soulful interpretation.  Not so risky, but it could have been worse!  

8.Rachel Crow

Music and Me by Michael Jackson – Aw her mission is to inspire the kids!  I like her, and similar to what LA Reid said, I like the vision she has for herself.  I actually have to give credit to whoever has influenced her musical taste (parents? choir directors? itunes?)

9. Josh Krajcik


Something by Paul McCartney – There was something off at the beginning of the song…he was ahead of the beat and under the pitch.  But he got on track by the middle of the first chorus.  That not withstanding, the performance was good.  Big voice, good understanding of the capabilities of his voice.  But I wasn’t amazingly thrilled.

10. Chris Rene


Original Song, “God Only Knows” – First time seeing him on a guitar, his voice is sounding better than ever, and a totally different vibe than we have heard before!  I was amazed at his vocal abilities!  When he can just chill on a bench with a guitar, everything falls into place.  The lyrics could use a bit of work…but I still think this is his best performance.  Wow, go Chris!   

I don’t even know if there was a best of the night.  I think they all equally brought their A game, and it is going to come down to fan base.  If I had to guess, I would say Marcus and either Josh or Rachel is going home.  I assume it is another double elimination, as I would guess the finale is next week.  But not quite sure yet.


Another plug for twitter, as I find myself enjoying the live tweeting very enjoyable!  @idolreview18.  

MJ night spurs a double whacking

It is MJ night (apparently the requisite MJ night, as it appears this is a popular theme). But this is the first time that they had the whole fam in the hizz, including Katherine, Prince, Paris, and Blanket. Oh, and Tito.  LOL.

A little commentary (after all, what would this blog be without commentary)…As hard as Michael tried to shield his kids from the spotlight, I have to believe that he would be so unhappy with all the attention his kids get these days.   This episode appears to be exacerbating this even more than Extra and all the tabloid news shows do anyways.  His two older ones appear to do well in the limelight, but little Blanket always looks so scared – he could have stayed home.  Poor kid.

1. Josh Krajick

Dirty Diana – Super weird arrangement, did not like at all.  There are so many other options for him.  You can flip any MJ song into a rock song, or he can do something softer and ballady.  Just absolutely did not like anything about this.

2. Astro

Black or White – It was good, obviously. And his lyrics are amazing. However, I wish he could actually sing a bit. It would be a great complement to his rapping, especially in this show where he can’t really collaborate like he could (and will do) in the real world. I also don’t think it was his best, but it was definitely not bad. At this point, we know he can do this and it is nothing new.


Billie Jean – Oh that was AWESOME Drew!  She left the whole yodel thing at the door, sang with some authority, and sang an amazing version of this song!  Two thumbs up for Simon this week.

4. Rachel Crow

Can You Feel It – She seemed to stray off key a bit, but in her defense, it is not the easiest or catchiest melody to get.  I thought there could have been a better song for her.

5. Marcus Canty

PYT – This week was made for Marcus – and I loved it!  I am not so much a Marcus fan because I still feel he is generic.  But this week the whole production was good.  

6. Chris Rene

I’ll Be There – I actually liked this arrangement!  He still doesn’t have the greatest voice or the greatest rapping skills, but he also doesn’t overshoot and think he can do more than he can handle.  I didn’t mind him as much this week.  And dare I say, I sort of liked it?

7. Melanie Amaro

Earth Song – Wow!  Saving the best for last, huh, X Factor? That was an amazing vocal! Nailed it!  Nailed it!  It almost makes me forget this whole weird does-she-or-doesn’t-she-have-an-accent thing.  

Best of the night?  Melanie by a mile.  Worst of the night?  Josh Krajick by a mile.  Tomorrow’s double elimination will be rough.  I have a feeling that with his bad performance coupled with the dead man’s spot, Josh may be in trouble.  I also think Marcus and Chris could be in trouble, too.  I’m not sure what Rachel’s fan base is like, but she has not been on her A game the last few weeks, and could be a surprise factor in this bottom 3.


Also, per usual, I am apologizing for my blog neglect the last few weeks…I don’t think the show has been that exciting to warrant posting.  Also, for my live thoughts during the show, I am always on twitter @idolreview18.  Follow!


XF Top 11, aka Themes? Really, XFactor?

So, Intensity (InTENsity?) got ousted last week.  Kind of surprising actually.  Now that the show doesn’t have to put up all ten of those kids and a parent/guardian, maybe they no longer need the Pepsi sponsorship?

Tonight is Movie night. AKA, generally generic, pick whatever you want, free for all.  With this many contestants, themes suck anyway.  In fact, I’m kind of disappointed that they are even doing themes at all.  It may be time to stray from this tradition.

1. Stacy Francis

“Queen of the Night” – Remember when Kelly C. had a demo of this song, and it was about 100 times better than this performance?  Ugh, Stacy, your vocal was a hot mess. 

2. Marcus Canty

“Going Down” – Nice!  I have never been on the Marcus bandwagon, but I finally liked him this week.  He still seems like a relatively generic R&B star, but at least he is good at it.


“Fix You” by Coldplay – So LA has a point. She was good the last 3 weeks, but she needs to do something different with her voice.  Remember Amanda Overmayer?  Hard rocker from Indiana?  Sang the Doors a lot?  Also a one-trick pony.  And Simon warned her that people will get bored.  And they will with Drew, as well.

4. Leroy Bell

“I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” by U2 –  I kind of loved this.  The first verse I thought it was too copycat, but when he got into it, it got, like, really good!

5. LaKoda Rayne

“I Wanna Love Somebody Like You” Perfect song for these girls.  The harmonies were not quite on this week, but they are so great individually, I feel like that has to come with practice.  

6. Astro

“Lose Yourself” by Eminem – All I have to say, is if this kid doesn’t win, this show is a sham.  He is so incredibly talented.  And LA is pushing him right now because he can take it.  And he probably works well under pressure.  Props to LA for knowing how to get the most out of this kid.

7. Melanie Amaro


“Man In The Mirror” – Love this song!  Love her voice!  But I did understand what LA was saying.  She was predictable fantastic.  

8. StereoHogzz

“Aint No Other Man” by Xtina – These guys are pretty good, but nothing to really write home about.  I liked the song choice for them, but I expect they will go home within a week or two.

9. Josh Krajick

“A Little Help From My Friends” By Joe Cocker – Wow, this is Josh’s best performance on this show.  I absolutely loved him on this song.  Fab, Josh!

10. Chris Rene


“Gangstas Paradise” by Coolio – I think LA took some strategy from Astro and let Chris do a little more writing himself.  I would like to see him to a tad more singing and a tad less rapping, because I think he can actually sing.  But maybe we will get a better glimpse of that next week.  At any rate, it was leaps and bounds better than last week.

11. Rachel Crow


“I’d Rather Be Blind” – I don’t know this song, but she finally showed what kind of chops she had.  And she finally lost the man chic!  She is a firecracker.  I don’t know what kind of fan base she has, but she sure has talent.  (Glee anyone?)

Best Tonight, Astro (again!) and Josh Krajick.  I also loved Lakoda Rayne.   I think the worst tonight was Stacy Francis.  I rarely find myself complaining about pitch issues on this show, but she had some serious infractions tonight.  This coupled with her Dead Man’s Spot could equal trouble.  I also think that Marcus Canty and StereoHogzz could beoth be out quickly.


XF Top 12

First XF Voting Performance! Bring it, yo!

1. Stereo Hogzz

“Rhythm Nation” by Janet Jackson – Nicely arranged, good song, exciting performance. They definitely have a lead singer and the rest are accessories. Maybe a bit more harmonization. That said, this is an exciting group, and I think Paula was the best one to mentor them.

2. Chris Rene

“Superstar” by Luther Vandross – Meh – I never bought his hype. I don’t think he is a good vocalist or performer. He is better when he is rapping, but even then, it is sing song-y rap. He could be in trouble with this deep talent pool.

3.Leroy Bell

“I’m Already There” by Lonestar – The vocals were superb, and he definitely connects with the audience. The song choice could have been better, although I understand why Nicole chose the song. I would like to see him again.

4. Rachel Crow

Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina and the Waves – I don’t like any of these song choices for her in the last few weeks. I also don’t like these “man chic” outfits they are putting her in. She has great talent, and I like her as a kid, but I totally disagree with the guidance she has been given.

5. LaKoda Rayne


“Landslide” by Stevie Nicks – These ladies would be much better in the country format, at least in 2011. (In 2001 I would have said pop). I didn’t like the wind machine and found it very distracting. I like their voices and harmonies, but I think these girls in cowboy boots doing girl country would be amazing. This performance was way too…enya lite?… for me. Paula effed this one up.

6. Josh Krajick


“Jar of Hearts” by Christina Perri – Sometimes his voice gives me hints of David Cook. He is talented, and I am totally on the Josh train, but I am more impressed by some other acts. That said, he deserves to stick around for awhile.

7. Melanie Amaro

“Desperado” by The Eagles – Why did Simon say they never cleared this sng before. Does no one remember Camille Velasco? Duh. I dare not utter her name and Melanie’s in the same paragraph, though. Melanie is amazing. UH-MAZE-BALLS. Heh, and we thought Pia was good.

8. Astro

“Hip Hop Horay/Get Ur Freak On” by Naughty by Nature/Missy Elliott with a little original rapping by Astro – I lurve this kid. LURVE. He is so talented and so exciting on stage. It is about time that we get a good rapper on a voting show. Plus, he is pocket sized. Who doesn’t want an adorable pocket-sized rapper? Perfect for all of your gift giving needs.

9. Intensity

“Kids In America/Party Rock” by – OK, I like Radio Disney (I know, I’m like, 12), and as much as they don’t want to be a kids group, they are, and they should embrace that. It is a platform for each of these kids to work on their craft and build confidence and experience.

10. Drew

“Just A Dream” by Nelly – I like her, but the yodel tone of her voice is a little much. I like it in small doses, but when the whole song is on the line of the break in her voice, it becomes too much for me. She definitely needs some finessing.

11. Marcus Canty


“Every Little Step I Take” by Bobby Brown – half smile + – It was pretty good, but I wasn’t in love with it.

12. Stacy Francis

“Some Gospel Song” by some gospel artist – OK, She is good. But she is not as effortless as Melanie, not as interesting as Astro, not as marketable as Lakoda Rayne (the country version…tonight notwithstanding). She might have been the shining star in AI Season 9, but this show is cutthroat, and I’m not sure how far she will make it. However, she deserves another few weeks to try and win me over.

Best Tonight, Astro and Melanie, followed quite closely by Intensity and Stereo Hogzz. The true outlier tonight was Chris Rene, and he has to be out tomorrow.

(As you can see, there are no floating heads yet. Shocker, right? We’ll work on that.)

Tomorrow is an hour results show. What type of entertainment can we expect? Group singing? Judge shenanigans? Guest performances? Maybe this Steve Jones guy will sing…that would be different, anyway. Should be an exciting show!

Squeezing 17 to 12 (X Factor)

So I have 4 million excuses…Baseball, football, losing baseball, not having a DVR, not knowing the special night switch and watching the Biggest Loser instead, blah blah blah.  Also, I don’t have floating heads yet…my computer won’t load photoshop, etc.  blah blah.  You don’t want to hear it.  But I did watch the Top 17, and I have comments!  That is what you came here, for, right?



Live performance show! here we go, top 17. The judges have their final cut tonight, and they can each only take 3 acts to the live voting next week.

Astro – “Jump” – How much do I love this kid! He is so talented, and such an excellent rapper!

Chris Rene – “Abandoned Me” – There were some pitch issues in the “false” and the vocals weren’t strong.

Phillip Lomax – meh, this was way too overproduced for me, and the arrangement didn’t work, the ending was a hot mess, and felt like he was straining. This was a bunch of no.

Marcus Canty – “Do You Really Want To Hurt Me” – It was pretty good, but I didn’t like the song choice for him. I wasn’t thrilled.

Of the boys, Astro is by far the best. LA Reid has to make a decision, and he ousts Phillip Lomax. It was appropriate after tonight, although I feel bad because he was kind of led astray by song choice.

Stereohogzz – “Try A Little Tenderness” – I actually loved this! I agree with Simon (duh), that it was the perfect mix of retro and current.

Brewer Boys – “Faith/Rich Girl” – They are so cute, and total teen beat cover boys. they are definite JoBros knockoffs, but they are cute, and I think there is room for another group like this on radio disney.

Intensity – 369/Footloose – Simon compared them to Glee, but again, I see them as Radio Disney. Also, they can be combined in different ways for different songs. There are a lot!

Lakoda Rayne – “Come On Eileen” – Wow, these ladies are awesome, too!  This is a modern Dixie Chicks. And they are all talented.

This groups category is stiff! Wow, I can’t even pick for Paula. Dear Paula, if you wanted to restart that drinking habit, now would be the time. Aw, Paula cut the Brewer Boys. They are so cute, and they do need a little more polish, and hopefully the Disney Channel will pick them up.

Dexter Haygood – “Womanizer/I Kissed A Girl” – It was funky and cool, but there wasn’t a whole lot of singing going on.

Leroy Bell – “Nobody Knows But Me” – I really like this guy a lot, and I hope he gets put through. His voice is fabulous, and with the right song, he could be amazing.

Stacy Francis – “One More Try” – I liked the performance, and I disagree with Simon that she is a church singer. She is more versatile than a church singer, and should get more credit than that.

Josh Krajik – “Forever Young” – I liked this! His voice is amazing and he has to get put through.

Dexter has to be the one ousted. And he is. Thank you for making the right decision, Nicole.

Onto the girls…

Simone Battle – meh, I have not liked this girl since the beginning. I know Simon sees pop star, but she is not nearly as good as someone like Rihanna, and she will just look like a cheap immitation. Simon is smoking crack on this one.

Rachel Crowe – “Where Did Our Love Go/Baby” – She is good, but the whole production wasn’t that great.

Drew – “What A Feeling” – She has great phrasing! This girl has some serious potential.  Watch out, Taylor Swift.

Tiah Toliver – “Sweet Dreams” – um, what?

Melanie Amaro – Seriously, Simon? You picked this oversung ballad for this girl? I mean, hands down, best voice in the competition, and it is just asking for defeat with a song choice like that. But her voice can overcome ANYTHING.

Simon made the right decision and eliminated the questionables: Tiah and Simone.  Good choice, Simon.

I am unbelievably pleased with this group of 12.  There are only a few weak links (Marcus and Chris, maybe Rachel, although I think she just needs different guidance because her raw talent is great).  Front runners are Astro, Josh Krajick, the country girls, and Drew.  I love Stacy and Melanie, but they are going to have to work hard to choose good songs and stay relevant, especially when competing with little sparks like Drew and Astro.  It will be stiff competition, for sure!

Perhaps I will get my act together by next week and make floating heads!  I am also so excited to finally see how the voting procedure works…better than idol?   Likely.