Who would have thought that out of a sea of talent featuring such luminous acts as 4Shore, 2Squard, and InTENsity, the last group standing on The X Factor would be the four misfit belles of Lakoda Rayne, the one group who had the audacity to make no reference to how many of them there were in their name. Theirs is a story of true survival and perseverance, guys. And it's only going to last one more week, so enjoy them while they're still here.
I almost wrote last night that I felt like both groups were safe after their performances, and now, I'm glad I deleted that at the last minute, if only to win your respect/prove my superior X Factor clairvoyance to the internet. From where I sit in my ivory tower of reality show criticism, the Hogzz and the Rayne (weirdest British pub name ever) may have turned in decent performances last night, but that hardly matters when one remembers that this whole competition is in the hands of about 47 extremely passionate 14-year-old girls who text and tweet their votes every Wednesday night until their thumbs bleed. I mean, how many of you even voted last night? How many times? Exactly. (Me: Twice, once for Marcus and once for Josh, and just so that I could post it to my wall and annoy my Facebook friends.)
So it's the same song and dance as last week for tonight's results show, and knowing going in this time that we wouldn't be getting any results for the first 40 minutes somehow made this even more unbearable than before. First, the group number takes a big tumble from last week's surprisingly fun and obviously lipsynced outing, mostly due to the fact that the producers were cornered into putting on a more authentic performance by a flurry of bad press. Look, I'm not particularly invested in X Factor's promise to bring me the most talented new voice in America; that decision is not going to affect my life too drastically in the long run, and I'll probably disagree with it anyway. What does affect my life is the amount of strain I put on my eyes after rolling them so hard for a straight hour. The least the producers can do is give us a polished, brainless few moments of entertainment to lighten things up in this otherwise dreary and pointless telecast.
Not helping the dreary pointlessness: Willow Smith. I groaned when they flashed her credentials across the screen before her performance, as if to say that giving the internet “I Whip My Hair Back And Forth” for a few weeks means she has the X Factor as opposed to merely having Will Smith for a dad. I wish I could comment on this performance, but Willow Smith is barely more than a zygote; seriously, her limbs are so thin and wispy I fear for them when she takes on more aggressive choreography, and I find her kind of impossible to watch. She doesn't have enough stage presence or charisma to make me forget that she should be at home with her Tamagotchi or whatever 11-year-olds are into these days.
Perhaps sensing that the entertainment factor was running dangerously low tonight, the producers brought in a second guest performer, British popster Jessie J. I don't hate her. She's definitely more interesting than most female pop singers out there right now, but “Domino” just sounds like a Katy Perry leftover, and once again put my attention span to the test. “Oh, I thoroughly enjoyed that, much like everyone else in the room!” declared Steve Jones. It's as cute to watch Steve try to sound excited as it is to see Nicole try to cry. Imagine what those two could accomplish together with no real human emotions to hold them back.
After that, the bottom two acts are finally revealed, and nobody is surprised. I was thinking the Rayne would be easily schooled by the Hogzz, but was disappointed when both acts stunk equally. At this point, the judges were just forced to recognize that America is just not embracing the Hoggz, and after another drawn out and torturous vote (Including Simon not-at-all-subtly flipping Steve the bird), the boys are sent packing. The only real bit of suspense going into next week is what individual will be the first to join Lakoda Rayne in the bottom, but whoever it is won't be going home. Folks who are more familiar with the U.K. show: What will Paula do once her acts are all gone? Co-mentor another category? Resurrect the members of the fallen groups into the power chorus AsiNINETEEN? Take up crocheting?