Well, I’m yelling at the television again, which means that The X Factor must be in full swing. I was pretty curious about how tonight’s results episode would play out, since unlike American Idol’s mind-numbing equivalent, there would actually be a decision made that wasn’t already written on an index card in a producer’s back pocket at the start of the episode. I really prefer having the judges pick from bottom two acts rather than having the audience vote be the final word as to who goes home, and knowing that there would be competitive performances and a verdict tonight made it seem like I wasn’t throwing this hour of my life into the fiery abyss so much as lightly tossing it in the wastebasket.
But it’s still an hour. That means that there’s still all sorts of padding, with Steve Jones unfortunately responsible for most of the heavy lifting. There was a five-minute-plus recap of last night’s performances, a performance by someone called Outasight who looked suspiciously like a day trader, a montage about how awesome it is to have a Pepsi commercial, a montage about how nobody wants to go home (guess they had to wait for Dexter Haygood to leave before they could pull that one out,) and at least one moronically placed commercial break. That’s the stuff that makes me shout, to be clear, lest you think I was sitting here hurling my coffee mug across the living room when InTENsity got the boot.
There were some bright spots, though: Tonight’s group performance was quite good, and I say this as someone who typically has to watch those things through my fingers. It felt current, fresh, and high-energy; basically a microcosm of everything that makes this show different from Idol. And since I think I wrote more than 2,000 words last night without bringing up the X Factor stage again, let me just reiterate that the stage is fucking gorgeous. I’m sure there’s some non-telecast-worthy Emmy that the set designers are eligible for, and they should win it. I love how those lines of color on the floor of the stage pulse out whenever someone makes an entrance, and how the long video panels completely transform the room. The stage is what makes The X Factor feel like a television show from the future, not just the more relevant batch of talent.
Speaking of the future, or time, or the passage thereof: It takes over a half hour before Steve Jones decides to tell us who’s going home. The good news is that it’s pretty much done all at once, as opposed to Idol’s method of stretching it out and torturing the remaining contestants who generally have to wait through seven Lady Antebellum songs to find out their fate. The acts that are moving on are revealed one by one, “In no particular order,” as Steve stresses. There was a brief, bright moment when it was down to Stereo Hogzz, InTENsity, and Stacy Francis, and I was ready to be shocked and extremely proud of America and their refusal to give the church singer and a pass. But Miss Francis was safe, and it was down to two groups to battle for a spot on next week’s show.
Poor Paula. She’d been doing a pretty good job of pretending that the groups aren’t always the first to eat it, and a damn good job with the choreography and production, but now in the cold harsh light of reality, it turns out that America, as she says, just finds it harder to connect with groups. In the case of InTENsity, I think the “ability to connect with the audience” should have been a second or third tier priority after “singing the notes right,” but Stereo Hogzz… I don’t know, maybe they need to take off their sunglasses? In any case, once it came down to these two, InTENsity’s fate was sealed. Not even a spastic rendition of “My Life Would Suck Without You” could save it from Stereo Hogzz’s Paula/L.A.-baiting (Nicole, for what it’s worth, watched their performance of “Emotion,” mystified, thinking “Didn’t Justin Timberlake do that one originally?”)
And so our first heroes have fallen, and it feels fantastic, not only because I wasn’t sure if I could sit through another InTENsity performance after last night, but because the group’s elimination meant a third of the contestants are now gone. I’m so glad I never bothered to figure out any of their names.
- Well, except Ellona, the Rachel Berry of the group, who has the endearing tendency of going cross eyed and flubbing notes when she sings too hard.
- I also forgot to address the Stacy Francis “controversy” from last week, but let’s just say when she lowered her head right before she was saved, I was a little afraid she was going to start summoning Xenu or something.
- Lakoda Rayne is really running with the horribleness of its name, and I’m kind of loving it. Tonight they expressed their desire to make it “Rayne” Pepsi in their commercial, and awful puns are the second fastest way to my heart after being talented.
- I think Astro forgot the words during his rap in the group number, but it was hard to hear. On a related note, here’s your X Factor Vote For The Worst pick.