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The X Factor: 2.10 – “Judges’ Houses, Part 2”

We’re back to more performance at the Judges’ Houses. They jammed all 12 performances into this hour-long episode. There’s a lot of information to cover, so let’s get to it…

The first group to go in tonight’s episode was the Over 25s. L.A. Reid once again voices his concern over being the mentor for this group. He’s worried because he’s known for making younger singers into superstars, he doesn’t know if he can do it for an older performer. Like the other judges, L.A. needs to cut 2 of the performers from his group. To help with his decision he has two advisers: Justin Bieber and his manager Scooter Braun.

Jason Brock is the first person to perform. He’s been pretty heavily featured in the show so far. I’m not a big fan but obviously they something in him. Jason performs Fergie’s “Big Girls Don’t Cry”. It was an interesting song choice and he has a distinct voice, but he doesn’t do much with him. He plays one note the entire time and doesn’t have enough vocal variation. Like a few people I talked about in the last episode, I like his personality and I would probably love him if this wasn’t a talent/singing competition.

David Correy is up next. He’s been one of my favorites throughout this season and he didn’t disappoint with his rendition of Jessie J’s “Domino”. (That song is actually one of my favorites right now too). Once again, I didn’t like the arrangement because they completely slowed it down. The song works better as a dance number with an up-tempo beat. But Correy got to show off his vocal ability. He was incredible. He’s definitely going to the live shows.

Daryl Black performed “She’s Gone” next (two Hall & Oates songs in two nights, they’re becoming a trend again). Black got the shaft on the introduction package. They came back right from commercial into his performance and they played some B-Roll footage while he was singing. They didn’t show him enough for me to even have an opinion. If he had any chance of moving on or doing well in this competition, the producers would have featured him more and done a package about his background. He’s gone.

Up next was country singer Tate Stevens. He did a country version of Brian McKnight’s “Back at One”. And once again, the arrangement was severely slowed down. Tate is a boring performer. He’s got a strong voice but you need personality to do well in this competition and he doesn’t show that while he’s singing. I think he might move on because his country persona is different from the others, but he’ll be one of the first eliminated. He’s not going to gain a lot of fans with his stale personality.

Vino Alan took the pool-side stage and sang Pink’s “Sober”. He’s got a unique style and personality. His voice is good but he’s not a great performer. He’s got a lot of emotion in his voice, almost too much. He needs to stop closing his eyes and putting the microphone in front of his face. He could be a recording artist, but he’s not going to do well with voters if he doesn’t improve his performance style. I agree with Scooter Braun that Vino seems way too nervous when he performs. He’s not comforting to watch. He could fall apart at the drop of a hat. There was also some weird exchange with L.A. at the end about his shoes. I’m guessing L.A. let him borrow a pair of his shoes, but this wasn’t shown before so I have no idea what was going on.

The final performance from the Over 25s was from Tara Simon. Her biggest advantage: she’s the only female in this category. If L.A. is looking for variety, she’s got the lead in that category. I don’t really like her very much. She’s very bitchy and annoying in her interviews. “I’ve always been a star. People have now just caught on to it.” She did Hoobastank’s “The Reason”. The verses were soft and weak, and the chorus was overbearing and screeching in some moments. I think she’s terrible. She should be eliminated but she’s got the female thing helping her out.

The show then moved to the Teens category. They will be performing at a mansion in Malibu, CA. Britney Spears is the mentor to them and she has will.i.am as her adviser to help make her decision.

The first performer to sing is Diamond White. She does a version of Avril Lavigne’s “I’m with You” that is once again deathly slowed down in the arrangement. Maybe I’m missing the point. The slowed down version probably features their vocals better and is easier to do in the outside setting. I just don’t like that it’s done for every single performer. Change it up a little bit producers. Back to Diamond, I like her style and personality. She’s vocally good but I find her a little over-prepared when it comes to movement. All of her hand gestures and pacing seems pre-planned. She needs to let loose and let her body experience the music.

Reed Deming is up next. I said yesterday that I didn’t remember him at all and I was surprised he got through. The show recapped his audition and some of his other moments. I remember him now and he still wasn’t impressive in my memory. For this round he sang “Hey There Delilah” (one of the most annoying songs ever). He managed to make it palatable and not overdo the cutesy-ness of his personality. I can see him moving on and doing well. I just don’t really care much.

James Tanner performed next and he got the Daryl Black treatment. His performance of “Party Like a Rockstar” was cut down to about 20 seconds and the producers didn’t even both sharing his backstory or any of other previous performances on the show. In the little bit they did show, he was annoying and I didn’t like his style. He was wearing a smoky gray cardigan while trying to rap. He’s out for numerous reason.

The next performer was Arin Ray, one of my favorites. His narrative through out this season has been interesting. He actually made the Top 12 last year as a performer in the teen group inTENsity. He didn’t get to shine as much there and he worked hard the past year to come back stronger than ever. I really like his personality and his performance style. He’s someone who I can picture doing well in the industry and being versatile in a number of different ways. He did a slowed down (again with the slow arrangements!) of Nicki Minaj’s “Starships”. I didn’t like that version of the song, but Arin got to show off his vocals and they were fantastic. I would be shocked if he doesn’t make it further in the competition. I think he’s finalist material.

Beatrice Miller was next to perform. She’s been featured on the show a few times before but she never really made an impression. She was extremely nervous before going on. She was in tears before the producers put her in front of Britney. But you wouldn’t know it from her performance. I was blown away by her performance. She sang David Guetta & Sia’s “Titanium”. Her voice was so soulful and unique, much more so than the others that have been seen so far in this category. I hope she goes through now.

And finally, Carly Rose Sonenclar was the last person to perform in this category. She’s been one of the “chosen ones” from the beginning. Simon’s been talking her up in interviews and she’s been one of the most featured contestants of the season. Here she a performance of Karmin’s “Brokenhearted”. It was solid. She’s got a strong voice and a unique way of emoting while performing. She’s a safe bet to go on to the live shows.

The show left Britney and will.i.am to decide which 4 they were going to move on further in the competition. When will he find out? Wednesday’s show. The Top 16 will be revealed. Here’s my predictions….

Predictions for Top 16:

Reed Deming
Beatrice Miller
Arin Ray
Carly Rose Sonenclar

Young Adults
CeCe Frey
Jennel Garcia
Jillian Jensen
Willie Jones

Over 25s
Jason Brock
David Correy
Tara Simon
Tate Stevens

Lyric One4Five
Sister C