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'The X Factor' Recap: The Judges Reveal The Top 17 (VIDEO) Simon Admits ... He Made a Mistake

You've got to admire the tenacity of 'The X Factor' producers, attempting to milk two hours of TV from what basically amounts to a ten-minute announcement. I doubt that any self-respecting audience member actually appreciates these wasteful episodes (I can't recall if 'The Voice' devoted two hours to who the judges picked to advance to the voting rounds, but 'Idol' has been guilty of it for years) -- let's face it, they're the reality equivalent of a clip show and reduce most of us to teeth-gnashing, garment-rending frustration about fifteen minutes through.

All you really want to know is who the judges chose for their respective final fours, right?

In that case, I'll delay you no longer -- hit the jump and save yourselves two hours of boredom, or, if you were unfortunate enough to sit through last night's episode, hit the jump so that you can vent your frustrations about Simon Cowell's baffling life choices.

Simon Cowell's Girls
-- Simone Battle:
One of numerous girls to apparently bring out Nicole and Paula's catty side during auditions, I've found Simone obnoxious from the get-go. Still, when she's not choosing ill-advised Pussycat Dolls songs and dressing like Hooker Barbie, she actually has a fairly agreeable tone. I still don't understand why Simon persists in pronouncing her name "Simone-ey," though.
-- Drew Ryniewicz: An earnest 14-year-old with a terminal case of Bieber Fever, Miss Ryniewicz (I'm certainly going to have fun typing that name all season) has a phenomenal voice and should, if there's any justice, go all the way to the finals. Her performance of Roxette's 'It Must Have Been Love' gave me chills last week.
-- Tiah Tolliver: Certainly the most controversial (and baffling, and misguided, and conniption-inducing) choice of the night, Simon chose to forgo the outstanding Caitlin Koch -- who had a voice to rival Drew's -- for the pitchy Tiah, who rubbed both Paula and Nicole the wrong way during auditions. She finally managed to (grudgingly) sway Nicole into voting her through in her first audition, but I'm hoping America will remedy her mistake, and Simon's, as soon as the live voting begins.
-- Rachel Crow: Another young performer who's sweet as apple pie, Rachel is perhaps not the most talented of the teens (her voice can't hold a candle to Drew's) but she has more charisma and stage presence than most of the acts twice her age. Still, Simon seemed to pull another upset by choosing her over the far more talented Melanie Amaro, until ...
-- Melanie Amaro: Yes, Simon saw the error of his ways (although not over Tiah and Caitlin, to my irritation) and after choosing his top four, he had an eleventh-hour change of heart, flying out to Florida to surprise Melanie and her family at home and declare her the 17th and final contestant. Her happiness almost made up for Caitlin's snub. Almost.

I'd bet on Drew to go the furthest in this category, but I also think that America will continue to be charmed by Rachel despite her vocal shortcomings. 'Idol' hasn't had a female winner since season 6, and 'The Voice' kept the testosterone flowing, so I'm not sure whether a girl will be capable of winning 'The X Factor' either, but between Drew and Melanie and Stacy Francis in the Over 30s, perhaps Simon's new show will buck the trend.

L.A. Reid's Boys
--Brian "Astro" Bradley:
The precocious 15-year-old rapper who wants to buy his mom a house if he wins. For 15, he seems a little too arrogant, and L.A. voiced concerns over whether the kid would be able to stay grounded and maintain the right attitude if he was put through, which is a valid question. Still, he's undeniably talented, and he's doing something that hasn't been done in these singing contests before, so I'm intrigued to see whether the audience embraces him.
-- Chris Rene: A total no-brainer; Chris is arguably the most recognizable contestant so far (aside from Stacy Francis) and his troubled past has made him an instant favorite with sympathetic viewers. He's got a unique voice, a gift for songwriting, and a child to support, so I'm hoping he goes far and the pressure doesn't prove to be too much for him.
-- Phillip Lomax: The smooth crooner who was forced to sing a swing version of Rihanna's 'Please Don't Stop the Music' to Rihanna -- so cruel, L.A. -- has been a divisive figure so far, given his retro vibe, but he's certainly easy to listen to.
-- Marcus Canty: He had a memorable audition thanks to a Stevie Wonder track and a relatable story, after his mom gave him an ultimatum to make his musical career work within two years or find a real job.

L.A.'s group is undoubtedly the strongest and most consistent across the board -- I think that Phillip will probably be the first to go from this team, while Chris has the best chance of winning the whole competition.

Paula Abdul's Groups
-- The Brewer Boys:
I think that this duo has been pretty consistently mediocre, but in Paula's world, perhaps that makes for an excellent mentoring opportunity. I can't remember anything they've sung, only that they have a disturbing penchant for flipping their hair in unison, and I don't foresee them going far in the competition.
-- Lakoda Rayne and InTENsity: I honestly didn't think that either of the Frankenstein groups were good enough to warrant a pass to the voting rounds, especially after Paula seemed so enamored of 4Shore and The Anser, but much to my bewilderment, both the awkward country foursome and the ten-piece teen group were sent through. I guess perhaps the judges felt obligated to stick with them in order to justify their decision to cobble them together in the first place; god forbid we start doubting their judgment!
-- The Stereo Hogzz: 4Shore's matching t-shirts and The Anser's promise rings were no match for The Stereo Hogzz's dapper suits. And I guess their singing ability, too, but I didn't find them more or less remarkable than any of the other (generally lackluster) groups.

Paula has definitely found herself saddled with the weakest category, but I wonder if audience goodwill towards her will keep her contestants around longer than they deserve to be.

Nicole Scherzinger's Over 30s
-- Josh Krajcik:
He's the cuddly guy next door, but the devoted husband certainly has an interesting enough voice to merit his inclusion over a dud like James Kenney (who works "five" jobs, though two of them are at the same place and another two are being a husband and a father). I'm rooting for the burrito seller -- he's genuinely talented and seems genuinely nice.
-- Dexter Haygood: Like me, Nicole obviously loves an underdog, because even though the formerly homeless Dexter gave an admittedly terrible performance last week, Nicole still wanted to give him a chance (and made me cry in the process, damnit). He hasn't got a chance in hell of winning, but why not let him live the dream for a little longer? (Oh, because this is a singing competition, you say? Touché.)
-- Leroy Bell: Possibly the most attractive 60-year-old in the world, Leroy was an obvious choice (but still felt like a long shot) so I'm happy to see him getting the chance to compete. He's got a glorious voice, but I worry that he'll get lost in the shuffle.
-- Stacy Francis: The other no-brainer; there was only room for one weepy diva in the category, and unfortunately for the also-supremely talented Elaine Gibbs, that title was always going to fall to Stacy Francis, whose rendition of 'Purple Rain' was incredible last week (and who has perfected the art of mascara tears).

Given the overexposure of both, I wonder if it could come down to Stacy and Chris in the finale, or whether the other contestants will be able to distinguish themselves enough in the coming weeks to catch up to their lead. I certainly hope that they do, otherwise it'll be the most blatant audience manipulation a reality show has ever gotten away with. Right now, I'm kind of rooting for Drew, purely because her voice is the most unique and already sounds album-ready.

'The X Factor' airs Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8PM ET on Fox.

So there you have it, your Top 17. Did your favorites make the cut, or do you disagree with any of the judges? (I'm looking at you, Simon.) Share your reactions below!

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Comment by Connie on October 20, 2011 at 9:10pm

You'all welcome....Let's root for Melanie. Yay.


Comment by evolution on October 20, 2011 at 9:54am
@Connie love thanks for the info baby.
Comment by Connie on October 19, 2011 at 11:37pm

@Tallislslandgirl: my bro. in Florida told me she was from Tortola.  Big up to the likkle island Tortola.  Kudos to Melanie.

Former BVI student Melanie Amaro appears on Fox’s XFactor tonight

Melanie Ann Amaro

Walking through the doors of opportunity, Melanie Ann Amaro will do what she was born to do – sing. Before her birth a Man of God told her mother that the child she was carrying had a song.

Melanie attended D&D Learning Center, Enid Scatliffe Pre-Primary School, Althea Scatliffe Primary School and BVI High School in Tortola where she called home before moving to Florida to join the rest of her family.

Since then, she was a guest at the Gospel Fest a few years ago in Road Town.

She has had exposure to singing opportunities while growing up and tonight she will be on XFactor at 8pm on Fox.

Melanie’s biggest fan may very well be her little sister Maya, who watches in tears as her sister goes on stage in her audition.



Comment by True Trini on October 19, 2011 at 7:15pm
I like the underdog idea...but Dexter going tru is just so much crap! And as for Paula putting tru that made up group of blonds over The Answer......even more crap!!!
Comment by evolution on October 19, 2011 at 5:00pm

I always like Simon; it takes a man to admit when he made a mistake, and let it be known publicly to those he wronged.

Comment by BklynDiva2U on October 19, 2011 at 1:24pm
Thank you, Talllslandgirl, that was indeed PLANNED.  The 13-year old little Miss Crow needs a few more years and she will indeed be ready.  I believe Ms Amaro is VINCIE, or Domician Republic.

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