I'm going out on a limb here, so don't push me please, but "The X Factor" is the best singing competition show on TV right now.
Anyone who wants to argue can meet me at the flagpole at four. There is a chemistry that I think just works with the judges this season, and a premise that feels new (enough) to get me hooked each and every time.
This episode started out with Simon being too sick to come in and judge. Don't worry though, because we have Louis Walsh, who judged the UK "X Factor."
With Simon missing, Demi and Britney were left to talk about L.A. Reid's birthday cake. I've seen this conversation before between sorority girls in college.
Oddly enough, this is what I think is special about the show: stupid banter. I say this not as an insult; but as something I think viewers, as well as myself, sit there and relate to. (I realize this might just be an insult to myself though.)
Also, Britney actually sang "Happy Birthday" later in the episode and sounded pretty good.
They started off in Kansas City, where we saw a healthy helping of stardom. The first being Rizzole Jones, 18. I thought this was doomed from the beginning. He was a sweet, A.D.D, blonde boy who's going to freestyle rap. He actually ended up being really good. Britney complimented him, comparing him to Vanilla Ice. (That's not a compliment Brit.)
Then came Cece Frey, 20. She was also a recipe for disaster: Cocky, annoying, with a poor song choice. Once again, "X Factor" fooled me. The judges gave her a second chance to sing "Ain’t No Other Man" by Britney's arch-nemesis, Xtina. She was pretty good. Not great, but she only had up to go from her wobbly "Unchained Melody."
I did learn something from this episode: Britney and I both share a distaste for tattoos.
When Vino Alan, 39, came on stage and showed of his head of tattoos, you could tell that Britney was fairly grossed out. His voice on the other hand, had that bluesy realness you don't find on today's radio. His song "Trouble" was one of the standouts of the night.
Thank goodness for Deangelo Wallace, because I was sick and tired of all of this good singing and trickery. Deangelo came in insulting all the judges, deluded with ideas that he was going to be the next great pop star. He sang Chris Brown's "With you."
I guess the judges didn't want to be with him because they walked right off. While I found it hilarious, he found it upsetting because he later stole the mike. He blamed his actions on the judges not passing him through. (For the record, I'm upset the "The Today Show" won't hire me as their new anchor but I don't go around stealing their comfy chairs. It's called class.) So instead of boot camp, he went to jail.
To end Kansas City on a high note, they brought in Tate Stevens, 37. His personality and voice were bigger than his 10-gallon cowboy hat. His daughter crying and saying he was already her hero made it that much sweeter when he received overwhelming praise from the judges. L.A. Reid made it clear that this country crooner is one to watch out for in the upcoming episodes.
Don't worry about things getting too sweet here, because Simon is back. San Francisco introduced us to Citizen, a boy band who sang a surprisingly good and masculine version of En Vogues "Don't Let Go." Their chiseled jaws and hair care products impressed everyone but Simon, who didn't "get it."
That led us to a montage of really bad boy bands and girl groups, all of which ranged from bad to horrible. Simon was even ready to jump on the adorable Diamond White, 13. She sang "It's a mans world," and was amazing. Halfway through Simon jumped on board and started clapping.
Back to the South where everything is bigger, including the voices. In Austin we met Ally Brooke, who has a "Mariah Carey complex." This means she's good, knows she's good, and won't shut up. I think her voice was amazing, but the fact that she didn't stop long after the song ended bothered me. You can tell from Simon's face he was annoyed too. But her voice really was amazing and she deserved to be let through to boot camp.
Britney's cutest moment of the episode came when two men, named Jeremiah and Josh, sang an original song. I thought the performance was just ok, but Britney's reaction to it was pretty funny. She said she wanted them to wake her up in the morning. The audience giggled and Britney squirmed. As odd as it sounds, I found this to be the most genuine side of her we've seen this season.
Austin also introduced us to Panda, who, like the animal, is completely adorable. She went up in stage with the most personality of any single person we've seen this episode. She sang "Bring It on Home," and bring it on home she did. The judges absolutely loved her. Simon even said that she already sounded like a legend. As she left the stage, her medical issues got the best of her and she went away in an ambulance. (At least it wasn't a cop car Panda!) Hope to see you at boot camp healthy and ready to sing.
Never one to leave on a sour note, we met Jessica Espinoza. Her tough upbringing made for an inspiring story. The judges loved her rendition of "Nobody Knows." Maybe I'm psychic, but I think that we're going to see a lot more of her in the future.
What did you guys think.? Who hit your high and low notes?
'X Factor' recap, Police cars, ambulances, and boy-bands, oh my!
Sister C performs in front of the judges on "The X Factor." (FOX)