|It’s been hard to find this episode of the X-Factor. It aired on Sunday night after the episodes were juggled last week due to baseball playoffs on rain delay. I knew it would be on Sunday night, and just assumed my DVR would catch it. It didn’t, and that’s because either UVerse or Fox didn’t change the programming lineup to reflect the change. The DVR listings still said Simpsons, Family Guy, et al., would be aired. I realized that eighteen minutes into it, and hurriedly recorded the four animated sitcoms, but missed those first eighteen minutes. Fox doesn’t make this show easy to find via streaming video. My persistence paid off, though, and I found it, so here we go.
First up tonight at Simon Cowell’s home is Jazzlyn Little, 16, of Cape Coral, Florida. She struggled with nerves and confidence at her audition and in Boot Camp. On top of that, it’s hard for her to be in Paris to be away from her family. The vocal coach, Savan Kotecha, counsels her. She sings an unrecognizable version of I Will Survive. It’s updated and really interesting, really jazzy. I would have liked to see her on those power vocals, but I think this shows more of who she would be as a recording artist. Simon seems like he’s enjoying it.
Jazzlyn shows host Steve Jones her shaky hands, as Simon discusses her performance with Savan and two producers. Simon thinks she just put herself back in the frame, but Savan finds it too much like a high school talent show. Simon seems a bit incredulous at that statement.
Up first tonight for L.A. Reid and Rihanna is Brennin Hunt, 26, a graphic designer from Nashville. He did not have a hard time with confidence, feeling he was “the total package.” He knows he’s getting somewhat old for the music business, but if he looks around, he’ll notice he’s in the under 30 group. He feels his time is now, and he wants to be even bigger than Lady Gaga. He sings Like a Star, and sings it quite well. He always surprises me how good he really is. His looks make you think he’s just about being a pretty face, but his voice shows so much more depth.
Rihanna thinks Brennin is beautiful and thinks his tone is correct at times, especially when he gets raspy, but he’s a little it corny for her and reminds her of a 90s boys band. She’s not convinced he’s a star and knows this will be a tough decision. Brennin thinks it went well, but says he’s hard on himself and is a perfectionist. He thought he had pitch issues, but that seems to be the least of their concerns.
The Stereo Hoggz, ages 24-25, from Houston, are up first tonight for Paula Abdul and Pharrell. The group have been friends more than half their lives. This is so close to what they’ve been trying to do for so long. One of them just became a dad, and really wants to win this competition for his daughter, not wanting her to have to go through some of the same things he has. They sing Heard It Through the Grapevine, complete with choreography. It sounds great, but it’s more a lead vocal than a group. If Rihanna wants to see corny, she needs to see some of their choreography.
Pharrell tells Paula the lead singer is like an old Motown guy mixed with Genuine. Paula gives him a high five and tells him “That’s who they are.” She appreciates his critique so much, she wants to borrow him for a couple of shows to sit next to her. He wants them to be a constellation, though, and not just one star. The group decides if they weren’t performing, but were judging, they’d put themselves through.
The first over 30 to perform tonight for Nicole Scherzinger and Enrique Iglesias is Josh Krajcik, 30, a burrito maker from Columbus, Ohio. He explains music was always the most important thing to him until his 13-year-old daughter was born. He wants to show her that dreams can come true with talent and a little luck. When he wins here, it will allow that to happen. Tonight, he sings First Time Ever I saw Your Face, and has so much emotion in it, it brings me to near tears, and seems to do the same for Nicole as well. This burrito maker is the real deal. He’s like the second coming of Joe Cocker. I would pay top dollar for an iTunes download of this.
Josh tells them after he’s always loved performing and had the confidence he could be something really big, and he’s so excited to have the opportunity to show them what he is capable of. Nicole tells Enrique Josh is relatable and personable, but asks if he’s a star. Enrique admits he’s not the typical star, with all the glitz and glamour. Steve asks if this is the performance that will stop him from making burritos for a living. Josh hopes so.
It’s back to Paula’s house to hear the next group 2Squar’d. They mention that the moment they got four yeses at their audition meant so much to them, as it was the moment they could start living out their dreams. Paula has chosen Bohemian Rhapsody, surprising them, because they’re basically a pop/R&B band. What they do really well is spread the vocal around so that they take advantage of all their different capabilities in the song, although I’m not sure if it’s enough.
Paula tells Pharrell that she knows it’s a difficult song. He admits that, but says if they would have put a little more soul into it, it would have come off differently. They have shown that they can sing, but Paula and Pharrell seem to want more. The group, meanwhile, thinks Paula has seen growth from them.
L.A. and Rihanna will listen to Tim Cifers, 30, a sales manager from Willow Springs, North Carolina, next. He admits one of his dreams is getting back to his roots. He grew up on his grandparents’ farm, and wants his kids to experience that same “countryism” while living in a nice house. He’s never been away from his kids as much as this, and when he left for this trip, his son asked God to “please keep Daddy safe on the plane,” and handed his dad his stuffed monkey. He sings Dance with My Father, and packs all the emotion from missing his family into the performance.