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Freelance entertainment writer, martial arts instructor, and mother of two.

X-Factor, Oct. 18 – Simon and His Plus One


The last two groups in front of Paula are the Stereo Hoggz and The Anser. The latter feels this has only bonded them even more, becoming like brothers. They bought matching rings to show their commitment to their music. One of them works in a burger joint and goes back there if they don’t make it. Stereo Hoggz have the same dream, and one of them says he doesn’t even have a backup plan. They know the opportunity won’t come again.

Paula tells Stereo Hoggz they’re dressed very nicely. The lead singer has a voice that is natural. The other four need to really commit to building their vocals up, and she knows she’s not the first person to tell them that.  She tells The Anser it’s a tough day again. They know they’re talented and have a gift, and have three solid vocals, but they don’t always blend together. She’s not taking them forward, meaning the Stereo Hoggz get the last spot. Lakoda Rayne cries for The Anser guys, as the Stereo Hoggz jump in a fountain.

There is one spot left for the Over 30s. Elaine Gibbs, 53, a wedding singer from L.A. notes she has had to go through everything she has in her 53 years in life to get to this place today. She asks the interviewer if they have ever wanted something so bad and reached for it and lost it or reached for it and grabbed it. That’s where she’s at. While Stacy Francis, 42, a stay-at-home mom from L.A., was standing in line at the auditions, she heard her first husband’s voice telling her she wasn’t good enough. She decided then she was turning it off. Her confidence has built with each step in the process.

Nicole tells Elaine she has to be one of the most talented singers she’s ever come upon in her life. The X-FActor isn’t just about the best voice, though. It’s about having personality, charisma, and command of the stage.  Stacy hears she has an amazing voice; there’s no question about that. What she’s looking for is someone who has the confidence and belief in themselves. It’s such a hard business, and Nicole doesn’t know if she can handle it. This is the hardest decision she’s had to make; it’s Elaine not going through. Nicole sobs because she knows Elaine was counting on it the most. Stacy hears she is being taken through and it brings me to tears right along with Stacy and Nicole.  Stacy feels after so many times of not being good enough, she finally is. Here’s the secret, Hon. You were good enough all along.

And the last two girls up are the two I thought had the best chance of making it, but only one will go through. I’m heartbroken, and can’t believe he picked Tiah over one of them. Melanie Amaro, 19, of Sunrise, Florida, knew onstage this was what she wanted to do the rest of her life. She wonders if her performance was enough to get her through. Rachel Crow, 13, of Boulder, Colorado, has always loved to sing, and calls the first audition exciting, with the rest of it being a roller coaster. She again talks about not being from a wealthy family, and wants the money for that. All told, if I had to make a choice, I think Rachel has more of an “X-Factor” than Melanie. Melanie may have the better voice at this stage, but I think Rachel has that something extra.

Rachel admits to Simon she’s a bit nervous, but feels she’s toughing it out. He loved her first audition, but wasn’t expecting how good the others were going to be. She came in as a clear favorite, but he had to put the people through he felt he could work with and turn into a recording artist. He tells Melanie she has a heck of a voice, and he will never forget her first audition. She didn’t make it, and he admits he hated doing it. That must be the one we saw in the promos of him putting down on the table saying, “I didn’t just do that.” He admits he doesn’t like his job sometimes. Rachel, of course, did make it. He asks her how he could say no to her as he wraps her up in a hug. Now he likes his job. 

Simon is regretting his decision as night falls and feels it in his gut that he made a mistake. He goes to Sunrise, Florida, Oh my God, this is the best. He admits the other judges were asking him what he was thinking. He has to right his wrong, and Melanie has no idea he’s on his way to her doorstep. He gets to her trailer home, and a man answers and quietly lets him in. Melanie is watching TV and freaks out. He wants to personally apologize, and says they are asking her to come back into the competition. She doesn’t know what to say, but her family answers for her. “Yes!” A man in the house states that Simon does “have a heart.” All is good.

That’s what truly separates men from the boys, the ability to admit you made a mistake. However, it is his show, and he had that opportunity. Would Paula, Nicole, or L.A. have been afforded that same opportunity to right their wrong? It doesn’t matter at this point, but it is something to ponder. 

Either way, it’s a great final sixteen, and there aren’t any favorites of mine missing, other than ones I saw when I attended the Chicago auditions. I saw a group, the Badrigals, who were amazingly good, and got a great audience reaction. They made it, but were cut early on in Vegas. They had such unworthy groups in the very end, they had to make up two groups to come up with eight. It’s the weakest category, but would have been stronger if they had allowed the Badrigals through. It’s too bad Simon is only recognizing the mistake he made with Melanie. I know they were stronger than any of the groups Paula chose, especially the two they created.

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