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X-Factor, Nov. 16 – Searching for a Definition of Rock

Well, Paula Abdul only has one group left in her category on X-Factor, and being that the one remaining group was in the bottom two last week, it’s not looking good. Then again, it will be between her group and another act, so maybe the other judges will take pity on her and eliminate the other person. Nonetheless, if I was Lakoda Rayne, I’d definitely be worried. I’d also probably be fed up, as Paula was probably on their ass 24/7 since she didn’t have two other acts to keep her eye on. 

And, it’s Rock Week. Steve Jones is welcomed to the stage with dancers and the song I Love Rock ‘n Roll surrounding him. The judges walk out to the tune of Living on a Prayer. The final ten will be performing rock songs, or songs done in a rock style. 

We start right away with Nicole Scherzinger introducing her first act, Leroy Bell. He was more comfortable last week. He explains that he and Nicole get along because she’s an artist as well and talks in a language he can understand. He always wanted to be a rock star, but put the dream on hold when his son was born, as he picked up odd jobs here and there. His tattoo symbolizes going for it and not turning back.  Regardless of anything else, L.A. Reid still sees him as borning. Leroy sings We’ve Got the Night, and isn’t boring. He has the perfect voice for this song, as well as the emotion to put into it.

L.A. explains they’re no longer just trying to get through to the next round; they’re now looking for a star with the ability to sell tickets and records. He thinks Leroy looks and sounds great, but he doesn’t think he’s working it like a rock star. Paula tells Leroy that there’s no mistaking that he has a good voice. She thinks what L.A. is saying and that she hears other people mention is that it’s live television, and there needs to be more of a connection. She recognizes that he was starting to engage with the audience this time.

Simon Cowell calls it a nice song and good voice, but in terms of originality, he gives Leroy’s version a zero. For five million dollars and a Super Bowl Pepsi commercial it could change his life, but he’s being mentored like a session singer, and they’ve heard the same type of song from him for four weeks in a row. For rock week, he should have been a shark instead of a goldfish. He’s not being mean, but wants him to have a shot at winning. Nicole belives in Leroy and thinks this week is the best he’s ever sung in this competition. Simon asks if she believes he can win, and she does. She mentions his courage at 60 to go after his dreams. 

Steve asks Leroy about the horrible omments and Simon protects his right to “butt in” and tells Steve to “shut it,” as it was constructive criticism. Leroy din’t take it as “horrible,” and thinks he has waht it takes to win.

Simon now needs to put his money where his mouth is with his first contestant, Rachel Crow. Simon believes he has finally connected with Rachel, because she used to just giggle when they’d talk, but now she has opinions and takes it very seriously. She also sees the relationship as very good and thinks it will give her more confidence. He felt it was important to find a rock song with a blues influence. Nicole thinks she could have problems just letting loose. Rachel sings (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction and definitely doesn’t seem to have a problem letting loose. The big production behind her seems to be a bit much, though.

L.A. mentions that last week Rachel made an official return to the competition, and the question now is if she can sell tickets and records, and while she answers yes, he answers yes as well. It wasn’t a karaoke rendition, but something that gave energy to the room. Nicole  mentions rock ‘n roll origination from rhythm and blues, so that makes it a perfect song for Rachel. For Nicole, it’s her favorite performance out of all of them, because with rock, it’s supposed to be effortless and fun and about letting go, and she made it look so easy.

Rachel is one of Paula’s favorites, and she loves how she’s starting to connect, not only with the camera, but also with the audience. Her personal opinion is that when she sees her up there, it doesn’t matter if she has a hundred dancers. She only sees her. Simon remembers Rachel saying this week that she wanted to win the competition, and he actually can see her winning. There’s nothing wrong with admitting it, and to him there are too many people in the competition thinking that with their little bit of TV exposure, they’ll get a record deal. To him, that means they’re losers. He thinks now that people will start to respect her as a singer.

L.A. rolls out his first contestant, Chris Rene. L.A. loves the challenge, to go in there and find what makes Chris tick. It’s about giving him the moral support to believe in himself. Chris admits that while this competition is important, staying well is just as important. He’s been going to meetings, support groups and talking to his sponsor trying to stay sober, as well as reading and writing. What matters to L.A. is that Chris will be able to walk out of this thing and be a better guy and not go back. The song he’s singing reminds Chris of singing with his mom when he was growing up. Simon explains not many people get this opportunity to turn their life around, and now he has to do it. Chris is singing Everything’s Gonna Be Alright, and it totally works with his style. Simon looks on incredulously, but loving it.

Nicole loves the song and calls it original. She rocked with it, but it’s not her favorite performance by him. L.A. tells her she has to do better than that. She does love that he took a chance, though. Paula thinks L.A. was able to use this song because Bob Marley was inducted into the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame, and probably because Rolling Stone says it’s one of the best rock songs, and she gets why L.A. chose it for Chris. It doesn’t matter whether he is the best vocalist, she buys into him, because he’s original.

Simon loved the performance, and says it would have been great if the theme this week was reggae music. But he doesn’t care whether Bob Marley was inducted into the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame, because the theme was rock music, and that’s reggae. L.A. argues that it plays on rock stations on the radio. Chris pipes up and says he thinks they just flipped it. Simon asks what the point is of having a theme week if it’s just going to be disregarded. LA. suggests they have hip hop week and see what Drew does. Simon promises he would. L.A. is happy Chris stayed on key. 

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