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

The X Factor, Oct. 2 & 3 – “Take a Seat”

The X Factor is most assuredly trying to compete with The Voice. They have eliminated the round where contestants would visit the coaches’ homes and have replaced it with the Four Chair Challenge. Each category has two contestants, and each of them will perform. Their coach gets the option to have them take a seat or send them home. The four left in the chairs at the end will be that coach’s top four. They can have all four seats filled and still keep someone. It just means they have to make a switch and send someone home who is occupying one of the chairs. It leads to some great drama.

Category: The Over 25s. Coach: Kelly Rowland.

Contestant: Victoria Carriger, 41. She’s a mom to eight kids and separated from her husband. She has two part-time jobs and finds it nerve-wracking to not have any support. She calls this opportunity a breath of fresh air.

Song: Make You Feel My Love

Me: It’s hard to go wrong with this song if you can pour the emotion into it, and she does.
Demi: She heard fire behind it and loved the rasp and passion, although the energy was a little low.
Paulina: The raspy voice is what has captivated her since the beginning.
Simon: Simon wouldn’t put her through based on this performance.
Kelly: She silenced the room. It got boring, then she picked it up again. Kelly tells Victoria to take a seat.

Contestant: Kristine Mirelle, 27, Los Angeles, sells chips and salsa in a grocery store. She doesn’t think you can let pride get in your way of following your dream, as everyone starts at the bottom. She is asking for this one performance to be the one where she can do it the best she possibly can.

Song: Oops!I Did It Again

Me: She does a slowed down ballad-sounding version of this song, and her voice sounds good, but the version doesn’t necessarily work.
Demi: She loves her presence when she walks onstage, but she found it very pitchy.
Paulina: She feels the same way and doesn’t know if Kristine is ready for this.
Simon: The arrangement was kind of confusing and the vocal strange, but he disagrees with the others. He would keep her in because of the potential.
Kelly: She instructs Kristine to take a seat.

Contestant: Jeff Gutt, 37, Detroit, a single dad and musician. Last year when he got cut from the competition, he lost a part of himself, but feels he’s getting it back now. He wants his son to see him pursuing his dreams and not giving up.

Song: Amazing Grace

Me: This is done very well and is very smart. How can you cut someone after they sing Amazing Grace?
Paulina: She feels his power is beyond his voice and about his will, and that captivates her
Demi: She thinks he’s come very far since last season.
Simon: This is why he’d never do another talent show with an age limit. It’s by far the best performance of the night so far.
Kelly: She calls him “so talented” and says he brings up the stakes in the competition. Obviously he takes a seat.

Contestant: Rachel Potter, 29, a bartender, Nashville. She’s trying to support herself with bartending while she follows her dream. She feels she knows a lot more at 29 than she did when she was younger, making her grateful to have the opportunity at this point in her life.

Song: Irreplaceable

Me: She needs a little help with her phrasing, as the fast-paced lyrics in the song have her out of breath and you can hear it. She does have a great glory note, only to get pitchy afterwards.
Demi: Rachel admits she’s been sick and knows it wasn’t her best, and Demi thinks she can do a lot better than that.
Simon: He thinks this song in a country version is a brave choice, leading to a difficult decision.
Kelly: She expected Rachel to be ready today and to blow everyone away. She knows this girl has pipes, but she was shocked her highs weren’t that high. Regardless, she has her take a seat.

Contestant: Lorie Moore, 34, retired professional football player, Chicago. She knew she reached the highlight of her career when they won a championship and figures it’s time for her to become a champion in music. She’s now putting all her eggs in that one basket

Song: I’ll Make Love to You

Me: She’s been one of my favorites since the auditions. She has so much passion in her performance.
Demi: She really felt the passion as well, like she was fighting for the chair, but doesn’t know if she’s looking at a superstar.
Paulina: She agrees and doesn’t know where Lorie would fit in the industry.
Simon: He doesn’t think that rule applies anymore, thinking you make yourself fit. He didn’t like the version of the song, but she can really sing.
Kelly: She loves Lorie’s voice but doesn’t know if she’s ready for the industry. Lori pleads her case promising that she’s not a stranger to hard work. Kelly has her take a seat and sends Kristine Mirelle home.

Contestant: Allison Davis, 26, San Fernando Valley, a waitress. She serves celebrities all the time and wishes she could do what they’re doing. She got negative feedback from her first audition which was rough. She got through despite Simon saying no.

Song: Tik Tok

Me: This really isn’t the type of song for this type of audition. Additionally, the song does nothing but expose all the weaknesses in her voice.
Demi: She thinks Allison has the look but feels like she can’t take it seriously.
Simon: He knows she isn’t going to like his opinion, as the word that comes to mind is wannabe. The choice of song was obviously, lazy, predictable, and annoying.
Kelly: We have to know who we are as a performer to be authentic. Allison begs for a chance, but Kelly sends her home.

Contestant: Jeff Brinkman, 36, Longmont, CO, dog walker. He just had a daughter and the money is just enough, but he doesn’t have the ability to be the dad and musician he wants to be. This is his big shot.

Song: Without You

Me: I appreciate him trying to be more modern, but the Joe Cocker song he did at his audition is so much more him than this.
Demi: She doesn’t think he chose the right song, and she was so bored she was arranging things on her desk.
Simon: He doesn’t know how you can go from Joe Cocker to this monstrous version of this song. Yet he’s torn because Jeff has a great voice.
Kelly: She wants the judges to remember the first time they heard Jeff. Kelly decides to have him take a seat and sends Victoria Carriger home.

Contestant: Denny Smith, 68, Carson, CA, a retired pastor. People ask if he doesn’t get tired of people telling him he looks like Santa Claus. He doesn’t though, otherwise he’d be shaving his beard and cutting his hair. He’s been pursuing the singing dream for more than fifty-five years.

Song: In the Midnight Hour

Me: It’s not as good as his audition, but it’s still really good. He’s someone I would hear in the bars or on street corners in New Orleans.
Paulina: She once again believes in Santa Claus.
Simon: He thinks Kelly has a really difficult situation, as Santa just rocked the house.
Kelly: Denny promises to work the hardest. Kelly sends him home anyway, much to the dismay of Simon and the entire audience. Mario Lopez tells her not to expect any presents under her tree this year.

Contestant: James Kenney, 36, Portland, an apartment manager. Winning the recording contract could change his entire life. His family is 110% supportive, making him very grateful. His wife and daughters are very proud of him.

Song: Lean

Me: This is a great rendition of this song. To do a song that is so well-known, you have to do it differently and really well. He does. And in the process, updates the sound.
Demi: He killed it.
Paulina: It was so solid. They were into him, and she loves it.
Simon: He’s heard the song a million times, but never like that, and he doesn’t think he could have given it any more effort in terms of commitment.
Kelly: She thinks it’s beautiful how we can either look over the edge or we can leap, and he tok a big leap and made them believe he has something truly special. He begs, saying he works 24 hours a day and does it for his wife and babies. At the end of the day, he will take all that and give it to her. He takes a seat, obviously, replacing Jeff Brinkman.

Contestant: Lillie McCloud, 54, Orlando. She has three children and seven grandchildren. She’s always had this dream but has just never been lucky to have it happen to her. She put it to the side to focus on her family, but now that they’re all on their own, she’s going to chase that dream with everything she has.

Song: A House Is Not a Home

Me: Even from the first two lines of the song, I’m realizing there is no way Kelly can send her home. And at her age and her place in life, she truly understands what makes a house a home. She gets a standing O from the judges, and it’s well-deserved.
Demi: Without even singing, Demi thinks Lillie looks like a superstar, and she’s honored to be on a panel in front of her.
Paulina: She thanks her for giving them so much. She left her speechless and is a goddess.
Simon: He just loves her, and if Kelly puts her through he thinks the competition could become really exciting, as competitions need big voices and big stars, and she has the X Factor.
Kelly: Lillie needs to know how special she is with every fiber of her being. She has waited her whole life to hear those words. Obviously taking a seat, Lillie replaces Lorie Moore, even though the audience clearly wanted Kelly to lose Rachel Potter.

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