Thursday, September 22, 2011

The new X games

We had to check out The X Factor last night. HAD TO. Simon Cowell back in the saddle with a new show? And no Ryan Seacrest? We're there, if only for half of the two-hour premiere. Hey, it's a school night.

One pet peeve about American Idol is its limited age group. Why not give an old rocker a chance to show up the kids? (X Factor has four categories: Girls, Boys, Over 30s and Groups.) So while we we're waiting for that old rocker to appear a spunky 13-year-old, Rachel Crow, comes onstage and we immediately become fans of the kiddie corps.  Rachel wins over the judges and audience with an audition more memorable than just about anything seen on Idol. Give her the $5 million now and we're outa here!

Another incredible moment is supplied by Stacy Francis, a 42-year-old single mom with two young kids who says "This is my last shot ... the time is now. I don't want to die with this music in me, Simon." She belts out an amazing rendition of Aretha Franklin's "(You Make Me Feel Like a) Natural Woman" that has nearly everybody spilling tears. Even our no-run mascara springs a leak. Simon, who has often played the bad cop but probably knows musical talent better than all of the judges on all of these shows, proclaims: "One of the best auditions I have ever heard in my life." Well, it's his show and he'll up the ante any way he can.

It isn't all good. Dan and Venita, a married couple ages 70 and 83, sing a dreadful "Unchained Melody" that leaves the judges unhinged, and they trot out some other freak shows just for shock value. The last performer is a recovering meth addict who sings an original song "Young Homie," that we're truly sorry we missed.

We're guessing X Factor will be BIG, with us or without us. Probably without us, at least until baseball is over. We're also guessing (hoping) that Rachel and Stacy will be around for awhile, so we'll have somebody to root for when we check back.

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