Simon Cowell is making another attempt to find an American group on "The X Factor" U.S. that could be as big as "The X Factor" U.K. boy band One Direction. In the episode that Fox televised on Oct. 9, 2013, Cowell chose the final four contestants acts in the Groups category. He also mentored the Groups category in 2012 and signed male trio Emblem3 and female quintet Fifth Harmony from that category.
The episode featured more of the Four-Chair Challenge, a new format in which 16 contestant acts (four contestant acts in each category) are chosen to perform in the live episodes. This Four-Chair Challenge could also be called the Four-Chair Torture, since it's all about making the contestants squirm, cry and beg not to be eliminated. The contestants also give a lot of panicked, paranoid stares on stage as they wonder if a rival contestant will replace them.
The show's judges in 2013 are Cowell, Kelly Rowland, Demi Lovato and Paulina Rubio.
"The X Factor" U.S. four contestant categories in 2013 are:
- Girls (female solo singers ages 12 to 24), mentored by Demi Lovato
- Boys (male solo singers ages 12 to 24), mentored by Paulina Rubio
- Over 25s (solo singers ages 25 and over), mentored by Kelly Rowland
- Groups, mentored by Simon Cowell
As previously reported, "The X Factor" U.S. eliminated the "boot camp" and "judges' houses" phases of the competition in 2013. The "boot camp" and "judges' houses" phases of the competition were replaced by a Four-Chair Challenge that was first used in the Dutch version of "The X Factor."
As previously reported, those "Four-Chair Challenge" episodes were recorded on Sept. 8 and Sept. 9, 2013 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. Admission was free and open to the public. Fox televised these episodes on Oct. 2, Oct. 3, Oct. 9 and Oct. 10, 2013.
In the "Four-Chair Challenge" episodes, 40 contestant acts (10 from each category) perform for the judges. The judge who is mentoring the category chooses which contestants will be the final four in that category.
The Four-Chair Challenge has four contestants from each category being put in chairs if the judges decided they were worthy enough to possibly be the final four in that category. However, judges were allowed to change their minds and switch out or switch in contestants from their mentor categories. After all of the 10 contestant acts in each category perform, the four contestants remaining in the chairs are the ones who will go on to the next round: performing in the live episodes.
The 16 contestant acts (four from each category) who make it to the live episodes are then voted on by the public. This year's "X Factor" U.S. live episodes begin on Oct. 29, 2013.
This year's final four of the Over 25s category were already chosen in the episode that was televised on Oct. 2, 2013: Jeff Gutt, James Kenney, Lillie McCloud and Rachel Potter.
The final four contestants in the Girls category were chosen in the episode that was televised on Oct. 3, 2013: Khaya Cohen, Danielle "Danie" Geimer, Rion Page and Ellona Santiago.
The final four contestants in the Boys category were chosen in the episode that was televised on Oct. 9, 2013: Carlos Guevara, Josh Levi, Carlito Olivero and Tim Olstad.
Also in the episode that was televised on Oct. 9, 2013, the first four acts from the Groups category were given seats in the Four Chair Challenge. Those groups were Girls United, Glamour, Restless Road and Wild Thingz. Of course, some of those acts didn't get to keep those seats.
Here are the contestants who performed in the episode that was televised on Oct. 10, 2013:
Sweet Suspense is a female pop trio that was formed on "The X Factor" U.S. with former solo contestants Celine Polenghi (16 years old), Millie Thrasher (14 years old) and Summer Reign (17 years old), who were put in the group together after the show rejected them as solo singers. Sweet Suspense performed an off-key, sometimes shaky version of Rose Royce’s "Wishing on a Star." The harmonies were not tight at all, but the judges chose to ignore that major flaw and over-praised Sweet Suspense. Rowland said, "Man, there's something special here! I do think you have some work to do, but I believe that you guys are hungry enough and you're willing to work hard enough to get to the places you want to be." Rubio raved to Sweet Suspense: "You guys look like superstars." Lovato added, "I'm so proud of you. The fact that you were put together a month ago, and your bling sounds amazing, I was not expecting that." Cowell said, "This is incredible." No, it's not incredible. It's a girl group with mediocre vocals that Cowell put together in desperation because the show didn't have enough good groups to fill its quota. There are kids in high-school talent shows all across America who are better singers than Sweet Suspense.
Result: Cowell eliminated male duo Wild Thingz and replaced Wild Thingz with Sweet Suspense.
Yellow House Canyon, a female country duo ages 16 and 17, sang Pistol Annie's "Hell on Heels." It was a much better performance than Sweet Suspense. But since Cowell already had one country group (Restless Road) that he put together, and Cowell admittedly is not all that comfortable with country music and probably didn't want more than one country act in the final four groups, Yellow House Canyon was doomed. Rowland said, "I love you guys. I think you have such great energy." Lovato echoed, "I love you guys ... but I have to be honest ... I don't think you have what it takes to be sitting those four chairs." Cowell added, "You're not the best singers in the world, but you do bring an energy. I'm kind of on the fence."
Result: Cowell eliminated Yellow House Canyon.
Forever in Your Mind is a male pop trio that formed on "The X Factor" U.S. with former solo contestants Emery Kelly (15 years old), Jon Klaasen (15 years old) and Ricky Garcia (14 years old), who were put in the group together after the show rejected them as solo singers. Most newly formed singing groups with members this young aren't ready for the big time, so it was no surprise that Forever in Your Mind did an average version of the Jonas Brothers' "Love Bug." Rowland gave a spot-on assessment by telling Forever in Your Mind, "While I do think you're cute, there's too much cute that's outweighing everything else." Rubio added, "I was not blown out by your performance." (Rubio frequently mangles the English language, probably meant "I was not blown away by your performance.") Lovato commented, "I think it was the wrong song for you guys." Cowell said, "I agree with Demi. The song probably wasn't a good idea, but the group works. You need a lot more work on your vocals though."
Result: Cowell eliminated female trio Glamour and replaced Glamour with Forever in Your Mind.
Good News, a female country duo ages 14 and 15, barely got any screen time in previous episodes. That's almost always a sign that the contestant will not make it to the live episodes. Good News did a country version of Fleetwood Mac's "Landslide." The vocals were fairly good, but the duo's stage presence was downright dull. Rubio commented, "You two are beautiful, but I don't think you guys are ready. Sorry." Rowland said Good News, "I really wanted you guys to prove me wrong ... I feel like you guys should and could be giving more, but I'm not getting that. I feel you guys need more time to develop." Lovato added, "I have to agree I don't think you're ready." Cowell didn't mince words: "Girls, this just didn't work in the slightest. It was boring, it was dreary. The vocals didn't work together." It was not a good night for female country duos.
Result: Cowell eliminated Good News, as "X Factor" U.S. host Mario Lopez delivered this corny line: "Good News just received some very bad news."
Alex & Sierra, a boyfriend/girlfriend duo ages 21 and 22, have a very annoying cutesy act on stage, by nervously looking at each other when they perform and doing things like sticking their tongues out and kissing each other on the cheek during the performance. It's very self-conscious "Oh, look at us, see how cute we are together" posing that wears thin very fast. The judges over-praised Alex & Sierra's awkward audition and also over-praised Alex & Sierra's Four-Chair Challenge performance, which was a slow and boring version of the "Grease" movie anthem "You're the One That I Want." Sierra playfully bit Alex on the shoulder at the end of the performance. Ugh. Get a room. Rowland commented, "I genuinely adore you two. I think you guys are so sexy." Rubio gushed, "I love the way you sing. I believe in you guys as a couple and as an artist." Lovato added, "I think that you guys are probably one of my favorite acts in this competition. From a business perspective, you have to ask: 'What would happen if you ever broke up?'" Alex and Sierra predictably said they would never break up with each other. Cowell then chimed in and said, "It was actually a stupid question." Cowell and Lovato then argued a little bit more about the question, and then Cowell said about Alex & Sierra: "These two, I can't ever see splitting up." When Lovato tried to interrupt, Cowell held up his hand and said, "Shush, Demi, the grown-ups are now talking. Alex and Sierra, I can think of nothing better than working with you two in this competition."
Result: Cowell eliminated Girls United and replaced Girls United with Alex & Sierra.
Roxxy Montana, an R&B trio of sisters, performed Michael Jackson's "Man in the Mirror." This is the female group that had the best harmonies of this episode. Rowland commented, "Well, Roxxy Montana, I can see that y'all didn't come here to play no games!" Rubio said, "You guys did did great, awesome. I didn't expect it to be so tight and so, so good." Lovato raved, "Everyone was on their feet, and that doesn't happen very often." Cowell added, "Girls, I was really impressed ... Let me tell you, we can make you incredible. I have a feeling about you. You have the talent."
Result: Cowell eliminated Forever in Your Mind and replaced Forever in Your Mind with Roxxy Montana.
Here are the Top 16 contestant acts on "The X Factor" U.S. in 2013:
Girls (female solo singers ages 12 to 24), mentored by Demi Lovato
- Khaya Cohen
- Danielle "Danie" Geimer
- Ellona Santiago
- Rion Paige
Boys (male solo singers ages 12 to 24), mentored by Paulina Rubio
- Carlos Guevara
- Josh Levi
- Carlito Olivero
- Tim Olstad
Over 25s (solo singers ages 25 and over), mentored by Kelly Rowland
- Jeff Gutt
- James Kenney
- Lillie McCloud
- Rachel Potter
Groups, mentored by Simon Cowell
- Alex & Sierra
- Restless Road
- Roxxy Montana
- Sweet Suspense
Due to Major League Baseball games, "The X Factor" U.S. is pre-empted, and no new episodes will be shown on Oct. 16, 17, 23 and 24, 2013. The new episodes will resume with the live episodes that begin on Oct. 29, 2013.
Oct. 11, 2013 update: According to the Nielsen Company, ratings for this episode of "The X Factor" were 6.5 million U.S. viewers, which resulted in the show finishing in third place in its time slot and in ninth place overall for the night among U.S. prime-time network shows. Ratings for "The X Factor" U.S. are typically higher for the Wednesday episodes than they are for the Thursday episodes.
Here are the rankings of the U.S. prime-time network shows on Oct. 10, 2013:
- "The Big Bang Theory" (CBS) — 17.6 million U.S. viewers
- "The Millers" (CBS) — 11.73 million U.S. viewers
- "The Crazy Ones" (CBS) — 9.7 million U.S. viewers
- "Two and a Half Men" (CBS) — 9.14 million U.S. viewers
- "Elementary" (CBS) — 9.06 million U.S. viewers
- "Scandal" (ABC) — 9.01 million U.S. viewers
- "Grey's Anatomy" (ABC) — 8.8 million U.S. viewers
- "Glee" (Fox) — 7.4 million U.S. viewers
- "The X Factor" (Fox) — 6.5 million U.S. viewers
- "Once Upon a Time in Wonderland" (ABC) — 5.8 million U.S. viewers
- "The Michael J. Fox Show" (NBC) — 3.9 million U.S. viewers
- "Parenthood" (NBC) — 3.8 million U.S. viewers
- "Sean Saves the World" (NBC) — 3.26 million U.S. viewers
- "Parks & Recreation" (NBC) — 3.23 million U.S. viewers
- "Welcome to the Family" (NBC) — 2.5 million U.S. viewers
- "The Vampire Diaries" (CW) — 2.2 million U.S. viewers
- "The Originals" (CW) — 1.2 million U.S. viewers