Paulina Rubio was in the hot seat as she was loudly booed by an audience over her decision to eliminate a contestant in "The X Factor" U.S. episode that Fox televised on Oct. 9, 2013. People who hate to see underage contestants crying after they've been eliminated probably hated this episode, since there was plenty of those tearful reactions in this episode.
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.
The show's judges in 2013 are Simon Cowell, Kelly Rowland, Demi Lovato and 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 is televising 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.
Here are the contestants who performed in the episode that was televised on Oct. 9, 2013:
Al Calderon, 19, sang an energetic but sometimes off-key version of Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe." After doing some shameless flirting with Rowland, Calderon got this feedback from the judges: Rowland commented, "The vocals started out a little bit shaky but then you mellowed." Lovato said, "You've got great energy At times I thought it was a little too much. At times it was a little bit pitchy, but overall it was a great performance." Cowell added, "You're not the best singer in the competition ... but you've got great charisma and fantastic energy." Rubio stated to Calderon: "I love your stage presence, but do you have the unique quality to be a solo male artist?"
Result: Rubio told Calderon to take a seat.
Isaiah Alston, 15, was unfortunately dressed like Urkel from "Family Matters" (nerdy glasses, bow tie and rolled-up flood jeans). It was a fashion risk that did not work for him, because his whole look/stage presence/song choice just looked so outdated. Alston belted out Whitney Houston's "The Greatest Love of All." Vocally, he gets an "A" for effort, but a "B-" for execution, since he was off-key at times. Alston's "X Factor" audition (in which he performed Mary J. Blige's "I'm Going Down") got very little screen time, which is usually not a good sign that a contestant will be chosen for the live episodes. All of the judges gave Alston lukewarm reviews after his Four-Chair Challenge performance. Rowland said, "I remember your first audition and remember you just killing it. But I feel like today, we didn't enjoy the sweeter parts of your voice." Lovato commented to Alston, "You've still got a lot of work to do. I'm not sure you're ready for this competition." Cowell added, "It was very old-fashioned and out-of-tune." Rubio expressed her doubts about Alston by telling him. "You have a very powerful voice for a small package. My question is: Are special enough for this competition?"
Result: Rubio eliminated Alston.
Isaac Tauaefa, 23, reminded everyone in a prerecorded interview that his dreams of being a football player were shattered due to a "career-ending knee injury," so now he's trying to become a professional singer. Based on his substandard performance of Colbie Caillat's "Bubbly," he should consider another profession besides being a singer. Meanwhile, people in the audience were seen loudly booing and giving "thumbs down" gestures during his performance. Rowland wasn't impressed. She told Tauaefa: "Your performance was a bit karaoke." Cowell said, "Instead of delivering something substantial, like a three-course meal, you delivered a lollipop." Rubio exclaimed in fake confusion, "I just don't know what to do!"
Result: Rubio eliminated Tauaefa.
Carlos Guevara, 16, the contestant who has Tourette Syndrome and obsessive compulsive disorder, belted out Bill Withers' "Ain't No Sunshine" with a maturity that is far beyond most singers who are his age. Rowland gushed, "You nailed it!" Cowell was positive but less enthusiastic than Rowland when he told Guevara: "I do like the tone of your voice. There are times that you lose complete control over it ... But you're an interesting guy. I like you." Rubio said to Guevara: "You have a unique voice." Guevera then nervously begged not to be eliminated by saying how hard he's worked. Guevera added, "I don't want to be a sob story. I want to be an inspiration!" His plea was unnecessary, since it was obvious from the audience's and judges' reactions after Guevara's performance that he was going to be chosen for the next round.
Result: Rubio told Guevara to take a seat.
Stone Martin, 14, said in a prerecorded interviews that he was inspired to be a rich and famous pop star by boy band One Direction, the most successful act to emerge from "The X Factor." We also found out in the interview that Martin is "obsessed with One Direction," according to his mother. OK, but "The X Factor" is supposed to be about finding unique talent, not wannabe copycats. Martin then did a boring version of Natalie Imbruglia's "Torn," which (not coincidentally) was the first song that One Direction performed in public, when the group performed at "The X Factor" U.K. judges' houses in 2010. Rowland commented, "I like your tone." Lovato said, "That was so much better than your first audition. You just went up there and killed it!" Cowell was not as impressed with Martin: "You're very robotic when you perform, but there is a market for someone like you. You just need a little bit of swag." Rubio said to Martin: "We are wowed by our cuteness, but do you have the ingredients for stardom, like a male Taylor Swift?"
Result: Rubio told Martin to take a seat.
Chase Goehring, 17, who looks kind of like a young Danny Bonaduce, performed a wimpy version of B.o.B.'s "Airplanes." He was very ill-suited to do the rap parts of the song. He should stick to singing and not try to rap. Rowland said to Goehring, "I don't know if I necessarily liked hearing that song." Lovato added, "I feel like this was unnatural for you." Cowell delivered this assessment of the performance: "We like you, but I almost wish I never heard that." Rubio added, "I really liked your audition the first time."
Result: Rubio told Goehring to take a seat.
Tim Olstad, 24, said in a prerecorded interview that he has issues with lack of confidence and getting very nervous about his performances. His version of Miley Cyrus' "The Climb" was a bit shaky but he nailed one of the higher notes. Since we saw in Olstad's "X Factor" audition how much the female judges loved him, he seemed like a shoo-in to take a seat. Rowland praised Olstad by saying, "I can honestly hear your voice on the radio!" Lovato raved, "I cannot see him being let go in this competition." Cowell said, "I think you are an artist who is going to appeal to people who are much older than you." Rubio added, "You're special ... but tonight, I don't know if it's special enough," as the audience loudly booed her comments.
Result: Rubio decided to eliminate Martin and replaced him with Olstad.
Carlito Olivero, 24, was shown in prerecorded interview talking about being a struggling singer in L.A. and "taking pride" in his day job at a coffee shop. His stint in a revamped Menudo was not mentioned on "The X Factor." Olivero sang a fairly good version of Selena's "Dreaming of You." Rowland said, "I think you're going to have these girls in here dreaming later! You're so humble. I do wish, however, you have gained more control of that vocal." Cowell added, "I thought the first we saw you was better. On the other hand, I get the fact that you're embracing your Spanish roots, and I think that's probably a good thing ...There is great potential with you." Rubio said, "I love your voice: great range and power. And I love your attitude." Olivero then played the race card and pandered to Rubio by speaking to her in Spanish and saying he would appeal to the Latino market. "The X Factor" U.S. host Mario Lopez had to translate to the audience what Olivero said in Spanish, in case anyone was thinking they were watching Telemundo.
Result: Rubio decided to eliminate Tauaefa and replaced him with Olivero.
Timmy Thames, 13, told a sob story in an interview segment about how he's being raised by a financially struggling single mother. He did a sickly sweet version of Brittany Snow's "New Girl in Town" from the "Hairspray" movie musical. Rowland said, "You are so stinkin' cute! I must admit I did like your audition much better than your performance today. But it seemed like you had a really good time up there." Lovato commented, "Yes, you are cute and you have charisma, but I can't say I was blown away." Cowell disagreed: "I think it would be insane if you were to leave the competition. Paulina, he's the one!" Rubio added, "You're adorable. You remind me of Michael Jackson!"
Result: Rubio decided to eliminate Olstad and replaced him with Thames, but she was very loudly booed by the audience, many of whom chanted, "We want Tim!" Bowing to pressure from the audience, Rubio announced that she changed her mind and wanted Olstad back in the competition. A visibly relieved Olstad walked back on stage to massive cheers from the audience. Rubio was clearly unnerved by the audience's angry backlash against her, and she explained why she changed her mind: "Being a mentor is not easy. I am a woman of my word. I am a human being and I also make mistakes." She then eliminated Calderon and replaced him with Olstad. It's too bad the audience couldn't eliminate Rubio from the judges' table, since she's the worst judge on "The X Factor" U.S. this year.
Josh Levi, 14, passionately sang Bonnie Raitt's "I Can't Make You Love Me" with some Usher-copycat stage movies. Never mind that he's not old enough to really experience the meaning behind the lyrics, since the song is about adult romance and heartbeak. The crowd loved his performance. Rowland shouted, "Ladies and gentlemen, I just want you to know that we're looking at a superstar right now!" Lovato exclaimed to Rubio, "You cannot let him go!" Cowell added, "I wouldn't have chosen this song, but it doesn't matter. We are looking at potentially at a future star." Rubio gushed to Levi, "Everything you did was perfect!" Meanwhile, Thames hung his head in impending doom, as much of the audience shouted that he should be eliminated.
Result: Rubio decided to eliminate Thames and replaced him with Levi. To add insult to injury, Rubio mispronounced Thames' last name when she told him that he was out of the competition.
Here are "The X Factor" U.S. final four contestants in the Boys category in 2013:
- Carlos Guevara
- Josh Levi
- Carlito Olivero
- Tim Olstad
Groups (mentored by Simon Cowell)
Girls United, a female trio ages 23 and 24, did a mediocre version of Chris Brown's "Yeah 3x" that looked more like a cheerleading routine than an "X Factor" performance. Rowland commented, "I think you guys have a wonderful look. I liked the fact that you took y'alls time and wanted to make [harmony] part of this audition." Lovato was less impressed: "I actually think it was a little on the young side of the performance. If you've grown this much, I'd love to see where you're going to grow in this competition. I believe you need to be here." Cowell also had a mixed reaction: "What I like about you is that you're well-rehearsed. You know the kind of music you want to make.Vocally, however, I've heard a lot better, but there's something commercial about you."
Result: Cowell told Girls United to take a seat.
Wild Thingz, a very annoying male duo ages 22 and 30, wasted everyone's time with a dumb, over-the-top, tone-deaf performance of LMFAO's "Party Rock Anthem," in which Wild Thingz shouted, ran around like kids on Ritalin, stripped off some of their clothing and dry-humped the floor. Clearly a novelty act, Wild Thingz divided the crowd, by getting as many boos as cheers. Rowland asked, "Simon, what are you going to do with them?" Rubio commented, "I've got to admit I really liked that performance." Cowell said of the two members of Wild Thingz, "I don't even know which one is more annoying. I don't think this is music. I think it's unintentional comedy." Cowell then pointed to both sides of his head and declared, "This is the normal part of my brain and this is my insane part. I'm going to go with my insane part."
Result: Cowell told Wild Thingz to take a seat.
Glamour, a female trio ages 12 and 13, tried to do a Supremes version of "Cups (When I'm Gone)," a song from the movie "Pitch Perfect" that was a hit for "Pitch Perfect" star Anna Kendrick. Rowland told Glamour: "Ladies, I adore you ... I would've wished it was a little bit tighter today, but I'm really proud of you guys. Good job." Lovato had a mixed reaction too: "You sounded great. And you worked your butts off, I can tell,. And that kind of drive and passion will get you far in the industry. I do wonder if you're ready for it right now." Cowell said to Glamour: "You were so good on that first audition. I'm struggling to make a decision."
Result: Cowell told Glamour to take a seat.
Restless Road is a male trio (ages 17 and 18) consisting of three contestants who originally auditioned as solo singers: hunky jock Andrew Scholz (who already had a gratuitous shirtless shot in a prerecorded interview segment), small-town boy Colton Pack and deep-voiced, baby-faced Zach Beeken. They were rejected as solo singers and put into a group by Cowell, who clearly wants Restless Road to be One Direction meets Rascal Flatts. Restless Road did a very impressive, harmonious version of Keith Urban's "Somebody Like You." The crowd went wild. Rowland said, "You guys are such an incredible country trio. This was a brilliant idea!" Rubio added, "Your different vocals blend so well. You guys are amazing! I'm so proud of you." Lovato gushed, "I just got chills over all my body, because it's so right! Simon, I hate to say it, is a genius for putting you guys together!" Cowell, with a gloating smirk on his face, said to Restless Road: "I was so sure this was going to work. For this to work, you've got to have two things: You've got to have talent, and you've got to have friendship. And I saw both things tonight." Based on the crowd's enthusiastic reaction, Restless Road will likely be make it to the show's Top 5 this year.
Result: Cowell told Restless Road to take a seat.
The final four in the Groups category will be revealed in the episode that airs on Oct. 10, 2013.
And it looks like Cowell is trying to find a way to get Thames back in the competition. Cowell tweeted on Oct. 9, 2013: "You never let great talent go. Pauline's top 4 would not have been my top 4. Should we have a wild card. Let the public pick. What do you think? If we did this. You guys not us would make the decision. Will keep you posted. I would love it to happen. I will do my best to make it happen. And you will choose the person or group you want as your wild card pick. Reading your comments tonight made me realise we should do this. It seems like the fairest thing to do."
Oct. 10, 2013 update: According to the Nielsen Company, ratings for this episode of "The X Factor" were 7.25 million U.S. viewers, which resulted in the show finishing in third place in its time slot and in sixth 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. 9, 2013:
- "Criminal Minds" (CBS) — 10.98 million U.S. viewers
- "Modern Family" (ABC) — 10.64 million U.S. viewers
- "Survivor: Blood vs. Water" (CBS) — 9.6 million U.S. viewers
- "CSI" (CBS) — 8.8 million U.S. viewers
- "The Middle" (ABC) — 8.25 million U.S. viewers
- "The X Factor" (Fox) — 7.25 million U.S. viewers
- "Super Fun Night" (ABC) — 6.6 million U.S. viewers
- "Back in the Game" (ABC) — 6.5 million U.S. viewers
- "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (NBC) — 6.3 million U.S. viewers
- "Nashville" (ABC) — 5.8 million U.S. viewers
- "Revolution" (NBC) — 5.45 million U.S. viewers
- "Ironside" (NBC) — 5.2 million U.S. viewers
- "Arrow" (CW) — 2.7 million U.S. viewers
- "The Tomorrow People" (CW) — 2.2 million U.S. viewers