When we left “The X Factor” on Wednesday night, Simon Cowell had listened to four of his Groups and given chairs to all four.
Six groups remain, including a slew of early favorites and the last two FrankenGroups, so which big Switches does Simon have in store?
8:00 p.m. ET. Currently occupying chairs for the Groups, we have Girls United, Wild Thingz, Glamour and Restless Road. The only one I would bet the house will still be there in an hour is Restless Road.
8:03 p.m. “I think I was partly drunk last night. I’m sober now,” Simon explains.
8:03 p.m. It’s time for Sweet Suspense. They’re the second of the FrankenGroups, three girls between 14 and 17. They’ve barely met each other, but they’re already squealing besties. They’re such immediate chums that they even go shopping together. Imagine that. Shopping. They’re totally a work-in-progress. There are some decent moments of harmony, but they all seem more confident when they’re doing their solos. Fifth Harmony floundered on harmonies and working as a group for almost two-thirds of last season, so there’s precedent that this could work. But why did the poor blonde girl not get a solo? I think Summer and Celine are the stars, but that could just be based on who got to do what in this arrangement. “I do think you guys have some work to do,” Kelly says, though she expects that they’re hungry enough to make it work. “You guys look like superstars,” Paulina says. “I’m so proud of you,” Demi says. They all agree that they worked their buts off. “This is incredible,” Simon says, praising their chemistry and talent.
8:08 p.m. Simon’s decision… Of course he’s keeping Sweet Suspense, but we have to keep them in, um, suspense. They do, indeed, get a seat.
8:08 p.m. SWITCH! This first swap should be easy. As it should be, Wild Thingz is sent packing. The crowd boos, but that’s the way it had to be.
8:13 p.m. It’s time for Yellow House Canyon. They’re from Lubbock. They’re best friends and they like BBQ, which makes them instantly appealing. It’s easy to imagine these two performing at state fairs and bringing audiences to their feet. But how many country acts is Simon going to really pick? Certainly Reckless Road makes it over these two. And is he going to prefer the more commercial appeal (but lesser talent) of Girls United. “I love you guys and I think that you guys have such great energy to give out,” Kelly says. “I love you guys because you’re so down-to-Earth,” Demi says, but she tells them that Tatum has a better voice and Bristi needs to work on her vocals. Demi goes so far as to say that they don’t have what it takes to be sitting in the chairs. “You’re just made in America, you two, aren’t you?” Simon says. He likes their energy more than their vocals.
8:18 p.m. Simon’s decision… “You’re going home. Sorry,” Simon tells them. I understand the decision, even if I think Simon is wrong. Girls United, they come across as smoking hot mean girls. Nobody’s going to vote for them. Yellow House Canyon, they feel like the girls next door. They won’t intimidate young female voters and I think they’d have a chance to go relatively far. Oh well.
8:23 p.m. Four Groups are left. It’s our last FrankenGroup, Forever In Your Mind. That’s an awful name for a band and says almost nothing about a trio of three teens. Like Sweet Suspense, they’ve immediately become besties. They’re such great chums that they even go go-karting together. Not surprisingly, they aspire to be One Direction-esque. The guy with the blue shirt is a huge liability. He’s good when he’s doing harmony, but he can’t sing lead. As a group, they’re a bit better gelled than Sweet Suspense. And you can tell from the reactions of the crowd that the young ladies will like them. “There’s too much of the cuteness outweighing everything else for me,” Kelly says. Paulina wasn’t blown away. Demi thinks it was the wrong song. “The group works. We need a lot more work on the vocals,” Simon says. Kelly suggests they’re missing a lead singer, but Simon says it’s just time they’re missing.
8:28 p.m. Simon’s decision… Pink shirt boy makes a plea and the audience is definitely in favor of Forever In Your Mind. Simon gives them a seat.
8:29 p.m. SWITCH! The Group heading home is… Glamour. I understand that. Glamour should come back in one or two years. And Simon should go find one of the teen pretty boys who got sent home yesterday and he should recruit them to front Forever In Your Mind. Get a Stone Martin or an Al Calderon or even a Timmy Thames and it would only help. Do it, Simon!
8:33 p.m. Who’s next? Oh! Wait! We’ve got baseball for the next two weeks. “X Factor” doesn’t return until October 29. Awesome. Anyway… Good News is next. I have no clue who they are. They’re a pair of hippy-dippy California teens and I don’t know if we saw their audition. They’re kinda funny. I don’t like the first time they harmonize on “Landslide,” but that might just have been a goof, because subsequent moments of harmony are better. This song choice makes them seem kinda old and boring. They could have chosen something more up-tempo and contemporary and maybe it would have matched their personalities better? This is a snooze.. Paulina thinks they’re beautiful, but they’re not ready. Kelly agrees that they’re too young, but that they could be giving more. Demi agrees. “This just didn’t work in the slightest,” Simon says.
8:37 p.m. Simon’s decision… Ouch! He tells Mario Lopez he didn’t need the suspenseful music. He sends Good News packing. Mario goes for the easy laugh by saying that Good News got some bad news.
8:42 p.m. So we’re really just waiting on Alex and Sierra at this point, right? I know there’s one more Group, but whatever…
8:42 p.m. Interesting. Alex & Sierra are up now. That means somebody else gets the pimp slot. These crazy kids are adorable. After remixing “Toxic” in their first performance, they’re doing an adorable version of “You’re the One That I Want.” They’re so darned winsome and sweet, but Alex has just enough edge to curb their tendency towards twee. America will want to marry these two. “I genuinely adore you two,” Kelly says. “I think that you guys are probably one of my favorite acts in this entire competition,” Demi says, but she warns them that from a business perspective, what would happen if they break up. “It was actually a stupid question,” Simon tells Demi. “These two, I can’t ever see splitting up,” Simon insists.
8:47 p.m. Simon’s decision… Of course the get a seat. Duh-doy. Who’s going home?
8:48 p.m. SWITCH! It’s Girls United. Yup. That’s the correct choice, as much as I’ll miss looking at Girls United each week.
8:52 p.m. We’re closing with Roxy Montana. They’re the Michigan sister act that had to do multiple songs to convince the judges that they belonged. Is “Man in the Mirror” really a group song? I wouldn’t have thought so.I still don’t, but when they hit the middle they come very close to convincing me. They have three great voices and they have a sisterly unity that the three FrankenGroups haven’t been able to manufacture in their months together. They definitely deserve a seat, but they’ll also be voted out very early. “I see y’all did not come here to play no games,” Kelly says. “I didn’t expect that to be so tight and so, so good,” Paulina says. Simon’s impressed and he thinks he can make them incredible.
8:56 p.m. Simon’s decision… “The easy part is, you’re in,” Simon says. Now which teen FrankenGroup will Simon replace? Restless Road is safe, as is/are Alex & Sierra.
8:58 p.m. SWITCH! Simon says he isn’t sending home the two groups we knew he wasn’t sending home. Forever In Your Mind is going home. I blame the name and the success of Fifth Harmony.
What do you think of Simon’s choices? Did he make any mistakes?