Oh, wow, finally! The X Factor just got good. Thursday's episode (originally scheduled to air Wednesday) brought us to the judges' various swimming pools brimming with liquid wealth -- at Nicole Scherzinger's Malibu mansion, L.A. Reid's house in the Hamptons, Paula Abdul's Santa Barbara spa and petting zoo, and Simon Cowell's exclusive yacht club (membership: Simon) somewhere in France. The entire episode was so visually stunning that I kind of just want them to do the entire season like this, outdoors. I suppose that is not the point of The X Factor. So…can someone change the point of The X Factor?
Speaking of visually stunning, allow me to geek out for a minute on how much I am loving Steve Jones. Perhaps this will help jog your memory: He's the host. And he's a revelation! There was Steve Jones in front of the Eiffel Tower in Breton stripes and a smart trench! There he was again in the best "NYC" tee I've ever seen, with two-toned block letters intended to produce that elusive "3-D" effect we used to attempt, badly, to draw in our junior high school notebooks. Stevecrest even had some good lines -- the ability to pull off saying "Yeah, she's mega-hot" re: Rihanna to a 14-year-old boy as a tall British man without seeming like a huge tool is nothing to scoff at. And I loved his polite yet cutting question for The Anser after their mediocre performance: "Could that have gone better?" Ha!
THE GIRLS performed in front of Simon and the spirit of Mariah Carey, who was supposed to be his guest mentor but got grounded stateside by Hurricane Irene. No mattah! This way Simon got to sit in the center of his lavish outdoor sofa and just soak it all in -- the girls, his opulence, and the light breeze of the French countryside fluttering in his nearly wide-open shirt. I loved the drama of having the piano player and solo guitarist off to Simon's side.
Simone Battle showed up first in some sort of witch superhero costume. Her personality is atrocious, but I got surprisingly swept up in her super-slow rendition of The Beatles' "Help." A lot of Simon's song choices were very "woman left wanting" -- Won't you please help me? Will you still love me tomorrow? I can't get no satisfaction -- which fit perfectly with that worship-me vibe of his we all know and love.
NEXT: Drew Ryniewicz and The Astronomically Entitled Kid