BOOM! WHOOSH! I have started associating The X Factor with its dramatic sound effects in my mind -- the BOOM! of the red 'X' logo that always manages to seem like it's brutally cutting the segment off, and the WHOOSH! of the spotlights lowering to the floor so that the contestant at hand can face judgment. If those spotlights could talk they'd be saying "Time to face the music, bitches." Even though the music just ended. Well, it's time to face the bitches, in any case.
As a recapper faced with a daunting 2.5-hour roid-raging laser light show, I loved how quickly the episode was paced. There was no time for it to get too sentimental -- despite Paula and Nicole's tears -- because Steve Jones was running out of time and needed a name, damnit! Oh, Steve Jones. His left pointer finger was out of control during that opening bit. I'll need to keep an eye on that. It should probably have its own camera. The man is oh so attractive and oh so stiff, much like my next drink.
It's all such a farce. Simon's "mean" critiques are over-the-top -- Nicole and Paula are "spiteful little cats"? Really? -- and a well-timed "#SimonvsLA" onscreen let us know that s--- was about to get real between the two male judges before they had even exchanged words. But so far all of this is lively and harmless and the sheer stupidity of it makes me feel less dead inside than the most contrived, slow-burning non-feuds on American Idol. So as long as this show keeps taking itself not seriously AT ALL, I'm into it. (It's a bit like Dancing With the Stars in this way. But let's not get too deep.)
Here are your Top 17 Acts, whittled down to the Top 12 on Tuesday night's first live show....
THE BOYS: Astro, Marcus Canty, and Chris Rene
15-year-old Astro -- whom Steve Jones hilariously called "this delightful man Astro" -- kicked things off with the longest commercial for The X Factor we've seen yet via Kris Kross’ "Jump." X Factor will make ya...jump! jump! Uh huh. He's good. He's so obnoxious, but that tends to work in hip hop. I wish I found his constant interjections to the judges -- or anything else about him -- endearing, but I don't yet. Don't worry, I'll figure out something. The season is almost as young as he is. Bonus points: Paula used the word "nepotism," and Simon channeled Parks and Recreation's Chris Traeger (Rob Lowe) when he told the boys' judge L.A. Reid, "If this kid doesn't make it through to the finals, you are lit-ruh-ly insane."
NEXT: No one's a believer in Phillip Lomax