With the premiere of last night’s episode of X Factor USA, I think a lot of people still don’t get the brilliance of this show, including our own Patrick who thinks it just like any other singing competition. Which at first, to the untrained eye it is. You got the audition process, and the judging voting to see who goes through and who doesn’t. What you will notice is that the auditions are done in front of thousands of people which aids in the decision of the judges. Believe me, after watching years of XFUK auditions, some of the acts are absolutely terrible but because the audience cheers for them they get put through. Don’t forget what they are trying to do, find an act to sell lots of records. So audience reaction is major.

So what makes this show different from the others then?

First of all the 5 mil prize is pretty major, second the ages, its 12+, but the main thing is that after the audition process and after the secondary auditions called BOOTCAMP, they contestants are split into 4 categories. Boys, Girls, Groups and 30+.  From there each one of the judges takes all those contestants to the judges houses. 4 ridiculous mansions all over the world where the acts then perform in front of the judge and a helper. After that audition the finalists are chosen and taken to the live shows when they get fully mentored by the judges.

The mentoring is the crucial part here. The Voice TOTALLY jacked that from XF and they didn’t even do it well. Each judge to the corresponding group choses the song, the styling, the staging the production with input from the contestant of course, and they go into the competition together. How good the judge is is very important which is why myself and my XF partner in crime Tom F. think that LA Reid is going to mentor the winner mainly because he is a star maker. BUT don’t underestimate the power of a judges popularity. Simon could very well mentor the winner depending on the category he gets. Groups almost NEVER wins, and in the UK Cheryl Cole (who’s extremely popular with fans there) had mentored the winner two years in a row I believe, so judges popularity also plays a major role. Which surprises me that Nicole and Paula were chosen to be the final two judges but alas it is what it is. I was REALLY rooting for Nicole to be a judge from when the announced the US version, but she is NOT delivering for me right now. She was SO GOOD on the UK version when she guest judged but is not doing it for me on the US version…for now.

But the real star of the XF is the editor’s. They have mastered the art of good television editing more so than any other competition I have ever watched. Chris Rene, the drug addict last night. I saw his audition live, and it was bad, awful, lame. I didn’t like it and I didn’t like him or his story. BUT they did a masterful job editing it that I found myself caring for him and even tearing up. Last nights standout audition was Stacy Francis who, if she gets mentored by LA Reid will be a strong contender for the finals I can guarantee you that.

I recommend you give this show a shot, I know you will love it (You listening Patrick??) . You get so invested into these contestants and their relationship with the judges that you can’t help but turn away; and when you get to the live shows your mind will be completely blown because they spare NO expense when it comes to production.

I’ve posted my videos of a couple of my faves from last night. Enjoy…and watch tonight!

Stacy Francis

3:05 to 3:20 is magical.

Rachel Crow

Marcus Canty

Simone Battle