X Factor 2012 gave us our first look at how the live shows are going to play out  as the Top 16 performed live and all I have to say is we’re in for a lot of … stuff.

I use the word “stuff” because if you’re like me, that something means irritating self-indulgent production, horrible costumes, bickering among the judges that makes me want to rip my eyes and ear drums out. Or if you’re like most Americans who love modern music, you might define “stuff” as an entertaining celebration of the senses.

Sorry, but my first impressions were just not good. I feel like singing matters less this season and that production and “the look” matters more. And I find that sad. People who were fantastic singers during the audition process and the judges’ homes were thrown in terrible costumes, surrounded by dancers and given club songs to dance to and maybe sing a little.

Last season there were clear standouts like Melanie Amaro and Chris Rene. This season there hasn’t been a front-runner emerge because something is just off. I think Emblem3 has the right star power and will get the ever-important female vote, so at this moment in time, I’m calling them out as top contenders.

Other standouts from the night were Jennel Garcia, Tate Stevens, Beatrice Miller and 1432 (formerly known as the Lylas. They had to change their name because Bruno Mars backup singers have that name already).

Jennel’s version of “Home Sweet Home” was of course over-produced, but her performance was good. Tate actually sang. There were no dancers and no costumes. It was just him and his voice. And that was refreshing. Speaking of refreshing, Beatrice Miller had the best vocal of the night in my book. Her outfit was a complete mess and did not match the song she was singing, but she sounded great.

And of course the people who actually sang well and didn’t have all the crazy production numbers going on were the ones to catch the most criticism from the judges.

Call me old-fashioned, but I like music and singing in its purest forms. I don’t support auto-tuning and giving people recording contracts because they have a hot body and face. I feel like the X Factor needs to be more about singing. But I guess that’s a sign of the times and I find that depressing.

Oh, and how were Mario and Khloe? I thought they were great, much to my surprise. I like that Khloe seemed to not be on script and was able to give the judges what they deserve all while keeping the show going. A complete improvement over Steve Jones from last season.

So that’s what I thought of the show. And I know at least half of our readers are going to call me out as a negative a-hole, but I can’t change how I feel about this show. I think it just needs to tone down a bit and focus on singing. So instead of calling me names, tell us all what you thought about the show and how you love or don’t love in our comments section!

On Thursday night, the judges will cut four acts from the line-up. Of the Top 16, eight will be put through right away while the other eight sing for their lives. So at the end of the night, the Top 12 will be decided and those will be the acts singing for America’s votes next week.


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