Just yesterday, I posted a podcast I did with Aaron Dammit where we discussed the upcoming top 12 of the X Factor US show, which you can listen to here. I don’t generally get into American Idol until the top 12 starts, but I have to admit, last week’s elimination show for X Factor was quite the show. I hope they can follow it up with what I consider the real start of the season.

Every week, I’m going to give my hot list which is where I’d order all the contestants in the race to win the entire thing. My hotlist in week one may look silly based on how things pan out. Here’s the first edition of the hotlist, which doesn’t take into account any of the performances from tonight.

Hotlist Week 1
1. Drew
1. Melanie Amaro (yes, they’re tied for first)
3. Rachel Crow
4. The Stereo Hogzz
5. Marcus Canty
6. Josh Krajcik
7. Astro
8. Stacy Francis
9. Lakoda Rayne
10. InTENsity
11. Chris Rene
12. LeRoy Bell

Let’s get it on. Oh, I forgot Steve Jones was on this show. I’m less excited already. But I’m excited again because the best group going is hitting leadoff. Aaron sent me his comments too.

The Stereo Hogzz are up first with an interesting choice — Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation. They’re dressed like a mix between Michael and Janet when they were in their military phase and Kanye West who is the only guy today who is probably wearing a red vest with gold buttons. Vocally, this didn’t really do much for them, but performance wise, it was a pretty good start. The choreography was on point. Word to Paula Abdul. Aaron says when it was solo he was worried, but when it was the group it was masterful. LA says they absolutely have what it takes to be a star. Nicole says they should be so proud to get the vocals and performance on point. Simon says they could be the best group in music today. Paula is ecstatic.

Chris Rene needs to hit a homerun here. He’s singing Superstar which was already done by Ruben Studdard and Usher in recent memory. Okay, my recent memory means in the last 10 years. They give it a little backbeat and Chris throws a rap in there and the stage lights up in flames. I’m not sure he hit the homerun he needed, though the theatrics were nice. Aaron says it was a roller coaster and he never hurts his ears but he’s puzzling at times. Nicole says she has mad love for his body and his skin tone. Okay, she just said she had mad love for him. Paula says she’s proud of him. Simon says he was worried until the drums kicked in and it was a big improvement from last week. LA says they’ve found his lane.

LeRoy Bell is up next and he’s another guy who needs to hit a homerun. My man has six grandchildren! He’s singing I’m Already There by Lonestar. This dude could shred any R&B hit from the 80s, but I guess they don’t think it’s cool enough because Nicole isn’t giving him that kind of material. My man better hope that America loves his story because I haven’t been impressed with him since the auditions. Aaron says he gave him goose bumps but the song dragged for the last third. LA says it was really good. Paula says she loves him and wishes him the best of luck. Simon says he’s a really good singer with a confidence issue and blames Nicole for her song choice. Nicole says less is more.

Babygirl Rachel Crow is next. Unfortunately, she’s singing one of the most annoying songs on earth, Walking On Sunshine. Hopefully she can add a little soul to it. They flipped it a little so that the chorus says, “You’re my sunshine,” rather than “Walking on sunshine”. She must not dance much because they keep her in one spot, which should help with her vocals, but the music swallowed her voice, which I didn’t like. Aaron says it was perhaps the best he’s heard of her but also noticed the low mic levels. LA says she has something special. Nicole teased Simon about his lyric change. Paula says Rachel’s full of sunshine, but wants to hear more of her full voice. Simon says she’ll be around for a long time.

Next are Lakoda Rayne singing Landslide. This was pretty darn good because of the harmony and they looked amazing in their different colored dresses. So far, the groups are tearing it up. Miss Paula is doing well. Aaron says they were both on and off tonight. LA likes the way they look but wants them to choose between pop and country. Nicole says they sounded like one voice instead of four and it was effortless. Simon says the vocals were much improved, but he hates their outfits. Paula says they’re beautiful and she’s proud of them.

The one guy who can flip this show upside down Josh Krajcik is up next. By the way, they ruined a little bit of the mystique. Yes, he has a girlfriend. He’s singing Jar Of Hearts. His black jeans, tucked in t-shirt, and leather jacket make him look pretty frumpy. I’m not sure I like this song for him at all, but the dude just gives it his all. Aaron says Josh is still his dude but Craig Colton of the UK version spoiled him to this song. LA loves it. Paula says she’s a believer. Simon says it was incredible. Nicole says she feels like a proud mom, but they’re the same age.

Melanie Amaro is singing Desperado and is starting out a capella. She’s just showing off now. Shots fired! Melanie just killed everyone with her vocals. Holy cow. Aaron says she’s a star, star, star. LA says the only decision Simon made right was bringing her back. Nicole says she has no limits. Paula says her voice is like fine China. Um, okay. Simon says she’s the one to beat. I think I’m going to have to buy this one.

Astro is up next and LA says that Astro will only perform his own lyrics, well, under the guise of already popular songs at least. He’s showing new cadence in his rhymes which is pretty slick. He even threw in an, “Astro bumaye!” which was legit slick. How can you not love this kid? He started with Hip Hop Hooray and segued into a version of Missy’s Get Ur Freak On before going back. He even ended it with his signature, “Dope!”. Aaron says even though rap isn’t this thing and he wonders how America will take to him, he thinks he could be the star of the boys. Nicole says she wants to go to the club with him right now. Um, Nicole, you’re too old for him girl. Paula says Jay-Z has his eye on him. Simon says he’s a little star. LA says he brings it each week.

InTENsity is up next and they’re pretty corny tonight. They blended Kids In America with Party Rock and I don’t think it worked at all. Aaron says they can stand to lose a few group members, but it was very fun. LA says it was fun, fun, fun. Nicole says it was funtastic and funomenal. Jeez. Simon says it was terrific and he really likes them. Paula thanks them for working so hard.

I was thinking who Drew reminded me of and if you give her wizard’s robe and a wand, she looks like Hermione. She’s amazing. They flipped Nelly’s Just A Dream and it is one of the most creative remakes I’ve heard on this kind of show. I think Melanie threw down the gauntlet and Drew answered it. Damn. Aaron says she managed to draw him in and give him goosebumps. LA says she has the spirit of a superstar. Nicole says she’s so unique. Paula loves it. Simon says he’s seeing a star emerge in front of him.

Marcus Canty is next. And let’s give him something that matches him. He opens up with Bruno Mars’ part in Nothin’ On You and then goes into Bobby Brown’s Every Little Step. He doesn’t have Bobby’s snarl and wink, but he does a pretty darn good job with it. He needs to hit on the performance part every week and I think he did a good job here. Aaron says the backup singers carried him, but he has tons of charisma. Nicole says she felt like she was watching a concert. Paula says it brought her back and he’s a total performer. Simon says he’s come alive. LA says Marcus keeps getting better and better and America loves him.

Stacy Francis is cleaning it up tonight. She’s singing Up To The Mountain. It takes a bit for her to kick it into overdrive, but when she does, she kills it. The middle part of the song was pretty amazing. Aaron thinks she’s vocally gifted, but she didn’t connect with him. LA says she’s poised and she stirs souls, but I think he spoke out of turn. It was Paula’s turn to go first! Paula says she’s a shining moment. Simon says it was real and one of the best performances of the night. Nicole says she’s the epitome of grace and beauty.

Not a bad night for the first night of X Factor for sure.

Here’s our top and bottom three:

Top 3
GG: Drew, Melanie Amaro, and Stacy Francis
Aaron: Melanie (by a mile), Stereo Hogzz, and Drew

Bottom 3
GG: InTENsity, LeRoy Bell, Chris Rene
Aaron: LeRoy Bell, Chris Rene, Rachel Crow

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