So far on “The X Factor,” the one to beat is Astro, the 15-year-old rapper with enough confidence to make Kanye West seem unsure of himself.
Whether or not this is good for the show remains to be seen. “The X Factor” is a singing competition, and Astro is a rapper. If Astro wins, that doesn’t say much about the singers assembled in the competition. And what does it say for the show going forward? And what kind of issues of credibility will Astro face coming off of a show like “X Factor?”
Right now we’re getting ahead of ourselves. But Astro proved yet again on Wednesday’s episode — which centered on rock songs, ironically enough — that he’s the most talented and interesting contestant in the competition. Besides, he’s giving himself twice the workload of the other contestants; while they’re learning their songs, he’s both writing original songs and learning them. Quite the high wire act, and he’s pulled it off quite well so far.
The other contestants are a mixed bag. Josh Krajcik is the only one in the competition who stuck to the evening’s theme and delivered a true rock song — he smoked with his performance of Foo Fighters’ “The Pretender,” which he chose himself, because there’s no way any of the mentors even know what that song is — while the others delivered shmaltzy ballads and did anything they could to avoid being rock.
The biggest offenders? Stacy Francis and Lakoda Rayne, one of whom I am guessing will get the boot on Thursday’s show. My money’s with Francis, who will take the mercy killing so that Paula Abdul continues to have someone to mentor. Abdul is no stranger to humiliation, but her fellow judges will spare her the embarrassment of having her three groups be the first three kicked off the show, and Francis will say goodbye to the show and to her “Franatics.”