X Factor
The Four-Chair Challenge Round #1

Episode Report Card
M. Giant: B | 3 USERS: A
YOU GRADE IT
Musical Chairs

The camera circles dramatically over an X-shaped stage, each leg of which has four chairs (or couches) at the end. Subtitles remind us of which judge got which category: Paulina and the Boys, Kelly and the Over 25s, Simon and the Groups and Demi and the Girls. And then, the full-screen titles lay it out one word at a time: "10. ACTS. 4 CHAIRS. BUT. WHO. WILL. BE. LEFT. AT. THE. END?" The fewer words onscreen at a time, the more drama. Mario VOs that this is the long-threatened Four-Chair Challenge. "Category by category, one by one, the acts will perform." Oh, good, so we only went from 218 to 40 without getting to hear anyone sing again. As each performer sings, their mentor -- yes, they're mentors now, so prepare to be disappointed in Demi again -- will decide whether they get one of the four chairs. But if someone beats them later, they can be switched out. "No one is safe until all ten acts in their category have sung," he says. "It's never been so dramatic, so emotional or so intense," he adds dramatically, emotionally and intensely.

After the credits, everyone's in position; the groups standing in front of the seats at their ends of the X, the judges at the table behind signs indicating their categories as though this is the UN, and Mario at the center of the X. After some remarks for Simon, we're starting with Kelly's category, the Over 25s. They are Victoria Carriger, Kristine Mirelle, Jeff Gutt, Rachel Potter, Lorie Moore, Allison Davis, Jeff Brinkman, Denny Smith, James Kenney and Lillie McCloud. Don't feel bad if you don't remember them all right now. You won't remember them all by this time tomorrow, either.

Victoria Carriger is kicking it off. She's the 41-year-old single mother of eight, and we get to visit her crowded home in Missouri and revisit her first audition last week. Apparently she wears those tiny little loose pigtails all the time. Tonight she sings a short, churchy and somewhat hectoring version of "Make You Feel My Love." And short, too. Did I mention that it was short? I guess they have a lot of people to get through tonight. Demi liked the fire and the rasp, but thought it was a little low-energy. Paulina also liked her raspy voice. Simon says her first audition was great, but he wouldn't put her through based on what he just saw. Kelly points out that she's the one running this category, so after giving Victoria credit for holding the room, Kelly gives Mario her decision: Victoria gets a seat. Of course it means nothing at that point, with nine singers yet to go. Not getting a seat at this point would be quite the kick in the tits.

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