The X Factor has wrapped up its first week of live shows, and all of the talent involved had plenty to divulge about the experience. After Thursday’s show, judges, hosts, and recently eliminated contestants made the rounds in the press lounge, which is lined with portraits of this season’s contestants and video screens displaying the show’s familiar turquoise-and-pink ‘X’ logo. EW has already told you what Simon Cowell and Khloé Kardashian had to say about the unexpectedly sheer top she wore on Wednesday night’s show. Here are 10 more things we learned on the scene about the road to unveiling the Top 12.
1. The judges tend to open up more in the press room about their elimination decision, where it’s surely easier to be honest about their decision than when they’re talking directly to the artist they’re sending home on live TV. L.A. Reid told reporters he opted to keep flamboyant Jason Brock in the competition instead of edgy David Correy because “Jason just really makes me smile. It’s fun to me. David is really strong also but just a little bit predictable kind of try-hard. I like genuine fun. I like it when people just lose themselves in their little moment.” Was it tough to make that decision? “The politically correct answer would be yes. The truth is no,” Reid admitted.
2. Future X Factor contestants, here’s a tip for you: In that key decision-making moment, somehow flash Demi Lovato a combination of puppy eyes and confidence, and that just might get you to the next round. Lovato said that she chose Ke$ha-like CeCe Frey over deep country voiced Willie Jones because “I saw the worry in [Frey’s] eye and the determination to show people that she deserved to be in this competition.”
3. As for Cowell, his reasoning for picking 1432 (or the group formerly known as 1432?) may surprise you – and then will make crystal clear sense. “You could feel it in the studio,” he said. “You really, really can, and the audience – they normally get it right, and it was overwhelming [support] for .” So it turns out the guy who so likes stirring the pot and disagreeing seemingly for the sake of disagreeing can actually be swayed by mass opinion. But it makes sense: A music producer who prides himself on his ability to discover the next big thing is sure to pay attention to the people who will be buying the records.
4. It was in and out for Britney Spears – she didn’t take much time to talk with press – but she did say what she was looking for in her bottom two during their sing-off: “I was looking for that eye of the tiger, that ‘it’ factor, that something that just kind of wows you and takes you in, and you just kind of know.”
5. Jones has made his mark with his Fresh Prince of Bel-Air-meets-country style, but he had some sad news: “I do not get to keep the clothes [worn on the show],” he said, “but hopefully they send me a little swag bag, give me a couple items in there. I love my clothes on this show.”
6. Thirteen-year-old Diamond White was very perky in the press room considering she had just been eliminated. “I’m feeling really good,” she said, seeming to really believe what she was saying about one door closing yadda yadda yadda. Asked what kind of door she plans to go through next, she said “I wanna walk through” – she took a moment to think about it – “an even more awesome door… I’m definitely not stopping now. I’m gonna shoot for Madison Square Garden.”
7. That massively loud crowd really does make it hard to hear the performers inside the studio – even for the four judges. Lovato said since the audience is so loud, the judges are “constantly talking to each other, saying, ‘What do you think about that? Am I hearing things? Was that really off, or did they do a good job and I’m just crazy?’… Sometimes I may think it’s really great or really bad, and then you watch it back on TV, and it’s the total opposite.”
8. If Emblem3 reminds you of a certain boy band that also comes from the world of Simon Cowell reality TV, you’re not alone. “They do remind me, in a lot of ways, of when I first started working with One Direction, which was this self-confidence, having fun, wanting to win, but also at the same time kind of difficult to manage. But I like that.” Don’t get your hopes up about hearing the Huntington Beach group sing “What Makes You Beautiful” or “One Thing.” Cowell told reporters that it’s “doubtful” Emblem3 will sing a song by the British group born of the U.K. X Factor.
9. New host Khloé Kardashian got cold feet before her first live show on Wednesday. Turns out she half-jokingly whined to mom Kris Jenner, “Mom, OK, I don’t want it anymore. Can I fake a heart attack or something?” She got some tough love from the matriarch of the Kardashian clan and made it through her first live episode. “Now I feel much better, but the first show I was a mess,” she said. Next week, she’ll have some spousal support in the audience: hubby Lamar Odom is planning to come to at least one of the shows.
10. The judges readily admit that they sometimes are not the experts they’re made out to be. “You know what it is with us judges?” Reid said. “I’m gonna tell you the truth. We’re so busy listening to ourselves that we don’t spend enough time listening to our contestants.” Now, he says, he’s listening more to Brock and doesn’t plan to saddle him with a poor song choice like “Dance Again”… again. “I like what he’s saying better than what I’m saying.” And Cowell said Wednesday’s show was riddled with “terrible song choices” with the exception of Emblem3, who Cowell pointed out was the one band that chose their own song (Matisyahu’s “One Day”). “I think actually they’re better when they choose their own songs,” Cowell said.
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