This week X Factor USA held its first essential callback episodes. The new format, called the “four chair challenge”, has the ten contestants in each category compete for four spots in the live shows, or “chairs”. The fabricated drama that comes from this format is almost too difficult to watch. Most contestants are given a seat, only to have it taken away when someone better comes along. It (mostly) takes a truly bad performance to send someone straight home. The whole thing is a bit of a mind game and it’s brutal.
Throughout the episodes, especially during the performances, the cameras cut to the reactions of the contestants already in the chairs. These reactions varied from looks of annoyance to tears to borderline hatred. Odds are this is also the result of some A+ editing and may not even be the reactions to that particular person. This show has done that before so it wouldn’t be a real surprise.
These two episodes focus on the Over 25s (Kelly) and the Girls (Demi). Both judges have a difficult time choosing who should get a seat and rarely send anyone home automatically. This lack of selectivity leads to some painful switching of seats, especially after the respective judge told their contestant that they “were in her final four”. Interestingly, the entire girls final four ends up being teenagers, all of whom have truly powerful voices. It’s fascinating how Demi, the youngest judge by far, chose such a young group. She’ll likely do well with them as long as she doesn’t make the same mistakes as with the Young Adults last year.