Before the ‘X Factor’ Home Invasion

The nomenclature is slightly different in Simon Cowell’s “The X Factor” than it was on “American Idol.”

What would have been “Hollywood Week” was instead called Boot Camp and was also held near Hollywood, at the Pasadena Civic Center, where “Idol” has certainly been for Hollywood Weeks of the past.

And the next stage of the mentoring, determined after the 162 in Pasadena were reduced to 100 Wednesday and finally to 32 on Thursday, is the mentoring part. Except that “The Voice” already stole that term, so they’re calling it the “Visiting the Judges’ Homes.”

It’s as if visiting the real or fake home of Simon Cowell is reward enough for the hopefuls – the $5 million grand prize will come later.

But are these even their real homes? Some of them, certainly, can afford the mansions glimpsed in this week’s closing minutes. That Cowell was in the South of France on a yacht when he received the call of what group he’d mentor (the girls under 30) certainly seems to indicate that his eight contestants will fly to Paris to stay in his mansion (certainly they seem overly grateful when meeting him in a clip shown).

L.A. Reid, mentoring the boys, may well be able to afford a nice Los Angeles place from all of his work producing successful acts. Paula Abdul, too, may be able to afford some country estate big enough to house the eight groups (whose members total 35!) due to the negotiations that brought her to the show in the first place.

But Nicole Scherzinger? I have an image of her still in her working girl apartment above Sunset, filled with shoes and roommates who never see her. Is this the place to greet the Over 30s, men and women, that will be her group to mentor?

Perhaps this is why, in Fox’s statement, they say “the 32 acts are whisked away to their mentor’s home or to a location of the judge’s choice (italics added) for their final shot at earning a place on the live show.” (Hello, Holiday Inn!)

After another round of two two-hour shows this week (goodbye, planned “New Girl” episode Thursday), the judges will have personally halved each of their groups on the following week, Oct. 18 – on a special 90-minute Tuesday edition. (During postseason baseball that will dominate programming on Fox for the rest of the month, they have to squeeze in as much of this show as they can when possible).

Fox only has two hours a night of prime time to fill, but the Oct. 25 episode will run over that by another half hour (alert the affiliates!), as the remaining 16 acts all perform for the first time.

So who’s in the running still? Not surprisingly, most of the people featured in big filmed package that were early standouts on the show, from 13-year-old Rachel Crow to crying single mom Stacy Francis, 42.

The one girl Cowell fought to include, sassy Tiah Tolliver, 20, is in, as is burrito maker Josh Krajcik, 30. Also in: the teen with a very good chance to win, Drew Ryniewicz, 14, and the kid who didn’t want to dance, Brian Bradley, 15. The brothers who rock a Bieber hairstyle, the Brewer Boys, are in, as is the rehab guy Chris Rene and the homeless James Brown impersonator Dexter Haybood.

There are also a lot of people you may not remember having seen as well. Either they weren’t featured as much or they were just forgettable. There are like four blonde girls who you may not be able to tell apart. And there’s nobody really, older than Susan Boyle-old, though there were apparently a couple of grandparents in the final cut – 77 year old Bill Dyer or 88-year-old Mary Tanner.

And there were probably a few that didn’t deserve to make it (there’s always a faux crooner guy who wins because of his hat as often as his pipes; this year it’s Phillip Lomax, 22).

The groups as a whole are pretty forgettable as well. Even the best of them make you think maybe you should be watching “The Sing Off” instead. The field was so weak, Cowell cobbled together a couple of last minute groups from the leftovers of the singles acts in order to keep them into the competition.

And the names! You can tell they’ll be terrible by the numeric-misspelled word combinations that make up their monikers: 2squar’d! 4Shore! The Anser! Illusion/Confusion! Lakoda Rayne! InTENsity! Stereo Hogzz! (what is this? “America’s Best Dance Crew”?).

Anyway, for the record, here’s who’s still in it and is in whose corner, at least for this week:

  • L.A. Reid will mentor the boys under 30: Skyelor Anderson, 16, of Memphis; Brian Bradley, 15, of Brooklyn; Marcus Canty, 20, Bowie, Md.; Tim Cifers, 30, of Willow Spring, N.C.; Brennin Hunt, 26, Nashville; Phillip Lomax, 22, Seattle; Chris Rene, 28, Santa Cruz, Calif.; Nick Voss, 22, Hialeah, Fla.
  • Simon Cowell mentors the girls under 30: Melanie Amaro, 19, Coral Springs, Fla.; Simone Battle, 22, Los Angeles; Rachel Crow, 13, Burbank, Calif.; Caitlin Koch, 21, Orchard Park, N.Y.; Jazzlyn Little, 16, Cape Coral, Fla.; Drew Ryniewicz, 14, Chino Valley, Ariz.; Tiah Tolliver, 20, Bremerton, Wash.; Tora Woloshin, 22, Tuscon, Ariz.
  • Nicole Scherzinger mentors those over 30: LeRoy Bell, 60, Edmonds, Wash.; Tiger Budbill, 42, Bothell, Wash.; Christa Collins, 32, Burlington, Iowa; Stacy Francis, 42, Brooklyn; Elaine Gibbs, 53, Los Angeles; Dexter Haygood, 49, Chicago; James Kenney, 34, Portland, Ore.; Josh Krajcik, 30, Columbus, Ohio.
  • And Paula Abdul will mentor the groups: 2squar’d, Miami: Liza FOrero, 27; Deveraux Lavinia, 27; Abighail Mary, 28; Aimee Santos, 25. 4Shore, Virginia Beach: Allynn Walker Bey, 23; and Jessie Nunn III, Daijreous Poole and Brandon Showell, all 21. The Anser, Orem, Utah: Gray Aydelott, 22; Jarrett Burns, 27; P J Schwartz, 21. Brewer Boys, Temecula, Calif.: Justin Brewer, 17; Nathan Brewer, 14. Illusion/Confusion, Hialeah, Fla.: Lazaro Chavez, Ahmed Jaime, Richard Mason, all 26. InTENsity, Brockport, N.Y.: Nick Dean, Ellona Santiago, Austin Percario, Emily Wilson, all 15; Emily Michalak, 13; John Lindahl, 14; Arin Ray, 16; Lauren Ashley Redmond, 17; Ma’at Bingham Shango, 12. Lakota Rayne: Cari Fletcher, Wall Township, N.J.; Hayley Orrantia, Highland Village, Texas, both 17; Dani Knights, 22, Santa Clarita, Calif; Paige Ogle, 18, Baltimore. Stereo Hogzz, Houston Texas.: Kregg Gibson, Jonathan Glenn, George Jenkins III, Justin Williams, all 25; Leeland Stephenson, 24.
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