'X Factor': Melanie Amaro, Josh Krajcik wow on second Judges' Homes episode

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judges-homes-x-factor-rihanna-la-reid.jpgWe've got the second half of the "Judges' Homes" episode for "The X Factor" Sunday night (Oct. 16). Like the last time, there was just a plethora of good performances. We think eliminating half at this point would be incredibly hard.

But we will also say we don't see the point of the judges' homes gimmick. That's really all it is - there is no purpose of moving it from Hollywood to the judges' homes. It's like "X Factor" just had to find a stage in the competition that was different from "Idol" and this is what floated to the top of the pile.

Simon's House


Tonight we get Jazzlyn Little on "I Will Survive," Rachel Crow on "I Want It That Way," Tiah Tolliver on "No Diggity" and Melanie Amaro on the "Free Willy" song.

Jazzlyn's "Survive" is very current R&B, I love the arrangement. It really shows off her voice. Rachel's song is a weird choice, but I trust Simon. It starts off a little shaky, but gets better. The little minor changes to the song make it really melancholy and sad, but I mean that as a compliment.

I will freely admit I'm totally biased against Tiah, but I closed my eyes and tried to be objective - this was horrible, right? I'm sorry. Bad karaoke. What is Simon's deal with this girl?!

Thankfully we can all cleanse our palate on Melanie Amaro, who takes a song I kind of hate and just kills it.

Paula's House

For the groups' house, we have Stereo Hoggz with "Heard It Through the Grapevine," 2 Squar'd on "Bohemian Rhapsody," Illusion Confusion on "Let's Dance" and the super-group made up of solo auditioners called Intensity on "That's Not My Name."

The Stereo Hoggz are very well put together. They're and yet a throwback to groups like the Temptations and the Four Tops at the same time. Very good. I would buy their "Grapevine" cover. The same cannot be said for 2 Squar'd. I sort of blame the song choice, but honestly - this is terrible.

I really dislike Illusion Confusion. Their "Let's Dance" is the most soul-less song ever. This is Bowie, guys! Get crazy! Blow it up! 

And then we have Intensity and I suddenly feel like I'm watching the early 1990s "Mickey Mouse Club." Ugh. Sorry, kiddies.

Nicole's House

For the over-30s, we have Josh Krajcik on "First Time Ever I Saw Your Face," Leroy Bell on "To Make You Feel My Love," Tiger Budbill on "Don't Give Up on Me" and Christa Collins on "No Surprises."

Josh sounds beautiful, you can really hear his vocal talent more on this song than any other he's done so far on the show. Gorgeous. As much as I want to love it, I don't love Leroy's song. I like it a lot, but there are some really breathy moments that I think could be more supported. Not louder, but quietly stronger, ya know? But I still would like to see him advance.

Tiger starts out a little breathy and shaky for me, but he ramps it up as he gets to the chorus and it gets much better. The ending is great. The Radiohead choice for Christa is interesting, but she totally rocks it.

L.A.'s House

At LA's house, we have Brennin Hunt on "Like a Star," Tim Cifers on "Dance With My Father," Marcus Canty on "All My Life" and Chris Rene on "People Everyday."

I'm not familiar with Brennin's song, but he seems to do well. His tone is nice and he looks like a star. Tim, on the other hand, sounds better than Brennin, but looks less polished. I can see what Rihanna means about Brennin being boyband-y. Tim actually makes me tear up a little.

I'm a little biased on Marcus because I loathe "All My Life." He seems to do pretty well, but also? Kinda boring. The one low note near the beginning was nice. Chris' song is a weird choice for me, but he does well with it.

Who should go? Illusion Confusion, 2 Squar'd, Intensity, Tiah Tolliver and Marcus Canty are the only ones I really feel should go. Combine that with last week's acts I chose to leave (The Anser, the Brewer Boys, Elaine Gibbs, Dexter, Brian Bradley, Skyelor Anderson and Nick Voss) and I have eliminated only one girl, five groups, two over-30s and four boys. So clearly that's not enough. I think it's a bummer each group has to be evenly split - the girls and the over-30s are much stronger than the other two categories, in my opinion.

I have a feeling the next episode is going to be really hard on all of us - what do you think, "X Factor" fans?
Photo/Video credit: FOX