Even though they were the second X Factor act to be eliminated at the hands of America (making the first two eliminated acts both groups -- poor Paula!), The Stereo Hogzz (Trace Kennedey, Justin "Just'n" Williams, Kregg "KG" Gibson,
Jonathan "Jon Glenn" Glenn, and George "Trae Badd" Jenkins III) have no regrets about their performances throughout the first season of FOX's singing competition, and sound more positive than ever about their musical future.
As well they should be. Not only did the five-member act get to perform big, show-stopping versions of "Try a Little Tenderness," "Rhythm Nation," and "Ain't No Other Man" live in front of America, but they also got massively positive feedback from the judges. So what went wrong?
When Simon Cowell told the Stereo Hogzz, "There is nothing right now in the charts like you," the judge clearly meant it as a massive compliment -- but the comment also may have portended the Hogzz' problem with bringing in votes. As a hard-to-categorize group who tried to entertain rather than tug on heartstrings, the group members say they had a harder time than most when it came to connecting with the audience.
More thoughts from the Stereo Hogzz on their elimination, their love for mentor Paula Abdul, and their future, which may or may not include jet packs:
On Paula's voting meltdown last night:
Trace Kennedey: "It felt surreal. We didn't want to see her like that. I almost wanted to tell her, 'It's okay, Paula. If it makes it any easier, you can send us home. It's all good. We're content. We're happy to be here, it was a blessing. We enjoyed the ride!' ... I know the
decision was hard for her, but I think she really felt a strong
connection with us. She loves Lakoda Rayne, but I think we were like her
pride and joy. She chose to go with us, and that, at the end of the
day, made me feel a lot more comfortable with the decision than I think
anything else, because she still believed in us to the very, very end.
And we love her even more for that."
On how -- and why -- they worked harder than any other act on the show:
Trae Badd: "We, by far, put in more work than any of the other contestants on the show. We have five different guys that have to get in one synchronized show, and we all have to learn the moves. We all have to learn the choreography as well as the vocals, the background.
It's a lot, while most people would just get in there and learn the words and then they figure out how they're going to sing it by themselves. We have to not only do that, but we have to figure out a way to blend and incorporate our sound into it while we try to create a whole picture that can come across in a minute and 45 seconds -- which is not even a lot of time for five people to show their individual personalities.
So I think we had the toughest job, and we put in the most amount of work by far. But I also think we had the most electrifying show on The X Factor in the United States so far. I think it showed that our hard work paid off."
On why they think America isn't voting for the groups:
Kregg Gibson: "It's a little bit more difficult if it's a group versus an individual act. With the individual acts, you get to connect with that one personality, that one face. With groups, like InTENsity, that was a 10-person group. We were five. That's five different personalities and five different people that you have to get to know.
So, it's a little bit more difficult, but we're still blessed to be in this situation and we got put on a world-class platform. I'm proud of the guys. I think that we did really, really good. We left it all out on the floor."
Trae Badd: "People are going to shine who have such incredible stories and back
stories. You can't really compete with that, and we as a group, we never
wanted to go in there with a sob story or any kind of background,
because we all have backgrounds.
We all have things that we leave in the past -- struggles and stuff like
that. We wanted to come and show
America that we just have talent, pure talent, and then be judged just
based off of that. We wanted to put on a show and entertain."
On how they felt before the elimination:
Trae Badd: "We had been in that position before, so we were a little bit more calm than Lakoda Rayne.
But you know, we weren't anticipating that we were going home at that point. We knew that it was a possibility and we never -- we don't look back on anything with any regret because we went out and we feel like we gave a Grammy-type performances every week that we came out. So, we left it all out on the floor like [Kregg] said."
On whether the judges vote based on the competition performances or the bottom two "save me" songs:
Trae Badd: "I think the judges are thinking of it as a competition and they're going to eliminated the biggest threat. So, I mean, we're out of there!"
On whether their outcome could have been different if they were matched with a different judge:
Jonathan Glenn: "We attribute a lot of our success to Paula. She worked really hands-on with us. She was there every step of the way, from choreography to the stage. She came up with concepts for our shows, so she deserves it all, man. We definitely think the outcome probably would have been different with a different judge of course.
I mean, we could have went home the first day, you know what I mean? We appreciate our judge, and all the judges actually kind of have our back when they talk about our stuff all the time. They tell us how good we are and give us advice, so I mean, I think there's no such thing as coincidences. I think that everything happens for a reason."
On how their X Factor performances compare to what their album will be like:
Trae Badd: "Music-wise, it's a little different. Our song choices had a lot to do with Paula and the show and everything depending on the week and everything. The style of performances is more of what you would get from our music when we hit the studio -- it will be just as energized and just as creative as our performances and everything, but that's pretty much what we're going to do next, is hit that up."
On whether they'll incorporate their big production elements from on The X Factor into future shows:
Justin Williams: "Oh definitely, the shows only get bigger from here -- only get bigger. We might be flying. We'll get some jet packs or something."
On whether the competitive environment kept them from getting to know the other contestants:
Kregg Gibson: "No, man. It's all friendly competition. We were all backstage joking around, laughing and teasing each other -- talked to Marcus Canty, you know, and flirted with some of the other competition. (Laughs)
We had a really good time. Since it was a competitive environment, we tried to just have fun. That's what Stereo Hogzz really embody -- just a good time and a party atmosphere, as you'll see in our upcoming album. But we definitely brought that to the competition and we had a great time. It was a blast."
(Image courtesy of FOX)