X FACTOR RECAP: Auditions, Take Two!
Are you ready to kick off another season of The X Factor? OK, so this week is actually the second week, but better late than never, right? Whether you missed the show or just want to re-live an audition, read on for a complete recap of tonight's episode!
In the not-at-all-scripted opening between Britney Spears and Demi Lovato, two things are brought up in a conversation that, weirdly enough, sounds totally scripted: Britney tells Demi that Simon will be replaced by his regular collaborator Louis Walsh for the day; then Demi tells Britney that it's fellow judge LA Reid's birthday. Britney immediately - and I mean immediately - volunteers to sing "Happy Birthday" as if she can't think of any gift in the entire universe that would be better. I mean, I or any other non-celeb would totally get excited for that, but I have the feeling that LA isn't waiting for that with bated breath.
The first auditioner on tonight's show is Rizzloe Jones, 18, a self-described "high packed ADD animal," whatever that means. Cece Frey, a 20-year-old mail clerk with a leopard print paint all over the side of her face (is that a look that I'm unaware of, or is she just crazy?), latches onto him once she sees the cameras. "He's not a threat at all," she says to her boyfriend, but Rizzloe doesn't let it bother him and says that he's not nervous, merely excited. He's a freestyle rapper, and seems good rhytmically and whatnot, but I can't understand a word he says. He gets four yeses, though, so my guess is it's just me.
Cece's still latching onto everybody that the camera points to, so we get to see her have an awkward exchange with a few more contestants before it's her turn. She sings a "Cecefied" version of "Unchained Melody," and only seems to hit one in five notes. But they give her another chance on Christina Aguilera's "Ain't No Other Man" and she's somewhat better, so she gets the go-ahead from all four judges as well.
39-year-old Vino Alan's head is entirely covered in tattoos, and when he takes off his hat Britney makes a face that could stop traffic. Vino takes it in stride, though: "Look at Britney!" he says, laughing goodnaturedly, and I have to be honest: I like the guy. He sings a Ray LaMontagne song ("Trouble") and it's perfect for his voice - while it's not a flawless performance, it's very good and you can totally see what kind of songs he would produce so I'm glad to see him get all four yeses.
Deangelo Wallace, 19, claims that he'll definitely go through to the bootcamp round "unless the judges want to give feedback." So you can guess which way this audition is going to go right off the bat - and it does. The judges leave, saying that they work hard and the show's not a joke to them and Deangelo leaves the building with a microphone...so he's hauled off to the police station and charged with a misdemeanor. Worth it? Maybe.
Tate Stevens is a 37-year-old country singer who looks and sounds like a country singer. Seriously: picture a stereotypical country singer in your head, then look to picture the right. A guaranteed match. Luckily for Tate, his voice matches up to his look on Randy Houser's "Anything Goes" and he's the last one of the day to go through unanimously.
For the second day of auditions, Simon is back and the day kicks off with early 20s group Citizen, who spend at least five minutes talking about one guy's collar ("Up or down? Which do you think is better? OK, but I think I like it up. No, seriously, which one do you think?") "I'm the heartthrob," the collar guy says in his interview, so that explains it. They sing En Vogue's "Don't Let Go" and despite being kind of smarmy, they're actually not a bad boy band. Their individual voices aren't great, but their harmonies are good in a Backstreet Boys kind of way (if you like that sort of thing, which I totally do since I was a preteen in the main Backstreet Boys era) and they get three yeses with Simon as the lone holdout. "I didn't get it," he says, "It was ten years out of date." Probably true, but nonetheless, they're through.
Then we get a montage of Simon's comments to bad auditioners, and hear from 13-year-old Diamond White, who's waiting in the wings. Diamond has an itty bitty speaking voice, but a big singing voice, and she's incredibly competent for just thirteen on "It's a Man's Man's Man's World." She gets four well-deserved yeses.
Ally Brooke, 19, is up next with a nice, even voice, choosing Jaci Velasquez's "On My Knees." She continues long after the music goes off, and you can tell that it annoys Simon to no end that she doesn't obey his "stop" hand, but she's a good singer and still gets unanimous vote through.
We get a few clips of a bunch of other contestants going through: Brandon Hassan, 19; Normani Hamilton, 15; sister group Sister C, 17 to 21; and 22-year-olds Jeremiah and Josh.
Panda (real name) Ross, 42 "years young" and just released from the hospital for pneumonia, is wearing a necklace that proclaims that she's SINGLE just for Simon. She has the kind of voice that's resounding even through the TV, but it's her personality that really shines - her upbeat energy is infectious and she sails through with four yeses. She's headed back to the hospital right afterward, but promises that the next time she sees Simon she'll be 100%.
The last of the night is Jessica Espinoza, 22, who's "ready but terrified" to sing Pink's "Nobody Knows." It's a surprisingly genuine performace to see on shows like these - and while you and I both knew that they wouldn't close out the show with a dud performance, it leaves both Britney and Jessica herself in tears. "You're not ordinary, you're very special," LA says, and Simon pulls out one of his old American Idol tricks, adding: "I didn't like it...I loved it," and that closes tonight's auditions.
Tomorrow's show will, according to the preview, include Simon naming an auditioner "one of the most brilliant auditions I ever heard," some kind of electrical issue (really, X Factor? Do you think that I want to watch the power go out at your studio when I don't even like it when it happens to me in real life?) and Britney joking that someone on stage might be related to her. I mean, there'll probably some singing, too..they just don't show that part.
What did you think of tonight's singers? Who's likely to rise to the top - and have you picked your own favorite yet? Tune in tomorrow for another round of auditions!