The X-Factor: Auditions No. 3
The second week of the X-Factor began with two pieces of news: Simon wouldn’t be showing up for the first day of auditions in Kansas City, Missouri, and it was L.A.’s birthday. The contestants were excited to hear that the judge known for being the harshest wouldn’t be there to critique them, and Britney, L.A. and Demi didn’t seem too sad either. Instead, Louis Walsh, who has managed a number of boy bands in the past, filled in.
First up was Rizzloe Jones, a recent high school graduate, who came with a crew of friends. L.A. looked taken aback when he told him he was going to freestyle rap, as did the rest of the panel. Honestly, I had no idea what he was saying other than throwing the judges’ names into the mix, but he talked fast and they seemed to eat it up. L.A. liked his “flow” and Louie said, “We’ve found ourselves a popstar.” Britney said he was like “a young Vanilla Ice.” He got four yeses as confident as he, and his boys came out to hug him as he rapped about his success for the camera.
Rizzloe was sized up by CeCe Frey, a 20-year-old mail clerk with leopard-print paint on her face and one black glove. She told Demi that she was going to be better than everyone else auditioning, and then began singing “Unchained Melody,” but it didn’t fit her personality at all. L.A. asked her to try something else, so she chose “Ain’t No Other Man” by Christina Aguilera, and belted it out with attitude. Louie said he loved her ambition and talent and gave her a “big, big yes.” Britney said, “you have the whole package,” and Demi added, “I kind of have a girl crush on you.”
After Britney brought out a cake and sang to L.A., Vino Elan took that stage. At 39, he had struggled as a musician to provide for his now 15 year-old son. He showed off the tattoos all over his skull, and then launched into a gritty, soulful version of “Trouble” by Ray LaMontagne. Britney, who looked skeptical in the beginning, said she was inspired. Demi and L.A. both said that he had a unique voice that they enjoyed, and all four wanted to send him to bootcamp. He definitely has the potential to be an audience favorite.
On day two, L.A. told Louis he wasn’t missing Simon “that much.” Then we saw DeAngelo Wallace, a 19-year-old student said he’s “the full package, times four.” He told the judges he would go up against Justin Beiber, and they rushed him to sing because he was annoying them. As soon as he started singing Chris Brown’s “With You,” the audience began to boo, and all of the judges stood up and walked out. His cousin, Joe, who was watching, said, “You have to give him an “E” for effort.” Oh, and he called the judges devil-worshipers, and then was arrested for running away with the show’s mic.
Next up was Tate Stevens, 37, a road worker with a cowboy hat and a country twang. He said his kids encouraged him to try out, and he came out on stage and joked with Demi, and said he would have a big party if he won the money. Tate sang “Anything Goes” by Randy Houser, and the audience stood up as soon as he began singing. The whole time, Britney looked so happy she was going to cry, and his family did cry. L.A. said “You’re a true country star,” and wished he hadn’t waited so long to audition. Demi said, “I’m so excited to have seen you perform,” Louis said his voice was “amazing, authentic, effortless” and Britney grinned, saying, “you’re my favorite.” After getting his yeses, Tate left the building saying, “I just wanted to stay there forever.”
Hey San Francisco, guess who’s back? Despite a late arrival, Simon made it to the arena. And first up was Citizen, a group of 21-25 year old men, who debated hairstyles in the dressing room. They sang “Don’t Let Go” by En Vogue, and while they sounded all right, I wasn’t impressed. L.A. said it was a “great song choice,” and Britney said they “rocked it.” However, Simon, who looked bored the whole time, said it was “out-of-date.” Regardless, they got three yeses, so they were through, and Demi said to Simon, “It’s nice to see you come back so mean.”
Little 13-year-old Diamond White had a sound that was anything but small. Diamond shares a bed, and everything else, with her mom, and said she wanted to win for her. She sang “This is a Man’s World” in a strong, mature voice. The very first note gave me goosebumps, and she was given a standing ovation from the audience. L.A. said, “Your mother got it right: You are a diamond,” and Demi said, “You have a sparkle in your eye.” Britney said that she “totally brought it,” and Simon said her song choice was ironic because she “plainly proved that it isn’t [a man's world].” She received emphatic yeses from all.
Then we headed south to Austin, Texas, where Ally Brooke, 17, had ambitions to be “as big as Beyonce.” She sang “On My Knees” by Jaci Velasquez, and kept on singing even after the track stopped and Simon rolled his eyes and made a “kill it” motion. Demi said, “Your voice blew me away,” and Britney said, “You should be on Broadway.” Simon added, “I have a feeling we’re looking at a future star.” She got an “easy, breezy yes” from all the judges.
Texas was sure smoking: We saw two more soloists and a trio of sisters move on to the next round. Then came Jeremiah and Josh, a pair of 20-somethings who sang original song. Britney looked enchanted while they performed, and after said, “It was magical…I wish you could wake me up in the morning.” With a look from Simon, she added, “I meant like an alarm clock!” But her fiance was in the audience watching, and she couldn’t stop blushing. The boys got a yes from her (obviously) and everyone else, as Simon continued to tease her.
The performance of the night came from 42-year-old Panda Ross, who had left the hospital with pneumonia just for the chance to sing for Simon, who she called her boo and wore a flashy gold necklace that said “Single” for. After explaining the origins of her name, Panda sang “Bring It On Home” in a deep, powerful voice, and the audience and judges got up and clapped and swayed along. L.A. said, “I can’t deny how good that was. You moved this room.” Demi said, “You’re so funny, you’re such a character, and your voice is so soulful.” Britney said “You’re very charming, witty and hilarious, and I was completely entertained.” Finally, Simon told her “you sound like a legend. I absolutely love you.” After she left the stage, Panda felt weak, and an ambulance was called for her. As she was wheeled away on a stretcher, she breathed into her oxygen mask “Don’t let Simon see me like this.”
In the dressing rooms, Simon suggested Demi go into quarantine since she hugged Panda. After a playful fight, it was time for Jessica Espinoza. At only 22, she has had a rough life, performing for tips on the street. Jessica sang “Nobody Knows” by Pink, and was holding back tears the whole time. She had sadness and hope in her powerful voice, and never faltered despite all of the emotion. L.A. said “You’re really, really special,” and “You dig so deeply inside of yourself.” Demi said, “I really believe that you’re amazing,” and Simon simply said, “I love everything about you.” That’s when she finally broke down, and they all gave her a yes. As she left with her family, she said, “It’s a new beginning.”
We’ll be back tomorrow in Greensboro!