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THE X-FACTOR – 2.02: “San Francisco & Providence Auditions”

Part two of the season premiere. I got a lot of the necessary information out about the new judges and their chemistry in the last post, so I can focus further on the show itself and the quality of the contestants. The show continued with their auditions in San Francisco. They made it look like they had just arrived, even though we had already seen them in the same clothes and location in the episode on last night. One thing I also noticed about the San Francisco yesterday and in this episode, Demi & Britney kept magically switching chairs. It seemed like sloppy continuity from the producers and made it a little distracting.

First up in tonight’s episode was 16 year-old Johnny Maxwell. He was obviously going to be featured prominently after they showed him pulling into a parking spot with his mother in the car, both wearing microphones and talking about what a big deal this was going to be. The cameras followed him through the registration and preparation before going out to perform. He was pretty solid and reminded me of a younger Drake. He performed an original song, “All These People”, that had a catchy verse L.A. Reid was singing before it was over. His movements on the stage were a little weird, but he actually had some talent and could be a contender.

Next up, the show poorly manufactured a rivalry between two contestants. Lexa Burman and Paige Stroobach, both 22 years old. Lexa said some pretty passive aggressive statements while Paige just nodded and talked smack about her when she wasn’t around. Lexa auditioned and didn’t do very well. After that, they immediately cut to Paige in the holding area saying, “At least I know what NOT to do.” Then the show never followed up on her. Did she make it or not? If you’re going to create this catfight narrative, you need to give us a conclusion. I’m assuming she didn’t make it either.

Then a weird montage followed. Multiple “beautiful” people were shown performing for the judges, then not making it through to the next round. “You’re cute, but your voice isn’t good” was basically the comment for all the people that were shown. The show was sending the message that even though they couldn’t sing very well, they at least had their beauty to fall back on. What about those that didn’t perform well and weren’t considered “beautiful” to them? It was odd.

Maybe that montage was a set-up for the next contestant? Probably. Jason Brock, a 34 year old technical support worker, took the stage. He was given the framing of a ridiculous contestant. Before he was asked to sing, he went into detail about his dream of what his concert would look like. Basically, cool lighting effects, pretty dancers, with a glitter explosion to close it out. They all laughed and he started singing “New York State of Mind”. He has a great vocal range, but I don’t think he was as incredible as the judges made him out to be. It was one of the more interesting portions of the night.

That ended the San Francisco auditions. The Providence auditions were then jammed into the final 20 minutes of the show. Patrick Ford, a 20 year-old Britney super fan was the first performer. It was creepy and he was probably a plant/phony trying to get on television. He performed Britney’s song “Circus” and wasn’t even in time with the music. The less said about it the better, but my favorite moment involved the flowers he wanted to give Britney. After he received 4 No’s from the judges, he wanted to give Britney a vase of flowers. Simon walked up and said he would give them to her. After Patrick left the stage, he was shown walking towards the exit and his vase of flowers was sitting in the hallway on the way to exit, and he didn’t see them. I thought that was great. You know Simon probably took those flowers, gave them to a P.A., and the P.A. just stuck them in the hallway. I had to rewind the DVR and make sure what I saw was accurate.

The final audition of the night was Carly Rose Sonenclar, a 13 year-old girl. She sang “Feeling Good” by Nina Simone and did an incredible job. Probably my favorite audition of the show so far. Her stage movements and hand motions need some serious work, but that can all be worked on with the judge that she gets assigned later in the competition.

The show is back next Wednesday with more auditions. I assume they are going to continue with more Providence auditions, like they did with San Francisco. And I will of course be back with another recap.