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The X-Factor: 2.04: “Greensboro Auditions”

The fourth episode of The X Factor showed off the latest batch of auditions from a new location: Greensboro, North Carolina. The episode starts with some incredibly staged moments involving the judges preparing to come the stadium. Britney is shown putting on lipstick in her bathroom (Like she does her own make-up. She’s probably got a glam team of 3-4 people responsible for her appearance.), Demi is getting touched up while sneaking in a nap, L.A. is finishing up breakfast and Simon is texting.

Willie Jones is the first audition of the episode. He’s 17 years old and has an appearance similar to Will Smith during the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air days (an astute observation from Demi). While it looks like he’s going to do some kind of hip hop song, he sings Josh Turner’s “Your Man”. It’s a current country song and he surprises everyone with his choice. Some parts seem a little forced, especially when he tries to imitates Turner’s own riffs from the song. But there are some good moments when he lets that down and uses his natural singing voice. The judges absolutely adore him and Simon tells him that he’s the reason that they came to Greenboro in the first place.

Kalvin McManigle is a quick audition. He’s a 47 year-old factory work with barely any teeth. He tries to talk with the judges but his speech is way too mumbled to comprehend anything. His singing turns out the same way as well. The song choice isn’t clear and his diction is horrible. Every word runs together. He’s obviously there as a joke.

He’s followed by Julia Bullock, an 18 year-old who looks like a mix between Gwen Stefani & Hayley Williams from Paramore. There’s a narrative built by the judges about Julia’s bandmates not auditioning. If Julia is successful and makes it to the next round, the band is probably broken up. Her ex-boyfriend Christian is one of the bandmates. He’s wearing a crucifix earring and is possibly gay (just a hunch). Julia performs “Pumped Up Kicks” and blows everyone away. She has a great voice and stage presence. Her energy is something that will absolutely work on the show. It’s probably my personal favorite audition so far. When Julia makes it through, my ex-boyfriend doesn’t applaud and stands there with a sour grapes look on his face. Grow up.

Between the next auditions, there’s a segment of Pepsi tasting test down by the audience and by the judges. There’s four new flavors being tested by Pepsi. I’m not really sure what differentiates the flavors, but none of them sound appetizing. This is FOX trying to pay some of the bills for the production and some of the salary for the judges.

Jeffrey Gutt is up next. He’s a 36 year-old single father that is giving his rock star dream one last shot. I’m not a big fan of children, but his son is actually pretty cute and has a great personality for a 3 year-old. Jeffrey takes the stage with his version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”. I’m so tired of that song so I’m expecting the worst. This is another great audition from the episode. He has a strong rocker voice and takes a few quieter moments in the song and makes it his own. Which is hard to do because SO MANY PEOPLE have sung this song. I’m absolutely rooting for him after this.

Marchello Penn is giving a terrible audition when lighting strikes the arena in Greensboro. Some of the lights go out and one of the outside broadcast trucks is down. Simon tells Marchello that this was a sign from above that he was just too terrible to continue. A montage follows where bad auditioners are cut around footage of the horrible thunderstorm in North Carolina. Byron Edwards, Jazi J, Cassidy Loutos & Matthew Harnden are all shown biting the dust in front of the judges. It goes on for a little too long, but the editors looked like they had fun with making something out of it.

Krysten Colon is the final audition. She was shown earlier in the episode singing Adele’s “Don’t You Remember?”. Simon stops her in the middle and tells her that she needs to pick something else. He wants her to pick a classic song and make it her own. He sends her away and tells her to come back later. Krysten is shown throughout the rest of the episode preparing for the second performance. Her time has come and she sings Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing”. She’s not as good as first audition and the song really shows off her weak vocals. She’s not ready. There’s another lightning strike during the performance, the lights go wonky, and Britney freaks out. Simon stops her after that and tells her that she’s not good and won’t be making it through. Krysten is pissed off and storms off the stage. She throws water at the camera and a poor production assistant. On her way out of the arena, she attempts to hit another camera with a folding chair. She leaves the arena and runs into the rain. A dignified exit, I guess?

I have to say, this was the best episode of the season so far. The shorter episodes are much easier to get through, but mostly because it had my two favorite auditions: Julia Bullock & Jeffrey Gutt. I have some people that I’m actually go to root for later in the season. There’s more auditions next week (according to the previews at the end) and it looks like there  will be more of San Francisco (based on Demi wearing that silver top).  So look forward to that next week.