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The X Factor: 2.05 – “Providence, Greensboro & San Francisco Auditions”

We’re back for a third week of auditions from The X Factor. It’s the final week too because the Boot Camp rounds begin next Wednesday. In part 5 of the auditions, the judges returned to Providence, Greensboro & San Francisco to find a new crop of talent. There was a long segment at the beginning to introduce the judges. Simon is shown riding a small motor-scooter to the arena while getting a police escort. Britney is getting ready for the day when her manager Larry Rudolph suggests that they fuck around with Wade, the Production Assistant in charge of getting things for the judges. This is shown throughout the first segment. He’s ordered to get a straw hat for Britney. When Wade gets it, Britney then demands a tiara. She gets that later and puts it on Simon. It was a stupid little gimmick that didn’t add much to the show and only made the judges look spoiled.

A singing/rap duo is up first on the audition. Two thirtysomethings, Adonis & John, call themselves The O.G.’s (The Original Greeks). Adonis owns a diner and John is one of his waiters. They do their own version of Lionel Richie’s “Hello”. It consists of Adonis singing with mediocre vocals and John in the background making grunting noises and saying ‘yo’ every couple of seconds. It’s embarrassing and the judges rightfully send them on their way. It’s followed by a montage of bad auditions with the judges constantly saying no. It’s a highlight reel of the judges’ most snarky comments from throughout the season. Sophie Marlow, Ivan Kurzhalav, Caitlin Dorgan, Nelson Peiera, Megan Stratton and Zuhari Lamaar are all given horrible critiques and don’t get more than a few seconds of the TV screen before the show moves on to new people.

Dinah Jane Hansen takes the stage next. She’s a 15-year-old girl who lives with 20 other relatives in her mother’s house. She doesn’t even look 15 either, which Demi points out in the before the performance takes place. Dinah Jane does a version of Beyonce’s “If I Were a Boy”. The beginning is a little strange. She has a very deep, breathy voice during the verses. But when the tempo picks up and the chorus kicks in, she’s able to display her full range. Her upper register is much stronger and more pleasant to listen to than the quieter moments. L.A. loved it and said it was better than Beyonce’s version (no it wasn’t) and Simon says, “This is why we came to Providence”. She’s a little overrated by them.

Arin Ray was a finalist last year. He was in the group inTENsity, which was a hybrid team of under 16 year olds that didn’t make it in the solo categories. They were really bad and were the first contestants eliminated from the live shows. Arin is getting another chance as a soloist. He was much more memorable this time with an original song that he wrote, “Count on Me”. His voice is smooth and he has great stage presence. He’s like the perfect combination of Bruno Mars & Usher. Simon and L.A. both agree that he has greatly improved since last year and all of the judges send him to the next round. I really enjoyed him and Arin is one of my favorites going into the Boot Camp rounds.

Followed by Arin’s good news, there’s a more positive montage where the judges love contestants and are sending multiple people through. Natalie Martin’s rendition of Sugarland’s “Stay” was pretty good and so was a freestyle rap/hip hop number by the duo One4Five. There are two others shown that really didn’t impress me and I didn’t get why the judges were raving on them: Nick Perrelli & Beatrice Miller. Some of the other nameless people in the montage sounded much better than those two. Maybe they’ll be standouts in Boot Camp though.

Changyi Li was the final audition of the night in San Francisco. I’m not going to spend too much time on this one because it was one of those auditions that I hate. She was obviously going to be terrible and I feel like the show just exploited her for a couple of laughs from the judges. She’s 52 years-old and wearing a black sailor suit. She sings a rendition of “My Heart Will Go On” that is indecipherable. I have to give credit that the judges were as nice as they could possibly be, but I don’t think the producers should have let her get that point to audition in front of the judges and that big audience.

The show then moved to Greensboro for some more auditions. Austin Corini is the first one up. He’s a 16 year-old with bleach blonde hair and a faux hawk expertly styled. The judges comment later on that it looks good, but I think it shows that he’s trying to hard and it makes him less accessible. If I was one of them, I would unleash a hair stylist on him immediately if I was one of the mentors. He sings “Wanted” by Hunter Hayes. Britney absolutely loves it, but the rest of the judges are lukewarm. They pass him through based on his potential. Basically, they think he’s marketable and if he can improve his vocals he can become a cash cow for the show.

20 year-old Nick Youngerman is a quick audition and does a version of Vanilla Ice’s “Ice Ice Baby”. Britney gets up and starts dancing to his version of the song. The judges loved it and they send him to the next round. It was a fun audition and he had the crowd moving. I don’t think he’s going to make it that far in the competition, but it was entertaining to watch for the 90 seconds he was shown. He’s followed by Jaime, a duo made up of Ahmed and Cynthia (their names weren’t on a chyron so I’m guessing by what I think I heard). They are a recently engaged couple and they are completely awkward. There’s a weird moment in the audition line where they cross arms and both drink from water bottles. They do an original song called, “Will You Be My Baby?”, that’s horrible and the judges send them off the stage with a chorus of no’s.

David Correy, a 26 year-old, had a 13 hour drive to make the performance for the judges. He looks almost exactly like Travie McCoy (from Gym Class Heroes). David was adopted and wants to use the show as a chance to reconnect with his birth mother. He does a version of Bruno Mars’ “Just the Way You Are” and blows the judges away. He has a great voice, but I felt he was trying too hard to copy Bruno Mars’ vocals and runs from the original song. He has potential. I would just like to hear him sing something different and make it his own.

The show then moves to its third city of the 2-hour episode, back to San Francisco for the 4th time. Sophie Tweed-Simmons was the first one up. She’s the daughter of Gene Simmons & Shannon Tweed and was one of the stars of their reality show Gene Simmons Family Jewels. Sophie’s trying to break into the business on her own and doesn’t want to use her father’s fame to help her. Before she even sings, Demi recognizes her and Sophie looks pissed. Sophie sings Adele’s version of “Make You Feel My Love”. I personally thought he vocals were bland and boring. She just nervously paced on the stage and wasn’t interesting at all. The judges pass her through based on her potential, although most likely not to piss of Gene Simmons and embarrass his daughter.

Tara Simon is up next. She’s a 27 year-old vocal couch. She was shown at the beginning of the auditions and during Sophie’s audition previously. During Sophie’s audition, she was shown giving sour faces and saying that Sophie only made it through because of her father (which is probably true, but she came off much more bitchy while saying it). It’s almost set-up to look like Tara is going to be a terrible audition, but the judges absolutely love her version of David Guetta & Usher’s “Without You”. Her vocals were good and you could tell that she’s been trained in vocal technique. I just don’t think it was as great as the judges made it out to be.

The next audition is 37 year-old and father of 5, Daryl Black. He’s very funny during his interview with the judges before the performance. It also really showed that Demi is a great interviewer with the contestants. She’s been conducting all of the usual questions before the performances and she develops a great report with the performers. I’ve really been impressed by her on the show so far. Daryl performs Gym Class Heroes’ “Stereo Hearts”. He slows it down and does a very blue-sy/classic R&B version of it that’s pretty fantastic. He’s got a good stage presence and grabs the audience’s attention. It was one of my favorite auditions on the show so far.

The final segment of the episode involved 13 year-old Trevor Moran. He’s about to audition and the show does a classic background package. Trevor is an aspiring star who makes YouTube videos all the time where he talks to his “fans” and dances to popular songs. He’s a little annoying but harmless. The show flashes to ‘1 Hour Later’ and Production Assistants are searching for Trevor because he’s up next. They find him laying down in a corner with his mother stroking his head. Paramedics are called. To be continued…

It was a little crappy to use this medical crisis as a cliffhanger for people to tune in for the next episode. And it really doesn’t add anything to show.

That’s it for this recap. I’ll be back tomorrow with the final round of auditions and the latest episode of Glee. And I don’t think I’ll be reviewing Survivor anymore. The recap of the premiere episode was the least viewed post on the site so far and the two-hour episodes of The X Factor take up a good chunk of the night.