It’s time for another two-hour installment of “The X Factor.”
Once again, I recapped “Survivor” on East Coast Time, though that will change once “X Factor” goes live, unless of course people stop watching entirely. No. I don’t mean “low-rated.” This show is already that. I mean a collective and cohesive decision by the entire nation to watch ANYTHING other than “X Factor.” Don’t laugh. I could happen.
And now on to Wednesday’s (September 25) auditions…
8:02 p.m. In case you’ve forgotten since last season, contestants are competing in four categories: Boys, Girls, CBS Demo and Musical Orgies. Tomorrow night will be the end of the auditions, thank heavens. And next week, we begin the new 4 Chair Auditions, which Mario Lopez promises will change TV auditions forever.
8:05 p.m. We start in Long Island with paralegal Melanie Wright. She wants to be the equivalent of Carrie Underwood, only with long gloves. “Hola, Melanie!” says Paulina Rubio, who also likes gloves. We know that Melanie is unlikely to be good, because she’s 48 and the show is accentuating her somewhat crazy eyes. She sings “Titanium,” though it might be an overstatement to say that she “sings” it. She’s a bit Muppet-y, which is probably the source of Simon’s laughter. A Miss Piggy karate chop might be the only thing that could salvage this five minutes of humiliation. “It was like finding out that Cinderella works at the Playboy Mansion,” Simon says nonsensically. “You’re not what you seem,” he clarifies. I still don’t understand what any of that has to do with Cinderella at the Playboy Mansion. “I really enjoy just to see how happy you were and that’s all that matters,” Paulina says. Kelly Rowland tells Melanie that her shoes are cute. Melanie walks off humming.
8:08 p.m. I sense more bad people are coming. Oksana Mamchur is a dentist from Ukraine. She will not be changing her life. “Oksana, I just don’t understand why you choose music,” Paulina opines. Simon compares the performance to being in a dentist’s chair for three hours. Next to be mocked for having dreams is 55-year-old Rob Zarro, whose rendition of “Born To Be Wild” makes Demi Lovato squirmy. The judges agree that the Zarro, plausibly a Mike Myers sketch character, is the weirdest person they’ve seen, at least until 60-year-old helium-voiced Maya Lehmann shows up, summoning felines with her rendition of “Final Countdown.” Simon makes an odd “Close Encounters of a Third Kind” reference. Next up is Ruben Gloria, who appears to have skinned Hobbes and turned him into a hoodie. Ruben squeaks through “Like a Virgin” and is sent packing.
8:12 p.m. Finally we reach the “Hoping he can turn things around…” audition of this segment. It’s 15-year-old Emery Kelly, who may be the Long Islandiest person in the history of Long Island. He’s 15, but he has a big silver chain around his neck and he’s obviously been putting much time into the tanning. When a girl asks if he’s single, he says he’s “Single pringle” and… BARF. He doesn’t shy from saying he aspires to either be Justin Bieber or in a boy band. We’ve already seen several wee pretty-boys who could be grouped with Emory after it’s determined that he isn’t ready to be a solo artist. Emery, who takes Spanish in high school, gets some credit by asking Paulina how she is en Español. Because Emery is clean-cut jailbait, Kelly Rowland loves him. Emery isn’t very good in the early portion of his song, which starts way too low for him, but he gets much better as he approaches the chorus. Demi thinks he’s what they’re looking for. Paulina loves his voice and charisma. Simon didn’t like his song, but he calls Emery “a little unpublished diamond.” Four “Yes” votes for Emery.
8:20 p.m. Have the Girls really been blowing the competition around so far? We’re reminded of Rion, Riley, Ellona, Danie and Ashly. OK. I guess so. Will Khaya Cohen keep things going? Her mom is a midwife and she’s only 15, so this is a bit scary. For her. It’s not at all scary for me. Khaya also picks a song that starts way too low for her and she’s sharp from the start until when Simon tells her she picked the wrong song and stops her. Kelly asks if she has a second song. Oddly the second song is “I Put a Spell On You,” which seems like a mistake as well. It also starts too low. It gets much better. Much better. I’m still cautious about teenagers doing karaoke Nina Simone. The reason Nina Simone is so phenomenal isn’t the notes she hits. It’s the feeling in the notes. Khaya’s got the notes, but… Maybe not the other. Or maybe not yet. “I am so excited to hear a voice like yours,” Demi says. Kelly noticed that it started too low, but calls her “phenomenal.” Simon compares Khaya to Adele and Amy Winehouse. It’s four “Yes” votes and Demi predicts we’ll see her in the finals. Khaya vows to work really hard.
8:31 p.m. We’re still in Long Island. Simon wants to hear a voice that he’s never heard before. Will that voice come from 19-year-old Joseph Tolve? Well, Simon’s definitely taken aback by how high Joseph’s voice is. But might Joseph somehow be a remarkable singing who just happens to have a high voice? Nope! He does bad, bad things to a Demi Lovato song. As always, Demi is encouraging, even if Kelly is patting her on the back to console her. “I’m not sure that this is exactly the right kind of unique that we’re looking for,” Demi says, diplomatically. Kelly has an idea! She thinks Joseph would be great on a show like “Sesame Street” and Simon agrees. It’s four “No” votes for Joseph, but Simon promises that good things are going to happen to Joseph, who will now pursue his dreams of being an anteater.
8:36 p.m. On to 35-year-old James Kenney. He’s an apartment manager, but he may also be a sitcom character played by Kyle Bornheimer. He’s got a couple cute kids and he’s looking for a way to avoid dealing with people’s toilets all the time. Apparently he was on Season 1? Oh. I don’t love the version of “Summertime” that he’s doing, but he’s got an unexpectedly CeeLo-esque voice. I don’t like the cover, but Kelly Rowland does and I guess she’s more important than I am. I like the tone of James’ voice a lot, but isn’t he just missing all of the high notes? He sounds just a hair flat on everything. But he’s still got an interesting voice and I appreciate that he isn’t 14. “That was a pretty sexy song,” Demi blushes. “I was just delighted by your talent,” Paulina says. Simon thought the song choice was brilliant. Four “Yes” votes. James’ daughters are proud of him. It’s very sweet.
8:45 p.m. Quick montage of decent people, I guess? Isaac Tauaefa played college football (he was a defensive lineman at UTEP, if you’re curious) but now he wants to sing and he gets four “Yes” votes for his trouble. Chase Goehring isn’t all that interesting purely as a vocalist, but as a ginger singer-songwriter, he’s actually really intriguing. Allison Davis auditioned without wearing pants, so that’s memorable. Isabel Requena is more impressive with the singing, but she’s wearing pants. Isaiah Alston has a really big voice for a 15-year-old.
8:48 p.m. Everybody in that previous segment got “Yes” votes, but 31-year-old mechanic David Gray wants a different kind of “Yes.” He also appears to suddenly be in New Orleans. He’s auditioning for his girlfriend Lauren and this causes people to boo. “Have you ever done something out of your element for love?” he asks, which makes him a bit more sympathetic. Awww. Before his audition, but very much on camera, David asks Lauren’s dad’s permission to ask for Lauren’s hand. Dad signs off. As a singer, he’s charmingly awful. I’m still not sure on his angle here. The judges all vote “No,” as you do. Ah. his girlfriend Lauren Waguespack is also auditioning. She’s slightly better. But she’s also not so super. Simon stops her cover of “Teenage Dream” and before the judging can begin, David comes out and tells her that it doesn’t matter what the judges say. Awww. This is the “Dads” commercial of wedding proposals! Lauren’s excitement at the proposal is only matched by Demi and Kelly’s glee. As y’all know, when Demi’s happy, I can at least pretend to be happy. Lauren says “Yes.” Paulina tells them that they’re going to produce beautiful babies and David vows to practice. Simon makes sure to harsh Lauren’s moment by giving her a “No” vote. Lauren doesn’t seem at all disappointed.
9:00 p.m. It’s off to Denver now. Simon’s late. Even without Simon, though, Tim Olstad is nervous. He thinks the judges will be able to see through him. I’m a bit concerned about Tim. I can’t tell if he has a social anxiety disorder of some sort, but I would like for him to be good. Demi wants to hear something crazy about him, something unexpected. He can’t comply and the judges all agree that he’s boring. Guess what? They’re totally right. He’s not going to win “X Factor Personality.” However, Tim’s also got a beautiful voice, even if he can’t control the shaking of his hands as he sings. Because I was scared for Tim, I’m very pleased with his success. “I feel like your voice just came over me like a blanket of love,” Kelly says. “I had the chills,” Demi says, calling him lovable and cute. Paulina agrees. And Tim gets four “Yes” votes. And Simon shows up!
9:12 p.m. Back to Long Island. Why do they do it this way?
9:13 p.m. Yes. Four categories, Mario.
9:15 p.m. Our next contestant works at a car dealership and he’s in love with Kelly Rowland. Unfortunately, because he’s 19, he’s too old for Kelly. That doesn’t stop Welsey Mountain from getting star-struck in Kelly’s presence. “I like you a lot, Kelly. I really do,” he says, as she praises his green shirt. Welsey kisses Kelly’s hand and this has already been really creepy. “You have to go back now,” Simon tells a sweating Welsey. After that pathetic romantic showing, I expected Wesley to follow that up with some pathetic singing. Instead? He’s good. He’s possibly even very good. He’s got a radio-ready R&B voice. At the very least, he would also be a good addition to a group. So good for Wesley. “That was actually very good,” Simon admits. “You know, at first I thought you were so creepy. But you actually have a really good voice. So you went from creepy to cute,” Demi says. “I once had a dog who liked steak,” Simon says of the way Wesley looks at Kelly. Wesley gets four “Yes” votes, including a final compliment from Kelly.
9:23 p.m. On to another 16-year-old. This is a confident Celine Polenghi. She sings “When You Believe,” which the choir at my temple sang at High Holy Days this year. I like her composure a lot. Simon praises her “massive potential.” She gets four “Yes” votes. There’s really been no on-air fighting this year amongst the judges. Several more girls were also good. Bree Randall seems like she’s auditioning for “Glee,” which isn’t bad at all and she gets four “Yes” votes. Sporting bright red hair, Primrose Martin oversings a little, but she’s clearly got a great voice hidden slightly. And as for 17-year-old Summer Reign? Well, her name is Summer Reign. She’s pretty much made for pop stardom. And yes, tonight is pretty much setting up tomorrow’s big fight over the Girls category.
9:29 p.m. Whoever gets the Girls will not get Usher wannabe Rickey Clark Jr. He’s playing it cool until Kelly tells him that she loves him and he suddenly loses his composure. Kelly’s power is so great that Ricky’s soon admitting to breaking his mother’s vases. There’s a ton of build-up, but then Rickey isn’t especially good. He gets the crowd on its feet for his Stevie Wonder cover, but without any payoff. Simon thought it sounded flat. He’s completely right. Rickey starts pouting immediately and he needs a pep talk from Kelly. Demi tells him to keep trying. Paulina tells him to come back next year. Rickey leaves crying, but Kelly runs after him and gives him a big hug and tells him about her rejection on “Star Search.” Yeah. I like Kelly a lot, even if she occasionally comes across as a predator. I feel like Kelly, Demi and Simon are the start of a good judging panel. If they had a fourth person who was giving them anything, there could be real potential here.
9:37 p.m. Simon and Kelly are alone for some Los Angeles auditions. I kinda love 34-year-old Lorie Moore, who plays Women’s Professional Football. “I like hitting better than getting hit,” she declares. She’s conquered in the sports arena and now she wants to bring her spirit to music. “You look familiar,” Simon tells her. Lorie’s going full-contact with a Whitney Houston audition song. The combination a very good voice and the potential that Lorie might slam you into the turf is very alluring. “It was more than an audition. It as a performance,” Simon says. There are only two of them, so it’s only two “Yes” votes.
9:47 p.m. i guess this is our last audition? It’s Second Hand High. They’re a duo and they’re going to be weird, but maybe not good. They’re strange, but they’re doing an original, so that may be intriguing. Or awful. Really, I can’t tell. The answer? Indescribable. I assume the song is called “Ask Me To Dance” and it’s… Rather out of shape. Or maybe that’s just the female part of the duo? At the very least, the song gets Kelly Rowland up and dancing, which is awesome. Why does it not make Demi get up and dance? Boo. “I think you should change the name of the group to Deluded,” Simon says, calling the song “terrible.” “It’s very very weird, but I kinda like the song,” Kelly says. “It was very fun watching the people in the back dance,” Demi says. It’s three “No” votes, but you can’t knock the exposure.
9:54 p.m. The Kelly Rowland version of “Ask Me To Dance” is surreal, especially when Simon starts observing, “Why buy the cow when you get the leche for free?”
That’s it for tonight’s show. Tomorrow? The end of auditions!
Who’d you like tonight? Who’d you hate?