Two hours of more auditions, but I think I just heard the announcer say this is the last week of them? Praise be! I'd like nothing more than to get into the mentoring rounds, where contestants will be divvied up into young, old, solo and group categories and then handed over to the judges for molding. It will no doubt be Paula's time to shine.
But first, tonight's episode. Things kick off in Chicago...One more episode with Cheryl Cole in it? Yes, please!
First up are Brock and Makenna, a duo from Missouri who have been singing together for four years. "I love her, but she doesn't know it," he says. Before they sing, Simon asks, "Are you dating?" Sorry Brock, Makenna says no. They sing a more-than-decent "Colder Weather" by the Zac Brown Band. LA Reid sways. Simon cuts them off early because the crowd, wild with applause is already eating these two would-be sweethearts up. "You just made my day," Reid says. Simon, who says he isn't normally a fan of this kind of stuff, says Makenna's voice is sensational. They sail through to the next round.
And apparently that's enough good singers for now. Time to queue up a bunch of tone-deaf ones: Kim, a 35-year-old financial analyst wearing a very low-cut dress that makes me scared it's not going to cover her ample bosom for very long, says she hasn't gotten a deal because she hasn't done pop music. Her warbling of "Firework" is ended after 10 seconds. Tim, 21, a model, sings "Kiss from a Rose" against Simon's wishes and stops on his own because... he knows. There are a few others, none notable because this montage of meh includes zero zingy one-liners from our esteemed panel. Instead we get Charlesia, an older woman wanting to audition poorly to be a judge. Thanks producers! That was funny and worthwhile. No, not really.
Skyelor, 16, says he's a rare black teen singing country. But when he's singing, the music cuts out. Rather than crumple on stage like a ninny, he goes a capella. The audience claps along. I think I like him in an OK-but—not-great kind of way? He's tolerable. But who cares? The the audience is clapping along and the judges are, like, so proud that he didn't give up when the music stopped. He's through to the next round.
Nerdy philosophy student J.Mark, 31, wants to "destroy the Top 40" with his music. His life, he says, is an "algorithm for pi," all "irrational" and stuff. The judges appear to like his strange, spacey slinking around the floor while sort of singing Radiohead's "Creep" — and the audience goes wild. Paula calls him otherworldly: "The places we could go together!" Thank God for you, Paula. LA put it another way: "It sounded so bad but felt so good." Cheryl adds: "I need to visit this place..." J.Mark moonwalks his way to the next round. It didn't make my ears bleed, and I guess if they let Prince Siameze through, I guess it's a free-for-all.
Tribute to Paula time. None of these bits are as good as what just happened between her and J.Mark, so we're moving on.
Arin, who sings "Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone," goes through, and that's all I can say since his segment is wrapped in 20 seconds. That's to make room for Josh, 30, from Columbus, Ohio, who slings burritos for a living and sings "At Last" by Etta James. Josh, we're about to hear you sing, but I am already distracted because methinks a shower for this very important audition might have been in order. I'm sure this is why you made it on TV though, because, (non-)surprise, you sound pretty good. But you still need to shower. And maybe growl a little less. But overall, above-average job! On the other hand, calm down, audience! It wasn't amazing. You're throwing off the judges. No reason for Simon to give that a standing O.
Rats, Nicole's back for Seattle. "I'm excited. I know we're going to find some amazing talent," she says.
Descending from a bus is mother-daughter team The Good Girls, 31 and 70, and I'm upset because you look at them and you can predict where this is going. They're heavyset and a little strange but nice and polite. They're also clearly not going anywhere in this competition. Here's where the producers are supposed to give us a reason for including them in this two-hour episode: They speak-sing their way through the first 15 seconds of "What's Going On" and it's bad, but not like that guy who flashed us his man parts last week. Simon asks, "Was that serious?... It's the worst group I've ever heard in my life." Nicole offers: "I like my music with life, and that was kind of lifeless." So I ask, what was the point of that? Gah, X Factor. Gaaaaaaaaaaah.
Justin Bieber's biggest fan, Drew, 14, wants to impress LA, who played a big role in Beeb's career. She's going to sing "Baby," and LA tells her she better do it right because it's one of his. She sing-squats through a slow, piano-set version, which is not excruciating but not good. But hey! The audience likes it! "This is kinda hard for me because I'm, like, a Justin Bieber fan and I really like the original," Nicole says. But she loves Drew's take! Another win for the crowd! Simon also likes Drew "a lot." LA unleashes the episode's first "you made it yours." She sails through.
After that, some group that looks like they wanted to be the Pussycat Dolls 2.0 fail to get through after a blink-and-you-missed-it segment -- and I ask, why again are these episodes two hours?
Peet, 21, gets background music from Disney Channel's High School Musical (I believe, "We're All in This Together" is the name), and that's because he's always wanted to be a teen heartthrob, he says. Simon loves that! He grew up in a family of dwarves, also. His re-imagining of "Billionaire" stinks — not just the singing. The performance. The moves. Everything. But because he's, uh, not hateful, the judges are kind as they lower the guillotine. Nicole says she can see him not as a singer but as a film and movie star! Again, Cheryl would never say anything as stupid as everything that comes out of Nicole's mouth.
Oops, Paula went into the men's room. Thirty minutes left.
For Sure wants to be the biggest boy band ever. Their words, not mine. They seem well-adjusted, so I bet they'll sound fine. What I'd like for them to do is to kill it because so far no one tonight has. They're going to sing the LA Reid hit "End of the Road." The good news for Boyz II Men fans is that For Sure over-sings this overwrought ballad just as much as Boyz II Men did back in the day! Audience? Oh yes, it earns the clap-along. Fine. Maybe I'd be blown away in person. Still, not as good as Episode 1's batch of winners, I don't think. But this panel is in deep deep love, so I'm shutting up now.
Now, a montage of good singers set to Pink's "Raise Your Glass": 53-year-old grandmother Elaine, who can sang, does "You've Got a Friend"; Franscesca, 17, does Mariah Carey's "Hero" a capella; a bunch of people who don't even get their names on screen (presumably to make room for people like Drew?) do songs that don't play long enough for me to know what they are; Tiger does enough to get three out of four yeses.
Phillip, a hipster with a feather in his hat, does an interesting impression of Frank Sinatra for "Fly Me to the Moon." I wouldn't call it something I'd ever want to hear again on purpose, but it's not bad either. He's cute and the audience treats him like Bieber. That's enough for him to sail through. Before he says yes, however, Simon tells Phillip he doesn't sound very good, so he needs to practice. At least there's that!
Time for a montage of Paula and Nicole, who have bonded. Nothing is memorable until Nicole shows up a contestant by singing "And I Will Always Love You." Charming. Tiah, 19, comes on in the middle of a feud between Simon and PaulaNicole, and silences everyone by doing what might be a good rendition of Shonelle's "Impossible," but it's hard to tell without any accompaniment. Nicole thinks Tiah changed keys too many times because she didn't use the music. Paula is also unconvinced. Simon is pissed (finally!), because Tweedledee and Tweedledum beside him say no to Tiah. (Well, you all did put in J.Mark, so...) LA asks Tiah if she can sing something else. After the break, she comes back with "It Don't Mean a Thing If It Ain't Got That Swing." Paula and Nicole still look unconvinced, but Nicole still gives her a ticked-off yes. Tiah goes backstage and makes out with her boyfriend.
And with that, you can cross one more audition episode off your list. What did you think? Any favorites? Do the judges entertain you? Did you find it all — contestants and judges -- as middling as I did? But Episode 1 was so good! Sound off below please and we'll discuss.
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