The X Factor Season 2 Episode 3 Recap: Kansas City, San Francisco, Austin auditions
Sep 20 2012 08:55 am ET
Wednesday's episode of The X Factor features special guest judge Louis Walsh, Britney Spears looking out for Broadway, a new love interest for Simon Cowell, Demi Lovato celebrating marshmallows, and more LA Reid dancing.
Kansas City Auditions
Simon Cowell called in sick for the auditions in Kansas City, Missouri. Rather than have just three judges, Simon called in X Factor UK judge Louis Walsh. Guhhhhh. Louis Walsh is more useless than Randy Jackson. Despite being the producer behind two huge UK boybands who barely made a dent in the US, Louis tends to favor the novelty acts that audition for the show. He's more concerned with the circus aspects of the program, which might explain why, despite being a judge/mentor all nine seasons of the UK version, Louis has never mentored the ultimate winner.
Anyway, the first act to audition this week is 18-year-old student Rizzloe Jones. He verifies in his onstage interview that Rizzloe is in fact his given name. He tells the panel he's a freestyle rapper and will be demonstrating his mad skillz for his audition. LA Reid goes into DEFCON 4. Rizzloe asks for a subject. Demi Lovato suggests marshmallows, but LA instructs the kid to rap about the X Factor. A beat starts playing and Rizzloe gets to work. He has a really good flow, but the adrenaline of a moment causes him to yell more than spit rhymes. The judges don't hold the yelling against him, as they shouldn't, and the panel is impressed. Louis does his standard style of critique, which involves saying the contestant's full name, restating a fact that came up during the pre-audition interview, then providing an objective description of what just happened in the audition. It's like Mad Libs with him and it drives me nuts. Britney Spears says Rizzloe reminded her of a young Vanilla Ice, but her cadence and tone suggests she meant that as a compliment. All the judges were impressed, so Rizzloe is on his way to Boot Camp.
Next up is CeCe Frey, a 20-year-old mail clerk and leopard-print face-tattoo enthusiast. CeCe prepared for her audition by going around to people in the line and in the holding area and finding ways to tap dance on their nerves. She actually says "I'm not here to make friends," and she's doing a great job of working toward that goal. CeCe has chosen her "CeCe-fied" version of "Unchained Melody" as her audition song. "CeCe-fying" appears to involve making a song country while singing it with as many pitch problems as possible. One line in and LA whispers to the panel "horrible song for her." Rather than kick her to the curb, they let CeCe do her backup song: "Ain't No Other Man" by Christina Aguilera. This song is much better suited for CeCe's style and awful personality, but despite singing the song correctly I'm still not won over. Of course, the judges don't know about her demeanor backstage, so they have nothing but praise. Louis says he loves ambitious people with talent, which is what the other judges latch onto in their critiques. CeCe will be an interesting addition to Boot Camp, especially when they get to the group performances.
Vino Alan is a 39-year-old musician from Waynesville, Missouri. Although the show tries to shoehorn Vino's 15-year-old son into his narrative, the face and scalp tattoos are pulling focus. Vino chose the song "Trouble" for his audition. Vino may be going for Josh Krajcik 2.0, but oddly I find this song choice to be not quite right. He sings the song well and it is probably exactly what he does in his musicianship, but I worry he could be boxing himself in the way LeRoy Bell did. The judges praise his unique voice, but Vino is going to have to do something up-tempo soon (as in, his first boot camp performance) if he wants to last long.
Deangelo Wallace is a 19-year-old student who fancies himself as better than Britney Spears and LA Reid. The woman he's telling this to in line suggests he should not open with that when he gets on stage. Deangelo thinks he's charming when he's in front of the judges, but the crowd can read this kid from a mile away and are not on his side. Deangelo pretends to sing "With You" by Chris Brown, and it's just awful. The judges decide this is a waste of time, so they get up and head to their dressing rooms. Deangelo's cousin, who is watching backstage, laughs at the judges leaving and possibly his cousin. The two leave the arena, along with the microphone pack. There's some frenzied footage of crew calling the police, which seems a bit much until Deangelo says on camera he stole the microphone (which is worth about $3,000). Deangelo gets arrested and charged with a misdemeanor. Nothing like an audition where no one looks good – yes, show, even you.
The last audition from Missouri features Tate Stevens, a 37-year-old road worker. Backstage, he tells his family he feels a little self conscious since he is the only guy wearing a Stetson and dressing the part of a country singer. When he gets on stage, LA asks what Tate likes to sing. He says rap, then laughs at his own joke. I love this guy. Louis asks what Tate would do with $5 million. "Honestly? I'm gonna have a big-ass party," Tate replies. After his delightful interview, Tate begins to sing "Anything Goes" by Randy Houser. I am not a country music fan, but two syllables into the song and I am enthralled with Tate's voice. He's confident and sounds radio-friendly. We get a lengthy audition from Tate, letting us know he is one to keep an eye on for the rest of the competition. Britney says Tate is one of her favorites so far, while LA admonishes him for waiting so long to pursue music. Tate gets four yes votes, as he should.
San Francisco Auditions
Back in San Francisco, we get introduced to the quintet Citizen. Their intro package features all five of them working on their hair while "It's Raining Men" plays in the background. I assume the music choice is because they're attractive, but all I can think of is Matthew McConaughey calling them the "cock rockers of San Francisco." Which I guess gets me partial credit? Anyway, the guys choose En Vogue's "Don't Let Go" as their audition piece. Hmmm, this could be interesting. The guys have worked in solid/cheesy boyband choreography and have decent harmonies. The problem I have is this whole performance is coming off as too polished and over-rehearsed. As the song goes on, the harmonies start to fall apart and it gets a little yelly. LA thought the song choice and arrangement were great. Britney thought they totally rocked. Demi loved the harmonies. Simon, who is back on the panel, says he didn't get it and the whole thing felt 10 years out of date. Despite Simon's objections, the group gets three yeses and will be going to Boot Camp.
After a series of bad auditions from groups and kids, we learn Simon is soooo over Adele as an audition piece. He tells the next auditioner, 13-year-old Diamond White, not to sing Adele. Before that, we learn that Diamond lives with her mom in a "shoebox apartment" where they have to share a bed. Take that, Rachel Crow's bathroom. Diamond is cute as a button and exudes sunshine and joy. Her joy gets challenged for a moment with the "No Adele" request, so she opts to sing "This is a Man's World" by James Brown. I don't think the song is the best match for Diamond's voice, but you can tell she has the chops. Her voice is mostly from her throat, but she works the stage and knows what she's doing. The judges all love Diamond and she gets four yeses.
We return to Texas with 19-year-old Ally Brooke. She looks like she walked out of a Target ad, with her hot pink t-shirt and Alicia Keys hat. She looks confident and put together. Her song is "On My Knees" by Jaci Velasquez, a pop ballad with which I am unfamiliar. Ally hits the right notes immediately and has incredible control over her tone. She hits the sweet spots of the song without overdoing it and avoids the temptation to add runs at every opportunity. Simon stops the music and Ally keeps singing. She does just as well a capella, but she won't stop singing. I'm worried the lack of listening might hurt her, but the judges speak favorably. Britney says Ally could be on Broadway, which might be a slight backhand, but Simon saves it by calling Ally a future star. She gets four yeses and we get treated to a montage of four-star talent.
Panda Ross is a 42-year-old barista from Dallas. She's wearing a necklace around her neck with the word "single" and says "Simon is my babydaddy." She mentions she was in the hospital with pneumonia yesterday, but she wasn't going to give up the chance to sing for Simon. She gets on stage and flips out a bit for Simon, who asks how she got the name Panda. "My mom was in jail when she had me," Panda says. "Her cellmate was white, I was black…" That's the best name origin story ever. Panda has selected "Bring It on Home" by Sam Cooke, a selection that immediately wins over LA and Simon. Of course Panda knocks it out of the park instantly, choosing to sing the song directly to Simon in the second verse. Simon has money eyes during this audition, so you know it's love. Demi sums up the audition best, saying Panda is such a character with a voice that is so soulful. Panda gets four yeses and gets to hug the judges backstage. However, Panda hasn't fully recovered from the pneumonia and starts to have breathing problems. An ambulance has to be called and Panda is wheeled out with an oxygen tank. "I don't want Simon to see me like this," she says as she gets lifted into the ambulance. I hope she gets well before Boot Camp.
The final audition of the night comes from Jessica Espinoza, a 22-year-old from San Antonio. Jessica is currently unemployed, but she's no stranger to life without financial resources. Despite growing up without much, she comes across as extremely well-adjusted and ready to do what she needs to do to find her next opportunity. She sings "Nobody Knows" by Pink. Jessica immediately commands the room with her voice and we get treated to almost the entire song. Despite the emotional baggage she's unpacking with this audition, Jessica is able to keep it together while she sings, saving the crying for when the judges overwhelm her with praise. Simon says he loves everything about Jessica and hers was his favorite audition of the day.
Mike McComb – TVLatest.com
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