X Factor USA 1.04 – Newark / Everywhere Else Auditions

This round of auditions is being held in Newark, NJ. And why is that, you ask? Because Simon likes Jersey Shore, no lie. This makes me laugh and laugh. I’d say that people from Jersey aren’t actually like that, but I’ve seen the other audition cities and if there’s one thing this show brings out of the woodwork, it’s the fringe elements. Yay! So we’ll see how many Situations show up to wow the judges. 

Starting the festivities is Brian Bradley, a fourteen year old kid with the swagger, the threads, the fedora, the fake black plastic glasses…he refers to himself as a tornado. Bwah! But does he have the voice to back up his bravado? When he meets the judges, Simon asks him why he doesn’t have a record deal yet. Brian replies, “It’s politics, man.” I love this kid already and he hasn’t even opened his mouth to sing yet. He starts to chew out Simon even though Simon hasn’t even really spoken to him yet, throwing down his glasses and hat. Is he crazy?! Crazy like a genius, as that’s how he begins the song he wrote and is performing, the unforgettable Stop Looking at My Mom. The judges love him, especially LA Reid, who tells him he was waiting all these years for someone like Brian to walk through the doors of Def Jam Records. Well, he’s here now, and the show is better off for it.

Kally Wagner has really nice hair, suitably big for a Jersey audition. She’s also very cute, and her rendition of Halleluiah is strong enough for her to get four yeses. She’s so happy she says she can’t stop smiling even though it’s hurting her face. Heh. Aaron Surgeon is up next, and I’m starting to think that if there’s one thing to expect in these auditions, it that there’s gonna be a lot of big hair. He’s got a pretty voice, not as strong as it might be, and even though Simon and I think he’s not good enough to get through, the other three judges disagree with us and Aaron is moving on so he can be quickly trampled in boot camp next week.

They quickly blow through a bunch of singers who get through, no doubt to make room for a segment about a really bad singer. Is Lilianna Rose going to be that one, with her quirky earrings and gummy smile? No, she is most certainly is not – she’s got a unique and wonderful voice that even impresses Simon. She sails through, as well she should. I’m hoping she gets some nicer shoes before we see her again, but that’s neither here nor there.

Ah, next contestant Andy Silikovitz is the bad singer they’re going to make fun of. Guess what? He lives with his mom and is still a virgin at 43 and can’t sing. Ha ha ha! ::crickets::  The producers may be bloodthirsty, but the judges are kind when they let him down, even Simon who jokes with him that he should have an easier time with the chicks after his audition. Of course, then Simon makes him come down to get Paula’s phone number, which I suppose proves again that Simon has a heart full of dead kittens.

Next up is Clarissa “Cashmere” Cheatham, who tells Simon that her only singing experience thus far is karaoke, where the reaction was people screaming her name. Simon cracks up, because he knows exactly what it means when people cheer on karaoke singers. He’s right, she’s just brutal. When she’s done, Simon can’t stop laughing, telling her that when people screamed when she sang, he didn’t think it was a compliment.

Cari Fletcher is a beautiful junior in high school, and you can practically hear the judges praying that she can actually sing. She can, but the judges (like all of us who watch these types of shows) know that she’s probably going to be one of the many hot blond, utterly forgettable singers that are churned through and voted off, never to be heard from again. They vote her into the next round, but warn her that she better get better, more relevant, and more outstanding, and she better do it fast. She promises she will.

Austin and Emily make up the group “Ausem” (which, LOL), and when they perform it’s pretty obvious Austin is the standout of the couple. Simon likes them, but LA only reluctantly lets Emily through as well, and Nicole has an extremely difficult time deciding if she wants to ditch Emily there and then. Simon doesn’t help when he starts yelling at Nicole to either say yes or no, which, as Paula says, is like a car honking its horn behind you, making it even harder to think. When Nicole hems and haws one too many time, Simon walks off in a huff. Now Nicole knows first-hand why everyone thinks he’s mean! Succumbing to audience pressure, Nicole votes them through. They and their family and friends are ecstatic, but they’re not going to have a cheering section at boot camp so we’ll see how many minutes it’ll take before Emily is bawling.

That ends the auditions in Newark – now the judges move on to…the entire country. I’m guessing this means extra auditions pulled from all the cities they’ve already visited? Good enough. Time to meet Tora Woloshin, a cutie young lady with more than a passing resemblance to Lady GaGa. She’s also studying to be an automotive technician, so she’s a real renaissance woman. Simon pretty much falls in love with her on first sight, and then swoons when it turns out she can sing like nobody’s business. Honestly, if I had to pay to see just one of the contestants we’ve seen in all the auditions…she’d be the one I’d pull out my wallet for. Simon tells her he has a good feeling about her, and the other judges agree. She’s through with flying colours.

Jor-El Garcia hopes he’s just as special, too. He cites “all the rock godesses” as his inspiration and is, you may have noticed, named after Superman’s dad. He sings Lucky Star by Madonna, and starts off as a floating arm stage left, fingers snapping. “This is going to be good,” Nicole says, tongue possibly in cheek, “I can feel it, Simon!” I can’t rightly decide if it’s good or bad. His voice is plain as dishwater, but he’s entertaining as hell. He breaks out his hottest dance moves, which makes Nicole beg for more and Paula and his mom hide their eyes. Ha! He gets four noes, but my seal of approval for at least being fun.

It’s all downhill from there, with a long line of bad contestants, some of who make Nicole and LA grip each other’s hands for strength and comfort. The host, Steve Jones, made me notice him for only the second time this season when he (I believe) pronounced Houston HOO-ston. The group Stereo Hogzz (really) bust a move and sing their boyband-lovin’ hearts out, and once again I think they sound like ass but the judges and audience love them. Off they sail to the next round. Groan.

Brennin Hunt is a musician/male model who knows exactly how good looking he is. He is definitely too sexy for his black open-necked t-shirt – OMG he’s a young version of Simon! He says he’s going to sing a song he wrote himself, which makes the judges cringe in anticipation of ick. But never mind, the song is great and so is he. He’s talented and hunky and my, what a hard life he must have. Heh, I’m just jealous and I’m not even a guy. The judges rightly put him through, and Simon offers to personally work with him. One more step taken on his golden journey. Lordy, now I’m just grumpy. ::swigs gin out of a brown paper bag::

Paige Ogle is an 18 year old secretary who is also adorable with a memorable voice. She sails through with a big thumbs up from Simon. Hot on her heels is LeRoy Bell, a handsome 59 year old with the smoothest, most soulful voice you could ask for. It’s one great voice after the next! Now here come the Brewer Boys, two teens whose voices could not be more radio friendly! And Nick Dean, who could be on the cover of Tiger Beat tomorrow! The yeses are flying fast and furious!

And then comes Devon Talley. He sings Seasons of Love so very badly – and he won’t stop singing it! The judges stop the music, but that doesn’t stop him. He goes on and on and ON. He’s so cute and hopeful, and those lyrics are going to be burned into all our brains for a very long time. He doesn’t get through, but he does make us all want to pinch his cheeks before he leaves.

Next up is Jazzlyn Little, who is so nervous we can just about hear her sweating. She tells the judges she posted one song on YouTube, and it got about 500 hits, and it’s probably because of her. Her confidence is a wee frightened baby bird that’s been run over by a Hummer. She begins to sing, and BAM! She comes alive. She’s so, so naturally talented that she makes the judges high five each other. She gets a standing ovation, and Simon wonders what she’d be like if she DID have confidence.

What a high note (literally) with which to end the auditions. Next week is boot camp, where all our favourites will get ground under Simon’s boot heel and some of the acts we can’t even remember will surprise us with their fantastic second tries. See you there!