This is it, people- the final round of THE X FACTOR auditions! And if an intense ‘O Fortuna' montage of audition highlights, followed by a ‘Livin on a Prayer' intro to tonight's New Jersey auditions wasn't enough to get you pumped for the grand finale of round one, I just don't know what could have.
Brooklyn-born Brian Bradley kicked off tonight's auditions with a bang. The 14-year-old, who humbly proclaimed that he will soon be bigger than Jay-Z, began his rap performance by freaking out at Simon, which looking back was most likely a part of his act. You couldn't deny however that the kid has talent, and Simon agreed, right after pointing out that he was ‘arrogant, obnoxious, and argumentative.' Four well-deserved yeses went to Mr. Bradley.
The wunderkind was followed by a slew of the judges' favorites, including: Aaron Surgeon, Kelly Warner, and Liliana Rose Andreano, who sang "Don't Wanna Miss a Thing," "Hallelujah," and "You Are My Sunshine" respectively. All three, of course, made it through.
Following that series of stand-outs was the unfortunate, 43-year old Andy, whose life goals included being on MTV's Cribs and winning THE X FACTOR so that he could finally get kissed by a girl. Need I say more? Don't worry, I will. In Andy's version of "Hero," he made the bold choice of singing the song in the same octave as Ms. Carey. And alas, Andy ended up going home alone with Mama Arlene after all.
With the set up that they gave Clarissa ‘Cashmere' from Philadelphia, I really expected her to be talented. She was dressed like a normal person. She enjoyed karaoke. She admired Mariah Carey. I just didn't see it coming when she proved absolutely tone-deaf singing "Always Be My Baby." From that point onward, the bad auditions continued to snowball, until they hit rock bottom with a performance that sounded more like a dying goat than actual singing.
17-year old Cari Fetcher then took the stage to sing Heart's "Alone"-one of my personal favorites. She started off a bit rocky, but by the time she got to the chorus she had the audience screaming. Nicole thought she had potential, though Simon argued that there was nothing distinctive about her. In the end, Simon changed his mind, and Cari won four votes to send her onward.
BFF's Austin and Emily (who together formed Ausem- get it?), sang Christina Perri's "Jar of Hearts." The performance included adequate vocals and some very Middle School, back and forth staging, which I suppose was excusable considering that they were 15. Simon pointed out that their audience would understand them, but L.A. and Nicole weren't convinced that they worked as a package. Heavily influenced by Austin's talent and the duo's personal cheering section, they got four yeses. I don't get it, but maybe 15-year old me would have?
Next up was 21-year old Tora Woloshin, whose distinctive looks, eccentric personality, and mind-blowing performance immediately reminded me of Lady Gaga. The race car-lovin' girl KILLED The Jackson 5's "I Want You Back," and the judges all fell in love with her. Dare I say that she was my favorite of the night? I do.
Jor-el Garcia then added some humor to the night with his way over-the-top performance of Madonna's "Lucky Star." He got no's across the board, but at least he had fun with it!
The not-so-bad-looking Brennin Hunt (Kyle Dean Massey anyone?) then sang his own original tune: "How We Make It," which Simon immediately pointed out was very risky. But the risk proved worth it as not only was the song actually good, but his smoky baritone voice was enough to make any lady (or even man) melt on the spot. Did I already pick my favorite of the night? I think I've changed my mind...
Devon Talley then brought some Broadway to the evening with a painful rendition of "Seasons of Love." Let's just forget that even happened.
16 year old Jazzlyn Little closed the season one auditions with Mary J. Blige's "I'm Goin Down." Her performance was solid, but I couldn't help feeling that her vocals were a little weak... Maybe because that song doesn't really go anywhere range-wise? Clearly I'm the only one who thought that way though, because the judges jumped to their feet once she finished- so we'll be seeing more of Ms. Little.
Don't forget to tune in to THE X FACTOR next Wednesday night at 8pm for the first round of Boot Camp. Check back in to BroadwayWorld for another recap!