September 28, 2011 06:59 PM by Lisa Princ
The X Factor was back tonight with auditions in Chicago, as well as Seattle. The Chicago auditions kicked off as thousands of hopefuls lined up in the rain for their shot at $5 million dollars. First up in Chicago were a couple of friends and students, Makenna and Brock, who had been singing together for a few years. Before they performed though, it became obvious that Brock had more feelings for Makenna than she knew. The pair performed a duet of “Colder Weather” by the Zac Brown Band, and it was spectacular. The judges loved them, even Simon Cowell, who admitted he was not a fan of that those types of performances. Needless to say this pair was sent through immediately.
Then the really bad performances emerged as we watched Kim Terek slaughter “Firework” by Katy Perry and Tim Quin performed Seal’s “Kiss From A Rose,” despite Simon’s advice not to. Robin Royal showed up with a homemade tune that left Simon asking “what in the bloody hell was that?” But the funniest came from Charlesia, who was hoping to audition to judge on the show! Simon told her she was way too late for that and sent her on her merry way.
The next act hoped to impress after all the failures. Skylar Anderson, a 16-year-old country crooner performed his version of “Must Be Doing Something Right” by Billy Currington, and when the track stopped playing, Skylar played it cool and kept singing, which really impressed the judges. Despite needing to work on his vocals a little bit, he was good and the judges loved his uniqueness of being a young, black, aspiring country artist. The audience was impressed as well, and Skylar was given 4 yes’s.
31-year-old J. Mark Inman was up next with a performance of “Creep” by Radiohead, and this guy had the look of a creep going right along with the tune, it was insanely good. The audience went wild for him and the judges sent him through based on his uniqueness. Then we saw many strange auditions, that were jokingly “inspired” by Paula, including folks who didn’t even think they were human – very strange indeed! Arin Ray was up next and had a spectacular voice in his shortened clip, and he earned a ticket through.
30-year-old Josh Krajcik was up next, and not afraid to admit that he brought mommy with him. Josh performed “At Last” by Etta James, and it was definitely not what we expected to hear come out his mouth. Josh, who drove 7 hours to get to the audition, blew everyone away with his performance. This guy was amazing and got a standing ovation from the audience and Paula Abdul. Simon started by saying he was blown away, and loved how he was honest. L.A. said he knew why Josh was dressed like that (in rag looking clothing), because this was his “before”. The judges loved him and he was sent through without question.
Next, The X Factor headed to Seattle once again, and up first on for the auditions were a mother/daughter duo called The Good Girls, who performed “What’s Going On” by Marvin Gaye. Despite the fact that one of them used to sing, they were awful and Simon called it “the worst group he ever heard in his life”. Nicole called it “lifeless” and the duo were sent packing. Following the horrible mother/daughter duo, was a Justin Bieber fanatic. 14-year-old Drew Ryniewicz hit the stage next and she was hoping to impress none other than L.A. Reid with her performance of “Baby” by Justin Bieber. Drew put her own unique spin on the tune, and her voice was amazing! L.A. was all smiles through the audition, and Nicole said she preferred her version over Justin’s. Simon said she was the easiest yes for the day, and Drew was sent through.
Seattle was filled with weirdos as well, as we watched many come in and flunk. Peet, the only normal sized child to a family of dwarfs was up next. Peet’s dream was to be a teen heartthrob, but could he sing? Peet, at 21 years old charmed Paula immediately and then he performed “Billionaire” by Bruno Mars, with his own twist. Simon thought the singing was terrible, but he called it horribly honest. The panel did not send him through, but they all encouraged him to pursue a career in the entertainment industry.
4Shore, an all boy band, was up next. 4Shore decided to attempt “The End Of The Road” which was written by L.A. Reid. 4Shore got a standing ovation from all the judges, except Simon, but he loved them. This foursome was sent through with 4 yes’s. Elaine Gibbs, a 53-year-old grandmother was up next and impressed the judges, as did 17-year-old Francesca Duncan. And the good auditions continued with Tiger Budbill and a few other quick auditions.
Then we met 21-year-old Phillip on The X Factor, who considered himself a “hipster”. Phillip Lomax performed “Fly Me To The Moon” by Frank Sinatra, and wow if you watched America’s Got Talent this season, I think he would have made Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. proud. L.A. Reid said that Phillip had The X Factor. This confident kid was sent through to the next round. And then the auditions took a turn for the worst, with some pretty awful performances. During one awful audition that was heading into a stripped routine, Simon criticized Nicole by saying he could have seen her doing that audition at 20 years old, and then Nicole quickly proved him wrong with her audition of “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston.
19-year-old Tiah Tolliver was up next with a performance of “Impossible” by Shontelle and she was awesome. Simon and Nicole had a disagreement over Tiah’s keys during her acapella performance, as Nicole thought her keys were off. Nicole told her no, Simon gave her a yes, L.A. Reid told her yes, leaving the decision up to Paula Abdul. Paula told Tiah that she was going with her gut and told her no as well. L.A. Reid asked Tiah if there was anything she could do to turn the no’s into yes’s, and Tiah decided to sing “It Don’t Mean A Thing”. Simon then begged Paula and Nicole to change their minds, as he asked the audience for their thoughts. The audience loved her and then Paula said it was hard for her. Nicole said she saw the steel in Tiah’s eyes, and then she changed her vote to a yes.
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