Maybe the third time will be the charm in the search for the first mega-star to come out of the US version of The X Factor. Paulina Rubio and Kelly Rowland join Demi Lovato and Simon Cowell as they criss-cross the country for tonight’s first batch of auditions.
I’m not going to go into excruciating detail about these auditions — you all know how these work by now. The show assumes this too, only providing the details specific to this season. This year, the categories have been determined at the outset: Boys under 25, Girls under 25, the Over 25s, and the Groups. Auditions are held in these categories (they’re even color-coded!) and the judges will find out who each will be mentoring once the cast has been culled after auditions. Here are the category representatives from tonight’s episode:
Boys: Carlito Olivero
This barista from Chicago opened the show, so you know he’s going to get a yes. He’s not really my type, but I could see how other people would think he’s cute. He sang Rihanna’s “Stay” and I think I might actually like that song now. He has a Bruno Mars tone and a solid falsetto. He didn’t come across as cocky or entitled the way that other Boys have in the past, which only works in his favor. He needs to learn how to not sing through his throat, because he had A LOT of jugular bulge during the song.
Long-term chances: Keep an eye on him.
Over 25s: Lillie McCloud
Lillie says she’s 54, but she could easily pass for 35. She’s been trying to make it in the business forever and feels like a slightly more palatable version of Stacey Francis. Hopefully she doesn’t have as complicated of a relationship with the Internet, though it looks like MJs Big Blog has been digging into her background. Have fun, Lillie. Anyway, she sings a CeCe Winans song which is fine if this were Sunday Best. Everyone in the arena goes nuts and the judges trip over themselves praising her.
Long-term chances: If she makes it to live shows, she’ll be out by the third week for being boring and predictable. Prove me wrong, Lillie.
Groups: Alex and Sierra
These two twenty-somethings are sooo in love you guys. Except Alex reminds me of Junior from Under the Dome, plus he’s holding Sierra back. They do a slowed-down acoustic version of “Toxic”, which doesn’t do much for me. However, this show goes bazoo for any pop song given the “Jolene” treatment, so of course they get to move on to the next round.
Long-term chances: Not making the live shows.
Girls: Rion Page
Rion has a joint disorder that has inhibited the development of her arms and made her blind in her right eye. Although these physical impairments are visible, that isn’t what draws your attention. Rion carries herself with a level of confidence that I thought she was in her mid-twenties. Rion’s 13. She closed the show with “Blown Away” by Carrie Underwood and the performance was good. It isn’t the most vocally challenging song, but you can tell Rion has the chops.
Long-term chances: If she can handle songs with a bit more depth and gets the right mentor, she could go very far.