The X Factor settles down its travel schedule and hangs out in Denver and Long Island for two hours of auditions. The Over 25s get representation, but the judges may have found the best group to compete on the show.
Jeff Brinkman: Jeff owns a doggie day care and has floppy hair. The judges give him four yeses. Oh, wait, first he sang “You Are So Beautiful” and delivered a solid Joe Cocker impersonation. That works for an audition, but he’s going to need to be original if he wants to succeed. He’s a good looking guy with a wee one back home and he does have a good voice.
Long-term chances: He could be Josh Krajcik or LeRoy Bell — choose wisely.
Rachel Potter: Rachel is a bartender in Nashville trying to make it as a country singer. She does a country version of Queen’s “Somebody to Love” which is…fine? She has a country voice and hits all the notes, but there was nothing going on in her face. The crowd goes nuts for whatever reason and the women of the panel give Rachel a standing ovation. Simon maintains the British standard and remains seated AS HE SHOULD.
Long-term chances: She’s Jannel Garcia 2.0, but I don’t think she will last as long in the competition.
Denise Weeks: The final audition of the night, Denise is a subway singer on the R train in New York. She decides to do “The Greatest Love of All” which…hrmph. Initially she gets rushed by the backing track (sidenote: what is with the godawful karaoke backing tracks?), but Simon allows her a second go a capella. This goes better, but Whitney is a reach for Denise’s vocal power. I also expect her to have a complicated relationship with the Internet if Gawker decides to highlight her busking days.
Long-term chances: If she keeps swinging for the fences (Whitney, Mariah, Beyoncé), Denise will strike out.
Rylie Brown: The first passing audition of the night, Rylie attempted “Clarity” by Zedd. She forgets the lyrics almost instantly, but catches up with the song heading into the chorus. Although she hits the notes, I hate the tone of her voice. Her audition was couched behind a montage of bad auditions, but she can’t survive by grading on a curve.
Long-term chances: The pressure has already gotten to her. This won’t end well.
Simone Torres: Geeky circus music plays as she enters the stage, so you know she’s about to serve some Susan Boyle realness. Simone sings “Mustang Sally” and two notes in I was completely entranced. She worked the stage like a pro and was told by Kelly and Simon she had the best audition of the day. Co-sign.
Long-term chances: Simone is primed for the butterfly-emerging-from-a-cocoon narrative. If she gets the right mentor (read: not Demi), she could dominate this competition.
Jorge Pena: Is GTL still a thing? Jorge seems to think so. After negging Paulina, Kelly and Demi, he sings a song en espanol. His voice is fine, but dude is grody. They keep playing “I’m Sexy and I Know It” in the background, though “Rico Suave” would have been more apt. Despite his pickup artist behavior, he does have a look and can sing. He received four reluctant yeses, but Demi will cut him if given the chance.
Long-term chances: Unless Simon gets this category, I can’t see Jorge getting to the live shows without a major attitude adjustment.
Al Calderon: Al is a singing waiter and he hates his job, so we know he possesses some self-awareness. He sings “Sara Smile” by Hall & Oates and tries to make it sexy. Now, Al is a lanky 19-year-old who has decided to accentuate his rather large ears with quarter-size, blinged-out ear studs. Everything about this audition is the opposite of contemporary. The good news: Al has a voice, but he needs some serious guidance.
Long-term chances: He could be an interesting work in progress, but he will need to make good choices in a timely fashion.
Roxxy Montana: Detroit represent! These three sisters (20, 21, 22) snuck off to New York to audition, as their parents have already given them the “last chance” ultimatum. They start by singing “One Night Only” from Dreamgirls, which sounds rather dreary with no build. Simon cuts them off and mentions that the sister named Temperance has a voice and the other two are bleh. They get a second chance and sing a church song a capella. This was totally in their zone and their harmonies are on point. The judges still think Temperance should take the lead, but every girl group needs a Beyoncé / Diana Ross / Susanna Hoffs.
Long-term chances: Getting to the live shows shouldn’t be a problem. Staying on the live shows is always a tough sell on this show.