July 10, 2012 8:21pm PT by Shirley Halperin
'X Factor': Ray Charles' Grandson Auditions in Greensboro
Among the 5,000 or so wide-eyed hopefuls who came out to Greensboro, North Carolina's Greensboro Coliseum Complex for X Factor auditions on Tuesday was one would-be contestant with a very famous pedigree.
Says an on-set source, "This guy came on and told the judges a story about how his grandmother was in the movies and after they'd been talking for a few minutes, they finally realized that Ray Charles was his grandfather."
While it's still unclear who the auditioner's mother was -- at the time of his death in 2004, Charles had 12 children (several of them were sued recently by the soul great's estate) born of five to nine different women (reports vary on the exact number) and 21 grandkids -- it seems Simon Cowell, L.A. Reid, Britney Spears and Demi Lovato were nonetheless impressed, at least by the connection. "The judges were massively surprised," says an insider.
And he's not the only celebrity descendant to try out for X Factor this year. On the VIP list at the San Francisco auditions in June was Gene Simmons' daughter Sophie. As for the talent factor? We'll find out soon enough which famous offspring has the goods when season two kicks off September 13 on Fox.