6:50pm PT by Sophie Schillaci
'X Factor' Recap: Loose Ends and Bad Judging Before Boot Camp
On Thursday’s long-awaited final night of auditions, backstage drama came to a head when paramedics were called to 13-year-old contestant Trevor Moran’s side. After missing his scheduled performance and looking pale as a ghost, it turned out that Moran was just “really dehydrated” and “overexcited.” Kids.
No matter. Moran hit the stage after a few Gatorades (although we could have sworn he took a sip out of Honey Boo Boo’s Go-Go Juice), only to deliver a high-energy, highly inappropriate rendition of LMFAO’s “Sexy and I Know It.” The mix of singing, rapping and grinding somehow wowed the judges, with all four giving Moran an enthusiastic thumbs-up. “You owned the stage,” proclaimed LA Reid in a rare lapse of judgment. “Everything that the X Factor’s all about, you embody.”
Sixteen-year-old lovesick puppy Owen Stuart dedicated his performance of B.o.B.’s “Airplanes” to his long-distance love, Tori. His declarations of heart-tugging, all-consuming love prompted plenty of eyeball-rolling from the judges (and from the audience in The Hollywood Reporter’s Los Angeles office), but Stuart’s heartfelt lyrics – rapping his own verses and borrowing the song’s chorus – won over Reid, Simon Cowell and Demi Lovato. Britney Spears was not so impressed, saying, “You didn’t wow me.”
Stuart’s response after being voted through: “I won’t let you down, Britney. I promise.”
The show found its Susan Boyle moment in obese 41-year-old minister Freddie Combs. Confined to a wheelchair, the 540-pound singer (who weighed in at 920 pounds just three years ago) stirred up Freddie Fever with an equally big version of “Wind Beneath My Wings.”
The judges enthusiastically let him through to the next round on one condition: Motivating himself to get healthy and get out of that wheelchair. “If you stand, I’m gonna stand right by you,” urged Reid.
In another round of questionable judging, 12-year-old Jordyn Foley skated on through to the next round with an off-pitch version of “Tomorrow” from Annie. But first, Cowell hilariously asked the pink- and glitter-covered tween, “You’re not gonna sing Annie are you?” A look of pure panic was all the answer he needed before retorting, “I’m actually allergic to ‘Tomorrow.’”
And now, frankly, so are we.
Next stop: Boot camp. And all we can say is -- finally.
On the whole, the hourlong program felt more like a final effort to tie up loose ends before moving on to the next round, which will find the finalists battling to the death (sing-off style!) on a Miami stage. And by the looks of the preview, there will be plenty more heart-wrenching failure to be had. In the words of Cowell: "Now it gets tough. Separates the men from the boys."
Wrapping up a mostly forgettable episode, the show utilized its final few minutes with a look back on the audition rounds as a whole. It was almost as if producers were saying "Hey, remember these people? We did find some talented people. Remember?"
It was slim pickings for the good on Thursday, with 16-year-old Lauren Jauregui, a Miami native, delivering an Alicia Keys cover that stretched well beyond her teen years. And hey, we’ll give it to the 540-pound minister for totally delivering in the vocal department. As for his stage presence – well, he’s got his work cut out for him.
Where to begin? Aside from the aforementioned failures, whom all somehow managed to land the coveted "yes" votes, the show’s obligatory fail reel (as we would like to dub it) brought viewers an off-pitch sisterly quartet and a Krysten Colon-worthy temper tantrum from a 17-year-old male contestant.
“It was like a nosedive with a corkscrew” -- Demi on a promising contestant that couldn’t deliver.
“Years ago I sat on two cats and that’s what it sounded like. It was painful” – Simon Cowell to the sister quartet.
“Singing is definitely not your thing, sweetie” – Spears throwing an endearing reference at the end of a cold judgment.
Email: Sophie.Schillaci@thr.com; Twitter: @SophieSchillaci