September 29, 2011 11:32pm PT by Jethro Nededog
'X Factor' Redux: 6 Surprise Performances From the Final Auditions (Video)
Fox’s The X Factor finished up it final audition episode in Newark and San Francisco. It was actually a surprisingly straightforward hour when it came to the talent, because you know these audition episodes can go off the rails very easily.
There were several very strong performers and then your normal mix of delusional people (cough, Devon Talley) who think they can sing.
Simon Cowell greeted the auditions with an extra amount of chest hair and they thanked him by delivering some real surprises. In fact, this episode was chock full of people who made me think their performance would go a certain way, but then went a whole different route.
Here are the 6 performances that surprised me the most.
1. Brian Bradley walked the walk. This 14-year-old from Brooklyn came out with major attitude and acted a few years older than his age. I was sure he would perform well, because he sold it. And then he broke into his rap and it was an original song about his mama and he suddenly became exactly his age. Simon, who seemed very annoyed by the young man’s attitude was totally won over in the end, saying Brian was one of the most talented people he had seen in a while. And while I’m usually not into theatrics, how could you be mad with a boy who rapped about his mom?
2. There was nothing soft or rich about Kaashmir’s voice. Clarissa Cheatham aka Kaashmir should change the stage name to Polyester. I totally had high hopes for her. I know as soon as she said she did karaoke I should have known… but I’ve heard some pretty good singers in those bars. Alcohol does help. She elected to sing Mariah Carey’s “Always Be My Baby.” Simon suggested that the singer would probably be watching. Well, I just hope the new twins were sleeping. Their young ears didn’t need to hear this.
3. Ausem didn’t live up to their name. I saw the entourage Austen and Emily aka Ausem had backstage. I saw the fans waving their signs in the audience. That gave me confidence that these two will deliver. But, they have watched too many episodes of Glee.Their musical theatre performance made me feel embarrassed for them and there voices were better suited for a backyard show. Emily was clearly the weak link of the duo, but I don’t think she deserved to be told that by the judges. Austen really wasn’t much better. That said, they advanced to boot camp even as Nicole Scherzinger was ready to let them go. Peer pressure, it gets you every time.
4. Tora Woloshin had everyone pumped. Tora just made me smile from the first moment she popped up on my screen. She loves fast cars and she’s studying automotive technology. Honestly, I felt like if she didn’t make it here, she’d be perfectly happy working with cars the rest of her life. She was funky and high energy and I thought there was no way this girl can sing well too. She had everyone at hello and all she needed to do was carry a tune. When she launched into Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back,” it was a done deal.
5. Brennin Hunt ended up being more than a pretty face. I’m just going to say it. I hated Brennin on sight. Call it jealousy, I don’t care. He was cocky and way too pretty. I didn’t think there was any way he could sing well. And then he said he was performing an original song and like Pavlov’s dogs I started panting in anticipation of the lashing Simon would give his awful performance. The problem was his performance wasn’t awful. The dude can sing. The song was cheese-tastic, but there are people for that. What I realized later was that the whole d-bag routine was just something he was doing to protect himself from possible rejection. After he made it through, that all fell away and suddenly he was just a guy who wanted to be liked.
6. Jazzlyn Little has a big voice. Jazzlyn was like the polar opposite of Brennin. She was nervous from the moment she arrived at the stadium. And while I felt she’d have a good voice, I thought her lack of confidence would get the better of her. I feared for her even more when she said she was singing Mary J. Blige’s “I’m Going Down.”And then suddenly the nervousness went away and she handled that song as if she’s been singing much longer than the four years that she claimed. In fact, the cynical part of me wondered if we had all been punked by this high school sophomore. But in the end, I agreed with Simon. She’s a girl who really loves music and took a chance on that stage and won.
Who were you most surprised by? Tell us in the comments section below.
Email: Jethro.Nededog@thr.com; Twitter: @TheRealJethro