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The X Factor continued its auditions looking for a star in Charleston, S.C., and Los Angeles, and may have found a few contenders, including one that got “4,301 yeses” and another who may be “the one,” according to a certain British judge.
Before that, there was plenty to suffer through as an irritated Simon Cowell fired off some of his best zingers of the season so far, including the gems “When someone I hate gets married, I am going to have you two sing at their wedding;” “I would hate to be your parents;” and “You sounded like you were being strangled.”
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Cocky Robin Thicke lookalike Blake Shankle, for example, had his dreams to be a “household name” dashed by Demi Lovato, who deemed him too theatrical for the competition. “I can rap,” he pleaded, but alas, he was shown the door. The show he SHOULD have auditioned for would be America’s Next Top Model–if they let guys compete. Judge Kelly Rowland summed it up best when she told the 19-year-old hopeful: “You are so hot.”
One Rihanna wannabe rankled Lovato, who came up with a Cowell-ism of her own: “I don’t know if you can hear yourself but you probably won’t want to.” Then there was the inexplicable audition where a girl actually rapped in pig latin (really-who does that?).
But there were some good prospects, too. Here’s who stood out:
1. Andrew Scholz, an 18-year-old jock, donned a plaid shirt, flashed some serious teeth, and came across as a living Ken Doll with a microphone as he took on Alex Clare’s “Too Close.” The girls in the arena loved him, but the women who actually mattered–the judges–felt he was “awkward,” “too karaoke” and plain didn’t “get it.” Cowell, however, was the only fan, and told Scholz that he had “charisma” and it would be crazy to let him go this early. Cowell’s tenacity earned the teen a second chance, who went country with Little Big Town’s “A Little More You,” which turned the tables as he earned four yeses.
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2. Elonna Santiago, 16, competed on the first season of X Factor as a member of Paula Abdul’s behemoth group, InTENsity. She was a standout back then, as Cowell had admired her vocals and singled her out as “you in the red jacket.” The initially shy singer attacked “Wings” by Little Mix with sassy bravado, prompting Cowell to gush, “Elonna Santiago–remember that name.” However, when she asked the man who is only the show’s executive producer, “do you remember me?” he couldn’t recall her at all. Oops. No matter. She impressed Rowland, who praised the singer as a competitor who “meant business.” Cowell continued: “you are the girl I think I want to work with most now in this competition.” And Lovato said that after this season Cowell is never going to forget her again.
3. Stone Martin, 14, is a brave kid-singing One Direction’s “Little Things” in front of the man that put that act together. He sweetly flipped his hair back and forth, and had the girls in the audience screaming in unison. “You are so charming,” Lovato said, while Cowell saw a “star glow,” and the teen made it through. He’s got a cherub-like quality to him, but something tells me he needs more seasoning.
4. Ashly Williams, 24, had the most heartbreaking story of the night. She was 14 when her mother was murdered, a moment she called “the worst moment of my life.” We admired Williams, because when she was asked what was “interesting” about her, she simply answered, “I’m working on it,” preferring to let the music do the talking. Her choice? Whitney Houston, “I Will Always Love You”–no small feat, and she nailed it, evoking “chills” and tears from Lovato and a standing ovation. “Thank you baby girl for spilling your heart out in that vocal,” Rowland said. “I was captivated by your talent,” said Rubio. Cowell said “this is why we brought the show to America–to find someone like you.”
On a side note–can we please retire Sarah McLachlan’s “Angel” forever from the sad stories? I keep seeing abandoned puppies in my head and have this Pavlovian response to reach for my phone and donate to the ASPCA every time I hear it.
Who are you loving in the competition so far? Hit us up in the comments!
Twitter: @TheLiveFeed, @MicheleAmabile
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