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It’s the final countdown!
Yes folks, the last X Factor auditions are finally here! By the end of the hour (and this recap), we’ll find out who got through to the semi-finals and what groups the judges will mentor. But all in good time.
The last of the auditions started with Neil Macomber, a 45-year-old who came on stage brimming with infectious positivity. Boy was he happy to be there. Perhaps a little too happy. His rendition of “Everybody Talks” was creepy and weird, with Neil’s buggy eyes focused right in on Demi. It was like that drunk cousin who won’t get off the dance floor at the end of a wedding. After finishing his song, stroking Demi’s hair and calling her a “cute little poodle,” Neil was given four Nos and the paperwork for a restraining order. Just kidding… mostly.
Afterwards was the last montage of Yes (!!!!) for season three. It consisted mostly of groups like Girls United and Glamour, a teenage girl group whose beautiful a cappella song prompted Kelly to call them a “baby Destiny’s Child.” Also on deck were hip-hop duo Wild Thingz and two solo artists, a Scotty McCreery sound-alike named Zach Beeken and Danny “Santa Clause” Smith, a surprisingly good soul singer who’s Kris Kringle’s exact doppelganger.
The “slightly forgettable singer backed by an emotional story” slot was filled by Victoria Carriger. A single mother of eight kids with ages ranging from four to 20, Victoria has a lot to prove. But lucky for us, Victoria has a big ol’ soulful voice and sounds great (and looks great too) singing Kelly Clarkson’s “Because of You.” She strained a bit on the high notes, but the rest was pure and raspy and emotional. With coaching she could be dynamite.
At this point I was feeling really good. Despite my complaining about The X Factor these past few weeks, I was feeling the love and getting into the last set of auditions. Even Victoria’s slightly manufactured story warmed my heart. Might I also add that one of my biggest surprises watching this season is how much I’m loving Demi Lovato? She’s funny and likeable and has a great, friendly TV persona. Oh, and her “awww” expression when Victoria’s little ones came rushing on stage was just too adorable.
But… but… no, no, no. Nonononono. Just as I was feeling good, who comes to audition but Keith Beukelaer, who avid reality TV fans might remember as one of American Idol’s worst auditions of all time. Back, this time in a hideous, clown-like tie-dye outfit and multicolored boa, Keith took to the stage to rap, yes rap, “Baby’s Got Back.” I thought Simon and Company would hate Keith from the get-go, but then something weird happened. Everyone loved him. The audience was singing along and dancing (and dare I say… twerking?!) and even the judges got up and busted a move. I tell you, it was like some fever dream. He got four yesses. Stick a fork in me, I’m done, folks.
Thankfully, Keith ended the season three auditions. The rest of the hour was spent whittling down the finalists from 218 to 40 – ten each in Boys, Girls, Over 25 and Groups. After a hearty montage set to “Lux Aeterna” (AKA that Requiem For A Dream song. AKA another track that needs a moratorium against more usage in realty TV), the contestants took the stage for the first round of callbacks.
Here’s who made it through.
For the girls: Khaya Cohen, Bree Randall, Jamie Pineda, Simone Torres, Rion Page, Danie Geimer, Rylie Brown, Primise Martin, Ellona Santiago and Ashly Williams.
In the Girls category, I’d keep my eye on Simone, Danie and Ashly.
For the guys: Carlito Oliviero, Chase Goehring, Timmy Thames, Isaac Tauaefa, Tim Olstad, Al Calderon, Josh Levi, Isaiah Alston, Carlos Guevara, and Stone Martin.
In the Boys category, I’d keep my eye on Tim, Isaac and Carlos.
For the Over 25s: Lillie McCloud, Jeffrey Brinkman, Rachel Potter, Kristine Mirelle, Victoria Carriger, James Kenney, Allison Davis, Denny Smith, Lori Moore and Jeffrey Gutt.
In the Over 25s category (the best one, at least so far), I’d keep my eye on Lori, Rachel, Lillie and the Jeffs. (It’s of note, before we leave the topic, that Subway singer Denise Weeks failed to make the cut).
For the Groups: Glamour, Good News, Yellow House Canyon, Alex & Siera, Roxxy Montana, Wild Thingz and Girls United. Those keeping tabs at home might notice that’s only seven groups. The judges manufactured three new groups (a girl group, a boy band and a hunky country trio) out of cut auditioners.
In the Groups category, I’d keep my eye on Glamour, Roxxy Montana and Alex & Siera.
And that’s about it for the episode, except that we learn about a new round called the Four Chair Challenge, which is hyped so much you’d think it was a Hunger Games-like fight to the death. Oh, and each judge was assigned the category they will mentor from now on.
Demi will handle the Girls.
Paulina will take on the Boys.
Kelly will manage the Over 25s.
And Simon’s working with the Groups.