The X Factor heads to North Carolina for some stormy auditions
The X Factor auditions were at the mercy of the elements and one very angry contestant on Thursday night.
During his illustrious career as a judge, Simon Cowell has turned his nose up at more than one contestant before labeling their audition as "indulgent rubbish."Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
If Thursday's episode of The X Factor was an audition and Simon were being honest, it would suffer the same fate. Between the backstage conversations that sound like the contestants are reading from cue-cards, the totally scripted questions the judges ask contestants, and the toddlers who come dashing out onto the stage and into their father's arms in a victorious celebration of the glory of mankind, each passing episode of the season becomes more implausible and over-produced than the last and considering we're only four in, this is a definite cause for concern.
This is not to suggest that the episodes are void of entertainment. Demi Lovato's "Flock of Seagull's" inspired hairdo, Britney Spears's never-ending stream of bizarre facial expressions and the entire production being struck down by lightening were high points of Thursday's episode. And, to be kind (which I am capable of, thank you very much) The X Factor has managed to excel where American Idol has often struggled: in their handling of bad auditions. Rather than weigh down the episode with awkward, exploitative auditions, The X Factor prefers to air them like a visual buffet; hand-picking only a few to serve as main courses.
In fact, there are far more good auditions than bad - unless of course one takes the judge's feedback this season to heart - in that case there have been no good auditions, only mind-blowingly amazing auditions. To hear the judges talk, The X Factor has single-handedly discovered the next vocal icons of our generation, all in the first four episodes of Season 2.
Take the feedback to Will Jones, for example. Will surprised all of the judges by eschewing his "sick, Fresh Prince of Bel Aire" image and tackling the country song that has become synonymous with Season 10's American Idol winner Scotty McCreery, "Your Man," (you know the one: "Baby lock them doors and turn the lights down low"). It was a perfectly adequate rendition of the song, although not quite as good as Scotty's. But Simon declared that WIll had a "sensational recording voice" and that Will's audition made it "a day to remember."
Who would have thought we'd pine for the days when judges gave empty, half-hearted platitudes, like, "You're beautiful. Just beautiful."
Eightteen-year-old Julia Bullock's audition was the perfect juxtaposition of The X Factor's two major vices: implausible manipulation and over-the-top accolades. As Julia took to the stage, Demi Lovato immediately asked who came to the auditions with her that day. It turns out that Julia's band members had joined her, one of whom used to be her boyfriend. Demi's next question was how her band members felt about her auditioning. It was such serendipity that Julia hadn't ever spoken to her band members about how they felt about her going solo until they actually got to the auditions that day and were standing in line, as an X Factor cameraman happened to be passing by.