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October 1, 2011

X Factor USA: Week 1 Auditions



Kristen the Yellow Lab and I are pleased to say, "THEY'RE BAAAAACK!!"  Our favorite team of crazy cougar and acerbic Brit have returned to us at last!

 And Kristen and I plan to blog every hyperbolic, bloated, talent-shy, over-the-top, hubris-filled moment. For, ladies and gentlemen, THIS is the X Factor!

Will clap for food.

The premise of the show is a combination American Idol and The Voice with just a dash of America's Got Talent. For the early rounds, the Factorettes perform in front of four judges, Simon, Paula, Nicole Someone Or Other (The Pussycat Dolls), and L.A. Reid (a major recording executive and producer.) Unlike Idol, but much like The Voice and AGT, the wannabes give their initial audition on a stage in a massive venue peopled with  a pavlovian-like audience trained to leap to their feet at the first high note.  Like The Voice, the four judges will each choose a group of contestants that they will coach, assign songs, and champion to victory.  Unlike Idol and The Voice, but much like AGT, the talent is questionable at best. Got it? If not, here's a handy formula for future reference:

 American Idol +  The Voice  - Chairs  +  Hot Host  - Great Talent  + Sob Story x  Cheese  =
   X Factor
Hot Host opens the show with his charming Welsh accent by introducing us to the four judges. Except, instead of Nicole, we've got Cheryl Cole, the lovely judge of Britain's XFactor. Apparently, she was all set to be one of the stars of the stateside version and had recorded a few audition episodes when the producers  decided Americans are too yokel-like to understand Cheryl's British Geordie accent. And yet.... we understand Paula.

Geordie Accent

Vodka Accent
The first audition is a 13-year-old  moppet named Rachel Crow. Kristen and I disapprove. Talent aside, we feel she should not be auditioning to become the next world-wide superstar with all the demands and pressures involved.  Instead, she should be doing what all other 13-year old girls are doing.... popping her pimples, crushing on asexual young pop stars, and shrieking at her mother.
"OMG! i h8 u!!!!!"
Our Rachel bounds out on stage much like a yellow lab, all eager and happy and floppy.  She's absolutely adorable! Unlike youngsters her own age who would be chewing gum, twirling their hair and tsking, "WHATeverrrrr!" Rachel charms the judges by saying all the right things. She's cute, cuddly, precocious. So much so, that we're anticipating her to lisp through a darling version of "Good Ship Lolly Pop." Instead, Rachel opts for Duffy's ' "Mercy,"  a song about being a mistress to a married man. How Toddlers and Tiaras of her!
"BTW, I'm not potty-trained."

Kristen and I will give her this much.  What she lacks in quality, she makes up for in quantity. This child has a big, big stage presence and more soul than anyone who has only lived on this earth 13 years is entitled to possess.  The four judges have no choice but to push her through. . The girl has "it." We just wish she'd waited a few more years to audition so that all that sparkle doesn't end up on the front page of The National Enquirer some day soon.

Commercial Break. Why yes, Adam Sandler has yet another movie coming out in which he plays a nerdy buffoon? Why do you ask?

Things move along much the same for the next part of the show. Some hunky dude who Cheryl claims "Has got the package" makes it through on muscle bulk alone. Another teenaged girl and a Bieberish boy who said his only experience is performing in school shows also get a pass to the boot camp rounds.

Honestly. What is this? A talent competition? Listen producers, This is America! Give us something to mock and make it fast, or we're all switching over to Modern Family at 9 p.m.
We're pro-Lily!
HA! They heard us. Up next is a guy with modest dreams... a grammy, mega-stardom, and a sports drink named after him. So, if he gets his way, we'll all be drinking Siameze Floyd's in the very near future.
Siameze has flat-ironed his hair to Breck Girl goodness.  He wears a see-through mesh top because nothing screams "hot" like dressing in an orange sack.  Kristen and I think he performed  Rick James "Give It To Me Baby," but it's complicated. He didn't sing so much as scream.  He spent most of his time on stage doing cartwheels and splits. L.A. the smart one, gives him an immediate "No." Cheryl, the sweet one, isn't sure if that was horrible or genius. She'll err on the side of genius and gives him a yes. Paula, obviously not happy her spot as "the sweet one" has been unseated, says "Yes," too. Simon is the tie-breaker, and it's all so ridiculous. Of course he'll say no. Except he doesn't.  Siameze is through!
"A shampoo so rich, you only need to lather once."
Next we have a charming May/December couple named Dan and Venita.

 Dan, age 70, introduces us to his bride of 16 years, Venita, age 83. (Oh, Venita! You cougar, you!)  Venita says that if they win the $5 million, they will tour the country in their RV, performing at the most beautiful senior centers in America!

 Venita and her boy toy  warble an out-of-tune version of Unchained Melody, so the sweet pair are  given four quick  no's.  Looks like we aren't going to get a senior version of Demi and Ashton on the show this season.

The rest of the hour is filled with some footage of Simon and L.A. vehemently disagreeing.  Apparently, if one says potato, the other says pahtahtoe.

Finally, we have Stacy Francis, a 42 year old single mother who does not want to die with the music in her. She tells the judges she came from an abusive relationship where she was told she was too old and no good. But, this show, X Factor, is her last shot.  Naturally, she's very good, and everyone gets goosebumps and the audience leaps to it's feet. Stacy sobs and sobs, as the mascara pours down her cheeks. The background music swells, and she gets four resounding yes's from the panel!
Next, the entire crew has moved on to audition wannabes in Seattle, Washington. except they forgot to bring Cheryl Cole with them. She has been replaced by Nicole. Nicole does not have an accent, so will be easier for Americans to understand, ya'll.

The first audition is a man named Geo Godley who is performing a song he wrote himself called, "I'm a Stud."  Kristen and I agree that unless he's referring to himself as a vertical wall support, he's just a big old liar. He decides to drop trou to prove us wrong. Paula rushes backstage to puke because the sight of a manhood belonging to anyone over the age of 30 is foreign to her. Particularly one with a giant X over it. Geo is booed and sent packing.  Apparently, "Pants On the Ground" doesn't work for everyone.

As a palette cleanser, we get 20 year old Marcus. What's his story? He is running out of time. His mother gave him two years to make it in the biz,  after which she will force him to go to college. Marcus tells us this is his last chance. Either he makes this audition, or it's frat parties and sexy coeds for him, on his mother's dime. While Kristen and I play the smallest violin in the world, he gives a great performance of Stevie Wonders "I Wish." He has a solid tone, and the right look. He's very Usher-lite, but still good enough to earns four yes's from the judges, and a reprieve from the tough love of  dorm life.

 Next is a guy group called The Answer. Their first mistake? Being a guy group where the average age of the guys is 25. Their second? Being a guy group.
They are followed by a succession of bad/boring auditions.

 Then, a rehabilitating junkie by the name of Chris Rene takes the stage. He is 70 days clean and sober.  He chooses to do an original called "Young Homey." Kristen and I snicker, because... "Young Homey?" HAHAHA!!  Except it's good. Really good.

Simon tells Chris, "Maybe you need the show. And maybe the show needs you." All four judges pass him through, but L.A. and Simon warn him that he must stay on the straight and narrow. Can he? Only 70 days sober and being tossed into the pressure cooker of reality television? We shall see. Some feel the show should have given him a pass as he is too soon into rehab. But, isn't Chris a grown man who can make his own decisions? He made the choice to audition. Shouldn't that be respected? Again... we shall see.

Day 2: September 22, 2011
Tonight's show takes us to hot-hot Miami!
We are greeted by Hot Host,
Who introduces us to the chilly judges,
Who will be rating luke warm talent,
Which will result in one out cold Kristen:

The first half hour consists of five bad auditions. We're given some blathering blather-box named Ashley who simply will. not. shut. the. freak. up. She also can't sing. She's followed by a series of delusional acts, including singing cowboys, a mother-daughter whose rejection causes one of the family members to break all sorts of  Homeland Security rules, and a sweet teenager who needs a degree from the School of Hard Knocks before she'll be ready for the biz. All of this is edited to convince us that Simon and Co. have not put through a single act in Miami all day long. And we're just gullible enough to believe it!

At any rate, Nick Voss is, according to Kristen and myself, just weird. He does a very odd interpretation of Elvis Presley's "Trouble," and has a strange tone to his voice. We'll pass, thank you very much. But, the judges don't. So, Nick Voss saves the day. 

But, not for long. We get a teenager who sees ghosts, compelling Paula to confess that she, too, sees dead people!

This is followed by a series of boring, yet proficient auditions. (AKA: People who made it to boot camp, but whom we shall never see again in our lifetimes.)

Then, out comes 18 year old Melanie Amaro. She has "choir geek" written all over her. Plus, the hubris is in the song choice - Beyonce's "Listen." Kristen and I roll our eyes, awaiting yet another disaster. But, Melanie is not only good, she's great.  She gets four immediate yes's and is on her way to saving the show! Choir geeks for the win!!!!

Now, the show moves to Dallas, TX. The location inspires Nicole to say things like, "I love fried chicken and gravy, ya'll!" Apparently, Nicole doesn't realize she's in cattle country.

The first audition we see from Dallas is one Johnny Rogers. According to Johnny, people are always comparing his looks to that of Justin Bieber, and he HATES it!!  Kristen and I are here to ease his mind. He doesn't remind us of the Biebster.  Instead, he is a cross between  Kenneth from 30 Rock and Napoleon Dynamite. Not that there's anything wrong with that.  I don't think we need to report that he was awful and given four no's.

Next up is some guy named Dylan Lawson who claims he sold his pick up truck to make the trip from Kentucky to audition in Dallas. Dillon has the Deliverance-meets-french-fried-pertators thing down pat. So, we all await a country-singing genius. Instead, we get screamo-emo peppered with enough naughty talk to require a whole vat of soap for mouth-washing.

More horrific nonsense before we get to one Dexter Haygood. We see Dexter in front of the mirror backstage wearing platform shoes, bell bottoms, and a bedazzled jean jacket practicing some ridiculous moves and shouting out kung fu. He says in the voice-over that this is his second chance. He was in a group that opened for Hall and Oates in the 80's. But, since then, it's been a struggle. He enters the stage with a bit of an alcoholic palsy, bags under his eyes, and a defensive posture. The judges tell him to begin, and he does a James Brown/Eddie Murphy "Sex Machine."  It's actually good. But, all four judges agree he's just a tribute act. But, there's something about Dexter. He's standing on the stage, beaten down, struggling to hold onto his pride and keep the tears at bay. Simon looks at him and says, "Tell you what. I'll give you 15 seconds. Just you singing a'capella. Go." And we do. To commercial. When we come back, we get some back story on Dexter. Despite having a recording contract and touring with one of the biggest acts of the 80's, he has fallen on hard times. Dexter is homeless. As he puts it, he lives from couch to couch, and keeps his performing clothes for his bar singer gigs in the trunk of his car. We go back to the stage, and find Dexter prepared to take his 15 seconds. He starts to wail the chorus of "It's a Man's World!" Immediately the audience is on his side, as are the judges. And with that, Dexter is in. It's onto bootcamp for him!

Kristen and I yawn our way through several "good" auditions, of which we see about 10 seconds apiece. Then, out comes Cameron Diaz. Wait? What's she doing here? Oh, never mind. It's just Caitlin Koch, a female Rugby coach. She does an interesting version of The Supremes "Stop In the Name of  Love." She sings on key, and has a pleasant enough voice. Also, she's pretty so has pop princess written all over her. The judges agree that they'd all be "honored" to work with her. Particularly L.A.

Finally, we are to the last audition of the week. One Xander Alexander. (Real name Alexander Johnson, but because he is a future superstar, he wanted to spice it up a bit.) Also? Please don't call him Alexander. It's XANDER, thank you very much. He steps on stage and immediately picks a fight with Simon. He's all, "Oh no you di'nt!" And Simon's all, "Shut it and sing." And then Xander's all, "I'm nervous!" And Simon's all, "I'm going to roll my eyes dramatically now." And then Xanders all, "lalalala" except it's bad. And Simon's all, "Huh!" Inexplicably, they give him another chance. It doesn't make a difference. The kid has nothing. Simon points out to him that he is an interesting character, but he turned the audience against him. Xander gets four no's. And it's back to being Alexander Johnson for you, sir!

 And that's all she wrote for first week auditions! Is the show better than Idol? No. Not yet. But, Kristen and I have decided our attitude towards X Factor USA can be summarized in a song by Spanky and the Gang.


  1. LOL! I found this when I did a google search, and I'm glad I did. Kristan, you are a smart doggie. I really hate Nicole! Can we make a petition to get back Cheryl? And I hope they get rid of Dexter. Saula forever!

  2. Brilliant, as always Kristen. I know I can count on you for giving us the Big Picture without barking up the wrong tree. I'll look forward to your updates.

  3. Kristen rules! Although I'm not sure I can watch Paula for an entire season :-(

  4. Thank you all! Hey, Paula's not so bad... well, not TOO bad... on this show.