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October 7, 2011

X FACTOR USA: WEEK 2 AUDITIONS

AKA: GREETINGS FROM PLANET PAULA: WE COME IN PEACE



Day 1: September 27, 2011

Kristen the Yellow Lab and I are in a space oddity!! After all, what else can we expect when traveling to Planet Paula for the second week of X Factor USA auditions?  We've taken our protein pills, put our helmets on.  Now, we are watching Paula float in a most peculiar way. Count down, astronauts and astronettes, for  THIS is X-Factor!


Hot Host continues to delight as he makes believe that he is a rugged truck driver careening through the Chicago loop. While steering from the passenger side. He tells us to get ready for the auditions!  Kristen and I say, "10-4, good buddy!"

The big news about the judging panel is that it is another Cheryl Cole joint! Geordie accent for the win!  

The show begins with two youngsters straight out of a Glee subplot, Brock and McKenna.  Though they have been best friends for years, unbeknownst to McKenna, Brock is carrying a torch for her! He's never found the way to tell her, but promises that she will learn someday. (How about the night this audition aired?Along with 12 million other people?)  They sing Colder Weather by the Zac Brown Band and it's all sweet and lovely, if a little boring. The most interesting thing about this couple is whether or not they'll finally get it on at boot camp.  It seems they'll have their chance! All four judges put them through.




To further the Boredom-Factor, we get four bad auditions in a row.  The most interesting is that of one  Charlesenia, who was slightly confused and thought she was auditioning for Simon's job.  She says she's brutally honest. Also, in her opinion, people come in two varieties: classy or trashy. It's official, people! We've just entered the atmosphere of  Planet Paula!

Onto 16-year-old Skyeler Anderson.  The young man from Mississippi believes he stands out because you don't see too many African American country singers. He begins his audition, singing Billy Curlington's Must Be Doin' Something Right, when the music suddenly cuts out on him.  He pauses for half a beat, takes a deep breath, and sings unaccompanied. He's good. Not great, but good enough to get four yeses from the judges.  Kristen and I agree that he's darling, but he definitely needs some time honing his vocal skills and getting out in front of audiences.





Now, we're onto the good stuff. J Mark Inman, an ambidextrously-brained hybrid of nerd and entertainer. The man not only sings Radiohead's "Creep," he lives it. Kristen and I agree that he is interesting, and can actually carry a tune. Nevertheless, we're stunned that he gets four yeses. What we aren't stunned about? That Paula can relate to him. She says,  "You are other-worldly. I think I visited there once or twice."  Oh, we're sure you have Paula. Quite sure.



Here comes Josh Krajcik, a guy from Columbus, Ohio who, typical of the citizens of Kristen and my fair state, dressed for the weather rather than the party. Yes, he looks like a bit of a schlub in his hoodie and sweat pants, but it was COLD out that day, people! So what if he's auditioning for a shot at a $5 million recording contract, and the chance to become a super star? In Ohio, we respect the climate. Josh is accompanied by his mother, who appears to be a high ranking official in the governing council of Planet Paula. She babbles about how she drove the entire way from Columbus to Chicago.  (Seven hours people!)  She worries about whether she should remove her jacket or keep it on. She wonders about her hair.  She hopes everyone sees how special her Joshy is! OMG! She's so, so nervous! So nervous!!! Kristen and I say, "Dear Helicopter Mama: Get grounded."   


Josh steps on stage as his mother anguishes, tells the judges he will sing At Last by Etta James. Simon rolls his eyes. "Are you sure?" Josh is sure. And with good reason. It's a Joe Cocker  meets Ray Charles version with just the right mix of rough and smooth. He gets four immediate yeses, and Kristen and I now have a pony in this race!  We are hoping our pony takes a shower and a shave, however.


Hot Host trucks on back to Seattle,


where we ditch Cheryl for good and are reunited with Nicole, a person who reminds Kristen and me of a cross between Stacy London and Maya Rudolph.


                    Maya Rudoph           +            Stacy London   +                    Sleeze =
Nicole Scherzinger


Here comes a duet called The Good Girls. They claim to be a mother/daughter group with the mother being all of 70 years young. Um… not so fast, ladies. Deputy Dog Kristen did snooping, and guess what we found?  The pair of you auditioned for American Idol a few years ago.  At any rate, the two are purposely awful, descreting Marvin Gaye's What's Goin' On. Is there really a market for bad auditioners? Do people hire them to perform at the birthday parties of naughty children  or the bachelor parties of  unpopular grooms who spent the past four years sponging off their groomsmen?  Kristen and I do not know. Fortunately, there's no market for these two on X Factor, so off they go.



They are followed by a “Belieber!” (a member of Justin Bieber’s fan base.) 14-year-old teen-a-rific Drew who actually knows that L.A. Reid discovered Justin, proving she's done her stalking research!  To show her love for the Biebster, she performs one of his own songs, Baby.  She slows it down, giving it an  angsty, singer-songwriter vibe. Her presence is mature, and her voice is lovely. She is given four firm yeses and shrieks her way off the stage.  And why not? She's just this much closer to being the future MRS. JUSTIN BIEBER! omgZZZZZZ!!!





Kristen and my favorite performance of the night does not belong to the best singer, but, rather, to one Peet Mentzingo, he of the best back story ever.  Peet's the only non-dwarf in a family of dwarves. At 6'1", he towers above both parents and all siblings. His family is awesome, as is Peet. But, suffice it to say, he has a bit of an identify crisis. "I want to feel like I fit in somewhere," he laments. Proof that we can all feel like the odd man out sometimes.  He sings Bruno Mars Billionnaire  replacing "billionnaire" with "famous."  He is charming and fun, but not much of a singer.  The judges agree and tell him that with his charisma, they can see him on TV or in films. But, he's not right for this competition. "My son sparkles," says his mother. And indeed he does!
 
The last audition of the day belongs to Tiah Tulliver. She is 19 years old, and has a style - ponytail, bright red lipstick.  Kind of hipster meets school girl.  She performs an a capella version of Impossible by Shontelle which is just a'right, dawg, if Kristen and I are being honest. Yet, for some reason, Simon loves her.  He sees potential for greatness. (????) Paula and Nicole disagree, though L.A. is ready to give her a shot.  Simon badgers the women into giving Tiah another chance.  She uses it to perform It Don't Mean a Thing If It Ain't Got That Swing which actually fits her look and voice much better. Kristen and I see where Simon was going with her. She could be a throw-back, a female Michael Buble.  Paula still says No, but Nicole caves to Simon's pressure. Tiah is through, but she's going to need to find a musical identity and pronto!
Happy Simon.


Does not come Paula-Approved.


 
Day 2: September 28, 2011
 
Hot Host tells us it's the last night of auditions!!

 
The show opens with 14 year old Brian Bradley, he of YouTube fame for his rap song, Stop Lookin' At My Mom. He gives Simon attitude and sass, both of which Kristen and I highly disapprove. Why, back in our day.....

Bratley bounds across the stage and starts rapping the above-mentioned original song.  He has the right 'tude and energy, and proves himself  a strong performer, bringing the crowd along for the ride.  The judges have no choice but to put him through, even though Simon informs him, "You are rude, obnoxious, and argumentative, but one of the most talented young people I've heard in a long time." Let's hope the opening bratitude was just part of his schtick.  If not, might we suggest::




 
Kelly Warner works in a nursing home styling hair. She is a pretty girl in desperate need of a make over as she is all circa 1992, with a tad less hair spray.She does a credible job of Coen's  Hallelujah,  and gets four passes to bootcamp.  Kristen and I don't expect to see much of her after this.



Aaron Surgeon comes onstage all Slash-haired doing a decent version of  Aerosmith's "I Don't Want To Miss a Thing." Simon thinks he's average, to be found in any bar throughout the country.  Kristen and I tend to agree. Though he has a flair to him.  The other three give him a shot, so he's off to bootcamp.





Here's Liliana Rose who is, to be honest, a bit of  a creeper.  She's looks like she's dressed for her hippy wedding with her pan flute playing boyfriend. She does a delicate version of You Are My Sunshine, smiling cloyingly throughout.   Her voice is sweet, but, really.  Let's cut to the chase.  No one wants to hear an album of "Tunes To Sing While Whittling." Still, she's through to bootcamp. And Planet Paula, where she can be the resident Paula In Waiting!!





Next is Andy Silijkovitz, the true 40+-year-old virgin. Andy says he's never had a girlfriend, never kissed a girl. He is hoping that if he can go far on the show, maybe he'll get a girlfriend. He's particularly thinking if he can win the $5 million prize, this will become a reality. Simon and L.A. assure him that having a little cash defeinitely helps!  Andy is tone deaf, as is his poor sweet mother waiting backstage. Kindly, the audience doesn't react in a negative way, and Andy is allowed to finish his song.  The judges also treat him with kid gloves, telling him he's just not right for this, but they admire his spirit. Then, Simon offers him Paula's phone number.  He accepts a hug, instead.

After a few bad auditions, we get Cari Fletcher, a 17-year-old who performs Heart's Alone.  We can barely hear her at first, then she brings it up a notch. But, not enough of a notch to suit us.  Cari has a pleasant tone, but if we're being honest, she's a little too much Z Factor for our liking. The judges adore her blonde blandness, however, and shuffle her through.





Now, we've got two high schoolers named Austin and Emily who call  themselves "Ausem."  Um... get it? Kristen and I call them Ad N'Ausem, just for yucks. They bring a crowd of school pals with them to create the illusion that they are teen 'throbs.  They perform Christina Perry's Jar of Hearts as if they are in a poor high school production of Teen Angst: The Musical. Both Simon and L.A. feel that Austin has potential, while Emily is holding him back.  Emily's father, waiting backstage, is furious they dissed his baby and rants, "That's not fair!" No, Mr. Emily's Daddy, it is not fair. Because guess what? This isn't the T-Ball version of the music business where everyone gets to play.  The judges put them through, but mostly on the strength of Austin's potential.  Nicole has a problem deciding as she doesn't see them as a duo, which causes Simon to have a mini-meltdown.  Her indecisiveness is cutting into his smoking time!Realizing that she is the weaker of the pair, Emily, to her credit, doesn't pout. Instead, she says, "I really need to step up my game!"  Thatta girl!



Next comes Tora Woloshin, a breath of fresh coolness and current vibery. If she can't have a career as a singer, she'd love to build her own race car. She's a little bit Gaga, but a lot Tora, which is refreshing. She belts out The Jackson Five's "I Want You Back" like the song was written for her.  The crowd is on its feet, roaring its approval. The judges agree she's special.  Definitely one to watch. Kristen and I will!



Bad audition time: Jor El Garcia dances to Madonna's Lucky Star with lots of belly action.  John Duff can't sing. Darlene and Sherone have what appears to be some sort of sex on stage.  Rick White does a campy version of Land of a Thousand Dances.  Goodbye.








Next is Stereo Hoggz, yet another throw back to the 90's guy groups, except they have a more current vibe. They're tight with the harmonies, and the choreography is on point. Simon says they are over-rehearsed, but Nicole respects that commitment. They are put through, which is good news for one of the members. His wife just had a baby girl at midnight the day of their audition! *cue the awwws!*








And here comes the eye candy for the ladies! Brennan Hunt from Nashville, Tennessee.



 Brennan informs us that his major goal is to rule the world.  Also? He's done modeling and considers himself sexy. *insert sound of record scratching here.*



Really, Brennan? You just went from eye candy to stye.  He performs a tune he wrote himself called "How We Make It," which is fine, if a bit generic. It does show off his nice tone. He gets four yes's, but Simon has some doubts.  Brennan happily walks off with his Barbie-doll girlfriend, his first steps towards ruling the world. Kristen and I will give him a chance, but he needs to check his ego at the door. Maybe there's an app for that.



We get a few quick positive auditions in a row. Young blonde Paige Elizabeth, who has Simon's vote, 59 year old LeRoy Belle who does a soulful, clear rendition of Lean On Me, The teenaged Brewer Boys, and one Nick Dean who really gets Simon to light up with his version of Walk Away. 




All poor Devan Tally wants to do is  pay tribute to Rent by singing  Seasons of Love.  Over and over and over. And over. "Five hundred twenty-five thousand six-hundred minutes...." We can only assume Devan is the mayor of Planet Paula's capital city, Abdulabad.





Finally, we have a very nervous Jazzlynn Little, age 16.  Jazzlynn is one of those girls who doesn't know she's pretty because she doesn't fit in with the conventional chipper high school mode of the "in" crowd.  She's a bit of a  dark soul and has an artistic vibe to her. Simon trips her up with lots of questions.  Her nerves are  about how many hits she gets on YouTube (500). She seems out of her element on the big stage.  But, she takes a deep breath and absolutely KILLS Mary J. Blige's "I'm Going Down."  The audience gets right behind her, as do the four judges. Simon thinks she could be a world star.




 
 
 

Kristen and I are pleased to announce that this week turned our opinion around. The talent was better, the bad acts less prevelant, and the Paula crazy came back in full force!! So, in the spirit of our Paula, let's dance!!!

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2 comments:

  1. "Tunes to Sing While Whittling"? LOL Kristen!

    ReplyDelete
  2. That was worth it just for Abdulabad!

    ReplyDelete