The X Factor continued its second week of two-hour auditions with new Season 2 singing hopefuls taking to the stage in both Kansas City and Austin.
Unfortunately for X Factor viewers (a bonus for many contestants), judge Simon Cowell had to pull out the Kansas City auditions due to illness and was replaced by Louis Walsh of the British X Factor for the first hour of the show.
First up in Kansas City was the confident 18-year old Rizzloe Jones from Kansas City who, only minutes earlier, chatted with another contestant named CeCe “no Spaces” Frey. As we found out, Frey had a secret agenda of roaming the halls to scope out the competition before she hit the stage. Was she intent on throwing Rizzloe off his game? Perhaps, but it didn’t work. Rizzloe blew away the judges with a freestyle rap that prompted L.A. Reid to throw down a word challenge, which Jones mastered with ease.
Next up was CeCe Frey, who the judges put on the spot with a barrage of tough questions. Although the judges were impressed by CeCe’s confidence, her vocals on the Righteous Brothers’ hit “Unchained Melody” didn’t cut The X factor mustard. Offered a second chance, CeCe opted for Christina Aguilera’s “Ain’t No Other Man,” which was a 180 degree turn from her first song. Although the judges loved CeCe’s second song, it’s likely that CeCe didn’t win over viewers at home due her meddling earlier with Rizzloe.
As The X Factor continued, 39-year old Vino Alan performed Ray LaMontagne’s “Trouble” in an attempt to win over the judges and give his young son a better life. An experienced singer who performed shows for the military, Vino’s gravelly vocals earned him a spot in the next round.
After a series of early highs, it was time for a low point in the show. More like a spectacle. When 19-year old wannabe singer Deangelo Wallace hit the stage, things got irritating. You know it’s bad when L.A. Reid calls you out for your bad attitude before he hears you sing. When Deangelo garbled out Chris Brown’s “With You,” the judges walked out on him as the crowd voiced their displeasure with a barrage of boos. Ouch! But Deangelo kept on singing.
The spectacle continued as Deangelo stole the mic (no, literally) and the cops were called. After confessing to ripping off the mic, he was arrested. What?
Anyway, back to the singers …
37-tear old Tate Stevens, a husband and father from Belton, Missouri, won over the crowd with his country charm and down-home personality. Singing Randy Houser’s “Anything Goes,” Tate was the perfect country star, cowboy hat and all. After receiving a standing ovation, the judges were only too eager to get him into the next round. Britney Spears called Tate’s performance her favorite of the competition to date.
When the auditions moved to Austin, Simon Cowell was back in his X Factor seat.
To kick off the Texas fun, boy band Citizen hit the stage to sing the En Vogue hit, “Don’t Let Go.” Remember En Vogue, the All-GIRL group? It was a strange performance, good but not great, that left Simon confused over their song choice for an all boy band. Although there was an obvious disconnect between the guys of the group, L.A. Reid, Britney, and Demi Lovato liked what they heard.
Although The X Factor raised eyebrows last season for including singers who may be too young to handle the spotlight, fans got another version of 13-year old Rachel Crowe in 13-year old L.A. native Diamond White. Singing James Brown’s “It’s a Man’s World,” Diamond delivered the vocal goods. Simon called her “incredible” and it was four “yes” votes from the judges.
The remainder of the Austin auditions were phenomenal.
Although Ally Brooke fit more of a Broadway style on Wednesday with her acapella version of Jaci Velasquez’s “On My Knees,” the judges loved her.
Country trio Sister C stood out among the groups and had the voices to back it up on Pistol Annies’ “Hell on Heels.” Can you say the new Dixie Chicks?
Singing Sam Cooke’s “Bring It On Home”, 42-year old Panda Ross was phenomenal despite suffering from pneumonia. Panda is this season’s Susan Boyle. I LOVE her. This woman will do great things on The X Factor.
Closing out The X Factor was Jessica Espinosa. Like last week’s premiere, The X Factor chose a contestant with an emotionally powerful story to headline the show. Winning The X Factor would help get Jessica and her family get out of poverty. Singing Pink’s “Nobody Knows,” Jessica was nothing short of inspirational. Simon called her his favorite audition of the day and she was on to X Factor boot camp.
Who did you like this week on The X Factor?