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Freelance entertainment writer, martial arts instructor, and mother of two.

X-Factor, Sept. 21 – The Trash Hauler


This sets up a battle between Simon and L.A. They just can’t seem to agree. Simon sees him as the number one music executive in the world, yet he himself knows how to take an artist and turn him into a star, not just in one country, but all a lover the world. L.A. comments that Simon may be the greatest record man in the world, but he himself is the greatest talent magnet in the world. They disagree about Tom Slade, 21, a college student; Late 2 Fame, ages 19-22; Nickayla Guadalupe, 14, a student; Andrew Muccitelli, 12, a student; and even Charlie Cruzer, 28, a boxer and dressed like a purple scarecrow, but Simon is joking about that one more than anything else.

If she would get the five million dollars, Stacy Francis, 42, a stay-at-home mom, knows it would change everything for her. She comes to the audition with a baby in a stroller, and a 3-year-old. She met someone who didn’t treat her right, telling her she’s too old, not talented, and pushing her around, and she started to believe him. She knows the time is now for her. She tells the judges she hasn’t had her big break yet because she just “sorta got stuck” and “I don’t wanna die with this music in me.” She sings Natural Woman, and has the voice to back up her great story. She hits the chorus and belts it as the crowd goes wild for her. She started out somewhat meek, but completely pulls it out, giving me the chills and making Simon mouth “Wow.”

After a judges’ standing ovation, L.A. tells Stacy that everything he does musically is about having her spirit stirred and the hair on his arm raised, and she did both. “You are so gifted; you got what it takes.” Paula tells her that opportunities like this come along once in a lifetime for someone as angelic like her. “Honest to gosh, this is your time.” Cheryl is completely and utterly blown away and could feel the whole room was willing her to win. Simon has done this a long time, but tells her it was one of the best auditions he’s ever heard. She’s obviously through, but I think this girl has already won. She’s not too old, is talented, and doesn’t deserve to be pushed around. She deserves the standing ovations.

The auditions move to Seattle, and Nicole now replaces Cheryl on the judging panel. She got her start on a show like this. Geo Godley, 43, an Internet blogger, feels he has the X-Factor because he sings, writes, produces, and plays. He started in elementary school, was classically trained on the piano, and the rest came along. He wears a rainbow t-shirt and silver satin suit. He sings a tune that he wrote, and has talent that matches his outfit. He then drops his pants and flashes everyone with Nicole and Paula refusing to look and either being grossed out or laughing.

Paula gets up and walks out. Simon asks, “What the bloody hell was that?” With five million on the line, he doesn’t know what Geo is thinking. Paula is backstage, perhaps barfing. L.A. tells him it was offensive, disgusting, distasteful, and upsetting. He requests he leave the building, as Nicole admits she’s traumatized. Paula gulps some water ad says it literally made her sick.

Marcus Canty, 20, started singing at 11 years old while his mom would do the dishes. She’s here, along with his aunt, supporting him. His ultimate goals are to be a record producer, and to win a Grammy and walk the red carpet. His mom has told him to chase this dream now, then go and get his degree if it doesn’t work out. He knows this is his last chance. He tells Paula he plays basketball, watches children, and enjoys life. He sings some Stevie Wonder, and is totally grooving on the stage. After losing his nerves, he brings it. Nicole and Paula stand up and dance.

The crowd goes nuts for Marcus, and he breaks down and cries, falling on the floor and looking up, obviously thankful to get to this point. L.A tells him he worked with Bobby Brown, and has been looking for another one ever since. Marcus has that Bobby Brown in him. Nicole tells him he’s what they’ve been waiting for, and wishes she could see the look on his mom’s face. Paula tells him he’s adorable and illuminates the room. Simon admits he normally tells people not to sing this song, but he really likes him., He reminds Simon of Usher, who Marcus admits is his idol. Simon considers him one to watch. His family rushes on the stage after he makes it.

Day two in Seattle is Nicole’s birthday. The crowd sings happy birthday to her and Simon brings her a cake adorned with his face. Many of the contestants wish her a happy birthday as well, and she cracks that it’s her 21st birthday.

The Anser, three guys ranging in age from 20 through 27, have come from Salt Lake City, Utah, via road trip. One of them has a job making copies and coffee, another is a lounge singer, and the third works in a fast food place. Before they audition, they sing Happy Birthday to Nicole, then launch into Rolling in the Deep a cappella. The song works out well being sung in this manner. Nicole figures the girls are going to like the coffee and copy maker.

L.A. tells the group they were prepared, have the swagger, and got the excitement, and knows it’s so good up there. He says yes. Nicole tells them because they are three worlds, Fab, U, and Lous, “Yes, yes, yes.” Paula knows they get that it’s a 5 million dollar prize, and says yes. Simon makes it four.

Nici Collins, 23, an event planner, is passionate about her music and has been since she was a little girl. One days she wants to sell out stadiums somewhere. She may be passionate about it, but it’s a talent that would be better left in her shower rather than stadiums. She screams in her performance, and I think it might be calling out dogs. She announces she’s done, and Simon notes she’s stopping her audition. She’s not; she just wants to do another song. He doesn’t really want to hear anything else, making her ask if her mic is working. Nicole tells her she has “range,” and Paula think she might have done this on a dare. Simon tells her she has a horrible voice, Nici is shocked to hear four noes.

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