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X-Factor, Sept. 22 – The Lesson: Be Yourself

The first night of auditions for X-Factor went pretty well last night. In some ways it was reminiscent of American Idol, but in other ways it was much different. There was some great talent put through, and some great stories behind the talent, just like we find on Idol. I’m hoping for more of the same tonight in Miami and Dallas.

The judges in Miami are Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, L.A. Reid, and Nicole Scherzinger. First up is Ashley Sansone, 29. She’s an unemployed starving artist, although not truly starving, as she has not one, but two hot dogs with her. She figures people think she’s a pop singer already because of her outfits. She also can’t stop talking, as she tells her friend something about having to pee because of something pressing on her diaphragm. She’s asked who inspires her and first says herself, then says she doesn’t want to be cornball singing about gummy bears. She likes Madonna and gives her big props … Simon interrupters her asking if she works, which of course she doesn’t, but she continues on anyway.

Paula gets exhausted listening to Ashley and L.A.tells her to sing. She takes off her shoes and sings Piece of My Heart … badly. She does the whole thing in such a growl that you can’t understand her. L.A. hopes she has really thick skin, noting she was getting on his nerves when she was talking, but once she started singing, he wanted to slit his wrists. Simon explains the problem. He couldn’t understand a single word she sang. She asks if she can sing a ballad, and the audience cries no. She’s dismissed.

Chanel Simone Dixon, 34, a hairdresser, has a blonde flip hairstyle, black leggings, red boots, and a yellow one-shoulder top. She gets noes and is shocked. Demanding an explanation, Simon tells her it was awful as it sounded like all screaming. She vows to continue singing unless she dies. A group of three guys, Kanan Road, ages 27-30, a salesman and account managers, vow it won’t be the last time we see them when they’re rejected.

Mother and daughter group DreamGirlz, ages 39 and 15, a dog shelter associate and student, are stopped after just a few words by Simon, who says he can’t believe this act could sell records. One of the thirty family members they brought with them says that’s “bull…” When the other judges say no, he demands they get him out of this place and tells “Mom” it’s ridiculous. She tells him he’s embarrassing the family. He swears and yells all the way out.

Simon tells the other three judges it was his mistake when he told them not to worry about Miami. Marissa Hopson, 25, an Internet blogger, is told by Simon she sings like a 3-year-old with a cold. Famous Miami native Gloria Estefan shows up at the auditions, telling everyone to show the judges what makes Miami special, and so far they haven’t been.

Caitlynne Curtis, 16, a student, brought her whole family with her today and feels extremely lucky her family supports and believes in her. She’s so nervous, she’s gone to the bathroom “like ten times so far.” Her mom is a pharmacy tech and her dad a printer, but she wants to be a singer. She sings the piano version of Firework and for the first time tonight, it sounds promising, despite her seeming a little nervous in the beginning.

Nicole thinks Caitlynne shows room to grow. Simon tells her it’s not good news coming from Nicole. His advice is that she should sing in a group with three or four others her age where she doesn’t have to rely on a fantastic vocal. He doesn’t think her voice is good enough. Caitlynne tells them she’s just really nervous. Simon votes no, and Nicole thinks they just don’t have enough time to allow her to grow. Caitlynne starts to cry, and Paula begs her to please not break down. Paula goes up on the stage and hugs her and tells her it’s okay. Caitlynne just begs her to not say no. L.A. tells her it’s moments like this that creates champions. She doesn’t even care about the money and just wants to sing.

Simon is calling this the worst session. Nick Voss, 21, lives in a three-bedroom house with seven people, but they’re a strong family, so like to stay together. Paula and Simon talk backstage about their concerns. Nick got a job recently to help his mom with the bills, and his boss told him if he goes to the audition, he’s fired. He told him to fire him. His family thinks he’ll be the first to make it through today. He wants this for them. He tells the judges he feels like more of a performing artist than anything and that this would change his life. He got fired from a job for dancing. He sings Trouble, and definitely is a performance artist. He doesn’t have the best voice, but could have the X Factor.

As the crowd cheers for the first time today, L.A. tells Nick if it were purely the singing business, he wouldn’t have great things to say, but because it’s about the entertainment business in general, and because he brought it into the room and for the first time today made him excited, he’s impressed. Nicole was confused at first, because he’s like Jim Carrey meets Jerry Lewis, with a little sprinkle of Elvis, but she digs him. Paula advises him to keep being unique and lose the Michael Jackson choreography. If he keeps performing like he did, that’s what people pay money for, and if he can work on his vocals, that’s what makes her excited. Simon absolutely loves him. He loves that he got emotional talking to him. He’s looking for an entertainer, and likes him. He gets four yeses.

Ashley Deckard, 14, a student, is also a ghost hunter, and admits to seeing apparitions many times before. One crawled at her. She knows Simon is looking for different, and she knows that’s her. When Simon asks her what the ghosts look like, she tells him they look like people. Paula knows what she’s talking bout, as she sees ghosts too. Launching into her audition, Ashley might be best sticking to the ghost hunting.


Freelance entertainment and tech writer, editor