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

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


L.A. is fascinated by Ashley on many levels, but the singing was the least of them. She gets four noes, and Simon is worried about demons coming to the auditions. With a bunch of bad auditions that follow, it seems to be happening. The lights flicker out, and as they wonder what’s happening, L.A. says it was the ghost girl. They asked her to bring her friends, and she did. Kevin Martin, 54, a delivery man, tells the judges people tell him it’s beautiful when he sings. Yet, he chooses to sing You Should Be Dancing … all in falsetto. He’s sent home. The lights flicker again, and the people behind the scenes don’t know what’s going on.

All in black, Marivana Viscuso, 55, an ex-music teacher, is asked if she has met any of the previous contestants before, and claims she hasn’t. I don’t know what to think good, bad, or indifferent, as she sings Summertime. It reminds Simon of wolves mating in the forest. She gets through, as Paula admits she might have been possessed, but she loved it. Simon turns to her and says that’s exactly how he felt. L.A. thinks they might be under a spell.

The group 2Squar’d, four women ages 24 through 28, perform with a definite Miami sound. Nicole loved the energy they came out with and the message that the beauty is from within. They get four yeses and are through. Kendra Williams, 32, a teacher, can belt it out and brings the audience to their feet. Nicole tells her she has a gift that is not to be wasted. She, too, gets four yeses. Brendan O’Hara, 30, a music instructor, appears to connect with Nicole. Simon tells him he has a fantastic voice and could sell a ton of records. He’s through. Jeremiah Pagan, 22, a college student, admits he’s a male soprano, so sings somewhat high. He’s good. L.A. tells him that voices like his are why great songs are written. He gets three yeses.

Melanie Amaro, 18, a college student, sings everywhere, and has her family’s support. She doesn’t want to disappoint them. Asked if she’s good, she replies she’ll let the judges decide. She sings Beyonce’s Listen, and is quite good. L.A. enjoys it with his eyes closed. Nicole and Paula give her a standing ovation before she even finishes, and Nicole even breaks out in tears. The audience and all the judge are in the standing O by the end.

L.A. tells Melanie she is truly amazing. She has the gift, the soul, the spirit, the swagger, and the X Factor. Nicole, still in tears, says this is why she does this. People like Melanie inspire her. Paula says she has a unique ability unlike anything they’ve heard, and unlike anything she’s ever heard in any audition she’s been in. When Simon was asked why he was bringing this show to America, it was because they hoped they’d find someone like her. L.A. walked away from a lot to do this show, and she just made it all worthwhile. Yeah, she’s through.

It’s on to Dallas, with the first auditioner being Jonny Rogers, 17, a student. He’s got some Justin Bieber hair thing going on, saying no one else in school has hair like this, and he spends a lot of time making sure it’s perfect, but hates when people compare his hair to Bieber’s, as he feels like he had it first. He wants to dance, but his mom tells him not to. Simon asks if he knows who he looks like, but says Barbie’s boyfriend Ken, not Bieber. When asked if he likes Bieber, he says he has a good voice, so kind of wishes he was in his spot. He sings one of his own songs, and dances anyway. Take that, Mom. It’s not good. Those Miami demons might have followed the show to Dallas. The crowd goes wild at the end.

L.A. liked the energy and his presence and says he’s entertaining for sure. Nicole loved the choreography, as he tells her he has a lot more. Paula loves surprises, and he surprised her like there was no tomorrow. It reminded Simon of a factory in China and being given an order to manufacture a bunch of Justin Bieber dolls that sing and dance, but it kind of goes wrong in production. He’s let down very easily, especially by Simon, who tells him to keep up the enthusiasm.

Nicole is embracing everything that Dallas is, loving the fried chicken and gravy, as well as the peanut butter cookies. Simon thinks she’s gotten very southern since arriving, and in fact she’s saying “y’all” quite frequently. She’s also calling people “Sugar.”

Dylan Lawson, 18, a student, lives out in the boondocks, and loves playing music. It runs through his family. This isn’t about winning the show for him, but going on and progressing with the future of music. He sold his truck, and took that money to fly here from Kentucky to audition. He’s done everything he set his mind to, and here he is. Nicole asks him what he would buy with a five million dollar recording contract, and L.A. cracks, “A truck.” Simon guesses talking isn’t his strong suit and moves on to the singing. I don’t think you can call it singing, though, as he just moves around the stage screaming obscenities, then falls down on the stage face first. Simon tells him it was horrible and that it’s time to leave the stage.

Wesley Kimbell, 40, a sales associate, sings Shine Down and only elicits a dropped jaw from Nicole. Michael and Michelle, a bank teller and personal trainer, 19 and 21, are up next. This heavyset guy being a personal trainer elicits surprised looks from the judges. They aren’t bad, but can’t harmonize at all. It makes Simon uncomfortable that Michael was pawing Michelle while he sang to her. It’s a no. Curtis Lawson, 19, a street vendor is nicknamed “Phoenix” because he dances through fire. Nicole notices the dreamcatcher he’s using as a belt buckle. L.A. cracks it just caught some dreams. He sings something that makes it seem like the demons definitely followed them to Dallas. Nicole feels violated. I don’t think he caught her dreams.

Dexter Haygood, 49, a bar singer, sees himself as a rock and roll soul man, with Mick Jagger, James Brown, and Elvis Presley all in there. It’s the high heels he’s wearing that I can’t stop thinking about. He was in a band called Xavion back in 1984, but has been homeless since 1989 and lives from couch to couch after losing his house in foreclosure. He hopes this is his payoff, as the hope and psssion is what’s keeping him alive. He considers this a second chance. He tells Nicole he has children her age, then runs off and chases the ring he dropped. Simon knows what’s coming, and here it is, classic James Brown. It’s not bad, though.

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