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

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


Simon only sees this as a tribute act, and Paula would have loved to see more originality. Simon asks for another song, fifteen seconds a cappella. He sings It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World and doesn’t have the best voice, but is very compelling. Simon tells him this is what they call taking his moment. L.A. tells him he definitely turned the place out. With the crowd cheering behind him, he goes out on a limb and says yes. Nicole calls Dexter one the funkiest cats and says yes. Paula needs him to come back as Dexter, and not James Brown. He agrees, and she says yes. Simon thinks the first song was a bit of a joke, and that’s why he had him sing again. He doesn’t know what happened in his life, but he can actually sing, and he has soul. That’s why he gets four yeses. That just gave me the chills.

Dallas finally brings it as more people get through. Kyle Corr, 20, a hog farmer, notes there will be no more singing in front of the pigs. He knew this was what he was supposed to do. Hannah Jackson, 31, a teacher, worked so hard and feels like the door to the birdcage is flinging wide open. Ma’at Bingham Shango, 12, a student, makes it as well. Austin Simmons, 23, a hairdresser, only feels at home on the stage.

Caitlin Koch, 21, a rugy player and coach, is up next. Rugby is a rough sport, and she gets hurt a lot, but her real dream is to be a singer. She tells Simon she’s a rugby scrum-half, which is like a quarterback in football. She sings Stop, In the Name of Love, with a little twist. She sings it slowly, singing from the heart, and brings the emotion. She totally soaks in the applause, to which there are a lot.

L.A. tells Caitlin it was really special and that he likes her a lot. Nicole feels it would be an honor for her to work with Caitlin in the competition. Paula thinks she has a great, individual, authentic voice. Simon noticed she was almost losing control, but came out in control in the end. She did something he’d never heard with the song, and that’s what he liked. With a “big ole fat, juicy, delicious yes” from Nicole and “mustard, lettuce, and pickles on top” from Paula, Caitlin is through with four yeses.

Xander Alexander, 27, unemployed, says that 5 million is a lot, but when you’re worth 100 million, he doesn’t want them restricting his career. His musical idols are Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey, before they lost it. He wants to be Donald Trump meets Martha Stewart without the jail time, meets Britney Spears, without the ugly husband. He gets offended when people call him Alexander, and knows he has what it takes. He’s black and Phillipino like Bruno Mars, but his hair isn’t nappy and he’s not chubby.

Xander debates his name with Simon and talks about his outfit with L.A. Simon addresses him as Alexander, and of course he flips out. He asks if he’s going to sing or not, wanting to sing I’ll Be. If he was to really perform he’d have his backup dancers out there in six inch stilettos. Simon asks if he’s ever performed in public before, and he responds by asking Simon if he’s ever worn a shirt that wasn’t grey. Simon calls him Alexander again, and Xander tells him to stop. He threatens to take Simon outside, and Simon offers one more chance, and tells him to shut it and start singing. He’s actually not bad. Simon tells him no way, as Nicole asks for another song. He gets out a note and starts making excuses about only having ballads prepared. Once he shuts up and stops trying to be the cool guy, he really is pretty good.

L.A. tells Xander vocally, it’s not so much, but he was very entertaining. Simon finally calls him by the right name, pleasing him to no end, and tells him he quite likes him. He’s lippy and gobby, but interesting. He’d like to hear him without nerves, but thinks him onstage with a full production would potentially be very good, even though it wsn’t a great audition. Paula tells him he’s her hero, but wants him to stop pretending to cry. He swears it’s not pretending.

Nicole advises Xander that while he has talent and Xander Xing, to get the audience to fall in love with him, he has to drop the ‘tude. L.A. says no, Nicole says yes, Paula says no. Simon tells him he needs three yeses; it’s too late. But where he blew this was getting the audience to hate him. The minute someone criticizes him, he turns into a bitchy, nasty diva. Backstsage, he suddenly loses that ‘tude, but it’s a bit too late.

I kind of wish Xander would have made it through. Yeah, he was annoying, but there might have been a diamond in the rough in there. To me isn’t any different than Dexter. Both he and Xander were pretending to be something they weren’t. If Dexter deserved to move on and prove himself, I feel Xander should have been too. The lesson in all this, though, is to not pretend to be something you’re not. It never gets them through, even if the rejection of being yourself is ultimately more painful.

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