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X-Factor, Sept. 28 – My Kind of Town

So far the X-Factor is turning out just as expected, and I mean that in a good way. I expected grand things from Simon Cowell. After all, it had to be something big enough that he would be willing to leave American Idol, something that was a definite cash cow for him. He didn’t have 100% control of Idol, so it stands to reason that he was going to put things in place here that he didn’t get at Idol. So far, what he’s getting is a lot of talent. I expect even more tonight, especially since I was witness to some of them, as I was lucky enough to attend the auditions on one of their days in Chicago.

Cheryl Cole is in on these auditions instead of Nicole Scherzinger, and is sitting alongside Simon, Paula Abdul, and L.A. Reid. They explains it’s her last day of auditions, meaning she only attended two days total before she was axed. As much as I like her, they were right, as the Nicole has much better chemistry with the rest of the panel.

Makenna and Brock, 22 and 18, are up first. They’ve been singing together for about four years now, after starring in a musical together. He didn’t like her at first, thinking she was stuck up and weird, but she thinks their chemistry is what has made them close. Someone asks if they are siblings or dating, and Makenna explains they’re just friends, which it doesn’t seem like Brock necessarily agree with. He admits later that when he looks at her, his heart kind of jumps out of his chest. He hopes she finds out someday, and I’m guessing she will when she watches this.

L.A. asks Makenna and Brock if they’re related. Sigh. He explains that when he started singing with her, it was the best thing he’s ever done. Simon asks if they’re dating, and Paula notes Brock is turning red. Makenna says no, and the hurt on his face is evident. They sing Colder Weather, and they’re really good. It’s obvious they wouldn’t be as good separately. L.A. and Paula completely enjoy the performance.

L.A. tells the pair that they completely made his day. Cheryl tells them their harmonies were spot on, and their vocals so controlled. Paula calls it a rarity to have two people come onstage and nail it. She found it lovely. Simon isn’t normally a fan of this kind of stuff, but Makenna’s voice is sensational. They get four yeses and are through. Makenna does say afterwards that there’s no one else she’d rather share it with.

Kim Terek, 35, a financial analyst, tells the judges she’s taken ten years of voice lessons, and believes the reason why she never got a record deal in all these years is because she never tried pop music. She sings Katy Perry’s Firework, and it seems not doing pop music wasn’t really the reason behind no contract. It’s because she isn’t very good. She tells the judges she couldn’t hear herself very well, and Simon’s response is, “You were lucky.” For him it was like two people singing at the same time. She knows there’s a break between her chest voice and her head voice. He mentions the chest won. In other words, she didn’t.

Tim Quinn, 21, a model, is here for his first ever audition, and wants to sing Kiss From a Rose, but Simon advises him it’s not a good idea. He sings it anyway, but should have taken Simon’s advice. Robin Royal, 45, an interior designer, is told by Simon she looks good for 45. The performance doesn’t hold the same merit. Simon asks her, “What the bloody hell was that?

Now this is one I saw audition. Charlesia Heard, 45, a shuttle bus driver, didn’t come here to sing, but came to audition to be a judge. She notes Simon mentioned last year he was looking for an unknown judge, and that’s her. However, Simon informs her she’s about six months too late. Nevertheless, she’d like to role play with him. He asks her what Britney Spears needs, and she responds, “Two types of sex, trashy and classy.” Simon tells her it’s a no for now. As she leaves, Paula calls it weird, and Simon calls it ballsy, but also lets L.A. know to keep on his toes, as everyone’s after his job.

Skyelor Anderson, 16, a student, is told by his mom that he’s going to win this thing. She works at a motorcycle factory, and he sees how hard she works. He wants to be able to help her out and buy her a house so she can quit her job. He’s from a small town in Mississippi. He knows he’s different just based on there not being a lot of young black country singers out there. He tells Simon he’s never auditioned before, then sings I Must Be Doing Something Right, and there’s a technical difficulty with his music, but he just keeps singing a cappella. Definitely a heads-up move.

L.A. asks him if his track got caught up, and Skyelor explains he just kept going, as he came too far to stop. Paula tells him that’s what it’s about, and L.A. notes how great it is that he didn’t panic. He also thinks he sounded good. Cheryl enjoyed it and thinks he looks great. Paula is impressed, but notes he needs to work on his vocals, even though she believes in him. Simon is impressed as well that he carried on. He thinks he’s different and realizes how much Skyelor loves his music. He gets four yeses.

J. Mark Inman, 31, is a graduate student studying philosophy in Europe. He’s always had both sides of his brain working simultaneously, with the left side analytical and the right side creative. He’s getting his doctorate in philosophy, but he also wants to be a musician and destroy the top 40. He sings because he has things to say, and doesn’t want to be a cookie cutter artist from a factory. He sees his life as more of an algorithm. J + Mark + X + Factor = $5 million. He tells the judges he’s here because of money. In ten years, he sees himself at the helm of a renaissance. Simon asks him if he’s ever dated Paula, and of course he hasn’t, but hopes to maybe someday. He sings Creep. He moves oddly across the stage, should I say like a “creep,” but in a humorous way.

After a standing ovation for J. Mark, Paula tells him he doesn’t belong here, is otherworldly, and definitely in a different jurisdiction for sure. She figures she probably visited there one time or another. “The places we could go together!” L.A. doesn’t think J. Mark wiull understand this, but notes it sounded so bad, but felt so good. Cheryl wants to visit this place so needs to know where it is. She’ll go with Paula next time. Simon has to congratulate Paula, because this is what she’s spawned. Oddly, he gets through, as Simon announces they’re on Planet Paula.


Freelance entertainment and tech writer, editor