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

X-Factor, Sept. 29 – Boot Camp Ahead


It seems like the X-Factor just started, but already tonight is the last of the auditions. Unlike American Idol, we don’t have to sit through weeks on end of this. We don’t have to have a whole night of “Best of the Worst” or “Worst of the Best.” This is the best way to go out, to leave us wanting more.

With Cheryl Cole permanently removed from the situation, our judges tonight are Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, Nicole Scherzinger, and L.A. Reid. Our first city tonight is Newark, New Jersey. No sight of anyone from Jersey Shore in the audience.

First up tonight is Brian Bradley, 14, a student. His mom and step dad are both huge supporters of him. He has an insane love of music, and feels it’s in his blood. He’d like to be bigger than Jay-Z or Kanye West. He figures he’ll be better than Jay-Z in five years, and tells Simon he hasn’t had a record deal yet because of politics. He yo-yo-yos Simon and asks him what his problem is and if he’s serious. He takes his hat off and leads into his audition. He’s pretty good and definitely has “it.” He gets the crowd on their feet and Paula raps with him … as Simon smiles.

Nicole tells Brian she’s scared of him and isn’t going to look at his mom. Simon tells him he’s arrogant, obnoxious, and argumentative, but one of the most talented young people he’s heard in a long, long time. This is why the show is in New Jersey. Paula sees Brian as very unique, operating in that place that is just fantastic. L.A. tells him he used to run the Def Jam label, and all those years he was looking for Brian, but he never walked in. He’s the luckiest man in the world that he walked in today. He gets four yeses, as Simon says he’s never seen anything like that.

Kelly Warner, 22, a hairdresser in a nursing home, takes the stage with much bounciness.

She sings Hallelujah, and does quite well. L.A. likes her beautiful voice, as do the others. She gets four yeses. Aaron Surgeon, 27, a store manager, wants to be a pop star with an R&B/rock edge. He sings I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing,, and is better than average, but wasn’t knocking my socks off. Nicole felt it was genuine, and Simon thought it was average. He says no. L.A. thinks he has what it takes and puts him through. I guess my opinion falls somewhere between Simon’s and L.A.’s

Liliana Rose Andreano, 26, works in an office and sings in her cubicle. She sings Your Are My Sunshine quite uniquely. Simon tells her she doesn’t look like a pop star until she starts singing. She surprised him, and he likes her a lot. She’s one of his favorites on the day, and an easy, easy yes.

Andy Silikovitz, 43, wants to get a recording contact, a nice house, and maybe even be on an episode of MTV Cribs. He wants to be an opening act for Billy Joel. Another interesting tidbit is that he hasn’t ever kissed a girl, but thinks he’ll have lots of that if he wins. L.A. promises him if he gets real far, he’ll get a girlfriend. He sings Hero, and probably won’t be making it very far based on this audition. L.A. says no, but applauds him for having a great time. Nicole also says no, as do Paula and Simon. He does think he’ll find it easier with the chicks, and offers him Paula’s number. Awfully nice of him. She hugs him, but I don’t see any exchanging of numbers.

Josh Katzman, 22, a college graduate sings House of the Rising Sun with the same note throughout. While he does this, Simon is hand-feeding Paula. Josh gets four noes.

Clarissa “Kashmir” Cheatham, 27, an office clerk, spends her time at work daydreaming about being onstage and being famous. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. She likes singing karaoke, and people that don’t even know her yell and scream her name. This gives Simon the giggles. Her first album would be self-titled. She sings Always Be My Baby, is off with the first “ooh,” and it goes downhill from there. Simon laughs and says when people screamed during her karaoke, he doesn’t think it was a compliment. He apologizes, saying it’s just one of those days. She gets four noes.

Nouf Taraman, 21, a bartender, says she’s in it to win it. She gets booed and stops, telling the crowd if they keep booing her, “how am I supposed to do anything?” Jean Loup Wolfman, 42, a life coach, takes the stage while dancing in a hula hoop. Asked why, he explains because no one is doing it. Simon points out no one is sitting there with a dog on their head either, but there’s a reason why not. He sings Think, and you would “think” a life coach would know better than to try this ill-advised audition. He thinks he sounds good, but L.A. corrects him. Simon points out for someone who does therapy, he’s really uptight.

Paula gives a round of applause to hear that Maya Lehmann, a teacher, is 58, as she doesn’t look it. She sings We Are the Champions, and there’s just really no way to describe it. Nicole tells her it’s hard, as she really likes the song, but she says no, as do the others. Maya feels her voice is very beautiful and powerful, despite failing in this pursuit.

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