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

The X Factor, Sept. 19 – Surprises

Tonight’s X Factor is filled with surprises. Contestants you think will be an automatic yes have to fight for it. Contestants who think they themselves are everything and a bag of chips need to do a little more self discovery. And contestants who come off very unassuming are packing a big wallop inside.

Auditioner: Andrew Scholz, 18, from Summerville,SC. He’s a pole vaulter and gymnast and knows people see an athlete when they look at him, but his dream is “to sing some songs, man, and just have a good time.” Kelly refers to him as a handsome corn-fed country boy.

Song: Too Close/A Little More You

Me: This guy truly has the X Factor, with the countrified good looks and a great vocal.
Kelly: She feels Andrew was a little glued to the microphone which made it a little karaoke.
Demi: She knows he appeals to a female audience but feels he needs more than that and didn’t feel he was comfortable onstage.
Paulina: She thinks he’s really cute but is surprised about the song he chose.
Simon: He disagrees with the female judges. He’s not saying it was perfct, but Andrew has charisma and is charming. Maybe it wasn’t the right song. He thinks they’d be crazy to let him go and pleads with Demi to give him a chance.
Demi: She has to disagree with Mr. Cowell and the audience.
Simon: He asks for another song, perhaps something more “old school,” and Andrew launches into A Little More You as the audience goes nuts.
Demi: That totally changed everything. The other female judges agree.
Simon: He definitely feels Andrew should go more in a country direction, especially with his All-American looks.

Auditioner: Blake Shankle, 19, Sucier, MS. Even though he’s not a performer yet, he says people are already looking for autographs, but it’s really him just offering it to people. People say he looks like Robin Thicke, Justin Bieber, David Beckham, and Adam Levine. He wants to be a household name. Kelly thinks he’s hot.

Song: Jar of Hearts

Me: He sounds too affected with too much vibrato. I’m not sure if there’s something there to work with or not.
Demi: He has a look that the girls love, but it was very theatrical.
Paulina: He posed a lot and studied every single movement so much that it was predictable.
Simon: He asks what kind of singer Blake wants to be and hears R&B, yet Simon heard theatrical.

Auditioner: Christina Harris, New Orleans. She refers to herself as “if Beyoncé and Rihanna had a baby.”

Song: Diamonds

Me: This cuts like diamonds, that’s for sure.
Demi: She doesn’t think Christina will want to hear herself.
Simon: It was painful.
Kelly: Keep workin’ at it Mama.

Auditioner: Brandy Chivers. She’s going to sing in Pig Latin.

Me: She doesn’t even sing the whole song in Pig Latin.
Simon: This is such a weird day.

Auditioner: Ellona Santiago, 16, San Lorenzo, CA. Only her sister is with her as her family couldn’t make it, and it’s really spontaneous.

Song: Wings

Me: She has a lot of energy for such a little thing, and it’s totally unexpected.
Kelly: She thinks it’s cute how she came out all shy, then really brought it when she sang. “Whoever that girl was, she came out and she meant business.”
Simon: He thinks they’ll remember the name, and she’s the girl he wants to work with the most. She asks if he remembers her from the first season, and he doesn’t. She was in Paula Abdul’s group, Intensity. Now he remembers.
Demi: Had she been there the first season, Ellona would have gotten through. She doesn’t think Simon will ever forget her again.

Auditioner: Stone Martin, 14, Hartsville, SC. He’ really nervous. The most people he’s sung in front of is six.

Song: Little Things

Me: He’s really quiet. It’s hard to hear him, but he has some good moments.
Kelly: She thinks he’s still getting to know his voice but has only scratched the surface.
Demi: He’s so cute and charming, and the little girls in the audience are dying.
Paulina: She thinks his life is about to change forever
Simon: There’s an incredible likability about him, and there’s also a star glow.

Auditioner: Ashly Williams, 24, Los Angeles, Sales Associate. Her dream is to sing and do what she was put on this earth to do. She was just 14 when her mom was murdered. Her birthday would have been the Sunday after Ashly’s audition.

Song: I Will Always Love You

Me: She is much better than expected, amazingly good. She gets a standing O from all four judges. She just needs a stylist now.
Kelly: She thanks Ashly for spilling her heart out in that vocal.
Paulina: She was captivated by her talent.
Demi: She’s speechless and had chills all over her arms and legs. She could feel her heart.
Simon: This is why they brought the show to America – to find someone like Ashly. He thinks they’ve just scratched the surface with her.

Andrew had to fight to be there. He seemed like he had it all, but those female judges just weren’t so easily sold. Blake, on the other hand, thought he had it all. The thing is, he was just going on his looks and didn’t really put much thought or effort into his vocal. Ellona came off very shy and quiet, then stormed the stage and took everyone by surprise. And Ashley, with her sweater with the bow on it topping off her outdated style, she surprised everyone with just being more incredible than seemingly possible. Simon thinks she’s just scratching the surface, and if that’s the case, it’s going to be an incredible season.

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