The X-Factor Los Angeles and Seattle Auditions

22 09 2011

By Hilda Clark Bowen

The X Factor

I was not sure what to expect with X-Factor. After the premiere and success of “The Voice”, I thought perhaps it would be close to that model. What I got was an upgraded version of American Idol, like American Idol 2.0. Perhaps when the mentoring begins, things will look differently. The auditions in front of a live audience made the experience more realistic and gave immediate fan reaction. However, Paula Abdul sitting next to Simon Cowell was too much American Idol. To give credit to the producers, however, it appears they noticed this and when they went to the Seattle auditions, Nicole was seated next to Simon instead. Having Steve Jones as host was refreshing, but he stayed mostly in the background.

Starting off the Los Angeles auditions with judges Simon Cowell, L.A. Reid, Paula Abdul, and Cheryl Cole, they showcased why The X-Factor is a great show: It seeks out talent that is left out by the rules of American Idol. Rachel Crow, a 13-year-old-going-on-22, was charismatic and feisty. She gave a tremendous rendition of “Mercy” by Duffy. She had the crowd on their feet and the judges loved her. She was followed by Terrell Carter, a 36-year-old, who did a lovely version of “Ribbon in the Sky” by Stevie Wonder. After four yeses were given to consecutive auditions from Ellona Santiago (age 14) and John Lindahl (age 14), it looked like things were going great.

Introducing a cocky, Prince-wanna-be Siameze Floyd, age 30, who believes he is the next megastar. Simon Cowell would have said absolutely no to this person on an American Idol audition, but called him “fascinating” and said yes. L.A. Reid is the only one to get this one right by saying “no.” And thus began the face-off between Simon and L.A. Reid. Felicious1908 on Twitter said it best, “He’s like the love child of James Brown, Prince and Terence Trent D’Arby that can’t sing.”

Day two of the LA auditions brought out the Dan (age 70) and Venita (age 83) who were former entertainers from Pahrump, Nevada. I give them kudos for courage. Their performance of “Unchained Melody” was horrific, but the couple was nevertheless adorable. The duo “You Only Live Once” sounded like a schizophrenic horror film. Linda “Jetta” Ostrofsky, age 61, traumatized me so badly I will never be able to listen to The Divinyls “I Touch Myself” again. Miranda Singleton, age 30, could not get one note of Katy Perry’s “Firework” on key and was shocked to be told she could not sing.

Simone Battle (age 21, college student) became the next battleground between L.A. Reid and Simon, with Simon saying yes, and L.A. Reid saying no. Simon had Simone sing something else which he felt confirmed his point.

Disagreements were also made between L.A. and Simon on Thomas Slade, the group “Late 2 Fame“, Nickayla Guadalupe, Andrew Muccitelli, and Charlie Cruzer which left us to question their fate since they only need 3 yeses to go through and the other judges’ vote was not shared.  I assume they are gone, but are they?

The star of the evening, Stacy Francis, and so far my favorite, emerged. She is a stay-at-home mom, age 42, with two small children and was surrounded by people who told her she was too old now for a singing career. Originally from Brooklyn, New York (shout-out to my hometown!), she had been in LA for 10 years. Her version of “Natural Woman” by Aretha Franklin had the audience on their feet and she received a standing ovation from the judges. Simon said it was one of the best auditions he has ever heard in his life.

Next we move on to Seattle where we get a shock of a lifetime–a judge change (no more Cheryl, now Nicole Scherzinger)–but wait that’s not all–The Full Monty. Geo Godley, classically trained, internet blogger, age 43, sang his original “I’m a Stud” while pulling off his pants–totally. Simon’s face is horrified, but then there is a slight grin in his look, maybe admiring his audacity. Paula leaves and looks like she is throwing up off stage. The audience boos. L.A. Reid said it was offensive, disgusting, distasteful and upsetting, and to get him out of the building. Nicole said she was traumatized.

Marcus Canty (age 20) got the shock of his lifetime when the judges all put him through after singing “I Wish” by Stevie Wonder. His mother gave him 2 years to break into the music industry and his time was running out (his mother obviously does not know the realities of the music industry and how hard it is). L.A. Reid felt like he had a Bobby Brown thing going on (hopefully just in comparison to the music and not the personal life).

The group “Anser” (pronounced “answer”) gave us a mash-up of Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” and Britney Spears’ “Till The World End.” They were put through, but I think they should have been disqualified for singing one of the most overused songs in a talent competition (Adele).

Nici Collins, event planner, age 23, who has been lied to by others all her life that she could sing, took the stage next and tried to sing “Emotions” by Mariah Carey that made the hair on the back of my neck stand up and my dog howl. Also leaving the competition were the mother/daughter duet T for Two“, Darren Michaels, and the group “The Sonnets.

The judges were moved by Chris Rene’s story of being a trash collector and celebrating his 70th day of sobriety. His original song, “Young Homey”, resonated with the audience and the judges gave the young man a standing ovation. It was an emotional moment for him. I did not think it was so great. Simon said that what he liked about this job was being able to sit in that chair and meet a star. They let him through with the admonishment that he must remain clean and sober. Having only 70 days of sobriety, this will be a tough challenge for him as the pressures of the competition weigh down on him. We will see if he can do it.

Thanks for stopping by.  Leave some comments about who you liked or disliked.


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12 responses

22 09 2011
Ed T. (@etee)

Nice round-up. I am not sure there is a lot to distinguish this show from Idol yet (the differences in format won’t appear until the “bootcamp” round), but as I told Joey, I likes me some trainwrecks – but THERE MUST BE UNDERPANTS WORN (I am talking to YOU, Geo!)

I think that Stacy will the the one most likely to go to the finale – I would LOVE to see her and Fantasia perform a duet!

Oh, and was I wrong when they asked Chris Rene what he would do with $5 million, and I answered “He JUST GOT OUT OF REHAB. For addiction to coke and crystal meth! What do you THINK he would do with $5 million?” I really do fear for his – and his son’s – future.

~EdT.

22 09 2011
PBMom

Ed: Thank you so much for leaving a comment. I appreciate you. I agree with you about Chris and his future. I hope he remains sober, but being sober takes a lot of energy and time.

22 09 2011
Nici Collins

I was amazing I’m preparing for my album pls follow me @ nici760 my tube page is nici760

22 09 2011
PBMom

Nici, honey, thank you for reading my blog, and I will allow the post through in case others would like to follow your YouTube page, but please consider a career in another field.

22 09 2011
LATE2FAME-ROYALE

HEYYYYY THIS IS THE LADY FROM LATE 2 FAME HERE L.A. REID WAS DIGGIN’ US, BUT SIMON’S NON HIPHOP LOVING SELF JUST HAD TO SAY NO!!! http://www.facebook.com/pages/Royale/153934864646899 LIKE MY PAGE ON FACE BOOK ❤
WE ARE ON THE RISE!

22 09 2011
PBMom

Wish you the best of luck. They do seem to butt heads quite a bit.

23 09 2011
Marc Valdez

I’m heading over to the karaoke place to meet Jetta Linda Ostrofsky in a few minutes. We’ll take a few moments to discuss remedies for your ‘trauma’.

23 09 2011
PBMom

I wish she would have chosen a different song.

27 09 2011
Marc Valdez

She wanted to sing another song, like “Shoop, Shoop”, but sang “I Touch Myself” at Simon’s request.

27 09 2011
PBMom

That does not surprise me, but it hardly seems fair. Shoop, Shoop would have been a much better fit. I know when our local Fox station did a story on my son (he has autism) I had to trust that they would edit together a piece that went well and that they were looking for sound bites and tears. But I also had a sign a piece of paper releasing them of all responsibility. They did a wonderful job, but it could have just have easily gone another way. My son’s school district hated it, which was the exact result we were trying to achieve. Linda could always try out for The Voice, or The Sing Off, right? I don’t think they have age limits.

3 06 2013
Jetta Linda Ostrofsky

You spelled my name wrong, its: Jetta Linda Ostrofsky. Watch Americas got Talent This Tues 6/4, 9pm-11pm PDT, you might see me singing to Howard Stern, I audition in LA.

3 06 2013
PBMom

Jetta: Appreciate the info on the spelling. I took it right from the XFactor’s and I have found that sometimes they get the spellings incorrect. I don’t watch America’s Got Talent at all, but best of luck to you. I hope it works out.

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