First up, in Denver, was 21-year-old model Yosselin Marquez who had the perfect combination of vanity, arrogance and sublime ignorance to create one of the greatest failed auditions of the night. Yosselin stepped out on stage, asked Simon his name and then proceeded to read the lyrics to a song off the screen of her phone. (My apologies to the original artist of the song, but it was unintelligible) I'll give Yosselin credit for realizing the judges weren't thrilled with her performance when she reached out to the audience for help by yelling “Denver wants me, right?” Simon put it best: “You don't have the X FACTOR. Denver hates you. It's a no.”
Yosselin led the pack of many less-than-stellar dreamers in Denver. Deep voiced Thomas Weiderspoon had a mad side-to-side dance move that made me swoon, but alas Simon judged him too “stiff” for X FACTOR.
The bad auditions just kept coming and coming, sparking some creativity in Simon who delivered instant classic comments such as, “It'd be like trying to chop down a tree with a banana,” and “It's like a goldfish trying to be a shark.” The best quote of the night, however, goes to Demi Lovato who gave her critique to Sean Harris in the voice of Simon Cowell, “You're like an elephant trying to skydive with a tiny parachute indoors.” Gold star for Demi.
The first break of the night came in the form of 15-year-old Rylie Brown. The earnest young lady began her rendition of “Clarity” by Zedd a bit shakily when she forgot a few of the lyrics, but she quickly collected herself. Rylie went on to blow the socks off the judges. Simon said, “So you messed up, but who cares when you've got a voice like that. I absolutely love you.”
Jeff Brinkman, a 36-year-old doggy daycare owner from Colorado, took the stage next. Kelly was so thrilled by Jeff's job that she made an expression that made it seem like a thousand puppies were rushing the stage. That's exactly how Jeff made me feel when he crooned out a rendition of “You Are So Beautiful.” By the looks on the faces of Kelly, Demi and Paulina they were feeling the same way. Paulina said, “I love your raspy voice. I think you're fresh and original.” Even Simon was on board saying, “That was a brilliant, brilliant, brilliant vocal.”
With the bold statement “I'm a diva, even without training” we could tell Jocelyn Hinton's audition was going to be television gold. Jocelyn had the diva sway and the rapid, random eye movements of a star, but forgot the words to Katy Perry's “Firework.” Simon stopped her early on with “the best part was when you actually forgot the words.” Not to be deterred, Jocelyn just kept right on singing and Simon had to eventually escort her off the stage.
Bartender Rachel Potter from Nashville impressed the panel with her powerful rendition of “Somebody To Love” by Queen. Rachel decried no longer being a “spring chicken” at the ripe old age of 29, but we're with Kelly Rowland who said, “Why be a spring chicken when you can be a fine wine?” Besides, when Demi Lovato exclaims that giving you a yes was the “easiest decision” she's made in both of her seasons on THE X FACTOR we think you can rest easy.
Macho ice cream truck man, Jorge Pena knows the ladies love him. Just ask him! This Latino lover from Colombia knew he'd make it through with the power of his sex appeal, “When it comes to the judges, I know I got the ladies.” What Jorge didn't count on was Demi Lovato not falling for his cocky, might-be-compensating-for-something attitude. I learned two things from Jorge's audition: 1. Don't call Demi ‘Woman.' 2. Simon loves raspberry ripple ice cream. Surprisingly, this dreamboat scored four yeses and an easy trip to the next round.
19-year-old Simone Torres then took the stage with a stunning version of “Mustang Sally” by Wilson Pickett. Simon, who whispered to his fellow judges that Simone was a “funny little thing,” clearly didn't expect such a large voice to come in such an unassuming package. Kelly thought it was “one of the best auditions” of the day and Simon chimed in with “I think you are really, really special.”
Russell Pouliot, the self-described, next Andrea Bocelli, took on Elvis Presley's classic, “Can't Help Falling In Love.” The looks on the judges' faces said everything about the “classically trained” stock trader's performance. Though Simon thought that Russell sounded like he was drowning, Demi thought Russell sounded like Simon. And for the first time in X FACTOR history Simon, rather reluctantly, took the microphone to sing a few bars. All I can say is, it is a good thing Simon's job is to spot the talent and not be the talent.
Sexy Detroit sisters Roxxy Montana confidently belted out “One Night Only” from Dreamgirls, but Simon stopped them early on saying that he was only impressed with one of their voices. And here's where in my mind the other two sisters go home and eat a pint of ice cream, provided by Jorge. Roxxy Montana, however, hit back with a powerful rendition of the church song “I Know I've Been Changed” by LaShun Pace prompting Kelly to champion “girl groups who sing their faces off.” Simon was more straightforward saying Roxxy Montana was “potentially the best group we've ever had on X FACTOR.”
19-year-old Dreamy Eyes, also know as Al Calderon, impressed all the ladies with his charming voice, “aww shucks” personality and well, his dreamy eyes. Al serenaded the judges with his version of Hall & Oates' “Sara Smile” prompting Kelly to say if she were 18 she'd like Al to take her on a date.
The night ended on a magical note with the performance of subway singer Denise Weeks. Single mom Denise took on Whitney Houston's “The Greatest Love Of All.” Denise started shaky, but once Simon took the track away her performance soared. Denise gave a soul stirring a cappella rendition of Whitney's hit. Simon said it best, “Guess what? THE X FACTOR has been waiting for you.”
Tune-in to THE X FACTOR WED & THU at 8/7c on FOX!