As attractive as Andrew was, he couldn't win over the ladies on his first song choice. They ripped into him big time. As Simon said, “it was like being mauled by three cats.” Demi just didn't “get” it and Paulina was surprised by the song choice. If it weren't for Simon, this prize corn-fed beef would be long gone. Good for Andrew and good for us, Simon requested a second song. Andrew drew from his country roots for a performance of “A Little More You” and easily slid into the next round. Yee-haw!
The good-looking men kept on coming with Blake Shankle. This hottie, who has been told he looks like Adam Levine, Robin Thicke, Justin Beiber and David Beckham, was proudly posing for photos and giving autographs to his fellow hopefuls. And by hopefuls, I mean women. And by women, I mean 13-year-old girls. Blake's dream is to be “the most famous guy in the entire world.” Good-looking? Check! Delusional? Check! He commandingly walked on stage and the audience went wild. Perhaps, they didn't witness the voice-cracking omen as he addressed them? They did notice, however, his screeching performance of Christina Perri's “Jar Of Hearts.” Simon and Demi thought he was too “theatrical,” and in a flash, Shankle was shanked. Now what's he going to do with the 3,000 pre-signed headshots he prepared?
Blake didn't know it, but he opened the floodgates for a wealth of frightening performances at The X FACTOR auditions. Na'Christia Harris' performance of Rihanna's “Diamonds” even prompted a Simon-esque response from Demi, “I don't know if you can hear yourself,” she exclaimed. “You probably won't want to.” The day got even weirder when one contestant jumped out of a box on stage and another chose to perform her audition song in Pig Latin. Gimmicks won't get you to the next round on The X Factor.
Ellona Santiago's voice was no gimmick, proving that sometimes the best things come in the smallest packages. Ellona appeared shy and unassuming before she began to sing, but once she did, she commanded the stage like a seasoned veteran. I was not expecting those dance moves and come on, only a real star can rock animal print harem pants, a denim crop top and six inch heels. A surprised Kelly Rowland exclaimed, “What in the world? Who is this person?” To Simon, it was Christmas morning and Santa had just brought him what he's always wanted: Recording Star Barbie. “You are the girl I think I want to work with most now in this competition.” Turns out, this isn't the first time Ellona has rocked THE X FACTOR stage. She was a part of the group Intensity from Season 1. Now, Ellona is back as a solo artist and ready to take the competition! Demi was openly gunning for the young singer, “Had I been here first season, you would have gotten through.”
The impenetrable Stone Martin, another half-pint star, followed Ellona. This 14-year-old baby Beiber drove the tweens in the audience wild with his performance of “Little Things” by One Direction. “I love you,” said Kelly. “I think since you're 14 you're still getting to know your voice. You've only scratched the surface, baby.” Demi was in awe of the young heart-throb as well, “I was looking at the audience and these little girls over here are dying and freaking out that you're looking at them.”
The gold star of the evening has to go to Ashly Williams, who gave an emotional performance of Whitney Houston's “I Will Always Love You.” Demi was crying, Kelly was crying, Ashly was crying and random people in the audience were crying. It was that good. Ashly was auditioning for her mother, who was murdered when Ashly was just 14. All of her pain went into that audition on the X FACTOR stage. Her powerful performance earned her a standing ovation from all of the judges. Kelly said, “Thank you baby girl for spilling your heart out in that vocal.” Simon went even further, “You know what Ashly? This is why we brought the show to America, to find someone like you.” With that, Ashly's family members rushed the stage screaming in joy. We know Ashly's mother would be proud.
Tune into THE X FACTOR WED & THU at 8/7c on FOX.