“The X Factor” wrapped up its premiere week on American television on Thursday night and if there’s one thing the audience learned after the show’s second night on the air – it’s that “The X Factor” is more than just a singing competition.
After dozens of uncomforatble auditions in Miami, the judging panel – Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, L.A. Reid and Nicole Scherzinger (Cheryl Cole judged just the Los Angeles round) – found someone to put through in 21-year-old Nick Voss, but it wasn’t necessarily because of his vocal abilities.
L.A. said as much when he voted to put the performer through, based on his stage presence, which featured a mix of Elvis and Michael Jackson-inspired moves, the latter of which Paula said to leave behind in the next round.
“Keep being unique, lose the Michael Jackson choreography,” she said. “But if you perform like you did, that’s what people pay money for and if you can translate that into working harder on your vocals, that’s what gets me excited.”
Melanie Amaro, 18, didn’t have dance moves, but she didn’t need them. The powerful singer belted out “Listen” by Beyonce, as cameras panned to L.A., who deeply felt her rendition.
“Melanie, you are truly amazing, honey,” the former record executive said. “You have the gift… You have ‘The X Factor.’”
Paula too recognized Melanie’s talent, bestowing a great, great compliment on the young woman.
“You have a unique ability, unlike anything we’ve heard,” she said. “I don’t think it’s like anything I’ve ever heard in any audition that I’ve ever been in.”
The talent was more bountiful in the second audition city featured on Thursday’s show – Dallas – where they found 49-year-old Dexter Haywood. The singer managed to sway the panel after an impromptu performance of “It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World.”
“You have soul,” Simon said as the full panel put him through.
He was quickly followed by the Scarlett Johansson look-a-like, Caitlyn Cook, a 21-year-old rugby player and coach.
Paula called her voice “authentic,” while Nicole said it would be “an honor” to work with her.
The final contestant of the night – Xander Alexander — had some trouble finding his pitch (actually, a lot of trouble), and came with plenty of attitude – mostly directed at Simon – but he was nearly put through anyway.
“You’re lippy, gobby, but interesting,” Simon said after receiving an earful from the contestant. “I actually think you, on stage, with a full production, would potentially be very good. So I like you.”
Still, his attitude, and inability to find the melody, stopped Xander short.
“You got the audience to hate you by the end of the audition,” Simon said. “The minute anyone criticizes you, you turn into a b****y diva. You blew it.”
“The X Factor” returns on Wednesday at 8/7 C on FOX.