X Factor
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Singing for Their Supper

One ad break and twenty minutes of previouslies covering the first hour of the episode later, Steve and his NYC t-shirt say this is the biggest challenge of their lives. Even the Over 30s? Speaking of whom, desperate mom Stacy Francis is about to sing for Nicole and Enrique at Chez Scherzinger. She interviews that she's changing her mind about being good enough, in her borrowed dress and shoes. She seems a lot less desperate, actually, and is treating this more like a competition that she might actually do well in rather than end up on a train to Poland. Her song is "Purple Rain," and it's amazing, and spectacular, and after she's done, the familiar Stacy Francis tears and desperation come flooding back. Which, sadly, is the only thing about her that worries Nicole.

Back to Villa Abdul, where 14-year-old Nathan and 17-year-old Justin, a.k.a. the Brewer Boys and their mirror-image shags, interview about the places they've sung, and rehearse on Paula's porch with a guitar and a mandolin. They hop up on stools on Paula's patio and sing Rihanna's "Only Girl in the World." Imagine it sung by a harmonizing, teenage version of Mumford & Sons and you might have some idea how it goes. Their harmonies are on total lockstep, though, it's weird. After they leave, Paula and Pharrell talk about whether "good" is "good enough." Or whether two thirds of a Jonas Brothers is enough, more like.

At the Reid Ranch, Philip the hipster-cheeseball is going to have to sing a Rihanna song as well, but to Rihanna. Which he has the good sense to be stressed about. He's also worried that L.A. won't like his style, which is understandable. And L.A. wouldn't be the only one. Before he comes on, L.A. tells Rihanna, "I couldn't do that." Nice of him to ask Philip to, then. Sure enough, Philip croons a jazzy version of "Please Don't Stop the Music." They actually seem impressed, although they're not convinced it works commercially. But what do L.A.'s vineyards think? No matter how long the camera stays on them, they don't seem to have anything to add.

Wait, wasn't this only going to be an hour and a half? I guess not. By the time this is over, I'll be older than Elaine Gibbs, the 53-year-old wedding singer who's about to perform for Nicole and Enrique. She sings a big loud ballad I don't know, impressing Enrique with her confidence, at least. But after she's left the stage, Nicole and Enrique share concerns about whether a 53-year-old woman can become a superstar. They'd probably be more relaxed if they'd just realize that none of these people are likely to be superstars.

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