Backstage, Paige is called to the stage while Kaci's still bitching about her pants. Simon ogles Paige Simonly and Paige points to her daughter in the wings, who Simon can see. That doesn't stop him from digging on her shorts and stockings and all. He asks her about whether she's gone after a recording contract before, and she's already emotional as she tells her story of needing to provide for her daughter. Eventually Paige gets a hold of herself long enough to sing "I'm Going Down" by Mary J. Blige. She starts off a little lackluster, but gets way into it in a hurry, while the crowd and judges and pretty much everybody in the place other than Kaci seems to appreciate it. Big ovation from the crowd and the camera keeps cutting to Kaci backstage, looking like she's going to stain her pants all over again. Simon turns to Britney at his immediate right, who gives what sounds like several speeches she's prepared for this gig and declares Paige flawless. L.A. tells her she's a star and she needs to stop putting it off, comparing her to a girl he met several years ago named Rihanna. Rihanna what? Give us more, L.A. Demi agrees that Paige is a superstar, and Simon loves not only her look and her sound (especially her look) but her responsibility to her kid, which he says makes this one of his favorite auditions ever. Well, that and her outfit. Four yeses for Paige, duh. Her daughter runs out onstage and into her arms like she knows what any of this means. Paige gushes to the cameras while Kaci's sister encourages Kaci. Which Kaci needs, and yet also doesn't -- if you know what I mean. One other thing: I knew Steve Jones was out as the host, but are they not replacing him? Maybe they're holding auditions for that too.
Coming back, Kaci is still backstage and her sister is still power-enabling her Heathers crap. But first we're going to see the audition from Shawn Armenta, a 50-year-old baggage handler who looks every single day and Samsonite of that. He says he's been preparing six hours every night, from 6-10 PM, for a year and a half for this. Working so hard he forgot how to do math, I see. He goes out onstage and tells the judges all about his hours and hours of preparation for the past eighteen months, and then gives an embarrassing introduction of his original song, "Candy Girl." But it's nowhere near as embarrassing as his actual performance, which certainly reflects all the work he's done without reflecting a single iota of talent or ability. The entire place grimaces in horror, and then the editors manage the feat of making us think the place is totally silent after his long-overdue finish. Simon calls it "just wrong," which annoys Shawn, who worked "way too frigging hard for this." Demi pipes up that a lot of people work hard, but it's not for everybody. "That's why you use Auto-Tune and I don't," Shawn snarks, while Simon laughs like that was a good burn. Britney asks who let him onstage and she's uncomfortable with him staring at her. Shawn decides he doesn't need this "amateur hour" and bounces. It'll be interesting to see where he moves up to after this.