X Factor
Auditions #1

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Speared

Montage of more suckmeisters, set to Britney's own "Toxic," appropriately enough, because this segment is all Britney. A portly salesman who barks gets told to practice more, a 41-year-old fitness instructor is pronounced "just kinda bad," and a student gets told his singing "wasn't very nice." She delivers a string of similar zingers, getting increasingly comfortable with laying them out and raining down no's. "And people say I'm the mean one," Simon says after a while of this. There can be more than one, Simon.

We come back from the ads continuing to establish the narrative of how mean Britney is, which she justifies by saying she's trying to be honest and not waste anyone's time. Considering that Britney Spears has contributed to more human time-wasting than most people in the history of the species that does seem like the least she can do. We now meet a precocious seventh-grader named Reed Deming, who, along with the show, is playing up his vaguest possible resemblance to Justin Bieber. He's there with his Dad and nervous about performing in front of Britney, who is currently earning that by telling yet another off-key auditioner no. Reed watches Brit's latest victim limp off the stage crying, but bucks himself up and struts out there. Demi gushes about how cute he is, and he sings "It Will Rain" by Bruno Mars with rather more passion than skill. Simon stops him halfway through the first verse and tells him to shake off the nerves. He does much better with a stripped-down version of "Grenade," though. Simon tells him he wants better vocals, Demi compliments his stage presence, L.A. says he reminds him of some other kid, although Reed says he doesn't want to "fall into that Bieber stereotype." Stop diving at it then, kiddo. Finally, with many suspenseful pauses, Britney tells him he's adorable. They all vote yes, even Britney. And of course Kaci Newton's stink-eye is getting a huge workout. After all this buildup, she'd better be either very good or very bad. I don't even care which one anymore.

In the green room, Demi and Simon have an inappropriate conversation about her love life, and then we're back to Kaci alpha-bitching to her sister some more and boasting about how big a star she knows she can be. Finally she heads out onstage in front of the judges. Simon tells her she reminds him of someone, and then looks pointedly between Kaci and Britney. Which I'm sure is going to be happening all damn season. She says she's going to sing "Firework," which is pretty bold because even Katy Perry can't sing that. L.A. is skeptical that Kaci's a singer at all for some reason and when the music starts Kaci turns out, unsurprisingly, to have a pretty weak, shaky voice. You can see the exact moment when Simon checks out and starts mentally going through his to-do list for when he finishes today's shoot. He mercifully stops her at the first chorus and politely says, "This is going to sound odd, but it sounded like you were dying." Kaci cops to being nervous and asks for another shot, which they aren't inclined to give her. They're about to vote until she cuts them off with a few badly-sung lines from "Mercy." Four no's for Kaci, although as consolation Simon tells her, "You are quite annoying." Kaci, leaving the venue with her sister: "Oh, well." Okay, she took that better than expected. Not much of a payoff, though.

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