X Factor
Auditions #1

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M. Giant: B | Grade It Now!
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Speared

They introduce themselves individually (Wes, Drew, and Keaton, ages 15-19, and I suppose I'm going to have to tell them apart at some point, but we're not at that point yet). They're doing an original song called "Sunset Boulevard" contrary to L.A.'s warnings. Their backing track begins, clearly also recorded by themselves and the bro-vibe goes up to 11. Or maybe 311, if you know what I mean... and I think you do. The crowd loves them, as do Britney and Demi, clearly. L.A. and Simon are into it too, after a while. After they're done, L.A. tells them, "I don't like you -- I love you." Britney is also impressed. Demi starts flirting with them, prompting Simon to once again go all daddy on her, putting up an invisible barrier between her and them. Like the one he could have used a few times last year with the likes of Tiah Tolliver. Simon says he liked everything about them, especially in comparison to Vincent, and they all four give Emblem3 a yes. Moving on, much like they are.

Coming back after the ads, we see Demi trying hard -- like she has been all episode -- to bond with Britney, who is patiently putting up with it. Up next is Don Philip, a 32-year-old vocal coach who let's hope is sticking to Tom Waits covers if his speaking voice is any indication of his musical sound. He reveals that he did a duet with Britney 10 years ago. Was this one of those fan-gets-called-onstage things? It was apparently the biggest thing in his life and he's still not over it, although we get to see a few glamour shots from his own abortive pop career. Now he's just a big needy ball of need, hoping Britney likes him. Again. He comes out onstage, and Britney looks like a junior-high boyfriend just showed up at her baby shower, and he hasn't had a girlfriend since her, and maybe like his face now has a tattoo of her face. Simon seems to be the only one at the judges' table who doesn't know who Don is, and he wants to know what happened in the ten years since Don and Britney teamed up. Don's answer is to start crying. "I never thought I'd see you again," he chokes out to Britney, like theirs is an epic tale of star-crossed whatever for the ages. He admits that he didn't think he was good enough back then, but now he wants his shot. Apparently a decade of gargling thumbtacks was just what the doctor ordered.

The crowd loves his story, as short as it is. He launches into "Halo," to Simon's obvious annoyance and Britney's even more obvious discomfort, because he's... not good. Simon eventually puts a stop to it while the camera -- and indeed almost everyone else -- focuses on Britney, who has become a big dready ball of dread at what she knows she's going to have to tell him. Simon lays it out for him without rancor: "You don't have a good singing voice." Don turns desperately to Britney, like she's going to save him. She makes a sympathetic speech about what he's been through, but says his voice isn't up to it. "I have another song," he chokes out through a throatful of broken glass, but the voting's already happening and it's no's across the board, including from Britney. Don looks betrayed, but after he's offstage, he sobs, "Did you see Britney's eyes? I feel like I've hurt her." Don't worry, Don, Britney will survive. It's you I'm worried about. If this is where he is ten years after duetting with Britney, where's he going to be ten years from today? Simon comes over to Britney's chair to tell her she did the right thing. Maybe, but she clearly didn't enjoy it. Even I didn't, particularly.

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