The next singer we meet is simply Nici, who is 23 but looks older than Tracy Francis. This is her dream, blah blah blah, but when she starts singing "Emotions" by Mariah Carey, it's so bad I hardly recognize it. Not that that stops her from attempting (and failing) the high notes. The judges sit there looking at each other like, Who decided we couldn't have a gong? Mercifully Nici stops mid-song, but offers to do another one, thinking the problem is with her microphone. Nicole diplomatically says Nici has "range." "It's the register," Nici "explains." "Yes, it is. Many, many registers," Nicole agrees, deadpan. Heh. Paula thinks Nici came and did this on a dare, like it's the first time anyone eve thought to do that. Simon starts by saying Nici has a horrible voice, and the others make it a unanimous no, along with the audience. "I am shocked and outraged," Nici declares from inside the white box. Simon mutters to the other judges, "It can't get any worse," which he should know is the one thing nobody on TV should ever, ever say.
A frumpy, bespectacled mother-daughter team comes out, but unlike Simon, I can't tell which is which. They're T for Two, and they "sing" a Steve Wonder medley, badly. Simon makes some mean comments about them as they leave. Nici's still in denial in the white box. Next is an annoying, sawed-off 40-year-old Steve Earle wannabe who emits a gross cackle as he tells the judges that his "girl" has so far sunk a hundred thousand into his singing career, and whose tasteless rendition of "Like a Virgin" makes it difficult to imagine a worse use of a hundred grand. He cackles right up until they give their nos. More denial from Nici. And now there's a group of about a dozen college girls without shoes called The Sonnets, who sing what Simon compares to the music he hears when he's getting a massage. Nos all around. The judges head out for a break, only to be waylaid by Nici, protesting that she sings regularly, so how could she be bad? Simon's nicer to her than I probably would be, but I hope he's learned his lesson about never saying things can't get any worse.