Okay, the lack of Steve Jones (or indeed anyone at all) presiding over the proceedings is already starting to wear thin, forcing people to talk to each other stiltedly instead of to a host stiltedly. In the absence of someone to force auditioners into a narrative on-camera, they're being forced into a narrative from off-camera. That plus the subtitles identifying people (like "Johnny Maxwell, 16, student" and "Rachel, Johnny's mom") while they recite their lines is like watching The Hills with a larger, uglier cast. We're back in San Francisco for some reason, even though I thought we were finished there last night. We see the judged getting limo-ed to the Cow Palace while hopefuls in the parking lot regurgitate their lines about the judges to people. Simon, L.A., Demi and especially Britney arrive, and it's all edited like they and Johnny Maxwell have a date with destiny... like the Titanic and the iceberg, potentially. Johnny excitedly storms the stage while his family watches backstage. He's going to do an original song called "All These People," which is about following your dreams. I love all these people who want to be stars so much that all they know how to sing about is wanting to be stars. He cocks his hat even harder and goes into this hip-hop slow jam that L.A.'s singing along with by the second chorus. The kid's into it and he believes in himself, but as a singer? He's not a bad rapper. L.A. tells him he took a risk, but he's what they need. Britney squeaks that he's "passionate" and "fun to watch," so she and I are clearly in agreement that he can't sing. Demi more or less agrees with Britney. Simon, however, agrees with me, but senses Johnny's ambition. On to the vote, which is yeses across the board and suddenly the stage is flooded with Maxwells, like he won the whole show already. Well, I suspect he's won as much of it as he's going to, so they might as well enjoy their moment.
Back to the parking lot, where we meet Lexa Berman, a 22-year-old dancer. At least that's her job according to the subtitles, but the looks she's getting while rehearsing her moves outside tell a different story. She meets naïve-looking Paige Stroobach on the rope line (pronounced "STROO-baghchkhk") and tries to intimidate her. Unsuccessfully, it turns out, because Paige is not as naïve as she looks and Lexa is not as intimidating as she thinks. Lexa tells us he has no Plan B, and if this doesn't work she has to "marry rich into someone's family." What a lucky family that'll be. And she seems to be covering all her bases, pursuing both plans at once when she's onstage by power-flirting with Simon, who calls her "Jersey Shore meets the Kardashians" before she even sings a note. But it turns out she only has one note to sing anyway, as she gets cut off one verse into "Too Close." Britney calls her singing "really boring" and Demi calls her on her overconfidence, which Simon likes even though he knows most people won't. It's enough for him to give her a yes, but with no's from Britney and Demi she's done anyway. "At least we know now what not to do," says Paige backstage, feeling pretty vindicated right about now. I'm just going to tell you right now we're not going to hear Paige sing tonight. Her whole story arc is surviving Lexa Berman, apparently.