And like last night, we again leave San Francisco for Rhode Island. Those X Factor trucks are certainly racking up a lot of miles this week, commuting back and forth like this. A cooking school makes up a special X Factor layer cake, and we get to see the always-allegedly-impressive spectacle of the judges arriving while people outside "spontaneously" talk about how awesome each of them is. One of these judge-fans is cashier Patrick Ford, 20, who's maybe more excited to meet Britney than anyone to date, and that's saying something. He holds forth to some people about how nobody truly respects Britney the way he does and shares his apparently sincere belief that she's his sister, given that they look so much alike (which they don't, aside from both of them being Caucasian and bipedal). He brought flowers for her and everything, and tells the camera that he hopes to win the five-million-dollar contract so he can have a nice-ass car, a nice-ass house and a "nice-ass girlfriend named Britney Spears." Well, with that kind of money, I'm sure he could find someone to change her name to that. Patrick makes it out onstage with his flowers and immediately commences creeping Britney the fuck out. Anyway, my theory that this is all performance art is borne out when he goes into his intentionally terrible rendition of Britney's own "Circus" in which the backing track guides his vocal performance in the same the way that freight trains are guided by astrology. Simon says it was like he was angrily screaming the song at Britney. Simon, Demi, L.A. and finally Britney all give him no's, but he's not going quietly. Which is not to say he's not quiet; he's just not going. For a very long time. L.A. tries to give him a gentle prompting that four no's means it's time for him to leave, but he still wants to give Britney her flowers. So Simon chivalrously gets up and accepts them for her so that she doesn't have to get any closer to the creeper. "That didn't go as planned," Patrick tells his people backstage. All he got from her was no. And that's all he'll ever get. He's either kidding or we're going to see him on the news someday.
Backstage on what could be the second day of the Providence auditions or the first day of the Providence or not even in Providence for all I know, the judges are presented with the X Factor cake backstage. They graciously act impressed, and Simon graciously smears a little on Demi's face. She acts as shocked as though he just blasted her with a fire extinguisher. In the holding room, Carly Rose Sonenclar, 13, and from Westchester, New York, has such an uncomfortable conversation with her parents that I can only assume someone forgot to give them their lines before the cameras started rolling. Eventually she makes it out onstage and immediately charms Britney, mainly by being 13. But then she says she's going to take a shot at "Feelin' Good" by Nina Simone, and all the air goes out of the room. L.A. asks some pointed questions about how ready she is for that. But then she starts singing it a capella, and he's all, "What?" Literally he hollers, "What?" in the middle of her performance. This is one of those songs I hardly knew at all before I started covering singing shows and yet am now sick of, but she's pulling it off... as long as you don't look at her and see it coming out of this innocent little tween. Her big finish gets a standing ovation from the judges -- even, finally, Simon. The auditorium and holding room are busily going apeshit as well. When things settle down a bit, Britney calls her a "little diva," L.A. says her soul is old, and Simon flatly says, "That's not you singing." He says she's a star, and Demi wants to buy her music right now. The vote takes way too long considering we all know it's going to be unanimous yeses (which it is). Back to her proud parents backstage, and L.A. tells the other judges that she was the best they've heard yet. That appears to be it for Providence. And it for the competition, as far as the judges are apparently concerned. But of course we're treated to a high-speed, high-tension montage of more highly dramatic moments yet to come this season. My God, how much more of this punishment can San Francisco and Providence take?