There's a fast-forward recap of last night -- which could have saved me so much time if I'd seen it then -- and then the dramatic title cards tell us that tonight it's Miami and Dallas facing the judges. Who, going by this sequence, spend a lot more time posing and walking dramatically for the cameras than they do judging. But don't worry, it seems like they'll be doing a lot of that other thing too, complete with a Wagnerian opera chorus belting away in the background. How many singers do they need, anyway?
High-speed montage of the X Factor production arriving and setting up in Miami, and here's our host Steve. This gig may be too much for him, because he's already forgetting to shave. He reminds us that it's another night of auditions for a competition with a prize of a $5 million recording contract. He lets us know that Miami is the home of Gloria Estefan (okay, no-brainer), Flo Rida (duh), Ricky Martin and Enrique Iglesias. The city looks quite familiar to me as a former Burn Notice recapper, of course. We're reminded of the competition rules, as a guard herds the auditioners through the entrance. "No food, no drinks. Your hope [sic] and your dreams is the only thing allowed in." And don't count on getting back out with those. There's totally a dumpster full of guitars outside as well, which is some highly poignant symbolism in some way I can't quite put my finger on. We're reintroduced to the judges (Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, Nicole Scherzinger and L.A. Reid), who take their seats at the table in front of an audience of 4,000. "Let the Miami auditions begin," Steve intones, only four minutes in. I could get used to this pace.
The first auditioner we meet tonight is Ashley Sansone, a 27-year-old "starving artist" who gamely restages her exit from her vehicle for the cameras, which is the last likeable thing she does before the auditions, chattering about how her e-mail address is "Unstoppable Talent." More like "Undeliverable Address." Anyway, she's dressed like Katy Perry and has an unstoppable motor mouth that clearly gets on the nerves of her "friend" Andy while they're waiting in the wings. Eventually she reaches the stage and makes an immediate positive impression with her big smile, which she completely turns around with her inability to shut the hell up already. But can she sing? That's an emphatic no, as she treats the judges to her impression of "Piece of my Heart" as performed by Chewbacca. She's not even in sync with her backing track. Eventually she's done, and after L.A. says he hopes she has thick skin, he says her talking got on his nerves but her singing made him want to slit his wrists. Simon says he couldn't understand her, and when she offers to try a ballad, the entire audience yells no. She also gets nos from the judges, and picks up her boots and walks off the stage, where she immediately takes it up with Steve and her friend Andy, who needs hazard pay, because she bitches about it all the way back out to the car.