Tonight's episode starts with a montage of last week's standouts, because otherwise there's no way we're going to remember them by the time we get to Hollywood.
Okay, scratch that -- we're already in Hollywood; tonight's auditions are starting in Los Angeles. Mario reminds us of the categories: Boys, Girls, Over 25s and Groups. The judges take their places, except for Paulina Rubio who's off somewhere doing her actual job. This means it currently only takes two yeses to make it to the next round, and the first act of the night is a pair of sisters named Cynthia and Shirley, 24 and 16. Simon sarcastically feigns interest in their dull origin story, and they begin warbling "I Want You Back" badly enough that I'm glad I didn't spend any time learning which of them was which. They get all the way to the end of their song for some reason, after which Simon says, "Demi?" Demi says. "Kelly?" Kelly says, "Simon?" He manages to say they seemed to be competing to see who could sing worse and they both won. Kelly says one of them started off okay, but her sister dragged her down. She tells that sister to come back alone after getting better, but for now she gives them a no, as does Demi. As does Simon, who says he's breaking up the group. Backstage, they firmly tell us that breaking up or not is their decision. So let's all hope they make the right one.
Up next is a 14-year-old ninth grader from Houston named Josh Levi, who recently moved to L.A. He claims he wanted to follow his dream, as though his parents had nothing to do with it. Simon laughs too long at a dorky joke Demi makes until Kelly smacks him and snaps, "Stop it." I could watch a couple of hours of that. The kid starts singing some song I don't know, and Demi is totally into it. He's fourteen, lady. He has the crowd sing along -- almost always a smart move -- and they're totally on his side. Demi says it was great and calls him an artist, which seems a little premature. Kelly settles for calling him a star. Simon starts by saying it was a song he shouldn't have chosen, but he made it his own and Simon agrees with Kelly. Three yeses for this kid.
At some point during the commercials the judges have changed clothes, and Kelly greets a five-girl group that calls themselves Drama Drama. They should get booted just for that, never mind their Bratz-inspired styling. Kelly interviews them a bit and asks who they want to be like, which obviously is an all-white Spice Girls. They do an a capella version of "Party in the U.S.A." and barely get as far as the first verse before Simon shuts them down, calling them "old-fashioned" and summarily giving them three nos all on his own. This allows the editors to deploy a sepia filter across the stage for a series of similarly ill-advised, '90s-inspired groups, never mind the fact that most of them can't sing either. This doesn't bode particularly well for the next group, a trio of identically dressed, side-parted brothers calling themselves, ironically, "AKNU" (pronounced "Anew"). Clearly hating them on sight, Simon tells them to stop fidgeting even before they sing, and he hates the song they plan to sing, "Valerie." So the deck couldn't possibly be stacked against them any more. But it turns out that they've got some decent moves and harmonies, so they appear to be winning Simon over… to say nothing of the audience and the other judges. Kelly calls them "refreshing," Demi says she got the chills and Simon says it's like watching Motown again. Which he normally hates, but he thought it worked and wants to watch it again. There's the usual two easy yeses, and then Simon milking the pause even though we all know he's going to say yes. Which he does.