X Factor
Auditions #3

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Simon Says

Steve welcomes us back from the ads with a lame rain pun, and then we meet Kim Terek, 35 years old with ten years of voice lessons under her belt. Simon asks why she hasn't been signed yet, and Kim says she hasn't tried pop music before. When she tries Katy Perry's "Firework," it's obvious. It's also obvious why. Clearly her niche is opera, for deaf people. Simon cuts her off early, and she makes the excuse that she couldn't hear herself. "You're lucky," Simon cracks. Walked into that one. Nos for Kim. Tim Quinn is 21, and this is first audition ever, and he's doing "Kiss from a Rose," against Simon's recommendation. Should have listened, because dude cannot hit the notes, and Simon says he knew it was going to sound like that. Amazing how he can tell how people are going to sing just by looking at them.

Robin Royal, a 45-year-old woman with glasses dressed like a 19-year-old stripper impresses Simon with her look, but her sound, not so much. "What the bloody hell was that?" he demands. She's done, and she's followed by a whole montage of nos. And then they're thrown for a curve by a gray-haired woman who takes the stage and announces that she's auditioning to judge. Obviously the judges are confused, and even when she shares a few thoughts on Britney Spears it's a no. I'm kind of surprised they even answered at all.

Time now to meet 16-year-old Skyelor Anderson from Mississippi, who wants to be one of the few black teenagers who becomes a country singer, and hopes to help out his hardworking mom. This is also his first audition ever, for anything, and Simon seems impressed with his story. He sings "Must Be Doing Something Right." He's certainly not doing everything right, starting off weak. When his backing track cuts out, he pauses and then continues, impressing the hell out of Paula in particular and totally winning over the audience. He sounds better without it anyway. Paula warns him that he needs to work on his vocals, but L.A. and Simon appreciate how he kept going in the face of technical difficulties. Four yeses for him, and I'm convinced that his backing track cutting out is the best thing that could have happened to him. Maybe he only brought ten seconds of it on purpose?

Up next is Mark, or "J-Mark," a 31-year-old who is studying philosophy in Europe and totally looks like it. We see him doing math, you know, for fun, as he says he's got both sides of his brain working. "I have a special formula for success: J plus Mark plus X plus Factor equals five million dollars." We'll see. Onstage, he mumbles into the microphone and when Paula asks him what brings him to the audition, he simply says, "Money." L.A. at least appreciates the honest answer. Simon asks where Mark sees himself in ten years, and the answer, "At the helms [sic] of a renaissance" totally loses Simon, and makes him ask if he's ever dated Paula. Mark isn't ruling it out for the future. He'll be singing "Creep" by Radiohead, to his own backing track. It's a techno version, and he does some slow, dreamy popping and locking across the stage while doing his best to bring the song's title to life with his vocal performance. Paula and Cheryl and L.A. can't stop smiling, and the audience slowly warms to him, but Simon is just looking up at him like, "You don't fool me for a second." When he's done, Paula says she agrees with the lyric "I don't belong here," although she allows that wherever he's actually from, she's probably visited it a few times herself. L.A. prefaces his remarks with a prediction that J. Mark might not understand his critique: "It sounded so bad but felt so good!" Cheryl says she's like to visit that place, and Simon makes a smart-ass comment about Paula before calling a vote. Paula, Cheryl, and L.A. let loose with rapid-fire yeses, and Simon keeps the rest of his opinions to himself as J. Mark moonwalks off the stage. After J. Mark is gone, Simon says they must all be on Planet Paula.

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