X Factor
Auditions #4

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Storming the Stage

Britney and Demi are getting made up in their hotel rooms as Britney VOs about how she feels so at home here in the South, and Demi tells us she's on tour at the same time she's going to these auditions. That sounds like a busy schedule. L.A. pays his restaurant bill and Simon texts from his room as they both VO about their hopes for finding a superstar, I guess like they didn't last year. And then we're in downtown Greensboro, which looks as abandoned as a zombie movie, unnerving Simon and Britney as they caravan through separately. Well, that's because everyone's at the auditions at the coliseum outside of town, including hairdresser Krysten Colon and unemployed 18-year-old Julia Bullock. Britney mugs that everyone's here instead of downtown. "Not quite everyone," a subtitle contradicts in the absence of a host, because Simon's being driven through the empty streets and asking what Greensboro is famous for. I think that question might have a faulty premise, but his driver tells him grits and country music. "Where could I get a grit?" Simon wonders. He and his driver end up at Jake's for some grits while Demi and Britney wait around backstage for him. The judges make it out to their table behind schedule, but Simon got his southern food so it was all worth it.

Looks like we're starting with Willie Jones, who is 17 years old in 2012 but has the haircut of Cameo's lead singer in 1983. He's from Shreveport, where he says there's nothing to do but go to the mall, which might explain why his whole damn family made the 14-hour drive for this. The judges interview him a bit and L.A. says he doesn't have to call him "Sir." Then Willie's backing track begins -- full of twangy lap steel. Yes, this hip-hop looking kid is a country crooner. Unfortunately, he has the voice of the "Chocolate Rain" guy on the low notes, but the judges and the audience seem charmed by the novelty of it all. L.A. calls him an "absolute original" and even loves his name. Britney says she was surprised (although she usually is), Demi likes his personality and Simon says Willie's the reason they came to Greensboro and that this is a day to remember. Well, Willie and the grits. All four of them are happy to say yes to Willie. I have to admit that I'm kind of jealous of them for hearing whatever it is I'm missing.

Up next is Kalvin McManigle, a toothless, cowboy-hatted, grey-mutton-chopped codger who looks like the cook in a cowboy movie. He's 47 years old and looks at least twice that as he explains in an unintelligible Boomhauer accent that his job is installing lawn mower handles. He goes into his performance, which is less singing and more seizure, than stands triumphantly in front of a silent hall. He says something to Britney, who worries that she's related to him somehow. Kalvin takes off with his four no's and an unhealthy anticipation for his next family reunion.

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