X Factor
Auditions #4

Episode Report Card
M. Giant: B | Grade It Now!
Newark and Everywhere Else

Coming back. Simon expands his reign of terror by driving the other judges around backstage at top speed in a golf cart. Then we meet "Jor El," a younger, Latino, less butch version of George Michael. He does "Lucky Star," entering the stage hand-first and doing all the Madonna moves he can cram in. Which he needs to do, because he can't actually sing. The audience cheers for him, because they're there to have fun, but he gets nos from Simon, Paula and Nicole, who are there to find someone who's worth five million dollars. Which is decidedly not Jor El. Now there's nothing left for him but to look forward to the day when he launches his newborn son into space moments before a planetary catastrophe.

Then a 21-year-old named John Duff who says that he wants to be a combination of Katy Perry, Nicki Minaj and Ke$ha does the most aggressively horrible version of "When I Grow Up" ever. Darlene and Sherone, both 22, do a raunchy yet totally flat duet. Four nos for them. Ric White, a 45-year-old artistic director, sings "Land of a Thousand Dances," most of which Paula does in her chair. He gives a shout-out to Dallas from the stage, and Paula twiddles her new JBF hair and says, "It was good for me, how as it for you?" We don't find out whether Ric's making it to boot camp, but he just might make it to Paula's hotel room.

Next is a five man group called The Stereo Hogzz that Steve says is from "Hooston." And one of them just became a father at midnight, so he'd better make this count. They make a good first impression, and the new father gets to tell the judges about his new baby girl. One of them can sing, at least, but their harmonies sound a little shaky to me. Simon calls it over-rehearsed, but L.A. gives them a yes, as do Nicole and Paula, so they're in even before Simon adds his yes. "We're going to boot camp!" they White-Box.

After more ads, there are more auditions from Undisclosed Location. Steve says that there are no musical instruments allowed. Yet there's a montage of Nicole referring to people's voices as their instrument, which Simon mocks her for. But mock her for being pretentious, not for being wrong.

Then it's time to meet Brennin Hunt, 26, from Nashville, who is so good-looking that they show him walking in slow motion through the cattle pens while turning heads in all directions. He interviews that his looks are actually a strike against him. We'll see. "My ultimate goal is to rule the world," he says modestly." Out on stage, he tells the judges he toured with another musician for four and a half years, and when Simon asks why he doesn't already have a deal, he says he's been working on honing his skills. He's singing a self-written song called "This Is How We Make It," which Simon pronounces risky. It starts with a long intro so he can gaze soulfully into the audience before singing, which he does quite well, with a surprisingly smoky voice that sounds completely different from how he speaks. After he's done, Simon says Brennin has a brilliant voice and great charisma, but has probably been getting bad advice. That deep-V shirt with the necklace is probably Exhibit A. Simon figures he can fix that, though. Paula loves him, of course, and L.A. asks the audience if Brennin is hot. Paula points out to L.A. that real men can say a dude is hot. Simon demonstrates: "I'm hot." Anyway, four yeses for Brennin. "Finally, somebody gets me," he says to his girlfriend backstage. He White-Boxes that if he hadn't made it there he would have made it somewhere, but he's glad he made it here. Whew.

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