X Factor
Judges' Homes #2

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M. Giant: B | Grade It Now!
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Not-Entirely-Sweet Sixteen

Back to Villa Abdul, where it's time for Illusion Confusion. I feel like we've never really heard them perform, and that doesn't change tonight; even as we see their first performance on the air, they're constantly interrupted by their own interviews talking about how huge they want to be. Obviously the editors are saying, "Don't hold your breath." In fact, I think this is the first time we've really even been allowed to see how many of them there are (three, for the record). After their mash-up of "Let's Dance" and something else, Paula and Pharrell seem to agree that Illusion Confusion's ambition seems to outstrip its ability. Well, hence the name.

Back to Chez Scherzinger, where wedding DJ Tiger Budbill is about to sing for Nicole and Enrique. Work's scarce for him lately, but fortunately he was able to put off the auction of his house for a few months. He interviews about how Nicole's house is the kind of home he dreams of, choking up as he imagines his wife, daughter, 83-year-old mother and imaginary newborn baby living in a place like this. Like if he loses the competition, he's angling for Nicole to invite the whole growing Budbill clan to come stay with her for a few years. The song Nicole picked for him is all about begging for another chance, which obviously he connects with pretty well. He actually does the best I've seen him do, and both Nicole and Enrique are impressed. Nicole's worried about whether people would buy his records, and Enrique says there are no rules; anyone can make it with the right song, even if they have a big hairy mole on their face. Not that he says that last part.

In the Hamptons, it's Marcus Canty's turn. He's the kid whose mom gave him two years to make it as a singer. Let's hope that time doesn't run out in the middle of his audition for L.A. and Rihanna, lest his mom show up and drag him off by his ear. Unlike his first audition, where he did a lot of dancing around, this is relatively sedate and quiet, perched on a stool, aside from a somewhat silly singing-face in the middle and getting to his feet toward the end for the big finish. Rihanna's really impressed, and on the side yard, Marcus tells Steve he feels good about how he did. Rihanna isn't entirely convinced Marcus is a star, but seems willing to be convinced, especially after he made so much eye contact with her she had to look away. If only this were a staring contest.

Tiah Tolliver, the 20-year-old deli clerk, is about to sing for Simon, and we're reminded of her first audition, where her singing had more keys than a high school janitor, but Simon threw a conniption until he got his way and she made it to Boot Camp. Obviously Tiah's glad to have Simon as her mentor, since he's the only one who likes her. Even so, she's getting nervous, freaking out over the wind to the point where even 14-year-old Drew is like, "Grow up, girlfriend." Obviously Simon's happy to see her when she presents herself on his pool deck for the formality of her audition. She could get one of her stiletto heels stuck between the slats and still stay in it, I'd wager. It's certainly not a great performance, at least from what I can tell by the parts that aren't drowned out by her backing track. Simon claps and chuckles like the proud creepy dad he is, an his flunkies gather around to go out of their way not to disagree with him any more than they absolutely have to.

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