Image credit: Fox
"So you messed up. But who cares?" --Simon Cowell
Rachel Potter, 29: Okay, THIS girl I like. A lot. She's brilliant and I like her. Single words no lies. I agreed right away with Kelly Rowland, who announced to Simon, "Her vocal control is crazy," at the start of Rachel's country version of "Somebody to Love." Finally I was feeling something from a contestant. In addition to a huge range and clear, twangy vocal, Rachel offered the kind of honest facial expressiveness that I think people really wanted out of Kree Harrison on this past season of Idol. She's also kinda Britney Spears-ish in the face.
I liked how they showed her finishing the whole song, too. I don't know if the industry is clamoring for Rachel, like Demi said, but this show certainly should be. I hope she doesn't get overshadowed by all the show kids and other various braggarts. This girl is salt of the earth.
Jorge Pena, 22: Ewwww. Creepy ice cream man! No female his age or younger should ever be left unsupervised around this aggressive flirt-demon. "My Latin charm is all I'll ever need onstage," he claimed -- and then the judges just LET THAT COME TRUE! This kid could not sing! And he was really gross!
Surprisingly Paulina made the most sense here, in subtitled Spanish: "Please. You need to change your attitude, because it's not good. Please come down from the stars, dude. Because you are not a star yet."
Simone Torres, 19: She has potential. This one was totally set up as a joke audition, announcing that she liked to speed-rap (may we see that, please?) and that she was "quirky" (always a foreboding sign) and getting the dreaded "She's a funny little thing, isn't she?" from Simon. I'm not sure "Mustang Sally" was what anyone in this largely teenage crowd wanted to hear in its entirety, but Simone definitely transformed from an awkward nerd to a smooth, low-toned belter/growler once the music began. I have no idea if the shtick will work with other songs. I can see she has talent, but I can't say I'm dying to hear or see much more.
I did love Simone's humble reaction to all the love, though, and hope she's got a full arsenal ready to go. Her dad was AMAZING, by the way. I loved the "Ohhh!" he blissfully grunted backstage after Demi told Simone, "Everyone can agree we all just want to hug you."
Roxxy Montana: Zoom-in on Kelly Rowland, for a mini-Destiny's Child has stepped right up. And they're related! "Usually you don't find three pretty sisters -- there's always an ugly one," said one before the others chimed in: "Did you really just say that?' "Who told you you were pretty?" I was digging the banter for sure; I love sisterly dynamics as long as the sisters in question aren't total bitches. And I think these girls' hearts are in the right place, even though they're brazenly begging The X Factor to pleeeeeeease not make them attend college.
The problem? They're not that good yet. Temperance, the 21-year-old on the right (her sisters are 20 and 22), earned the "For me, your voice is so much better than the other two" from Simon we all knew was coming. Their "One Night Only" cover was quite cringe-worthy at most moments. But I did love how they re-grouped directly following Simon's declaration of a non-democracy and harmonized much better on an a cappella church song. They could definitely be taught, I suppose, if they were coached well.
Of course Simon had to overdo it: "Apart from the groups I've put together, this is potentially the best group we've ever had on The X Factor." WHAT.
NEXT: "I sing on the train." "WHAT'S THAT?"