Rion Paige, 13: "I have this hand condition…they're curved differently because of my joints. I'm almost permanently blind in my right eye," began Rion, who is very physically cute but has this constant gush of positive energy that could become tiresome -- CHILD STAR on overdrive. I hate to say that right away. I am such an old grinch, honestly. But I could not get down with loving all up on this girl just because her hands don't work and she has gorgeous fluffy, blonde hair and the will to live. I'm just not sure her voice is all that great! But she's certainly a pro performer already. She's got a bunch of recent live performances up on YouTube.
"Ever since I was little, I would find a way to get to a microphone," explained Rion in a voiceover as some of her fellow female auditioners poured water into her mouth. "Music helps me be able to explain my feelings." Aggggggh, it all seemed so staged! This isn't the desert!
The judges all raved about Rion -- "I think you're lit-ruh-lly extraordinary," Simon said -- but the raves had little to do with her sultry take on Carrie Underwood's "Blown Away." Demi: "I cannot believe the struggles that you've had and how positive you are. Everyone in this room can learn something from you." (I just did: I need to take a wind machine with me wherever I go, starting now.) "Music heals everything and I'm honored to live this with you," said Paulina. They're already living together. Is that normal?
Simon laid it on especially thick for Rion, calling her "the easiest yes I have ever given anyone in my life." I feel like Simon's worldview spans a bubble of a few feet and is cloaked in a green-tinted, nutrient-rich smoothie haze. So all of his superlatives make sense, just to him, right at that moment. History has no place in that bubble. What countless other seasons of judging reality singing competitions? What baby? Who are these three random women sitting next to him? No worries! It is allllllll good. Gulp.
"I'm gonna remember this audition for a long time," Simon said, mapping out the next few seconds or so within the bubble before poof! They disappeared. "In every single way, Rion, you are a beautiful person."
We didn't see too many huge losers right out of the gate: Sally Hessnice, 55, was the lone delusional old bat of the hour with her "Greatest Love of All" delivered in a creepy baby doll voice. A hairdresser in Miami mauled Simon with kisses, temporarily penetrating the green nutrient bubble -- but he loved it, so all was well.
Coming up in Thursday's second episode: More hand-hearts, more Whitney wail-abees, and a tie-dyed rainbow monster rapping "Baby Got Back." Are you in? For at least one more night?
Remember: The winner of $1 million could be anyone.