Welcome to Greensboro, where the X Factor judges are just hanging out doing normal stuff. There's Britney Spears, dramatically removing her robe in the presence of her fiancé/agent and some other guy. Demi Lovato's over in another suite catching up on some Z's while her makeup artist thinks "Why me?" There's L.A. Reid, hosting a tea party for one in a sad courtyard. And Simon Cowell, pretending to text (or maybe Googling "grits") on whatever Verizon apparatus he's plugging these days.
Quick, y'all! Hurry on over to the convention center. There's three people you need to send to boot camp over the course of an hour!
Willie Jones, 17, strolled out onstage looking like '90s Will Smith and gazing around with wide eyes as if to say "Really?!" But of course. This place is full of surprises. Would Willie sing a hip-hop song? Throw down an original rap? NO, you bigot! This fresh prince went ahead and Scotty McCreeryed up the joint with Josh Turner's "Your Man," a.k.a. "Babylockthemdoors." A black dude singing country music? What are the chances? X Factor, you've done it again.
L.A. Reid loved him so much he said so three times. But Willie only had eyes for his proud, proud daddy. Adorable family. I love how humble he is. Want more? YES, SIR.
Julia Bullock's support system was slightly more…haunting, thanks to her ex-boyfriend and current but soon-to-be-ex band member, Christian. Christian stood off to the side during 18-year-old Julia's performance. As the judges marveled at her lopsided hairdo (blonde waves on one side, dark peach fuzz on the other), I became transfixed -- or terrorized, really -- by the large cross dangling precariously from Christian's left ear. He seethed with jealousy and resentment the whole time, the fluttering earring butting up against his fiery eyes and folded arms (better zoom in!) in a stunning juxtaposition.
Beware of the glowering Christian!
And in the interest of getting both sides of the story: newsflash!
Glad that's settled. Do not martyr that Christian!
Julia lended a sassy girl-rocker feel to "Pumped-Up Kicks" that I enjoyed, even though I'd prefer to hear her take on something…I don't know, cooler? More suited to her? Or just better, I guess. I liked that song at first, but then after maybe the two millionth radio play I'd suddenly HAD IT! No more! Bummer. Anyway, I like Julia a lot and Simon and L.A. looooove her look, but I'm not sure her actual voice will stand out in a sea of superlatives. Still, she's very cute, and seems genuine. Good job.
NEXT: God stops by, if God is a thunderstorm and really bored