Welcome to the live blog and recap of The X Factor Season 3 Premiere for September 11, 2013!
Simon Cowell returns with Demi Lovato and host Mario Lopez for the new season, alongside new judges Kelly Rowland and Paulina Rubio!
Could the winner of The X Factor season 3 be among tonight’s group of auditioners? And what will the chemistry be like among the panel?
Let’s get this show on the road!
-So the video kicks off by hyping that The X Factor has created more stars than any other talent show, which is just…I don’t even know how to approach that statement. I mean, it could be true once you add up all that Leona Lewis’s and Olly Murs’s of the world, but this entire series is hanging its hat on One Direction at this point.
-We then get a look at what’s to come, including some cringeworthy contestants. Mario Lopez is narrating all this, giving the third season an immediate sense of cohesion that was lacking in the second, since we went so long without anyone to usher us through this process.
-We then are introduced to each of the judges in a video package. We get some background on Paulina Rubio, but I imagine many viewers are still going to have no idea why she’s here, even if she’s a legitimate pop star in her own right.
-And now our first contestant!
CARLITO OLIVERO, 23, is up first!
-Carlito is a barista in a coffee shop, but he feels there’s more out there for him. He wants to be “the Latino Chris Brown,” which…yeah.
-Carlito says hey to “mi gente,” then launches into his audition, singing Rihanna’s “Stay”. The song is so weirdly chopped and edited, making this a really snooze-worthy way to open the season. He has a nice voice, but it’s hard to really get excited about him.
-Simon loved the audition, saying there’s no one else out there right now like him. Of course, in praising Carlito, Demi lists two other artists who are apparently just like him, such as Frankie J. But all the judges are in agreement on Carlito. He gets a yes from each of them.
CARLITO OLIVERO advances to the next round!
You can watch Carlito’s performance here: Carlito Olivero, “Stay”
-I will say, even though Carlito doesn’t do much of anything for me, the crowd seems to really love the guy.
-We’re back from break with the judges offering their definition of the “X Factor,” with a variety of different suggestions, including Paulina saying it’s like kissing someone for the first time.
SALLY HESSNICE, 55, is up next!
-Out comes Eccentric Grandma! Simon asks Sally if anyone has ever told her she looks like Demi, and we get a little more back-and-forth banter. Her song then starts, but she doesn’t sing, prompting Simon to stop the music and ask Sally if she plans on actually singing. Sally enthusiastically explains that the song has the longest intro of all-time. So they start the song again…
-Sally sings “The Greatest Love of All,” and it’s exactly as bad as you would expect. Very shrill. But Simon just lets it keep going, hardly able to contain his laughter. She gets a “no” from all four judges, naturally.
-We then get a montage of some of the more cringeworthy contestants, including a woman named Valeria Colombo (I don’t care what anyone says, that’s a great name) and a weirdo family group K-Nected that sings the world’s most tuneless rendition of “Waterfalls”. Simon suggests that the two girls in the group ditch the third member, their mother, if they plan on going forward.
-Back from break with Mario reiterating that the old categories are back. No more of that hot mess from last year with different age brackets for the teens. It’s Boys, Girls, Overs and Groups.
LILLIE MCCLOUD, 54, is up next!
-The judges are immediately floored by how good she looks for 54, and I can’t blame them. I’m not entirely sure I’d have ever been able to guess her age if I hadn’t been told. She explains in her background video that she had pursued music before but gave up to focus on family. She sees this as her last chance. Well, she certainly has the look (and an awesome name. Seriously, I’m a total mark for cool names).
-She sings “Alabaster Box” by CeCe Winans, and FINALLY, our first knockout audition of the night! Kelly knows this song and loves it, so it’s not surprise when she starts to mouth along. Seriously, Lillie McCloud is insanely talented, not simply singing the song but really engaging with it and telling its story. She gets a standing ovation from all four judges, as well as the entire arena.
-Lillie is floored by the reaction, covering her mouth with her hands and fighting back tears. Kelly is also near tears, asking Lillie where she’s been hiding. Demi doesn’t even hold back the tears, crying and saying she’s reminded of Whitney.
-All four judges say “yes”…except Simon, who fakes her out with a “no”…before saying “Just kidding!”
LILLIE MCCLOUD advances to the next round!
-It’s going to be really hard to top that audition. You can watch it here: Lillie McCloud, “Alabaster Box”
-We’re back with Mario stating that auditions are open to anyone 12 or over. We then get a brief montage of the rather day the groups category has had so far. I imagine the judges will have to put some soloists together, if these groups are any indication. Let’s see if the next group can change the fortunes of their category…
ALEX AND SIERRA, 21-22
-They’re an outrageously good-looking couple. Simon asks if they’re brother and sister, and Alex says “No, we kiss,” eliciting laughter from the crowd. Simon asks how long they’ve been dating, and they say it’s been two years, prompting Simon to note they must really be in love, since two years is a monogamous eternity for him, I guess.
-They’re really cute together, as Sierra says that Alex knew all the words to “Toxic” by Britney Spears before she even told him that she wanted to sing the song. “You didn’t have to tell them that,” he deadpans, drawing more laughter.
-They sing “Toxic” and I AM IN LOVE WITH THIS PERFORMANCE. They sound like a more groovy version of The Civil Wars. This is an awesome group, and I’m legit mad that Simon stopped it. The crowd goes crazy though, and Sierra is immediately overcome with emotion.
-Demi says she had chills up and down, and that she’s rooting for them, calling this “magic.” Kelly thinks what they have together is special. Paulina, meanwhile, says she’s a believer in the two of them. Simon thought it was going to be corny when they came out, but he says they’re actually cool, adding that their version of the song was amazing.
-All four judges give them a yes, with Demi adding “I’m in love with your love!” and Simon saying “All you need is love.” Lots of love going around.
ALEX AND SIERRA advance to the next round!
-They celebrate in the photo booth, sharing a kiss. D’awwwww.
-You can watch their performance here: Alex and Sierra, “Toxic”
-Back from break with a super-cute girl with an ailment that results in peculiar, curved hands and near-total blindness in her right eye. She explains her past and how she struggled to sing no matter what, trying to get the microphone in her hands as a kid despite the unusual curvature. Her mother talks about supporting her in everything she does, saying she’ll always be there to catch her daughter. Let’s see if she’s got the vocal chops to go with her effervescent personality…
RION PAIGE, 13, is up next!
-Rion talks about being a huge fan of Demi, saying she stayed up late watching “Camp Rock”. Adorable.
-She sings “Blown Away” by Carrie Underwood, and it’s pretty damn terrific. She has crazy range for a thirteen year old, and it’s a really confident audition for someone who seemed so nervously excitable. All four judges give her a standing O.
-Demi says people can learn a lot from her strength, while Paulina says that music heals everything. She says she feels honored to go on this journey with her. Kelly echoes those sentiments. Simon, meanwhile, says Rion is “literally extraordinary” and adds that he remembered first meeting Carrie Underwood and predicting she would do big things, and he feels the same way about Rion. He says in every way, Rion is a beautiful person.
-The judges all vote yes, with Simon adding that this is the easiest yes he’s ever given in his life.
RION PAIGE advances to the next round!
-On her way backstage, Rion exclaims “That did not just happen!” Back at the judges table, Simon talks about how much he would LOVE to work with Rion. Somehow, I don’t see him getting the Girls category again for the second time in three season. But hey, he IS the boss.
-Rion meets with her huge family backstage, and her mother can’t hold back the tears. Rion is just great.
-You can watch Rion’s performance here: Rion Paige, “Blown Away”
-We’re back from break with a hype video for the auditions to come. Groups! Six-pack abs! Angry Demi! Standing ovations! Indignant contestants! SIMON IN GLASSES! Oh, and Simon singing. I somehow doubt he’ll be as good as Jack Davenport’s two-second blurb in the series finale of Smash.
-And that’s it for me! I’ll be updating tonight’s post with links to the other performances when they become available! I’ll also be back to blog tomorrow night’s episode! Thanks for joining me!
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