The second episode of “The X Factor” U.S. (which Fox televised on September 22, 2011) had one of the most arrogant and rudest contestants to be on the show so far. Unfortunately for Xander Alexander, his cockiness was his undoing, and he got a verbal smackdown by Simon Cowell.
Alexander (whose real name is Alexander Johnson), an unemployed 27-year-old aspiring singer, was shown in an extended segment before his audition bragging about how great he was. By the time he got on stage, he began talking back in a feisty manner to Cowell.
As previously reported, “The X Factor” U.S. already showed some of Alexander’s verbal sparring with Cowell in a sneak preview, which Fox aired on September 11, 2011.
Alexander admitted that the audition was the first time he had performed in public. He started off by singing Edwin MCain’s “I’ll Be.” Alexander began to show signs of nervousness when he was asked to sing another song, but he soldeired on, and most of the judges told him that he was entertaining to watch.
For a moment, it looked like he was going to win over the judges (Cowell, Paula Abdul, Nicole Scherzinger and Antonio “L.A.” Reid), when Cowell reluctantly admitted that he liked Alexander, and Abdul told Alexander, “You are my hero. Brilliant comebacks to Simon.” But Alexander crumbled under the pressure and then began to falter and stammer until he got “no” votes from all of the judges except for Scherzinger.
Cowell, who ignored Alexander’s tearful pleas for another chance, scolded Alexander as he delivered the verdict: “You got the audience to hate you by the end of the audition … They liked you in the beginning. The minute anyone criticizes you, you turn into a bitchy, nasty diva. You blew it!”
(Click here to watch Xander Alexander’s audition.)
Another contestant who ended up rejected and in tears was 16-year-old Caitlynne Curtis, who performed Katy Perry’s “Firework.” Although the judges said it was not a horrible performance, they felt that Curtis’ voice was not good enough for what they wanted in the competiton. Curtis had a sobbing meltdown after getting “no” votes from all of the judges, and Abdul went on stage to hug and comfort her.
(Click here to watch Caitlynne Curtis’ audition.)
“The X Factor” U.S. is a contest for unsigned solo singers and unsigned vocal groups. Contestants must be at least 12 years old, legal U.S. residents and legally able to work in the United States. The show has a grand prize of $5 million and a record deal with Sony Music.
Here are some of the most memorable moments from the episode, which featured auditions in Miami and Dallas:
The Freakiest Contestants
Ashley Sansone, a 29-year-old unemployed aspiring singer, was a motormouth who started to turn off the judges with her rambling introduction of herself. While she performed a screeching, off-key version of “Piece of My Heart,” she took off her shoes. After she got “no” votes from all the judges, she still seemed to be in shock backstage. Apparently no one had ever told Sansone that she has no singing talent.
(Click here to watch Ashley Sansone’s audition.)
Ashley Deckard, a 14-year-old self-described “ghost hunter,” creeped out the judges (except for Abdul) by talking about how she frequently sees ghosts. In a “Sixth Sense” moment, Abdul said that she sees ghosts too. Despite Abdul and Deckard bonding over their paranormal experiences, Deckard was rejected because she was a terrible singer.
Jonny Rogers, a 17-year-old with a Justin Bieber haircut, repeatedly mentioned how he hated being compared to Bieber. Cowell cheekily said that Rogers looked like a Ken doll. Rogers sang an original song that he said he wrote titled “There Ain’t No Substitution.” Unfortunately, Roger’s robotic, awkward dance moves and unimpressive voice got him “no” votes from all the judges. Cowell quipped that Rogers was like a Justin Bieber doll that “kind of went wrong in production. That’s what you are. It wasn’t quite right.”
(Click here to watch Jonny Rogers’ audition.)
Dylan Lawson, 18, told a sob story about how he lived in “out in the boondocks” and how he sold his truck to get money to buy a plane ticket for the audition. He gave one of the episode’s most bizarre, cringeworthy performances, which can best be described as curse-filled, incoherent shouting/rapping. “Check your bladder” was one of the few lines in the song that was coherent. He then threw himself and his microphone down on stage and took several seconds to get back up on his feet. As Reid so aptly put it: “He sold his truck to do that? Wow. That was insane!”
(Click here to watch Dylan Lawson’s audition.)
Curtis Lawson, a 19-year-old street vendor (no relation to Dylan Lawson), was even more bizarre. His “song” didn’t even have lyrics. He just made vibrating sound effects that sounded like something you would hear in a horror movie with people doing occult chanting. Abdul commented: “I’m a little scared and confused.” Cowell had this advice for Lawson: “Learn a song in English [that’s] actually human.”
The Favorite Contestants
Here are featured contestants who got “yes” votes from all the judges:
Melanie Amaro, 18, had probably the best feedback of all the contestants featured in the episode. She did a pitch-perfect, stirring rendition of Beyoncé’s “Listen,” which brought Scherzinger to tears. “This is why I do this,” Scherzinger told Amaro. “People like you inspire me.”
(Click here to watch Melanie Amaro’s audition.)
Caitlin Koch, a 21-year-old rugby coach, wowed the judges with a unique ballad version of the Supremes’ “Stop! In the Name of Love.”
(Click here to watch Caitlin Koch’s audition.)
Nick Voss, 21, said in a pre-audition interview that he had been fired from his job because he wanted to go to “The X Factor” audition. His version of Elvis Presley’s “Trouble” wasn’t exactly on key, but the judges liked his on-stage charisma.
(Click here to watch Nick Voss’ audition.)
Dexter Haygood, a 49-year-old homeless man, clearly idolized James Brown, since the two songs he performed were Brown classics “Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine” and “It’s a Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World,” and he tried to perform like Brown. Haygood (clad in platform shoes) repeatedly talked about how he was a recording artist in the early ’80s and that “The X Factor” was his last chance to try to become a star. Although he got “yes” votes from all of the judges, they cautioned Haygood that he needed to be more original in his next performance.
(Click here to watch Dexter Haygood’s audition.)
Kendra Williams, a 32-year-old teacher, did a soulful version of Craig Morgan’s “Almost Home.”
(Click here to watch Kendra Williams’ audition.)
Jeremiah Pagan, a 22-year-old who described himself as a “male soprano,” sang a very good version of Whitney Houston’s “Try It on My Own.”
2 Squar’d, a quartet of women in their 20s, and Brendan O’Hara, a 30-year-old music instructor, also advanced to the next round.
(Click here to watch 2 Squar’d’s audition.)
The last two “X Factor” U.S. audition episodes for 2011 will air on Fox on September 28 and September 29, 2011, at 8 p.m. Eastern/Pacific Time.
After the auditions, the next round of the competition will be televised in pre-taped “boot camp” episodes, which feature the contestants living in the same quarters and performing in front of the judges and audiences. After the “boot camp” episodes, the remaining contestants advance to the “judges’ houses” stage of the competition, in which each judge pairs with a celebrity to decide which contestants will become finalists. The finalists perform in live episodes, and the winner is chosen by public voting.