It’s night two of “The X Factor,” and now that the question of whether it would beat “The Voice” in ratings last night has been answered (it didn’t), the only big mystery left is: What is Simon Cowell chewing?
The show’s head honcho might be kicking a nicotine habit, or just working on a bad case of halitosis, but he’s giving an awful lot of criticism through a veil of something very chewy.
That’s his quirk, and co-judge Britney Spears’s own quirk is shaping up to be her sad/painful/appalled grimace she seems to make whenever she is happy, pleased, sad, grossed out, being complimented or eating delicious cake.
The good news about Britney’s face is that there doesn’t seem to be anything rehearsed about it—well, other than the years of media training that have left their permanent scars on her expressions. But you can’t say that about all the “behind-the-scenes” footage of the auditioners supposedly naturally interacting with one another. The whole real people doing things but with really good cinematography just makes the show look like “The Hills.”
The first contestant, Johnny Maxwell, pulled up to the audition in a car and had a conversation with his mother, in which he expressed his nervousness with this gem: “There’s hecka people here, mom.” Now how many times did the miked pair have to rehearse that before Johnny remembered not to say “hella”? But what is real anymore, anyway?
Johnny, a rapper, was one of three contestants tonight to score four yeses from the judges. The second was Jason Brock, a flamboyant customer service rep who sings on the phone. “X Factor” totally Susan Boyled him by making him seem like he was going to be an ugly mess, and then making him sing like an angel. The judges’ faces during this one were great, especially LA Reid’s signature closed-eye head jam he does when he’s dreaming about making zillions of dollars.
The last of the four yeses was the last contestant, and a serious contender to win the whole show. Thirteen-year-old Carly Rose Sonenclar was discovered tonight. The pint-sized jazz singer did “Feelin’ Good,” which would normally seem like a ghastly song choice for a child. But she was insanely good, and confident, and not in any way cutesy or inappropriately sexy, as many child stars mistakenly are. “A star has just walked out on that stage,” said Simon, through a mouthful of Tic Tacs.