The X Factor Recap: God and Monsters [Updated]

jeffrey adam gutt x factorAs just about any reality-show contestant will tell you, God maintains an encyclopedic knowledge of/a keen rooting interest in the outcome of everything from Big Brother to RuPaul’s Drag Race to The X Factor.

Thursday night’s installment of the last-named of those shows put an exclamation point on this fact, as lightning, heavy winds, and torrential downpours contributed to a power outage that put the kibosh on a brutal batch of auditions from Greensboro, NC. (All together now: “Thaaaaank God!”)

Sometimes, though, you don’t need divine intervention — especially not when you’ve got a mom who won’t indulge your tantrums and continues to fire her guns of harsh truth even in the face of nationally televised humiliation. Take the case of striking hairstylist Krysten Colon, who saw her audition to Adele’s “Don’t You Remember” get cut short by Simon, who wanted her to pick a song with a stronger melody, then come back later to audition again. Krysten came off as likable enough, the kind of hard-working beauty with TV-ready sound bites like “I finally have the confidence to share what I hear in the shower.”

Apparently, though, the acoustics in Krysten’s shower are more forgiving than those in an arena setting: Her second attempt at making it to Boot Camp — Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing” — showed a grasp of pitch as tenuous as a rockclimber with sweaty palms. When Britney Spears makes her “sucking on a lemon” face, you know you’re done. But when Krysten went into a full-fledged “But I’m really pretty! And I’m supposed to be a superstar!” hissy fit, complete with water bottles thrown into cameras and folding chairs raised in anger, Mama Colon dropped a line that should be mounted on a plaque and handed out to every rejected reality show contestant with a raging sense of entitlement: “Nobody promised her four yeses.”

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Can I get an amen?

Anyhow, without any further ado, let’s get down to the business of ranking the three latest singers — yes, we only got three good auditions in the course of an hour — headed to Boot Camp, and then placing them in a larger context alongside the other successful auditioners from the first three nights of X Factor Auditions:

3) Willie Jones: Josh Turner’s “Your Man” | The judges seemed almost unnaturally shocked to hear a black teenager with Kid ‘N Play hair breaking out the “baby lock them doors” chorus that began Scotty McCreery’s rise to country stardom. But come on, it’s 2012, and music is universal, no? I loved Willie’s stunned/bemused expression when the audience went nuts for him, but while Simon went over the top with his praise — “this is a day to remember” — I thought Willie’s voice was more solid than spectacular.

2) Julia Bullock: Foster the People’s “Pumped Up Kicks” | Julia got the whole “my ex-boyfriend/current bandmate isn’t happy to see me auditioning” backstory, and I’d say it was worth it just to set up Simon’s punch line that her moment on The X Factor stage was the equivalent of the dreaded “just friends” speech. Julia had some charisma and an appealing hitch to her voice, but I’m not entirely convinced she’s unique enough to make it past Boot Camp.

1) Jeffrey Adam Gutt: Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” | Single dad with adorable son right out of central casting displayed a Neil Diamond-ish quality on the opening verse of a song that needs to be immediately retired from reality singing competitions, then opened it up into a full rock wail. Dude has major-league vocal control, and if he can conjure up the swagger to match it, might be an actual Season 2 contender. Oh, and when thunder clapped overhead during the critique, Demi Lovato scored her best zinger of the season: “God’s even rocking out right now.”

25) Quatrele Da’an Smith: Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way”
24) Normani Hamilton: Aretha Franklin’s “Chain of Fools”
23) Brandon Hassan: Ray Lamontagne’s “Trouble”
22) Reed Deming: Bruno Mars’ “Grenade”
21) Jeremiah & Josh: an original track called “Now Life Starts”
20) Vino Alan: Ray Lamontagne’s “Trouble”
19) CeCe Frey: Christina Aguilera’s “Ain’t No Other Man”
18) Willie Jones: Josh Turner’s “Your Man”
17) Rizzloe Jones: Freestyle rap using the phrases “X Factor” and “marshmallow”
16) Johnny Maxwell: an original track called “Do It Big”
15) Paige Thomas: Rose Royce’s “I’m Going Down”
14) Julia Bullock: Foster the People’s “Pumped Up Kicks”
13) Tate Stevens: Randy Houser’s “Anything Goes”
12) Citizen: En Vogue’s “Don’t Let Go (Love)”
11) Ally Brooke: Jaci Velasquez’s “On My Knees”
10) Emblem3: an original track called “Sunset Boulevard”
9) Carly Rose Soneclar: Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good”
8) Jillian Jensen: Jessie J’s “Who You Are”
7) Diamond White: James Brown’s “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World”
6) Panda Ross: Sam Cooke’s “Bring It on Home to Me”
5) Jason Brock: Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind”
4) Jeffrey Adam Gutt: Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”
3) Janell Garcia: Grace Potter and the Nocturnals’ “Paris (Ooh La La)”
2) Jessica Espinoza: Pink’s “Nobody Knows”
1) Sister C: Pistol Annies’ “Hell on Heels”

Who were your favorites from The X Factor‘s fourth episode of Season 2? Were there any moments that made you cringe? Hit the comments with your thoughts!