OK, OK, maybe it’s too early for a melodramatic plea to Fox execs to release the charming Destiny’s Child star from a chair still stained with Britney Spears’ boredom drool. But watching the second episode of The X Factor‘s third season, I couldn’t help but feel like Kelly’s mixture of good humor, tactful candor and genuine sweetness are being wasted on a show where confetti cannons will always have top billing over actual contestants.
And just think: If Fox moved The Lady Rowland to American Idol‘s Paula Abdul Memorial Chair — and sent J.Lo back to the sequined bodysuit factory from whence she came — the network could use all the millions of dollars in the divas’ salary differential to clear more songs for Season 13 of its flagship singing competition.
But enough about the lady who popped up through the floor in the middle of Beyoncé’s 2013 Super Bowl halftime show. Let’s instead shift focus to a discussion of the acts who advanced to the next round during tonight’s episode (in order from least- to most promising):
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8. Rylie Brown | This 15-year-old forgot the lyrics to “Clarity,” hit at least a half dozen bum notes, and showcased one of those “crying” vocal tones that can grate like parmesan after about 30 seconds. So, naturally, all four judges gave her “yes” votes. (Anyone notice how the new X Factor panel never disagrees on anything ever. So why the face do we need four of ’em during the audition rounds?)
7. Jorge Pena | Tried and failed to lure Demi to his ice-cream truck (figuratively speaking) with cheesy wink-and-flirt tactics, then doubled down on awful by going flatter than a penny on a railroad track while singing a Spanish-language tune. Apparently, though, that’s worthy of four “yes” votes, as well.
6. Jeffrey Brinkman | I was not a fan of the new dad’s lazy vocal stylings, which found him letting the last few words of every line drift away/imitating Michael Bolton on quaaludes.
5. Denise Weeks | Forty-one-year-old widow only managed to stay in tune on “The Greatest Love of All” after Simon cut the backing track. And knowing how The X Factor cranks up the music to jet-engine-in-your-living-room levels once the live shows begin, Denise’s future on the show looks dimmer than a Kardashian at a college physics lecture.
4. Al Calderon | You could hear the nerves percolating under the super cute 19-year-old restaurant host’s rendition of “Sara Smile,” but on the plus side, the kid showcased enough charisma to avoid getting swallowed whole by the massive audition stage. Could be one to watch if his future mentor helps him work on his grasp of pitch.
3. Roxxy Montana | Simon was right that Temperance has the best voice of the three-sister act; the other two (whose names I’m not learning unless I absolutely have to) brought the wincerie to “One Night Only.” That said, I definitely threw a Gospel hand (or three) when the gals teamed up on “I Know I’ve Been Changed.” A to the Men!
2. Simone Torres | Awkward Long Island chick transformed into someone much, much cooler when she tore into “Mustang Sally.” And while there were moments where she tried a few too many tricks with the bar-band anthem, her rich, gritty tone was more naturally intriguing than any other contestant from Episode 2.
1. Rachel Potter | Gorgeous (and familiar looking) Nashville bartender lamented the fact that at 29, she’s no spring chicken, but her twangy (and tangy) twist on Queen’s “Somebody to Love” showcased an appealing conversational style and massive amounts of vocal control. Could we be looking at a second-straight country winner from the “Over 25s”? It’s not impossible. And it’s Simon’s worst nightmare, which doesn’t hurt.
And on that note, I turn things over to you. What did you think of tonight’s X Factor? Was the ratio of bad auditions too high? Who was your favorite successful auditioner? Take our poll below, then expand on your opinion in the comments!