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The X Factor series premiere recap: Simon Says Yes

Mr. Cowell eases back into action with a grey sweater and a $5 million twinkle in his eye

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Judges X Factor

The X Factor

TV Show
Current Status:
Reality TV

The U.S. version of The X Factor is finally here! So proclaimed its fantastic-looking British host and underwear model Steve Jones, who introduced the show while riding shotgun in an enormous trailer truck. Don’t worry, grunted this tremendous rig as it chugged across America. He’s not that foreign. But then Stevie None-der had to plant himself in front of palm trees and announce that he was in “Los Ange-leeeeees” and totally ruin it.

This isn’t American Idol — auditions take place in arenas, in front of thousands — but for the next few weeks of audition episodes, you know the drill: delusional beasts mingling with real talent in “a sea of humanity” featuring tears, anger, and lots and lots of montages. Hopefully no more nudity. But if they must: Seriously, find someone better.

I’m disappointed we won’t get to see any more of Cheryl Cole, whom Simon sacked after the first round of auditions because she seemed “bewildered.” Whatever, Simon. I thought Cheryl was a marvel in Los Angelees. I got chills when her hair suddenly developed even more volume during Terrell Carter‘s tryout — plus, she doesn’t speak in a baby voice and it wasn’t her birthday. That’s three huge pluses for Cheryl over her eventual replacement Nicole Scherzinger right there. Cheryl even played it safe with her initial comments to Prince’s nothin’-but-net little sister Siameze Floyd. “Do I absolutely love this and think it’s genius, or is this kind of weird?” she stalled. “I don’t really know what the answer is.” Nice try. The answer is you’re fired. Of course Siameze Floyd should get through to boot camp. This is a singing competition, and that wacko can execute at least 40 types of splits. God, Cheryl, get in the game!

We certainly saw our fair share of “joke” auditions during the premiere. There were elderly Nevadians Dan and Vanita, who will continue to “have a feisty life” (L.A. Reid!) with or without The X Factor‘s gristly five-dollar hot dogs. Your crazy old French teacher Jessa — I mean Linda Ostrofsky — disturbingly reminded you it’s never too late to touch yourself. Or too early. Good morning. Later on, a shiny-suited creeper named Geo Godley sang an original tune while disrobing, lending a new and possibly grotesque meaning to the lyric, “Some are stuck up, others are not.” Whatever was under that big red ‘X’ caused Paula to scamper away and fake-hurl, but she soon came back and bravely drank a small bottle of water with two hands.

NEXT: Six promising acts make it through to boot camp