The X Factor
Credit: Ray Mickshaw/Fox
Simon Cowell, American Idol

After another two-hour audition episode of The X Factor, we’ve still met only a few truly promising future pop stars, if any. Sixteen-year-old high school freshman and Tourette’s sufferer Carlos Guevara (pictured, happily mauled) was by far the emotional highlight of tonight’s third installment — after explaining to the judges that “Sometimes I beep and yell and my body moves…the only thing that could help me was music,” he delivered a cover of John Mayer’s “Gravity” more remarkable for the teary-eyed reactions from the judges and Carlos’ devoted gaggle of friends than the power of the brave kid’s vocal. But tears can get you far in this world. Well, on TV, anyway.

More standout auditions below — including returning contestant Jeff Gutt. (I recognized his face, but assumed he’d starred in, like, a memorable Sonic commercial or something. Not the best sign.)

Who had your favorite tryout tonight? Is anyone still watching?

Josh Levi, 14: I can see this kid winning The X Factor — he’s like a black Justin Bieber without a raging attitude problem. If you’d told me he’d written Selena Gomez’ “Come and Get It” himself, I’d have belieb-ed you. “There’s nobody like you. You….are….yes!” raved Kelly Rowland.

AKNU: This stands for “a kind never understood,” explained the three brothers, ages 24-28, from South Central L.A. Simon Cowell professed his hatred of their audition song, “Valerie,” before they’d even begun — but on the upside, you could tell he was already impressed that all three of them had jobs. Nothing delights Simon Cowell more than humble descriptions of other people’s hardworking efforts that are far, far beneath him. I didn’t think the bros’ singing stood out too much, but their collective spirit and very compelling dance moves (seriously!) could take them pretty far on this show.

Simon had complained that other, non-old-fashioned groups were “too old-fashioned” (as if a five-girl supergroup named “Drama Drama” could hatch at any other time than 2013) but these guys looked straight out of the ’60s and instantly won him over.

I really can’t handle black pleather blazers on men. I always learn a lot from The X Factor.

Brandie Love, 21: Look, her country-tinged vocal on “Up to the Mountain” was strong, but I don’t know if there’s any wow factor to this nice orthodontic assistant’s (Simon just foamed at the mouth) performance style. Brandie’s Army boyfriend Brandon got to come with her after returning from deployment, so I guess that spoke to people. I think she got an entire segment devoted to her because of 1) Army BF and 2) that name! “That’s a pop star name,” drooled Simon. Not really. It’s a porn star name. Really. Don’t click that.

Colton Pack, 18: Another entire segment….because this kid brought his entire rural West Virginia town with him! Those 150 people or so either really believed in him or just wanted to ride on a bus. Colton sang Jason Aldean’s “Hicktown,” rather poorly, and he is not the heartthrob he thinks he is. Demi Lovato got some big boos when she called Colton “pitchy at times” — or those might have been the agonized yawns of audience members who’d just woken up. I am not sure.

Danie Geimer, 15: Yes! This girl had by far my favorite vocal audition of the night with “House of the Rising Sun.” I mean, there was no contest. The editors tried really hard to paint her as an “aggressive bookworm” (her response to a plant who complimented her glasses in the line outside was “I READ BOOKS. I read about, like, neuroscience”) so I can’t tell if her personality is really that off-putting. She’s not long for a competition like this, is my guess. She’d fit in better over on The Voice.

Did anyone else suspect that her hair would be incredibly greasy when the judges demanded she take her hat off? Like that’d be the BIG REVEAL of her segment? It wasn’t! Danie Geimer knows how to shower. She’s going places, in general. Hopefully to college.

Jeff Gutt, 37: He’s back! But perhaps more importantly, so is Jeffrey Adam Gutt (pronounced like Guttenberg)’s ADORABLE SON. We all know this guy would never make it through even last year’s first round of auditions without that beaming, camera-ready kid. Come on! Tonight Jeff started out carbon-copying Steven Tyler’s voice on “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing,” which was so awful we apparently needed a really long commercial break to shake it off. His cover of Radiohead’s “Creep” was typical confident-guy-at-karaoke fare. He did a good job wailing on that last part, but like, your dad could do that. You could probably do it after enough beers.

But a really pretty girl with a nose ring in the audience was super into it, so what do I know?

You are the one that got away last year. You’re not getting away this year,” recited Simon from the script. He’s always so bored!

Can you imagine returning to The X Factor? Did Carlos Guevara make you cry? Discuss!

Episode Recaps

Simon Cowell, American Idol
The X Factor
Simon Cowell, Demi Lovato, Kelly Rowland, and Paulina Rubio judge Season 3.
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