There's room for everyone -- decent singers, Gene Simmons' daughter, a bleating China doll, and all of Britney's hats

By Annie Barrett
Updated September 27, 2012 at 07:01 AM EDT
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“Britney would like a straw hat.” Thank God the producers didn’t keep running with the “let’s have Britney Spears torment the judges’ assistant for no reason” gag. Poor Wade! I’m pretty sure the straw hat and the tiara were just decoys for what those segments were really about: hammering it into our heads that Pepsi (another of Britney’s fake demands) is absolutely delicious when it is ice cold.

What’s going on with these giant “can cups,” by the way? I’m more fascinated by them than any contestant so far. Sometimes I think I detect an ultra-thin layer of plastic or glass surrounding the entire cup — so there’s no reason the Pepsi shouldn’t be chilled — frosty, even — to Britney’s specifications. Yo, X Factor. I’m still watching you. Are you gonna send me a Pepsi can cup or what? #pepsi

We saw a steady stream of losers tonight, including a man with spikes growing out of his head, a 52-year-old Chinese woman dressed as a baby doll nurse/sailor, and a really creepy couple who were obsessed with their love for each other because they have absolutely nothing else going on in their lives.

BRITNEY’S BOOBS ARE NOT IMPRESSED.

Here’s who is going through to bootcamp:

Dinah Jane Hansen: Damn, girl! Once this 15-year-old got beyond(cé) those terribly unnerving low verses in Beyoncé’s “If I Were a Boy,” she stunned the crowd with a vocal so powerful that Demi Lovato’s “Oh my God” had to be subtitled. Easily my favorite contestant of the night. I can’t believe she’s only 15 — and neither could the judges since she was wearing a blazer. Like L.A. Reid said, Dinah Jane (LOVE the name) didn’t copy B and she made the song her own. I liked the twangy effect she put on “boyeeeee” and the lilt she tossed onto the end of “understand.” I wonder if the show will pony up for free travel so that all 23 people who live in Dinah’s house can sit (separately — they’ll need their much-deserved space) in the audience.

Arin Ray: Kudos to the member of last season’s InTENsity for writing and performing an original song, “Count On Me,” but I wasn’t bowled over by his voice at all. He’s an attractive 16-year-old who figured out how to distinguish himself by wearing bowties and suspenders, and everyone likes a comeback. But I can’t get excited about that audition, no matter how many screamin’ teens the cameras caught over, and over, and over, and over.

NEXT: Hey, want to get an arm signed by a boy who can sing/dipped his head in bleach? Time to group a bunch of talented “yeses” together! Sixteen-year-old Natalie Martin is a cute blonde with a strong country vocal, and Nick Perrelli (turquoise shoelaces, terrible hair, also 16) got the coveted “I’ve got a feeling about you” from Simon with his take on “Come Fly With Me.” One4Five is a lively duo, one of whom has ice blue “zombie” contacts. The other nearly charmed the hot pink cinnamon bun right off of Demi Lovato’s noggin by rapping to her up close. They’ll be just the ticket. Nick “the janitor” Youngerman delighted Britney with his cover of “Ice, Ice Baby” — it’s one of the songs she knows! — and we heard maybe two-thirds of one line of song from 13-year-old Beatrice Miller. Do they really need to show all four judges saying yes in lieu of a few extra seconds of someone’s vocal? Silly.

Austin Corini: Throughout this 16-year-old bleach-blonde cherub’s audition, I could not stop thinking he had Mario Lopez face. This might be the last person you’d think to compare him to, but check it out:

Maybe not/who cares. Even before he sang “Wanted” by Hunter Hayes, Austin had won the hearts of two audience members wearing the same white skirt and the same t-shirt in two different camera-friendly colors, who had been directed to gush over him and ask him for his autograph. HIS AUTOGRAPH. Because he is a cute boy with ridiculous hair in an even-more-camera-friendly light blue shirt. Sometimes I think I’d rather watch the producers’ manipulations on The X Factor instead of The X Factor — a reality show of this “reality” show, like HBO’s one-season wonder The Comeback. I’m blowing my mind right now.

Anyway, ehhhhh on Austin’s actual voice. Simon and L.A. agreed to give him a chance, but warned him he better distinguish himself from the 25 imaginary auditioners identical to Austin who are floating through Simon’s mind at any given time. The best part of Austin’s segment, for me, was his dad’s proud silence backstage, even upon seeing his son again. They executed this really endearing “full body high ten,” with lots of leaning and just hands, hands splayed everywhere! A Pattycake disaster! Cute.

David Correy: I let out a big ol’ “Ugggggghhhhhhhh” as soon as Simon asked what makes David unique and he replied, “Honestly I think what makes me different is I’m adopted.” But I’ll forgive him, because once he hit the upper register of Bruno Mars’ “Just the Way You Are,” his talent and charisma onstage were so undeniable that of course he had to move on. And it’s cute that he wants to find his mom so he can see exactly where his gift of song originated. (The cynic in me totally thought this was a fakeout audition — that he had no such gift, or the gift was a lump of coal — when he said that.) So David’s all good.

But I think we can all agree that the real stars of the show here were David’s Friends.

YES.

NEXT: Gene Simmons’ somewhat somber daughter Sophie Tweed-Simmons: Hey, it’s Gene Simmons’ daughter! She didn’t want anyone to know, and her face fell very convincingly when Demi Lovato “recognized” her because Demi knew her brother (SCRIPTED SCRIPTED SCRIPTED). I did believe that Sophie was crestfallen that she couldn’t just go ahead and sing for the audience before they knew who her dad was, and I think she has a very natural demeanor onstage. Her cover of “To Make You Feel My Love” was slow and soothing, almost like a lullaby for the judges who were completely still in their chairs. Beautiful voice, but since the song practically is a lullaby by definition, it’s hard to know whether the 16-year-old would exhibit any pizzazz with another genre.

I’m not sure she’s exciting enough, and I don’t think she’s what The X Factor or its voters will go for. I think this audition would have been perfect for American Idol. Sophie’s probably headed down the same road as Jim Carrey’s daughter Jane, who got through the San Diego auditions but that was it. Sophie’s voice was stronger, though.

I’m glad we got to witness this. Quit being coy with that tongue, Gene! I don’t want to see little boys’ tongues mimicking yours in the hot sweaty crowd outside. I want to see the REAL DEAL.

Tara Simon: Ugggggghhhhhhh for real this time. “That girl is a total, utter drama queen” Simon announced triumphantly as 27-year-old Tara strode offstage. The producers will love her, the other contestants will hate her, and no one will want to vote for her, all because she’s a raging bitch. Based on her entitled attitude, over-confidence, and constant bragging to anyone who would listen that she was a vocal coach, I assumed again that this was a fakeout audition and she’d end up being awful. And she is awful in general, but the judges enjoyed the Mariah runs at the end of her “Without You” snippet. I really thought she sounded awful up until that point, and then when she boldly attempted that nonsense, I was like “absolutely no thanks.” But what I found obnoxious, the judges found lovely.

Finally, an adult. Daryl Black: So, call me a loser (this is the internet after all) but I have a newfound respect for the lyrics of “Stereo Hearts” after this 37-year-old dreamboat father of five cooed them to me nice and slow, as if explaining the wonders of life to a small child through song. Then I wondered if it even mattered what Daryl was singing. I’m not sure it does! I believe that anything he sings will feel as magical and special as that slow-motion single verse of a Gym Class Heroes song. (Truth be told, I never had a clue what Adam Levine was singing in that song and never bothered to find out!) Simon compared Daryl to Nat King Cole and awarded him one of his finest platitudes: “I think there’s a place for you.” Love it.

Then there was Trevor Moran, a.k.a. the little kid who danced around the Apple Store and became a “YouTube sensation, if you’re the sort of person who believes in that type of religion. We didn’t see him do anything dramatic (his dance-along to “Call Me Maybe” with another contestant was painful, but assumedly not trauma-inducing) — in fact, the last we saw of him, he was just lying peacefully with his head in his mama’s lap. But suddenly — sirens! An ambulance! And a TO BE CONTINUED black screen. Looks like we’ll find out tomorrow night whether he’ll live or die.

But Trevor’s lovin’ it, so maybe it’s fine.

Teens. What will we do with them? WHAT WILL THEY DO WITH US?

See you tomorrow!

Video reply time! Ask Annie anything about ‘The X Factor’ — or whatever — below.

Episode Recaps

The X Factor

Simon Cowell, Demi Lovato, Kelly Rowland, and Paulina Rubio judge Season 3.
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