The crew hits Newark and San Francisco for the last audition rounds

By Annie Barrett
September 30, 2011 at 05:26 AM EDT
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For the fourth and final auditions episode of The X Factor, cool Steve Jones and the Gang visited Newark (just across the river from the real city, they swear) and San Francisco. Most of the two hours was a whole lotta nothing, but there was a lovely montage at the end set to Starship’s “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” that got me thinking about the movie Mannequin for awhile and really brightened up my evening. So maybe it was all worth it?

Also, at one point, the talent was so terrible that Simon was feeding Paula some sort of tiny food particles one by one. I really wanted them to be capers. At many points, the shadow of Simon’s microphone created the illusion of a BIG patch of extra chest hair in his deep V. Oh, and Stevecrest had some hot stubble in Newark. And there you have it — my favorite moments of the night!

Let’s run down the “yeses” who got their own segments:

Brian Bradley, 14. Rapped about wanting people to stop looking at his mom, at which point Steve Jones helpfully gestured to his mom backstage. She “look so good I thought he was her brother”! He might be remembered for his ridiculous and unprompted talk-back to Simon, after Simon merely turned around to address someone behind him after Brian had walked out. “I see you man, what is your problem, man, are you serious?” Ugh, no. Of course Simon and everyone else had to over-praise his talent after this stunt. L.A. Reid in particular was on my s— list last night. He keeps acting like all of these unknowns are his true destiny in life. Remember his time at Def Jam? “All the years I was there, I was looking for you. I’m the luckiest guy in the world that you walked in today. Television, film, records — you can do it if you set your mind to it.” Jeez, L.A. You could use a fraction of any of those sentences and call it a day. You’re killing me.

NEXT: Jazzlyn, Brennin, and Tora compete for Best in First Name Jazzlyn Little, 16. Loved her cover of Mary J. Blige’s “I’m Going Down.” I just really wasn’t buying the whole story about how terribly nervous this “little brilliant gem” (according to Paula) was on audition day. I mean, the zoom-in on her shaking hands? The idea of singing as an escape from reality “where I don’t have to be me”? Approval from the four judges was “the first time in my life I really did truly feel accepted”? Sorry, I didn’t quite see it! She seemed absolutely confident to me. The whole overcoming-insecurity charade seemed like a good excuse for the editors to use U2’s “One” and for Scherzy to instruct viewers to go watch Jazzlyn on YouTube. Again, her voice was fantastic. I like her. It’s just that the lead-up seemed really fake. Don’t mind me, really. I’m such a cynical mess.

Brennin Hunt, 26. Oh my, a hot guy! “My ultimate goal is to rule the world. I think I have the look,” said the perfect face from Nashville. The look is usually all you need, but Brennin also delivered a solid performance on an original song, “How We Make It,” that won everyone in the audience over pretty much after the first line. Yay, I love when the pretty people earn their keep. Simon even volunteered to work with Brennin and sculpt him into a great artist. “You were primed to be on this show,” cooed Paula. “Ladies, is he hot?” wondered L.A. Reid. Well, that one was a freebie. Brennin, bless his heart, wishes he was 25 instead. Don’t we all.

Tora Woloshin, 21. I liked this little nut job! The aspiring automotive technician from Tuscon brought more entertainment value than vocal quality to “I Want You Back,” but when you’re wearing incredible hot pink knee-high boots and black hot pants under a swooshy dress, a basic grasp of the musical language is really all you need. She seems sweet and not entitled. “There’s something funky and cool and different about you,” slurred Nicole, suddenly on Quaaludes.

NEXT: Y’all are through, too! Why the hell not?Cari Fletcher, 17. Oof. I know Heart’s “Alone” (which Paula choreographed, if you hadn’t remembered that from the zillion times she mentioned it on Idol) is difficult to sing, especially with the lower register at the beginning, but this girl did not have a very good voice! But she was hot, blond, kind of Faith Hill-y in the face, and young. I won’t be surprised if we never see her again. Which is a shame, because I was digging the frozen-in-anticipation facial expressions of her silver-toned Bruce Jenner-esque father.

AusEm, ugh. This is what happens when teenagers stay after school and copy every Glee performance they’ve ever seen. It was so clear even at the start of their “Jar of Hearts” duet that Austin was a much better singer and more charismatic onstage then his bestie since sixth grade, Emily. So watching the judges attempt to break this news to both of them gently was rather heartbreaking. “That’s not fair!” cried her dad backstage. It was fair. But they’re through anyway, as a duo.

The Stereo Hoggz, a boy band. Simon thought their original performance had “this air of being actually over-rehearsed,” but he was probably just jealous of their sassy choreography and ‘X’ baseball caps. One of the five guys (ages 23–25) had just had a baby that same morning. He looked great!

More yeses who got very little screen time:

—Kelly Warner, 22, a good-natured nursing home hairdresser who sang “Hallelujah”

—Aaron Surgeon, 27, the lost member of Milli Vanilli

—-Liliana Rose Andreano, 26, who didn’t look like a pop star until she started singing, said Simon. Better late than never!

—Paige Elizabeth Ogle, an 18-year-old secretary who rocked Gaga’s “You and I” in a blazer and shorts and had my favorite last name of the night

—Leroy Bell, a 59-year-old but younger-looking songwriter who did a soulful rendition of “Lean on Me”

—The Brewer Boys, 13 and 17, who wore plaid shirts. (I wish I knew more!)

—Nick Dean, 14, who performed his “first single,” an original song called “Walk Away.” HE’S CUTE AND BLOND!

Andy Silkovitz was very special. Line up, ladies. He’s been exploited on TV now. It’s all uphill from here.


The I’m-getting-out-of-my-chair fakeout for Jazzlyn Little!


5. Tora Woloshin’s hearty ginger dad

4. Andy Silkovitz’s tiny mom (big week for dwarves on X Factor)

3. Paula’s Pepsi cup

2. That tragic girl whose first name was “Nouf”

1. Steve Jones

Only 32 acts will survive next week’s boot camp. Will you stick around?

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