Vulture

Skip to content, or skip to search.

The X Factor Recap: Auditions Come to a Close

THE X FACTOR: Jordyn Foley performs in front of the judges on an all new epsiode of THE X FACTOR airing Thursday, Sep. 27 (8:00-9:00PM ET/PT) on FOX. CR: Ray Mickshaw/ FOX

Oh, my friends. The time has come at last! It’s our final audition episode! And also somehow only our sixth. Have we been at this since early 1986, or does it just feel like it? This is interminable. This is Roots, but with white tweens. This is Shoah, scored by Jessie J. This is Sex & the City 2.

Tonight’s episode starts in medias res: Trevor Moran, our irrepressibly effeminate adolescent, has been repressed by some mystery ailment. He is on the ground, stricken, as unconvincing voiceovers ask: “Is he okay?”, “Is he dead?”, and most importantly, “Is that a contestant?” It turns out he’s just a little too wound up and dehydrated, so they ply him with Aquafina, the Pepsi bottled water that, at the very least, has a lower sodium content than rival Dasani. Real talk: Is there anything more depressing than a bottle of Dasani?

ANYWAY. Trevor rehydrates, pulls his act together, flounces out onstage, and does a wildly flirty version of LMFAO’s “Sexy and I Know It,” and makes me feel, in order:

-  concern for his health,

-  concern for his reputation,

-  anger at his irrepressible effeminacy,

-  jealousy at his irrepressible effeminacy,

-  concern for his parents’ reputation,

-  jealousy of his parents’ encouragement of his irrepressible effeminacy,

-  shame that I wasn’t strong enough to be this young, fancy-free gay boy,

-  concerned shameful angry jealousy over the fact that a young, fancy-free gay boy in 2012 is well-enough integrated into society that he will just go along with the crowd and fail to experience the painful isolation that might lead him to the realization that popular things like LMFAO’s “Sexy and I Know It” are awful.

And that’s just in the first ten seconds. It is a shimmering, pink tornado of negative emotions. The judges are unanimously enthralled by him, though, and he is through to boot camp, where the pressure will only get more intense and he may well combust. I will say this: The kid is sturdy. He went from grey and prone to straight-up sashaying in the space of just a few minutes. Was he suffering from an Aquafina deficiency?

Demi sees a dreamy boy in the audience and sends him a note with a lipstick smooch all on it. I like this Demi Lovato. She has managed, in the mess of these last six episodes, to do something that Britney cannot and Nicole Scherzinger couldn’t do in all of last season: behave like a believable human being.

On the dreamy boy tip, Owen Stuart is young and cute-ish and pining away for a girlfriend he left behind in Buffalo. Britney says no to his version of B.O.B.’s “Airplanes,” but the rest are charmed. Boom — he is in the boy band that I am certain Simon Cowell is cooking up.

And then we get to the super-morbidly obese guy. Freddie Combs weighs in the high 500s, and though he’s lost over 400 pounds, he’s still wheelchair-bound and wearing clothes from the Drapes for Big & Tall Houses store. It takes no fewer than six large crew people to wheel him up the ramp to the stage. But I’ll be damned if this guy doesn’t have a serene dignity about him. He dedicates “Wind Beneath My Wings” to his patient wife, and ... dude can really sing. The judges unanimously (“unanimously” is redundant by now, right?) send him to boot camp, and challenge him to stand by season’s end. The sound you hear is OK! and Life & Style having a bare-knuckle brawl for the exclusive. (Us Weekly and People passed. This is The X Factor after all.)

Lauren Jauregui is up next, and she’s simply a nice kid with a strong voice, which seems inadequate at this point. You can almost hear the producers grilling her: “No eating disorders? Neither parent is dead or neglectful? Are you sure?” She sings Alicia Keys’s “If I Ain’t Got You,” which is ubiquitous on shows like these, and she knocks it out of the park. I actually say out loud “Ooh — a rich low end!” Actual drool shines in the corner of L.A.’s mouth. She is through to boot camp where she will get swallowed up if she doesn’t come up with a sob story quickly. If you are related to Lauren Jauregui, do the right thing and get very sick as soon as you can.

Sassy, sparkly Jordyn Foley is our last auditioner of the whole process for some reason! She is like ten Toddlers & Tiaras kids all at once! “Pink is my signature color,” she informs us unnecessarily, “and sparkles!” She looks like Rainbow Brite, multiplied by Harriet from Small Wonder. She sings “Tomorrow” from Annie, because she is required by law to do so. And if Simon didn’t hate the song enough already — and he does! — she adds a spoken word interlude: “I’D LIKE TO REMIND YOU THAT TOMORROW IS ALWAYS AT HAND AND TO ALWAYS LOOK FORWARD TO THE FUTURE!” I hate and love it, which I suppose is the point. And though her voice is not the strongest, she is put right through. I cannot imagine what the point of that could possibly be.

And with that, I stick out my chin and grin and say “That’s it for the auditions.” Thank God. Next week, the dreaded boot camp begins, and I kind of forget what that entails but it’ll probably be explosive and shocking and whatever. As my shamaness Jordyn recommends, I look forward to the future. Always.