S1E1: It's the moment we've all been waiting for: the return of Simon Cowell. The X Factor has become one of the most talked about shows to be premiering this fall and for good reason. Ever since Cowell said goodbye to American Idol, America has yearned for their beloved British judge to return to his rightful place on television. And even though he no longer has Randy Jackson by his side, his new panel of judges is sure to be a hit. Our four judges include Cowell, Nicole Scherzinger, L.A. Reid, and Paula Abdul, along with the show's host, Steve Jones.
So here we are, presented with a show where the judges go around to different cities, collecting contestants who will be judged and eventually voted for by the people of America. Although I'm sure this sounds familiar, there are a few details that make The X Factor different from Idol. For one, the age requirement is quite a bit lower: 12 years and up, so get ready for some young talent. Also the four judges will each be responsible for a category, which they mentor and advise, making them just as invested in who wins as the contestants themselves. In the end, the winner will receive a $5 million recording contract. Talk about incentive!
We start off the star search in L.A. where Cheryl Cole joins the ranks as a guest judge (Nicole takes Cheryl's place in Seattle). Like most auditions, there was laughing, crying, tears of joy and sadness, anger, nerves, and most importantly -- singing. The auditions are always the most amusing part of any singing competition and while I could go on and on about all the screw ups and triumphs, I thought I would narrow it down to the top fve most memorable moments of the night. So if you missed tonight's show, you might want to check these contestants out and see if you think they have that rare X Factor!
1. 13-Year-Old Rachel Crow wins America's heart.
When 13-year-old Rachel Crow took the stage, you knew she was going to leave her mark. She was sweet, yet confident and she marched right up to the microphone and showed no fear. In fact, if singing doesn't work out for her, she could potentially become a comedian. When Simon asked her what she would do with the $5 million she became very animated and said that her family is poor. She goes on to say she lives in a 2 bedroom house with 6 people and jokingly admits that she's a girl and she needs her own bathroom. But there's nothing funny about her singing...just pure talent. As soon as she busted out singing "Mercy" by Duffy, she won the crowd and the judges over. Her singing was beautiful, her personality was memorable -- all around she was an adorable bundle of sassy and soulful talent. Paula said she blew them away, Reid called her a little star, and Simon said she's the reason they lowered the age limit for the competition. This girl got a yes from all four judges. We'll definitely be seeing her again.
2. Simon and Reid are already butting heads.
Cowell and Reid don't seem to be getting off to a very good start with each other. At one point, Cowell actually tred to convince Reid to change his answer from a no to yes about a contestant, saying that he was wrong to not find this person talented. Things just started to spiral downward from there. It seemed like every time Reid said no, Cowell would say yes and vice versa. You could tell they were getting on each other's nerves and it's only the beginning of the season. Will this seemingly vast difference of opinion cause a rift in the judges panel and start a full out rivalry? We'll have to wait and see how long these two men continue to butt heads.
3. Contestants Stacy Francis and Chris Rene bring everyone to their feet.
These two contestants were truly the highlights of the entire night. Stacy is a 42=year-old mother who was constantly told by her boyfriend that she was too old to be pursuing her music career, while Chris is a 28=year-old trash collector who has been clean and sober for 70 days. They're two completely different people, but with one incredible talent. Francis brought the entire audience -- including the judges -- to their feet with her beautiful rendition of Aretha Franklin's "A Natural Woman." There was passion, there was emotion, there was amazing talent. Rene took a different route and performed his own original song. These always make me nervous because most of the time the contestants that write their own music are terrible, but his was outstanding both lyrically and musically. Cowell tells Francis that hers was one of the best auditions he's ever heard in his life and Reid compared Rene to Jay-Z. If you couldn't guess, both contestants got yeses all across the board.
4. A contestant makes Paula throw up.
One male contestant actually dropped his pants in the middle of his musical number, exposing himself to the entire audience. Scherzinger and Abdul looked away in disgust while Reid and Cowell were both in disbelief that this was actually happening on their stage. To make matters even worse, the singing wasn't even good. At all. As the contestant proceeded to jump around with his pants down, Paula become so upset by the whole ordeal that she hurriedly left the room and threw up. That's right. Seeing this guy naked actually made her sick to her stomach. I can't say that I blame her -- I'm just glad that I didn't have to witness that mess in person. Reid called the performance offensive, distasteful, and upsetting. Needless to say, the guy got a unanimous NO.
5. Simon's attitude is completely different.
We've all missed Cowell's ruthless, blunt, hard-to-hear comments, but they're nowhere to be found. Seriously, it's like watching a brand new judge. He's smiling, he's winking at most of the contestants, and is basically in a rather chipper mood for the majority of the show. I mean, yes, he was honest and told people when they didn't have what it takes, but he was nowhere near as harsh and he actually tried to give even the losers positive feedback. I'm not going to lie, I'm a little disappointed. I wanted him to make people CRY if they were awful. Sometimes people need a little reality check and Cowell was always the perfect person to give it to him. Who melted his cold heart? I want mean Simon back!