Another week, another round of auditions on The X Factor
. Wednesday night's two-hour episode was jam-packed with not only a lot of singers, but a ton of cities as well: if I kept track right, they went to Los Angeles, Charleston, Long Island and New Orleans. (They might have gone to Denver as well -- we saw the Denver Coliseum in one shot but the name of the city never flashed across the screen like with the others.)
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But enough about that, what about the talent? Aside from the usual horrific tone-deaf "singers," and Paulina Rubio and Simon Cowell missing from parts of the auditions (it should be stipulated in their contract that they can't miss any tapings unless absolutely necessary, like if they have to go to a funeral or something), there were some gems that shone through.
While they're not my One Singer to Watch (or even the runner-up), I want to mention AKNU, a group that consists of three brothers, who sang "Valerie." First off, how can Simon not like that song? I mean, seriously. I have two two opposing thoughts about them: the dancing was cheesy. But at the same time it was so fantastic, sharp and precise that I didn't care. They're a throwback without seeming "old-fashioned," to use Simon's word of the episode. The lead singer's voice was really good, but after seeing some of the acts that followed, I had to bump them from consideration.
The final audition of each episode is usually one that the show wants us to pay attention to, because it's heartwarming and emotional or it's a story about redemption or whatever. Last night, Jeff Gutt returned after trying out last year and not making it to the live shows. Simon had him choose a different song after he essentially impersonated Steven Tyler. But while the judges loved his take on "Creep," I was thinking, he's just so-so. There were also bigger pitch issues the second time around. So he's obviously not on my list.
But there were two singers who stood out far and above the rest of the pack. First, my runner-up for the One Singer to Watch is Danie Geimer, though I unofficially have her tied with my pick below. She's 15, reserved and reads ... like, a lot. Hey, I'm a reader too, so I can't judge (though did she say she reads nuclear science books?)
The One Singer to Watch: Carlos Guevara
During last week's premiere, Rion Paige blew everyone away (pardon the pun) when she sang Carrie Underwood's "Blown Away. She has arthrogryposis multiplex congenita, and while I won't take away from the fact that she's a great singer, I felt at the time, and still feel, that had she not had that condition the judges and many viewers might not have heaped quite as much praise on her.
I don't feel that way with Carlos Guevara, who has Tourette's Syndrome. The high praise is completely justified. He performed "Gravity" and has a fantastic voice. There was a rasp at times when he extended his notes that I loved. He's unique, and picked a song that suited his musical style perfectly.
What did you think of this latest round of auditions? Are Carlos Guevara and Danie Geimer at the top of your Singers to Watch list? Did anybody else stand out for you?
The X Factor airs Wednesdays at Thursdays at 8pm on FOX.
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(Image courtesy of FOX)