After what seems like five years of hype, promos and rumors, The X Factor hit American television tonight with the first two sets of auditions in Los Angeles and New York City.

Simon Cowell, the mastermind behind the original X Factor and the overly opinionated judge from that little show called American Idol, has combined the two and created The X Factor USA. How did he combine the two, you ask? He signed on Paula Abdul as a judge, duh! Yes, we’re all looking forward to their love/hate relationship playing out in front of all of America … again.

Along for the ride is music mogul L.A. Reid. If you aren’t entirely sure who he is, do not fret. He reminds you whose career he helped mold every time he opens his mouth to give a contestant a compliment. Also, he and Simon seem to have very different musical tastes. Team Simon is way cooler, just saying.

Lastly, we should address the issue of the final judge. The first hour of tonight’s show will include Cheryl Cole, while the second hour will feature the former lead singer of the Pussycat Dolls. Much of the hoopla surrounding the show’s premiere had to do with who would round out the judges. Cheryl got her start on The X Factor with the super girl group Girls Aloud. It was said that she won’t be continuing the show because Americans are too dumb to figure out what she’s saying through her thick accent. Hence replacing her in New York City with Nicole Shw … Sker … oh, right! Scherzinger! This makes things much easier! Thanks, The X Factor!

Oh yes, and there’s another not-exactly-necessary, good-looking, model-like host from a foreign country named Steve Jones.

Now a lot happens in a matter of two hours so let’s break it down. The Good … the Bad … and the Downright Baffling should do the trick.

The Good

rachel-xfactor.jpgQuite a few youngsters impress the judges on this first day of auditions. Rachel Crowe is only 13 years old, but she opens the show with a big voice and adorable cheeks! Her rendition of “Mercy” by Duffy is so much better than the original. Simon Cowell says, “We’ll be hearing a lot about you.” Randy Jackson … I’m sorry, I mean L.A., agrees. I swear this show is a mock-up of that other show. What’s it called? I should just ask Paula.

Simone Battle wants to sign your boobies! Her style is “a threesome between a cheerleader, a hipster and a drag queen.” These are Simone’s own words. She sings “When I Grow Up” by the Pussycat Dolls. Now, her voice actually isn’t that bad. The problem is the choice of song. L.A. Reid isn’t impressed so she sings something a little bit more suitable for the old man. The crowd likes her, but he doesn’t budge. Oh well, Randy Jackson … I’m sorry, L.A. She’s through to the next round!

marcus-xfactor.jpgThis is Marcus Canty‘s last chance before his mother’s two year trial period is up. If this doesn’t work, then this recent high school grad has to find a different career … but I think it’s safe to say that seeing an arena full of dancing strangers means that Marcus is right where he needs to be. The realization brings him to the ground in amazement. L.A. compares him to Bobby Brown … pre-Whitney drama and drugs, of course.

chris-xfactor.jpgChris Rene comes with a touching story: just out of rehab, young son at home, trying to make something of his life … etc. His original song “Young Homie” tells his heartfelt story with a touch of urban flair. Don’t let this fool you, Chris knows what he’s doing. He gets a standing ovation from all four judges and sails on to the next round.

stacy-xfactoer.jpgStacy Francis is our first tear-jerking story of the season! She’s a single mom who used to be in a mentally abusive relationship with a man who said she was too old and not talented enough to make it as a singer. “Look at me NOW!” her audition screams — not literally, of course. Stacy chose her song (“Natural Woman”) perfectly, as her voice harkens back to classic powerhouses like Aretha Franklin and Whitney Houston. For once, L.A. and Simon can agree on something: Stacy is arm-hair-raising amazing.

The Bad

venita-xfactor.jpgThe first of the groups to be shown on air, Dan and Venita grace the stage. The common rule is to not talk poorly about old people, so I’ll say they’re cute. It’s almost like Johnny Cash and Eartha Kitt. This odd pairing should give an entirely apt mental image and, unfortunately, an idea of what they sound like. It is a big fat “No!”

nici2-xfactor.jpgNici Collins had to have been dared to try out. There is no way on this earth that someone agreed with her that her voice was worth listening to. Her nerve to get upset with the judges is just funny to watch. This spawns a montage of more bad acts including T for Two, Darren Michaels and The Sonnets.

The Downright Baffling

siamese-xfactor.jpgSiameze Floyd … where to start? Well, first of all, he looks like a Rihanna wannabe. This is not a good thing when you’re male. Way too tight pants add to his … well … baffling nature. Complete with purple boots and bouncy hair, it may just be a darn good Prince impersonation. It’s neither bad nor good, it’s just odd. Somehow Siameze makes it through to the next round … I don’t know what else to say.

geogodley-xfactor.jpgGeo Godley wore his best pajamas to the party. Not only is he dressed to impress, he wrote the song he decided to perform. He continues to sing “I’m a Stud” while dropping his pants and dangling the X Factor symbol over his private area. Unfortunately, this isn’t enough to keep the audience and Paula from running away.

Now some may disagree, but The Answer deserves a spot in the Baffling category. First of all, they’re a boy band. Yes, they’re bringing boy bands back with good voices! The baffling thing about it is, they sang “Rolling in the Deep,” made famous by Adele, and added a twist. The guys broke the song up into something sort of resembling Glee’s version, but then added the breakdown of Britney Spears’ “I Wanna Go” into the mix. What?! Who mentions Britney Spears and Adele in the same sentence? The Answer still cruises into the next round.

All in all, this is a well-done show. The pandemonium was well worth it, including the constant commercials, headlines, promotions on the sides of buildings and Paula Abdul performing “Opposites Attract” at block parties. The thing that sets it apart from American Idol would have to be the post-audition coverage. Viewers are able to see the performers just as they leave the stage. It’s an added touch that allows for a deeper connection with the contestants. Nice.

Join the party again tomorrow for the second premiere episode, when the judges continue to look for that one person who has The X Factor!

Jilliane Johnson
Contributing Writer

(Images courtesy of FOX)

Jilliane Johnson

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV