Is the next winner of The X Factor from this episode, which takes us to Los Angeles, New York and Denver? We’re treated to a night of really bad singing, some great potential, and even a familiar face from last season who’s seeking a second chance. There are only one or two true contenders here in my opinion.

The X Factor Interview: Kelly Rowland on Simon Cowell, the Judges’ Chemistry and the Talent >>>

Josh Levi

The third audition episode gets off to a bad start when two sisters butcher a Jackson 5 song. We’re in for a looooong night.

Then comes a 14-year-old, Josh, who hasn’t yet hit puberty judging by voice. He moved to LA from Houston to “do cool stuff like this,” and remains mysterious about what he’s going to sing, which is an immediate red flag. Especially when his mother and sister are watching nervously backstage.

He takes on a stripped down version Selena Gomez‘s “Come & Get It.” It’s definitely unexpected. He has a good sound, so he’s promising, but it’s obvious his voice hasn’t developed yet. But with the right coach and with songs that suit his voice — I’m thinking some Bieber, perhaps — he could do quite well. Plus, he’s charismatic and has good stage presence.

And I agree with Simon when he says he chose a song he shouldn’t sing and turned it into a great version of the song.

Kelly’s like a kid in the candy store. Except the candies are boys. She wants all the boys. 

Outdated and Out of Here

A montage of failed auditions highlights groups, specifically, that are outdated and old-fashioned. Not that I don’t love me some Spice Girls or ‘NSync, but if you’re only trying to copy them without adding anything different, you’re not getting through.

AKNU (Say anew)

These three brothers that dressed alike say they have a classic style, but don’t want to be old-fashioned. After the previous montage about all the bad old-fashioned groups, this isn’t a good thing. But the more they talk about how singing kept them on track while growing up in the ghetto, I figure they have to have some talent.

The odds look stacked against them when they’re called out for not being able to sing still and picking a song Simon hates: “Valerie,” but the guys say it’s their mother’s name and the song is dedicated to her.

Imagine Bruno Mars’ version of this song that he sang in tribute to Amy Winehouse and imagine if there are three of him performing this song. That’s this group. They are way smooth, dancing pretty on point and even include a dance break. They can harmonize too, but only one of the guys sings through the whole thing. 

Simon says it’s like watching Motown all over again, but that they “might be on the forefront of something new here.”

Brandie Love

This 21-year-old from North Carolina is all country, but wants to perform “Up to the Mountain.” She doesn’t start off that well for me. In fact, it’s a bit of a snoozer. But the more she sings, the more she’s able to build it into something pretty incredible and powerful, and I’m a fan.

Demi says she’s country with soul, and Simon says she took them to church. He also loves her sincerity, which I could feel too.

Montages Of Success — And One Huge Dud

There are a bunch of singers who we only get glimpses of who have all moved on. One is 9-year-old Millie Thrasher who takes on “Wide Awake,” and a 13-year-old Timmy Thames who certainly doesn’t sound like he’s 13. A country group called Yellow House Canyon also make it through. 

Rather than spending more time on the singers who have the potential to win, an entire segment is focused on NY bagel guy Vinny, who’s compared to Method Man and travels with a bodyguard. Seriously? I don’t know whether I’m supposed to be slightly scared or completely dismissive.

I haven’t yet made up my mind when he reveals he’s going to be singing “How Do I Live,” by LeAnn Rimes. It’s a complete train wreck and a complete waste of time. Even his bodyguard is shown with a look like, “Wait, this is what he sounds like?” Next.

Later on, we have to sit through a group called Chloe J and CJ, who try to assure us they’ve received many compliments about their singing talent before. Well, if “River Deep Mountain High” is any indication, the only times they have sung is karaoke, and the only people who have heard them sing have been those who are intoxicated. Because everyone sounds good during Saturday night karaoke.

The only reason they get so much time on air is that Chloe comes down to the judges’ table and pounces on Simon. Say what you want about the guy, but even he shouldn’t be treated to having his face slobbered on and his neck sucked on. He ends up giving them a sympathetic vote of yes.

Carlos Guevara

The show redeems itself with an inspiring story of a high school student with OCD and Tourette syndrome. He says his symptoms have gotten worse as he hit puberty, and he even had to leave school. He’s tried every medicine, but the only thing that helps him is music. As if I’m already trying to pretend I’m not crying, a big group of his friends has come to support him.

He sings “Gravity,” and I can’t believe that the kid I thought was just nervous in the beginning is this confident singer with a unique and smooth voice. 

Then, Paula declares she wants all the boys too.

Colton Pack

This 18-year-old from West Virginia is from such a small town that he pretty much brought all of the residents on a bus with him to his audition. He performs “Hicktown,” which I’ve never even heard of, and it’s just odd. Obviously, he’s a country singer, but it didn’t sound all that good. It feels erratic, and the music definitely overtakes him.

Kelly calls it unique however. Simon really liked it, even saying there’s a market for him and that he can be helped in the vocals. Not sure what market he’s taking about, young male country singer with pitch problems? Demi says there were moments where he was interesting, but that it was pitchy.

Danie Geimer

This 15-year-old is totally awkward, but I fall in love with her instantly. She tells a girl she likes to read books, and she might as well have said she has two heads. She’s what you would call a nerd, with glasses and being awkward, but I call it quirky.

Her rendition of “House of the Rising Sun,” instantly becomes my favorite. Her voice does this raspy thing that only comes out here and there, and she uses it to her advantage. She might be a nerd, but you could’ve fooled me with her cool audition.

Paulina wants to start voting now. Oh, it doesn’t work that way.

Jeff Gutt

When this guy comes out on stage, Demi definitely recognizes him. Simon comments to the judges privately that he was good last year. I watched last year, and he definitely doesn’t look familiar. But then we get his back story, and I totally remember him for being a rocker and having the most adorable son who ran out on stage after he got the judges’ approval. But he was cut during boot camp, and he was devastated.

Now’s his second chance, and he sings “I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing,” and from the first note on, it’s downright awful, and Simon makes him stop singing. It’s just the wrong song for him, and Simon rightfully points out that he’s trying to impersonate Steven Tyler.

It’s not looking too good for him, but he gets yet another shot and does “Creep,” and this is a complete 180. It’s so darn good. I mean, he set the bar low because anything would’ve been better than shouting. He hits the high notes so beautifully, and he has a depth to him that no singer on this night can compete with. I feel the pain in his voice. It gives me chills.

This guy has got nine lives. I didn’t expect him to move on after his disastrous start, but Simon says he’d be honored to have him back on the show. 

Then, the cutest moment of the night happens, when his son comes out on stage again. When they tell him it’s good to see him again, the boy goes, “I know!” and Simon wonders if that could be his son. Ha.

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(Image courtesy of FOX)

Esther Gim

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV