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Previous Episodes

Simon Cowell returns to enlist three more industry heavyweights to find the next great pop act.

Recaps by Chico Alexander & Gordon Pepper, GSNN
Host Steve Jones
Judges Paula Abdul
Simon Cowell
Antonio "LA" Reid
Nicole Scherzinger
Creator Simon Cowell
EP Andrew Llinares
Cecile Frot-Coutaz
Richard Holloway
Rob Wade
Simon Cowell
Siobhan Greene
Packager Syco TV
FremantleMedia North America
Origins CBS Television City, Los Angeles
Web thexfactorusa.com
Airs 8p ET Weds & Thurs, Fox
@The X Factor (USA)

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Auditions 1: Los Angeles/Seattle
September 21

If you've followed this website for any extended length of time (hell, if you've watched any amount of television since, oh, November), you've by now heard about a little show called "The X Factor". Four judges groom contestants in four groupings - guys between 12 & 30, girls between 12 & 30, adults over 30, and groups - for pop music superstardom on a staged contest not unlike that OTHER contest that airs on this network. It's gone from an ITV hit to a global phenomenon, and now, after seemingly a long time and many a legal issue resolved... THE X FACTOR IS FINALLY IN AMERICA!

Excited? Yeah, me neither.

Anyway, the judges are...

- Head judge Simon Cowell, exec of A&R at Sony, who walked away from the #1 show in America to launch his pet project. If you don't know his work... you haven't been paying attention and you're doing it wrong.
- Antonio "LA" Reid, Grammy-winning songwriter, producer, and executive, who left his post at Island Def Jam to help Simon in his search
- Singer/choreographer Paula Abdul, a seasoned veteran performer who's had the... errm, pleasure.. of working with Simon.
- Recording superstar Nicole Scherzinger, who walked away from another talent show on another network to join THIS one, originally as host, now as a judge.

There's a fifth judge that you'll see, Cheryl Cole, on the panel. She was supposed to be the fourth judge, but she was dismissed midway during taping.  You'll see her during the LA auditions. So if you were wondering how they were going to go about explaining this? Stay tuned.

The judges will mentor one group each. Then they will choose which of their acts will go to the live audience votes ahead of the season finale just before Christmas. Then someone will receive a hell of a gift - the largest prize ever offered on a talent show: a recording contract worth $5 million AND a spot in a Pepsi commercial to air during the Super Bowl (which is ironic in two aspects in that it's a) on a different network and b) airing a competing and similar talent contest afterwards).

But first, they're working together to find a star...

Oh, did we mention that the auditions take place in arenas?

Now that that's out of the way... LET'S GET TO FACTORING...

Galen Center, University of Southern California

When history writes on this show, it will be noted that one Rachel Crow (13) was the first audition. She wants to be a singer, but the $5 million prize will go to her family, who needs an extreme makeover home edition. First, she begs for "Mercy" by Duffy. She's very soulful, but she ends up sounding like a 13-year-old. Guess that only makes sense. Acts need three yeses to advance. Rachel... gets FOUR.

Next up, Terrell Carter (36, orig. Buffalo) says that music is his passion. He's got a "Ribbon in the Sky" for our love from Stevie... and he has the package indeed. He too sweeps. Ellona Santiago (14) sings "Don't You Know You're Beautiful" to another sweep. Following in her steps, John Lindhal (14, "Forget You")... but what about Siameze Floyd (30), who wants to make his own energy drink. Hopefully he won't go Four-Loko on stage with "Give It To Me, Baby"... And he's like a Red Bull in a china shop... His voice... very monstrous. And unfortunately for him, he may be a rockstar. ... He gets one of the nos... and three yeses. Full Throttle.

At 3:15a, and all is quiet... unless you're at the Galen Center, where it's anything but. First up, it's Dan & Venita (70, 83), who met at a gunfighter's club in their native Pahrump, NV. They want to invest in a motorhome and play senior centers. They sing "Unchained Melody." And it's more like unhinged malady. Joining then in the motorhome off of the island of parting gifts... You Only Live Once (15, 19), Linda "Jetta" Ostrofsky (61), and Miranda Singleton (30, SAHM).

Simone Battle (21) is a student at USC, but she really wants to be a singer, a fierce one. Her family is going to watch her sing "When I Grow Up" by the Pussycat Dolls. She's indeed fierce, but she's bordering on cloying. But the judges seem to like her... except for LA, who was underwhelmed. She tries again with an a cappella "Bulletproof". LA... still unmoved. The others give it to her, though...

And it's now starting to show that Simon is not going to be the bad guy of this series... LA is. They disagree on Tom Slade (21), Late 2 Fame, Nickayla Guadalupe (14), Andrew Muccitelli (12), and Charlie Cruzer (28). I think they have met each others' match.

Stacy Francis (42, Brooklyn, NY) is a single mom of two. She finds it difficult to sing when you have two kids. She doesn't want to die with music in her. She sees this as her last shot at greatness. She'll sing "Natural Woman" by Aretha Franklin. And no doubt, she's the best of the LA auditions, if the audience is any indication. She sang it. She believed in it. She nailed it EASY. It's four yeses. Easy.

But will Seattle be AS easy? We'll find out in a moment, but right now we must pause 10 seconds for station identification. This is the series premiere of "The X Factor" on the Fox Broadcasting Company.


... Okay, we're back. Let's go to..


Replacing Cheryl on the panel today, Nicole Scherzinger. Having gotten her start on the WB's "Popstars", she knows what it's like on the stage. Haven't judged "The Sing-Off", she knows what it's like on the judges panel.

First up, Geo Godley (43, internet blogger), who is a classically trained musician with a tie-dyed shirt underneath his silver jumpsuit. His song is called "I'm a Stud"... and his stud goes thud midway as his deliberately "gives his all" for Paula.. and she gives her all... in the vomitorium.

And sure enough... someone uploaded it to YouTube... Watch if you dare. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JUt4UHBMHt4 (DEFINITELY NOT SAFE ANYWHERE)

Needless to say, HE'S not through.

Next up, Marcus Canty (20, gardener), who started by singing for his parents. His goals... be his own record producer. He's got a two-year window to chase his dream, so... this is it for him. He doesn't make it, he needs to start looking at colleges. He's going to sing "I Wish" by Stevie Wonder. By the time he's done, he'll end up on the floor. Good thing or bad thing? Sounds like a good thing so far. And it is, as he takes a sweep.

The next day... it's Nicole's birthday. Yay.

Next up, the Anser (20-27) from Salt Lake, who road-tripped to Seattle. They've come here to take on "Rolling in the Deep" with a little "'til the World Ends" thrown in for commerciality, err, art. They're not exactly what you'd call on-pitch, but they have great stage presence. FOUR YESES.

Next up, Nici Collins (23, Maryland), an event planner who's planning "Emotions" from Mariah Carey. We're planning on forgetting we ever heard you. "I'm uh, I'm done." Yes you are.

"It can't get any worse." Just watch, Simon... Meet T for Two, Darren Michaels (40), and the Sonnets.

Chris Rene (28, trash collector from Santa Cruz, CA) is a father... and a recovering addict, 70 days clean. He believes that life is too precious to waste. He'll perform an original, "Young Homie." He gets a standing O and four yeses. And sometimes... the story tells itself.

And that's the first ever episode of "The X Factor". It is everything promised... comic, tragic, talented, and true. We'll have more tomorrow.

To see extras from this episode and a Pepsi Precap of the next episode, visit thexfactorusa.com.