'The X Factor' Season 2, Episode 3 Recap - All Hail Panda

'The X Factor' Season 2, Episode 3 Recap - All Hail Panda The auditions land in Kansas City this time, which sounds like a first to me. "The X Factor" seems to be hitting the smaller cities, doesn't it? I guess they want to avoid just getting the dregs of "American Idol."

Demi, L.A. and Britney are sitting in the dressing room, going through a clearly scripted conversation about how Simon is sick and can't make it and a guy named Louie will be the fourth judge. I'm scared. Hold me. They cut to the crowds cheering in reaction. It's pretty cheesy. This guy turns out to be british producer Louis Walsh. Everyone British is probably excited.

Cece Frey and Rizzloe Jones are our first guerilla narrative pushers, as Cece approaches him slyly and asks what he'll do. He says he'll just freestyle Hold me, I'm scared again.. Rizzlo is kinda nerdy, about 18 years old, and very white. When he says that rap is his music of choice, L.A. looks slightly offended. He should be, too: Rizzloe raps fast, but I'd 80% of it is along the lines of "hey, ho, whatcha know, here I go."

Something is terribly wrong. Louis and L.A. both love it. Britney says he's like "a young Vanilla Ice Ice Baby." People. This was a terrible, terrible rap. Last season's Astro compared to this guy is like the Yankees playing a 5th grade softball team. He gets four yeses regardless and is in. God help us.

Aha, so Cece's role in all this is to find people's "buttons." She approaches a duo and ribs them about why they aren't dating. Thankfully, she goes next so we won't have to deal with that much longer. Her overconfidence is a sure indicator that she will be terrible, and they definitely want to make it look that way: she starts with "Unchained Melody" and it's quite boring. The judges ask for another song, and she does "Ain't No Other Man" and it's much more impressive. Four yeses. The attitude, which was clearly mostly an act, goes away and she gets all teary eyed.

Vino Alan has some face and neck tattoos. In fact his whole scalp is tattooed. He looks pretty hardcore, but seems nice enough: he plays shows for the troops and has a 15-year-old son that he's performing for. He has a very soulful, rich voice with some grit, which lends itself very well to "Trouble." He may be this year's Josh Krajcik. He's through with four yeses.

Deangelo Wallace claims he'll sing Britney's song better than her. He's generally being rude about the judges overall, and annoys them when he gets on stage. Looks like we have our first dud of the day. Not only does he sing horribly, but he sings to stage right most of the time. The judges walk out in a totally unplanned huff!

Deangelo then walks out the building with the show's microphone, and gets handcuffed and put in the front seat of a cop car. Apparently it was just a misdemeanor and he was released a couple of hours later. Well, that seemed less planned.

Tate Stevens, 37-year-old country boy, is a road worker and a father. He also has a pretty good sense of humor, which should only help him going forward. Heck, I'll vote for him if he can make these two-hour sessions more entertaining without a bunch of pre-planned crap. He has a very rich, low country tone and does a great job with Randy Houser's "Anything Goes." L.A.'s "I'm diggin' it" face is great.

The judges go nuts over Tate and give him four well-deserved yeses. Dunno if a country star has as good a chance on this show as they do on "Idol," but if so, Tate will go far.

Citizen, boy band, kicks off San Francisco (clearly leftover from the first visit there), and spends a lot of time in the bathroom determining whether Patrick should put his collar up or down. Patrick has also been doing random vocal warmups at random times. They go with En Vogue's "Don't Let Go," and have pretty decent harmonies and choreography.

Simon thought it was "ten years out of date," but the other three give a yes, so they're through. Considering they're the first group we've seen, I don't think they can afford to be picky.

Next we get an immediate mean streak montage from Simon which, after the first half's love fest, is very welcome. Let the insults fly!

Diamond White, 13, is fretting backstage while another teenager gets eviscerated on stage before her for singing an Adele song pretty badly and starts crying when she comes off the stage. Hint: don't sing Adele unless you're really, really good. Same with Whitney. Anyway, Diamond is peppy and cute, and is sure to be good after this horrible streak.

She goes with "It's a Man's Man's Man's World." She has a strong voice, but maybe not the best control on the embellishments. A different song probably would have been a good idea for her, but she gets her yeses nonetheless, if only for how big she belted those high notes.

Ally Brooke, 19, wants her own perfume line. Shut up, Ally. She's first up in San Antonio (they're all over the map today), and does a slow but kinda pretty rendition of "On My Knees" (yeah, I've never heard it either... sounds like it's a Christian ballad), which she continues far after the music cuts out. The judges all love her.

That starts a montage of a good contestants, which we don't see so much. That includes a trio of sisters that go by Sister C, who do a cool version of "Hell on Heels," and duo of brothers Jeremiah and Josh, who Britney says she wishes they could wake her up in the morning. That brings on some real, actual, unplanned banter from the judges! It's delightful!

Panda Ross is a large lady who wants Simon to be her baby daddy. Here's the story on her name: her mother had her while she was in jail, and her cell mate was white, so they came up with the name Panda. Wow. She actually has a really interesting voice with tons of character and some good power behind. She starts singing "Bring It On Home" straight to Simon in the second verse, which is a terrific and totally adorable moment.

The judges love her, and Simon even says that she sounds "like a legend." She easily gets her four yeses. But she has trouble breathing backstage and the EMTs have to come in. Don't die, Panda! You're the best thing about this show so far!

Jessica Espinosa kicks off San Antonio, the fourth city of today's episode. Man. She gives a big story about how poor she's been, and considering she's the last one of the today, I'm sure she'll be fantastic. Sure enough, she gives a performance of Pink's "Nobody Knows" that is both technically sound and emotionally charged... it even looks like Britney is tearing up at points. Four yeses, of course.

That was a pretty solid episode, talent-wise. Could "X Factor" finally be getting sick of playing horrible auditions for kicks? Let's hope so.

 
 
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