“The X Factor UK” aired season 15, round seven auditions in the U.S. last night (Sept. 23) on AXS TV. Once again, several standouts hit the stage on their quest for a dream come true. Simon Cowell was surprised by a former “X Factor USA” who flew across The Pond to settle “unfinished business” with him and an emotional final performance brought Louis Tomlinson, Ayda Williams and Robbie Williams to tears.
It’s hard not to be cliché in saying with shows like “The X Factor UK” or “America’s Got Talent,” we should always remember to “never judge a book by its cover.” When Romanian contestant Cezar Ouatu hit the stage he seemed quiet, shy, and a tad nervous. But, when he started to sing “Nessun Dorma” in a solid-gold operatic voice, he was totally transformed. His astonishing audition brought flashbacks of season 11 Italian contender Andrea Faustini who walked in wearing a pug sweatshirt and blew the roof off the Room Auditions with his powerhouse “Who’s Lovin’ You” audition.
Cezar made quite the impression on the entire judging panel and an emotional Ayda praised him saying, “You brought tears to my eyes.” He received a four-judge standing ovation and will move on to the next round.
Proud Mama Nails It
Louise Setara was previously signed but then gave up a music career to get married and raise her two boys. Now divorced, Louise is chasing her dreams for herself and her sons. She sang a beautiful original song about longing for another chance with a love called “A Spare Moment of Your Time.” Louis was particularly impressed with her storytelling in the lyrics. She received a unanimous pass to the next round.
A Change is Gonna Come
Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come” is one of the most beautiful, soulful songs of all time. She brought her sick mother along to the audition (who Dermot sweetly kept company with backstage), telling the judges nothing could stop her. She did a spectacular job with Cooke’s song and broke into tears at the wild, positive response from the audience and judges. She’ll be one to watch moving forward. Simon’s probably right when he said, “I think you’re going to inspire people.
Oh Simon, Panda is Back in Town
Panda Ross tried out for “The X Factor USA” three times and was rejected each time. So, she strutted onto the stage and introduced herself to Simon saying, “I’m your ex-baby mama.” He seemed shocked until she told him her name and then he immediately recognized her, telling the other judges, “We’re old friends.” She said she flew across The Pond because she has unfinished business with Simon.
To everyone’s delight, she sang an incredible rendition of the late, great Aretha Franklin’s indelible hit “(You Make Me Feel) Like a Natural Woman.” It was simply amazing. Ayda couldn’t resist taking a poke at Simon saying, “Panda, that was so good I think you made Simon feel like a natural woman.” Ha!
Plus, Dermot was so adorable sporting his Team Panda t-shirt and rooting for her with her family throughout the audition. Panda is sailing through to the next round, with a hug from Simon to boot!
Two Girls and a Gingzilla Wow the Crowd
Two very different female contenders followed with a coffee house kind of singer Charlotte Lily surprising everyone with an acoustic rendition of “YMCA.” Her performance marked a shining example of putting a new twist on a classic song. She also strolls her cats around in a pram and they sit with her while she busks. Pretty cute, huh? Everyone liked her quirkiness with Simon going so far as to tell her “I actually like you because you’re wacky.” She had a lovely voice and a nice stage presence. It will be fun to see what she does in the next round.
Gaia Cauchi followed with an amazing, soulful rendition of Paloma Faith’s hit “Only Love Can Hurt Like This.” Robbie balked a little at her young age (15). But, she earned four yeses and we can’t wait to hear what she does next.
Robbie confessed to being “Deliciously confused” when drag artist Gingzilla hit the stage in a shimmery dress and a full red beard. She shocked everyone by singing in two different tones in a killer rendition of “Seven nation army” by White Stripes. Her vocal chops are undeniably grand and she earned a four-judge pass to the next round.
Louis and Ayda Related to an Emotional Closer
J-Sol touched everyone’s heart when he revealed he only wrote one song in all of 2015, after his mom unexpectedly died and he was going to sing it, to fulfill a wish she always had that he’d try out for “X Factor.” The song was called “Bullet in My Heart” and as the song progressed, tears sprang to Ayda and Louis’ eyes. Louis ran up on stage when he finished to hug J-Sol and thanked him for sharing the song. He told him “I lost my mom too” and later said, “It was moving. You’re a legend for what you’ve just done.” Ayda agreed, telling him, “In 2014, I lost my father unexpectedly and I’ll never forget how the world swallowed me up on that day. I want to thank you because that is a beautiful, powerful song. I know your mum would be really proud of you."
“X Factor,” One Direction, and music fans at large aren’t likely to forget Louis Tomlinson’s solo debut performance of his Steve Aoki collab track “Just Hold On” shortly after Louis’ mom lost her battle with leukemia. It was such an emotional moment and Simon was very supportive of Louis in the wake of such a fresh, devastating loss.
Simon has also lost both of his parents, whom he spoke of at his recent star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremony. He also took the time to tell J-Sol he still talks to his mom and dad every day. He also gave the young singer a heartfelt hug. We wish the best for J-Sol moving forward in the competition and will remember his audition for a long time to come.
“The X Factor UK” airs in the U.S. on Sundays and Mondays at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on AXS TV.