“The X Factor UK” aired the second week of auditions last night (Sept. 10) in the U.S. on AXS TV. Thousands of hopefuls turned out at England’s Thorpe Park amusement park determined to fulfill their music dreams. The fun-filled episode was packed with wild thrills, creepy chills, and even found judges Simon Cowell, Nicole Scherzinger, Louis Walsh and Sharon Osbourne taking some rides for a spin in between auditions. Plus, a couple of contenders delivered powerful performances that easily stood out from the crowd.
Judges Go for a Soak and a Scare
If you think music industry moguls aren’t keen on theme park rides, Simon, Louis, and Nicole proved otherwise by putting on ponchos and going on the water ride – in the front seat, no less! It was so fun watching them scream their way to getting soaked at the bottom of the hill. Later, Mrs. O joined them all on the Ghost Train, where they all put on VR headsets and the frightening scenes prompted Scherzy to scream at the top of her lungs. Bravo, judging squad! Please bring on more zany moments like these!
Karma Doesn’t Cut It
A pair of Justin Bieber look-alike twins who called themselves Pretty Boy Karma kicked off the auditions with, wait for it – a Justin Bieber song! Unfortunately, the pop star wannabes couldn’t sing. They might’ve had the look, but, their vocals just didn’t cut it. Sharon and Nicole hid behind paper fans as they repeatedly lifted their shirts during their routine. Sorry boys, it was a unanimous no.
Airport Concierge Flies High
Talia Dean, 32, immediately piqued our curiosity when she told the judges she’s a Heathrow Airport VIP concierge. Simon tried to get her to dish on her most unfriendly well-known customer but she refused to give anyone up. She teased Simon, though, asking “What if it was you?” His blush was priceless! Then she told Nicole and Sharon she’d carried bags for both of them and she was there because Nicole had encouraged her to try out. Pretty cool, huh? She charmed them all with an amazing rendition of “I Put a Spell on You.” Simon smiled and said he’d carry her bags to boot camp. Go Talia!
Liaa and New Dynamixx
Betting shop manager Liaa sang a solid rendition of Kelly Clarkson’s “The Trouble with Love Is.” The inaugural “American Idol” champ arguably has one of the best voices in the current music landscape. Liaa might not quite be up to her speed yet. But, she deserved a pass-through.
New Dynamixx is one of the first female and male groups to show up this season and they brought great vocals, harmonies, and energy in a Little Mix/Jonas Blue mashup. We’re glad they earned a ticket to the next round.
French “Voice” Contender Crushes It
Every now and then “Voice” and “X Factor” contenders cross competitive platforms. This week, former French “Voice” hopeful Kevin Davy White crushed his rendition of James Brown’s soulful hit “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World.” Music flowed out of him like rapids tumbling into a waterfall. It was incredible! His soulful audition was one of the best we’ve seen this season. Sharon called his performance “organic” and “pure” and she’s right. Kevin is the real deal.
Second Chance, Scary Clowns and Amazing Rebecca Grace
Single dad Nathan Sailsman immediately grabbed our hearts with his emotional backstory about raising his daughter on his own. We really wanted him to be good. Unfortunately, he was off key in several places and his delivery lacked power. Sharon and Nicole wanted to give him another chance. Simon told him to come back later and sing a different song.
Sadly, Nathan’s second try only confirmed what the judges already knew was wrong. He needs to work on his tone and technique. They encouraged him to come back next year. We hope he takes their advice, comes back, and slays it next year.
After their time on the Ghost Train, a slew of “unique” contenders passed through the audition room. Two of them were dressed as clowns and one looked like some sort of witch or enchantress. None of them could sing and the judges blamed the Ghost Train, and wondered if they were really ghosts.
Finally, McDonald’s employee Rebecca Grace ended the day with a vulnerable, emotional rendition of Kelly Clarkson’s highly-personal hit song “Piece by Piece.” (You can watch her audition in the attached video). Wow, can this girl sing! Simon was visibly moved by her performance. He even admitted to really listening to and understanding the song lyrics for the first time. Like Kevin Daly White, Rebecca has the potential to go a long way in her “X Factor” journey. She has the kind of natural talent that could never be “taught” to someone. She really set the bar high moving forward. We can’t wait to hear what she does next!
“The X Factor UK” airs in the U.S. on Sundays and Mondays at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT on AXS TV. Find AXS TV on your TV. Follow @TheXFactor on Twitter and tweet your thoughts during the show using #UKintheUSA. Stay tuned to AXS for "The X Factor UK" updates.