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TV Column
Posted at 06:05 AM ET, 10/12/2012

‘X Factor’: Britney and LA judge The Teens and The Overs


L.A. Reid, Justin Bieber and Scooter Braun. (Ray Mickshaw - Fox)

Tonight, The Over 25’s group of contestants visit the “home” of Judge LA “Did I Mention I Discovered Rihanna and Justin Bieber When They Were Well Under 25” Reid for some reluctant coaching.

And The Teens visit the “home” of Judge Britney “I Can Handle This If They Don’t Start Telling Sad Back Stories” Spears.

Let’s alight high on a hilltop in Beverly Hills where Reid will be assisted in choosing four of six X-testants to bring to the live competitions by The Bieber and somebody identified as Bieber’s manager, who despite his best efforts with touches like using the baby name “Scooter,” appears to be over 25 and so is a person of no consequence.

“Prove to me you’re worth my time,” LA glowers at an X-testant.

First up, charming Jason Brock, tech support guy, who gives a polished performance of “Big Girls Don’t Cry” by Fergie.

“He didn’t hold back at all,” says Bieber admiringly.

But LA wonders if Jason is really worth a $5 million investment (that being the prize money). That seems to stump Bieber.

David Correy is up next, the guy who claims to have entered the contest in order to be reunited with his still unidentified birth mother. He sings Jessie J’s “Domino” well enough to give LA chills, and Bieber says “he’s got a look to him” (he’s well-tattooed, anyway), while Scooter tries hard to look young. But then LA brings everybody down with “viability in the marketplace is the question.”

Daryl Black is up next, and suffice it to say that the producers have decided to interrupt his audition with some back-story tape about his family. We take that as X-Factorese that Daryl will be returning to the bosom of his family shortly.

Country singer Tate Stevens performs Brian Mcknight’s “Back at One” pleasantly enough and, as one of only two contenders in the country genre this season, he does stand a good chance of going forward.

Vino Alan, a big guy with a deep voice, drops his back-story on us: Abusive stepfather, music helped the pain. He pours on the emotion in Pink’s “Sober.”

“Sorry about your shoes,” Vino says to LA when he scuffs LA’s shoes as he tries to shake hands with LA, Biebs and Scooter.

“If you win the $5 million, I’m gonna need some shoes,” LA responds. Our guess is that LA spends on shoes alone more than Vino makes in a year.

“I scuffed them twice,” Vino notes, remorsefully.

Once LA gets one foot on the ground, he’s really quite a jerk, isn’t he?”

“That dude is petrified. He’s nervous, he’s scuffing up your shoes,” says Scooter. “But, he stepped up.”

“Great Voice…but them, I’m looking – the package. The package,” LA says dismissively.

“The package,” agrees Justin.

And last, the only Over-25 female contender, Tara Simon, the vocal coach and motivational speaker, as in motivating herself through speaking her every thought out loud.

“I feel like I will win the whole thing. I’ve always been a star; people have just not caught on to it. My voice is so different. I’m trying to show vocal maturity and vocal restraint. I hope America is going to love me. I want to be America’s darling,” she chirps. She has a warm-up routine in which she imitates a car alarm.

Tara’s performance of Hoobastank’s “The Reason” is all over the place without really landing.

LA exhales when it’s over. We think this is not a good sign.

On to Malibu, Britney, with assistance from will.i.am, to judge The Teens.

Personable Diamond White performs Avril Lavigne’s “I’m With You” in her mature voice but will.i.am pegs her problem: “She cares about her moves too much.” Britney agrees Diamond should work on her “stage performance.”

Reed Deming has Bieber hair and Bieber eyes and talks like he’s his own Scooter. But his performance has too much nervousness to close the deal on Plain White T’s “Hey There, Delilah”.

Britney: “I think he could deliver better than he did.” will.i.am said when he spoke, Reed was “like a little emperor”.

James Tanner is the only rapper in the group. Anyway, the producers interrupt his performance with his interview tape which, in X-Factorese, means that he will soon be giving interviews to his local station about what it feels like to get booted from “X Factor.”

Arin Ray, at 17, is the oldest and wisest of The Teens having made it through a couple rounds in last year’s season before washing out as member of the made-for-X group, “InTENsity.”

Arin has a pleasant enough voice but isn’t particularly compelling on “Starships” by Nicki Minaj. He is, however, a good-looking kid.

“He has something, but you have to work with him a little bit”, says will.i.am.

Britney doesn’t care. “I love watching him,” she says.

All through this episode, we’ve seen Beatrice Miller grinding her teeth, putting her head in her hands and otherwise living out paroxysms of envy while waiting for her turn to perform.

“Does anyone else feel sick to their stomach?” she asks, when she’s called. For a moment, it looks like she won’t be able to go on at all.

In fact, Beatrice turns out to have the most commercial voice of The Teens, on David Guetta’s “Titanium.” Her performance is a bit lacking in confidence, but she’s nearly radio-ready.

Will.i.am brightens up for the first time. “That was fresh,” he enthuses.

But Britney pronounces her too loud, which we didn’t know is a disadvantage in pop music. She wants Beatrice to “control the loudness.”

Finally, Carly Rose Sonnenclar performs. The producers have been cueing us through the show that Carly is marked for great things. Not sure why they’re being so coy about it, though, since she’s already been on Broadway.

Not surprisingly, she’s strong again on Karmin’s “Brokenhearted”.

“Wow,” says Britney.

“She just killed it,” says will.i.am. “She’s a caterpillar, and you think she’s going to turn into a butterfuly? Dragon! Burning up the town!”

Britney wonders whether Carly Rose Sonnenclar may not be able to cope with the pressure of a singing competition. Britney does not know how to use Google.

“24 will become 16!” booms Wrestling Announcer Man.

“Next week, the judges reveal who they’ve chosen to make it to the live finals!”

Roll tape of many faces we recognize among the contestants breaking down in tears but, as we’ve learned, the X-testants cry when they’re sad, and cry when they’re happy, so there’s just no telling.

By  |  06:05 AM ET, 10/12/2012

 
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