'X Factor' Season 2, Episode 2: Britney Spears Excels, Carly Rose Sonenclar is 'Feeling Good'

Carly Rose Sonenclar got a standing ovation for her X Factor audition

Last night Fox aired episode 2 of season 2 of The X Factor, with auditions from San Francisco, CA, and Providence, RI. During the hour-long show Britney Spears continued to excel in her role as a judge, and teenager Carly Rose Sonenclar wowed the crowd with Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good”.

The evening's first contestant was Johnny Maxwell, a 16-year-old rapper who did a self-penned song called “All these People” about “not letting what anybody says getting in the way of your dream”. I thought his performance was okay, but all four judges loved it. Demi Lovato told him, “You have swag”, and L.A. Reid said Maxwell was “exactly what we need”. A day later I can still sing Maxwell’s original tune, so there’s obviously something to it.

Next up was Lexa Berman, a 22-year-old in a tight black outfit with no “Plan B” career-wise, except “marrying rich”. Within seconds of appearing on stage she flirted with Simon, who called her, “'Jersey Shore' meets the Kardashians”, a combination he likes. After her song, an abbreviated, unremarkable version of Alex Clare's "Too Close", Berman did an awesome circular hair-flip during Lovato’s critique that she was “over-confident”. It was my favorite part of her audition.

Jason Brock on X Factor
When Jason Brock - a 34-year-old tech support operator with goth-glam style and a modified Liza Minnelli haircut – described his dream of a big stage show with smoky white light, dancers suspended from the ceiling and a “glitter explosion” finale, it was obvious the judges - especially Simon - were skeptical. Fortunately, Brock’s skilled rendition of Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind” lived up to the hype, and he easily made it through to the next round. He had me at "glitter explosion", so I was thrilled to hear him sing so well.

While I was watching the show I was also following along on Twitter, and discovered that Britney’s Tweets are as entertaining as her judging. Her response to Brock’s performance was, “Yay Jason! #Magnificento The name Jason just sits well with me apparently... ;)” This is one of reasons so many of us love Britney.

Apparently, 20-year-old contestant Pat Ford loves Britney too, but in an obsessive, creepy way. He brought her flowers that she was clearly not into receiving (Simon eventually accepted them for her), and said that it was his “dream come true” to be so close to her. He yelled through Britney’s hit, “Circus”, and then didn't want to leave the stage when the judges passed on him. Contestants like this make me hope that they are performance artists, or maybe college kids carrying out a fraternity pledge dare. Ford's segment really did, as Simon put it, define “the word uncomfortable. “

The final performer of the evening was Carly Rose Sonenclar, a pretty 13-year-old who, refreshingly, acted and dressed her age. Looks can be deceiving (in a good way) though: from the first few notes of Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good”, it was clear that the young woman possessed an old soul and a phenomenal voice. Sonenclar’s bluesy, jazzy, intuitive delivery brought the house down, and the judges gave her a standing ovation. A clearly impressed Britney drawled, “Miss Thang, you are a little diva!”, and L.A. Reid announced “a star is born”.

Backstage Sonenclar said, “Everything I’ve been doing my whole life like, just paid off, right there five minutes ago”. That’s not something many people get to say at any age.

Photos ©Talkback Thames, FremantleMedia, SYCOtv

For our coverage of the X Factor Season 2 premiere click here

Posted on Friday, September 14, 2012 1:42 PM