'X Factor' Auditions, Round 4, Greensboro NC: The Calm Before the Storm

Jeffrey Gutt wowed the X Factor crowd with Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah"

The season 2, episode 4 round of  X Factor auditions found judges Simon Cowell, L.A. Reid, Britney Spears and Demi Lovato in sunny Greensboro, North Carolina. In this Southern town, the weather and the contestants were unpredictable, and before long storms were raging both outside and inside of the arena. 

Willie Jones
The first contestant to hit the X Factor stage was Willie Jones, a 17-year-old with lightning bolts carved into his squared-off haircut (and not the only lightning we'd see during this show). Demi told him he looked “very Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”, but he surprised everyone with his baritone, country vocals on Josh Turner’s “Your Man” (the “Baby Lock Them Doors” song that American Idol’s Scotty McCreery was known for singing). The judges were blown away and all four agreed to send Jones to boot camp.

Next up was Kalvin McManigal, a 47-year-old lawnmower factory employee. He mumbled through a song that may have been, “This Land is Your Land”, and the judges passed on him, but not before Britney admitted, “I’m scared I’m related to you”.

Julia Bullock
The third singer to audition was Julia Bullock, an edgy 18-year-old who left her band and ex-boyfriend behind to go solo. She looked like Debbie Harry working a blonde version of Cyndi Lauper’s shaved hairstyle from “She’s So Unusual”. She wasn’t retro though - she made it modern, and between her pop star look and her smooth version of Foster the People’s “Pumped Up Kicks” she was in. Bullock got four yeses and Simon added, “goodbye band, hello solo career”.

Then we met 21-year-old Krysten Colon, a hairdresser who said she wanted a job where she didn't have to stand on her feet all day. She starting singing “Don’t You Remember” by Adele, but Simon stopped her short and said he wanted her to come back later and do a classic with more melody.  It was right around this time that a storm started brewing in Greensboro.

Meanwhile, rocker Jeffrey Adam Gutt, 36 was getting ready for his moment. He said that as a single Dad raising a 4-year-old son, “Failure is not an option, at this point I need that record deal”. By the time he was mid-way through Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”, the crowd was on their feet, thrilled by his raspy, dynamic vocals, and when he was done the judges all voted to send him to the next round. While Demi was complimenting Gutt, thunder rumbled, prompting her to say, “God's even rocking out right now”.

As the rain continued, the parking lot became a sea of umbrellas, the arena ceiling leaked on Simon’s head, a production truck was struck by lightning, and the lights went out several times during the auditions.

In the middle of it all, Krysten Colon calmly returned to the stage to sing Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing”.  It seemed like she might be someone with talent but that her nerves got the best of her, so the song was shaky and off key.  The severe weather halted her audition, and all four judges declined on bringing her back.  As Mother Nature rampaged outside, something terrible stirred inside of Krysten: she blustered off of the stage, showered water on the cameras, then stormed off into the downpour. It was a gale force finale for a night that brought us three new contenders. 

X Factor contestant Krysten Colon showers water on the cameraman

Photos ©Talkback Thames, FremantleMedia, SYCOtv

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Posted on Friday, September 21, 2012 2:15 PM