‘X Factor’ Season 3 Premiere Part 2: Simone Torres Steals the Show

Simone Torres on season 3 of The X Factor
Simone Torres wowed the judges on season 3 of The X Factor

Last night FOX aired part 2 of The X Factor Season 3 premiere. On this televised competition hosted by Mario Lopez, singers aged 12 and over compete in four categories: Boys, Girls, Over 25s and Groups. For the audition phase, singers are reviewed by judges Simon Cowell, Demi Lovato, Kelly Rowland and Paulina Rubio. Eventually, the judges will be assigned a category to mentor, and the public will get to vote on who will win a recording contract with Syco/Sony Music. Season 3, episode 2 of The X Factor brought us eight contenders: Rylie Brown, Jeff Brinkman, Rachel Potter, Jorge Peňa, Simone Torres, Al Calderon, Denise Weeks, and a trio of sisters called Roxy Montana.

Rylie Brown, 15, is from Lees Summit, MO. She’s a cutie and we're completely on her side when while backstage she says, “I’m freaking out, Mom!” After practicing constantly so she would be perfect, Rylie gets her moment on stage to sing “Clarity” by Zedd, and promptly forgets the words. She struggles for a minute, then gathers herself and delivers a stand-out performance. In the middle of it, Simon, who in seasons past has been notoriously hard on singers who forget the words, begins to smile. When she’s done, the crowd goes wild. Simon offers, “So you messed up, but who cares when you’ve got a voice like that. I absolutely love you,” and Demi chimes in with, “He doesn’t ever say that.” Paula tells her, “I was really pleased with your talent, your life is about to change forever.” Kelly says, “I want you to be here with us.” After Rylie leaves the stage, Simon says, “I love, love, love that girl.”
SCORE: Yes x 4

Jeff Brinkman, 36, from Longmont, CA, owns a doggie daycare. His wife just gave birth to a baby girl who entered the world six weeks early, and the moved-up date gives him the opportunity to travel to the auditions. Jeff has a cool, raspy voice, and he does a great job with “You Are So Beautiful” by Joe Cocker. Kelly tells him, “I love how sincere you are, and you mean every word.” Paulina calls his voice “fresh and original.” Demi thinks Jeff has “the best recording voice.” Simon says, “That was a brilliant, brilliant vocal.”
SCORE: Yes x 4

Rachel Potter, 29, originally from Florida, but now lives in Nashville, TN, where she works as a bartender. Rachel worries that she’s “not a spring chicken,” but Kelly questions, “What’s the point of being a spring chicken when you can be a fine wine?” Rachel sings a country version of “Somebody to Love” by Queen, and she is excellent. Paulina says Rachel “has an amazing future.” Kelly asks, “Where do I begin? You’re a beast.” Simon also has a question: “You’ve been wanting to give this performance for a long, long time right? You proved a point.” Demi tells Rachel, “This industry is ready for you.”
SCORE: Yes x 4

Jorge Peňa, 22, is from Long Island, NY, where he is an ice cream man. He’s cute, but even more so in his own mind. He says, “I know I got the ladies.” Jorge, originally from Columbia, sings “Amame” in Spanish. When he’s done, he tells Simon, “I could already tell I’ve got three votes.” But not so fast. When Jorge addresses Demi as “Woman,” she is not having it. “Don’t call me ‘woman’,” she warns him. Then she says, “You know what’s really cute, what’s really sexy? Humility. It’s something that you lack a little bit.” Kelly agrees. Then Paulina schools Jorge in Spanish, telling him, “You need to change your attitude because it’s not good...you are not a star yet.” In the end, Jorge is judged on his talent – he DOES have a nice voice – and not his ego.
SCORE: Yes x 4

Simone Torres, 19, hails from Port Jefferson Station on Long Island, NY. Her personality is that of a sweet, silly, unassuming teenager, but when she opens her mouth to sing “Mustang Sally” by Wilson Pickett, the heavens open up and rain down a kick-ass blues vocal. Simon looks astonished. Demi says, “I loved watching that light in your eye sparkle from the minute you walked out.” Kelly says, “I thinks this was one of the best auditions we’ve had all day today.” Simon doesn’t THINK it was, he confirms that “It WAS the best audition.” Simone was definitely our favorite audition of the evening; she totally stole the show.
SCORE: Yes x 4 (Simon says it was “4205 yesses,” and calls Simone “one in a million”)

Roxy Montana  is a trio of sisters from Detroit, MI, aged 20, 21, and 22. They have fun personalities: one of them says, “Usually you don’t find three pretty sisters, usually there's one ugly one,” prompting another sister to ask, “Who told you you were pretty?” They sing “One Night Only” from the musical Dreamgirls, and it’s obvious they can sing, but they don't gel. Simon has them sing a hymm a cappella, and it’s much better. Kelly is thrilled that they “can sing their faces off.” Paulina says “You guys blow us away.” Simon says, “Apart from the groups I’ve put together, this is potentially the best group we’ve ever had on X Factor,” and he calls the sister who seems to have the best voice their “secret weapon.”
SCORE: Yes x 4

Al Calderon, 19, from Long Island, NY, is a host in a restaurant, where he is also the designated “Happy Birthday” singer. “Al Cal” auditions with “Sara Smile” by Hall and Oates. His vocals are a little off, but it’s clear with his good looks, charm and potential, that the judges are going to love him. Kelly says, “If I were 18 I would want you to take me out on a date.” Simon deadpans that they don’t have a time machine, then Demi quips that for Simon’s age, “time machines don’t go that far back.” Simon tells Al, “There were some tuning issues, but I’m going to put that down to inexperience and nerves,” and then says that with Al’s looks and charisma, “I think the music business is waiting for someone like you right now.”
SCORE: Yes x 4

Denise Weeks, 41, is from NY, where she sings in the subway for tips. Denise lost her husband when he was young, and decided to stay single and raise her two children, who are both in college now. Denise sings “The Greatest Love of All” by Whitney Houston. It seems like she has a good voice, but she rushes through the arrangement, so Simon has her sing a cappella and she does well. Then Simon asks her what she does, and she reveals she's a subway singer. When he asks if anyone ever told her she should be doing bigger things, she says she was waiting for The X Factor. Simon likes that answer, and says, “The X Factor has been waiting for you.”
SCORE: Yes x 4

This episode of  The X Factor also features the usual spate of off-key auditions from contestants who don't make it through to the next round. On this night, there were three that caught our attention:

Yosselin Marquez, 21, is from Denver CO. She gives her audition of “Only Girl in the World” by Rihanna, by reading the words, including the “la la” parts, off of her cell phone. Then she dances and goes “Woo!” When the judges voice their disapproval, she tries to get the crowd’s support, but it doesn’t work. Simon snaps, “You don’t have the X Factor and Denver hates you. It’s a no.”

Jocelyn Hinton, 34, is from Pittsburgh, PA. She forgets the words to “Firework” by Katy Perry, then moves on to "Saving All My Love" by Whitney Houston to try to convince the judges to put her through. At first Simon tells her, “The best part was when you forgot the words,” but when she won’t stop singing, he says, “I like you, you just can’t sing very well.” Then he goes up on stage and escorts her off.

Russ Pouliet 56, is a stock trader Littleton CO, but in his off time he studies singing. Russ bleats, “I Can’t Help Falling In Love with You” by Elvis Presley, while the judges giggle. Simon offers, “I like you, but it does actually sound like you were drowning.” Demi says, “I feel like if you had a British accent you would sound like what Simon would sound like when he would sing.” With that, Kelly brings Simon the mic. He resists for a second, but then sings a bar of Elvis, Russ style. Then Simon says, “Thank you, that will never air.” It did.

The X Factor airs Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8/7c on FOX

To read all of our X Factor recaps and coverage click here.

Photo ©FOX/Syco

Posted on Friday, September 13, 2013