'The X Factor' premiere: Chris Rene, Rachel Crow and more wow on first night

x-factor-premiere-fox.jpgSome "American Idol"-esque music welcomes us to "The X Factor," though the graphics belie aliens are invading the Earth. The judges arrive at the first location and the audience goes predictably nuts.

Los Angeles

The first person we see is 13-year-old Rachel Crow. Well, seeing as how she's first and really young, I'm expecting big things. She hilariously talks about how her family has no money, which isn't funny but she's funny. She sings "Mercy" and even though her dance moves are super dorky, her voice is pretty great. It's not seasoned, but for a 13-year-old girl it's spectacular and the seasoning will come. Obviously she is through - Simon says she's the reason they were right to take the age limit down.

Check out Rachel's performance here.

Rachel kicks off a montage of successful auditions - a very handsome buff man named Terrell Carter, 14-year-old Ellona Santiago, Bieber-esque 14-year-old John Lindahl and a bunch of others that go unnamed.

The next full audition is a guy named Siameze. Hmm. "Pants on the Ground," anyone? I'm not even sure what he sings, but he sure does prance around a lot in his heeled boots and mesh shirt. This is not a bus stop in New Jersey, dude. Inexplicably, he gets through. I just cannot even dignify this audition with a response. Next.

This leads into another bad audition with Dan and Venita on "Unchained Melody." Seriously, next. I thought maybe "X Factor" would stay away from these auditions more than "Idol" does, but I see I was sorely mistaken.

There's a whole montage of the bad folks, including an old lady shout-screaming "I Touch Myself" that makes me want to throw myself in front of a bus. Well, shower and then throw myself in front of a bus.

They then inform us about the Pepsi commercial prize, which Paula says is "above and beyond any wild dream that any artist could have." Yes. Every singer's wildest dream is to have a Pepsi commercial.

We now have sassypants Simone Battle on "When I Grow Up." She doesn't exactly have the voice to back up her attitude. She's not bad, but she's not great And she chose a terrible song to show off her voice. Simon really likes her and so does Cheryl. Huh. L.A. Reid completely disagrees - thank god, I thought I was going crazy for a second. Simon asks for another song and she busts out "Bulletproof" and it's way better than her audition song. She's lucky she got another chance. But I still agree with L.A. that she didn't make the hair on my arms stand up, but she's through.

This leads into a montage of L.A. and Simon disagreeing. Glad to see a male who will stand up to Simon - well done, L.A.

Now we have the first single-mother-sob-story of the season with Stacy Francis. Sorry, but I just don't care. "Idol" and "America's Got Talent" have really made me immune to these sad stories. At least this girl just wants to get her music out even after being told she's too old and she's not acting like her life is so hard. Anyway. She sings "Natural Woman" and it's ... it's good, but it's not perfect. The judges are gazing at her like she's Kelly Clarkson and she's not. There are some big (BIG) missteps. Hmm. I'm not saying she shouldn't go through, but I'm not president of the Stacy Francis fan club yet. She gets a standing O from Simon, which - what? Huh. *sigh* Clearly she is through.

Watch her performance here.

Seattle


We are now sans Cheryl and have Nicole Scherzinger instead. I was not thrilled by the swap.

The very odd-looking Geo Godley is up first in his crushed velvet pajamas or something. He's singing an original composition and can we all guess how this goes? Though I do love his "we can do Bill Clinton stuff" line - that is some lyrical gold right there. And then he totally drops trou - like "Full Monty"-style. Wow. I mean, holy crap! And they let it go on and on and on. This is not funny, this is gross and disturbing. Way to make "Idol" look classy, "X Factor."

Marcus Canty gets us back on track with Stevie Wonder's "I Wish" and he's OK, though very charming and cute. The vocals aren't amazing, but they're pretty good. After he's done, the crowd is going so crazy and he delightfully just lays down, he's so overcome. What a sweetie. The judges love him, he's through.

There is now a gross montage about Nicole's birthday. Ugh. Just stop.

Up next is The Anser, a very cute boy band. Interesting. I hope they can harmonize - their "Happy Birthday" harmonies do not wow me. They sing "Rolling in the Deep" and it's alright. The hipster soloist in the knit hat is the strongest soloist, but their unison singing and their harmonies are not outstanding. But the girls in the audience are getting ready to throw their panties, so clearly they are through.

Watch their performance here.

Just when I think we might have a string of good ones in a row, we get Nici Collins - did she seriously fly from Maryland to do this shriek-fest and bop around like a lunatic? Her renditions of Mariah's dog-whistle-pitch "ha-ah-ahs" is pretty hilarious, though.

Then there's a whole slew of baddies that include Bizarro Michael Ian Black.

Trash collector Chris Rene is the next good one - he is a dad, he just got out of rehab. Again - big kudos to him for changing his life, but I also don't care that much. Whoa - he's only been clean 70 days. I mean, that's just over two months. Perhaps a high-pressure situation like "The X Factor" is not what a recovering addict needs right now. Hmm.

Anyway, Chris sings an original song called "Young Homey" and it's actually pretty good. It's inspiring and has a good message, while still sounding very current. And then he cries as the crowd cheers. OK, even my cold black heart is swayed. He's wonderful and I'm glad we heard his story, grumble grumble curmudgeon.

Watch his performance here.

So what did you think, "X Factor" fans? Happy with the show so far? To be honest, we don't really see how it's all that different of an "Idol"-"AGT" hybrid - live audience, familiar judges, groups, younger contestants and crazypants auditions. We think they just need buzzers and we'd be all set.

Photo/Video credit: FOX