‘The X Factor’ Season 3, Episode 3: It’s the Climb
During the third audition episode of "The X Factor" Season 3, Miley Cyrus's pseudo-inspirational "The Climb" kept playing on a loop, reminding viewers of a more innocent time when she sang power ballads about the triumph of the spirit instead of straddling wrecking balls and sticking foam fingers where they don't belong. So yeah, that was distracting.
But it wasn't enough to distract from all the great contestants on Wednesday night. From soulchildren Josh Levi and Timmy Thames to returning thirtysomething auditioner Jeffrey Gutt, the episode was PACKED with talent. These singers came in like a wrecking ball, indeed.
Here are the contestants who made it through Wednesday night. Read and watch carefully, because I think some of them will be Season 3's most valuable players:
Josh Levi – This charismatic 14-year-old could be one of the breakout stars of "The X Factor" this year. His radical remake of "Come and Get It" by Demi Lovato's old Disney pal Selena Gomez ripped a real page of out the singing-show playbook, because he did what the best contestants always do: He turned the song inside-out and upside-down. His performance was original, it was charming, it had swag, and his vocals were stellar. It was obvious that the audience adored him. And so did Demi, who responded quite positively to his flirting, blushing and telling him, "That was AMAZING. When you started singing to me, I was not prepared for that. That was adorable." Said Kelly Rowland, "You. Are. A. Star. Hands down. There's nobody like you." Simon looked intrigued and deep in thought throughout Josh's audition, but finally said, "You turned ['Come and Get It'] into a great version that suited you. I think we could be looking at a future little star here." This kid is definitely one to watch.
AKNU – Although I thought the vocals of this brotherly trio's lead singer were slightly weak, he and his siblings more than compensated for that with their killer performance of "Valerie." (It was the Amy Winehouse version, of course. Side note: Does anyone even know that the Zutons first recorded this song?) The brothers described themselves as "throwback but not old-fashioned," and I loved their Motown vibe and high energy. I was wondering if there'd be a place for a group like them in the current pop market…but then they started dancing up a storm, and I wondered no more. This was an immensely entertaining audition. The crowd went nuts for their fancy footwork, and I could imagine an AKNU concert being a super fun night out. "You guys are so refreshing! You make everybody want to dance," raved Kelly. "There's something really special about you guys. I've got the chills," said Demi. (Side note: Demi always gets the chills. Someone fetch this girl a sweater!) Said Simon, "It's like watching Motown all over again. Normally that's the part I hate, but I think that you might be on the forefront of something new here…I thought the dancing worked incredibly well. I could watch this whole audition all over again; I liked it that much." I hope we'll be seeing these guys all over again on "The X Factor," very soon.