Julia Bullock leaves her band behind and performs on "The X Factor." (Ray Mickshaw / Fox )
The first few minutes of "The X Factor" auditions in Greensboro, N.C., brought the revelation that Britney Spears does her own makeup (or at least applies her own unflattering pink lipstick, apparently while covering her fully dressed self with a hotel bathrobe), while Demi Lovato has someone do hers for her while she gets her beauty rest. Which explains some things, including, perhaps, Lovato's peculiar "Jetsons"-esque hairdo on Thursday night's show.
We also learned that Simon Cowell really should put a sweater or something on over his trademark white T-shirt if he's going to stand up and give the camera a full-on chest close-up. And that L.A. Reid doesn't like to be kept waiting — not even for grits, coconut cream pie or the other Styrofoam-contained Southern delights Cowell stopped to pick up on his way to auditions.
Other discoveries included the fact that loud thunder makes Spears scream and that some people don't take rejection well — like contestant Krysten Colon, who threw water at the camera and then waved around a chair after the judges put her through an extra challenge only to hand her four no votes.
Then again, we also discovered three talented singers:
Willie Jones: This extremely polite 17-year-old from Shreveport, La., impressed the judges with his "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" style, as Lovato termed it, and then impressed them even more by singing Josh Turner's "Your Man," the country song that "American Idol" Scotty McCreery adopted as his signature tune. With his down-home good manners — when Reid asked him to stop calling him "sir," Jones replied, "Yes, sir," then later switched to "Mr. Reid" — square-jawed good looks and solid vocals may be destined for McCreery-esque success. Reid, who called Jones an "absolute original," couldn't contain his admiration. "I love him. I love him," he repeated after Jones had left the stage.
Julia Bullock: Her assigned storyline was "girl who dumps band to make it on her own," thanks to the ex-boyfriend and fellow band member who laid a serious head trip on her while she awaited her audition and then made bemused and bitter faces backstage. But with her sassy take on Foster the People's "Pumped Up Kicks," this stylish 18-year-old from Charlotte, N.C., proved she is ready to stand on her own. "You are really, really, really good," Cowell said, calling her sound "very current." Reid, meanwhile, said she was just the person he'd been looking for. Take that, bitter ex-beau.
Jeffrey Adam Gutt: We've heard Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" performed a million times on singing-competition shows over the years, but Gutt — a 26-year-old single dad struggling to raise an adorable 4-year-old son, to whom he sweetly blew kisses before taking the stage — brought a special grit and an unmistakable heart to it. Spears was moved to tears, later calling Gutt's voice "mysterious," "soothing" and "unique." Cowell called it "one of the most brilliant auditions I've heard." High praise.
What did you think of the Greensboro auditions?
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