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X Factor USA kicks off with a bang

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    Posted: 22 Sep 2011 at 13:23

X Factor USA kicks off with a bang as Simon Cowell is blown away with performances by a single mother and reformed drug addict

By Amelia Proud

Last updated at 10:28 AM on 22nd September 2011

The pressure was on Simon Cowell to deliver a knock-out first show with the launch of X Factor USA tonight - and he didn't disappoint.

The 51-year-old, who quit his coveted role on American Idol to bring his British format to America, wowed viewers with a series of both weird and wonderful performances, and a dose of controversy.

A single mother who had everyone in tears, a reformed drug addict hoping to turn his life around, the most bizarre but endearing older couple, and a man who pulled his pants down mid-act, were just a few of the highlights of a stunning first show.



Last Chance: 42-year-old single mother Stacy Francis who suffered years of abuse and self-doubt blew the judges away on the premiere of X Factor USA last night


'Don't let me die with this music in me!': Stacy was 'pushed around' by her former partner'

Cowell pulled out all the stops, in addition to that $5 million prize fund, to ensure his beloved format hit the ground running.


The production was undeniably slick - zooming overhead shots showed panoramic American scenes as the judges were introduced with explosive fanfare and that catchphrase so familiar from the UK show - 'it's time to face the music.'

This was no accident, Cowell brought out the best of his production team to ensure that the magic translated across the Atlantic, and tonight we saw plenty of it at the L.A. and Seattle auditions.


Joy: Stacy is congratulated by her family after her talent is recognised at last


High note: Chris Rene bedazzled the judges with his story of drug addiction and stunning original tune


Powerful start: The judges get to their feet for Chris, but they loved Stacy and Marcus, too

But following the model of the original, the fanfare was just a sideshow to the stories that were to unfold over the first two hour episode on America's Fox Network. 

And America seemed to eat up each tale of woe and redemption as reception to the show on Twitter was hugely positive, as the program played the enthusiastic observations kept rolling in.

One tweeter described the show as 'magical,' while another wrote: 'Every1 and any1 gets a chance-No matter what's your age,race or background..New Fav show.'


Touching: Married couple Venita and Dan captured the judges hearts, but not their votes


Revealing: Geo's performance caused Paula to almost vomit, Simon berated her for leaving the rest of the panel to face his manhood

Many auditions shown were positive, which set the stall out for the show.

42-year-old single mother of two Stacy Francis provided entertainment, but which came from the darkest of corners.

Choking back tears, the Brooklyn native, who has two boys of five and three, talked about the abusive relationship and self-doubt that has held her back.

'I've been told I was too old ever since I was 30,' she told the judges.

But The X Factor's broader categories, which allow older participants, gave the inspirational singer the chance to shine as she belted out Carole King's Natural Woman to a standing ovation


Fleeting appearance: Cheryl Cole was only shown in the LA auditions, but made her presence felt as she defended Simon against one rowdy contestant: 'You've got a bad attitude,' she told them


Opposites Attract: The Paula and Simon show was back on the road, but tamer than in their previous incarnation

L.A .felt his 'spirit' stir while judge Paula Abdul told Stacy that her moment had finally come.

Judge Cheryl Cole, who judged for the first half of the show remarked that: 'The whole room was willing you to go on.'

'You are so gifted,' L.A. said. 'You got what it takes.'

The verdict from Twitter...


- OK-I love X-Factor just after the first girl performed-wow-she was awesome and so cute!!

- X-FACTOR!!....hooked!!!

-'The X Factor' is surprisingly wonderful. #newaddiction

- x factor brought tears to my eyes tonight! #ilovethatshow

- Amazing talent on the X-Factor. Some of the performers completelyblew me away! #RealTalent

-Really enjoyed the X-Factor. Little Homie song was tight. So muchbetter than Idol.

 -X-Factor was just as magical and wonderful as I hoped! I cried a few times and jumped up and down a few times!! Great TV!

-  What I love about #X-Factor-every1 and any1 gets a chance-No matter what's your age,race or background..New Fav show


- ok x factor is too much like idol. not a fan

- X Factor is "American Idol #2". #TheSame

- The X Factor makes me long for the return ofThe Voice.

But it was Cowell's moment that caused tear jerks when he told the overwhelmed contestant that it was one of the best auditions he'd ever seen and declared: 'I loved it, I loved you!'

70-days sober rubbish collector Chris Rene, 28 , almost stole the Stacy's thunder, after performing his own song, Young Homie.

Talking frankly about his descent into drink and drug hell, the father-of-one told the judges: 'I want my son to see me singing on stages as life is too precious to waste.'

They were captivated by his performance.

'I’ve worked with some of the greatest hip-hop artists, from Jay-Z to Kanye West, and all of my boys, they would be proud of me today to tell you that you are the truth,' L.A. said.

'My favourite feeling in the world is when I sit in this chair and I meet a star for the first time, Simon added. “There’s something about you… Maybe you need the show, and maybe we need you.

13-year-old Rachel Crow, who sang Duffy’s Mercy also instantly captured the audience's attention.

Her vocals got the judges moving, but what was most beguiling about the youngster was her plucky personality.

Siameze Floyd, a 30-year-old in tight jeans and an aqua mesh top paid homage to his hero Prince as he got stuck into Rick James's Give It To Me Baby.

Of course, Simon did, and told the ambitious entrance to LA auditions that he was 'deluded,' but this character was through to the next round.

However, it was acts like Dan and Venita, 70 and 83 years 'young' respectively, who typified what sets the X Factor apart from other talent shows.

'I hope he treats her well,' Simon said, as the couple launched into a dreadful yet utterly heart-warming rendition of his favourite song, Unchained Melody.

'I could imagine me and Paula being you in ten years time,' he joked, doing nothing to dispel rumours about their odd yet beguiling tension.

'It was one of those where I was like, ‘Do I absolutely love this, and think it’s genius? Or is it weird?' Cheryl added.

Before concluding: 'I don’t really know what the answer is.'

But if Dan and Venita entertained without promise,

But not everyone moved the judges in the same way.


Last minute reprieve: Marcus Canty was about to give up his dream after reaching the two year limit ordered by his mother

No show does wacky auditionees like The X Factor, and this American version did not disappoint.

Internet blogger Geo Godley, 43 , from Seattle, nearly made Paula vomit with his lewd performance.

The middle-aged man removed his pants, apparently revealing nothing on underneath - his package was disguised by an X Factor symbol.

But as he sang his self-penned ditty, which seemed to centre around the central conceit of him being 'a stud', Paula leapt from her seat and rushed backstage where she could be heard retching


Winner: Plucky Rachel Crow may only be 13, but she has a big enough personality to go far.

Thankfully the second most shocking scene of the night, which saw hopeful Marcus Canty, 20, introduced, before footage of him collapsing on the stage was aired, was more uplifting.

The young man told the judges his mother had given him two years to try and make it before he had to get a real job, and his audition, on the edge of that time frame, became one of few to completely bowl over not only the judges, but the audience.

After an impressive rendition of Stevie Wonder’s 'I Wish', a song Simon said he dreads to hear at auditions, the mogul likened him to Usher and L.A. compared him to a young Bobby Brown.

College student Simone Battle, 21 , gave a spirited performance of the Pussycat Dolls' When I Grow Up, which polarised Simon and L.A shedding light on what looks to be the new rivalry.


Fierce: Simone Battle polarised L.A and Simon in a war that's sure to rumble on


Prince fan: Siameze is 'going to be a nightmare' according to Simon, but knowing what makes good television he still put him through

While L.A. wasn't moved, Simon rated the beautiful Angelite, despite finding her use of the word 'fierce' irritating and suddenly her surname, Battle, became very apt.

It's a battle that is set to roll, as footage of the judges discussing each other hinted.

Simon was featured talking to camera about Def Jam alumni L.A., and vice versa.

Simon said: 'He’s the number one music executive in the country but I know how to turn talent into success - not just one country but the rest of the world,' and added: 'I've definitely met my match.'

While L.A opined: ‘I’ve had my eye on Simon’s career for years now, he's not the greatest record man but he’s the greatest talent magnet in the world.'

A trio from Salt Lake City, calling themselves The Answer provided the obligatory Adele cover with their harmonic take on Adele’s Rolling In The Deep,' and also  got the nod for their efforts getting them through to the next round.


Stunning: Battle looked the part but L.A didn't feel his hair stand on end when she sang

Explore more:

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2040367/X-Factor-USA-2011-Simon-Cowell-blown-away-Stacy-Francis-Chris-Rene-performances.html#ixzz1YgGlGMIz
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