With every new season of these reality competition shows comes a contestant who appears to realize he or she has more potential in going viral for ludicrous behavior rather than vocal abilities. Season 2 of The X Factor is no different, even if Wednesday night’s premiere was hyped more for the promise of Britney Spears uttering complete thoughts than the possibility of memorable acts.
Shawn Armenta, a 50-year-old airline baggage handler, approached the stage with the belief that he and he alone is today’s male version of Adele—and will hear nothing to the contrary. Part of his strategy included performing an “original” tune, “Candy Girl,” which he feels describes those beautiful women you often spot in a bar or grocery aisle and instantly become infatuated with. It’s awkward and uncomfortable, as his voice falls somewhere between nails on a chalkboard and garbage cans thrashing in the back of a dump truck. Next.
To crush his dreams—or further his push for momentary fame—Simon began with a confusing analogy about mice and elephants, which led Armenta to rehash the details of all the hard work he’s put into this and the compliments he’s received on his voice. “A lot of people work really, really hard for their dreams, but it’s not meant for everybody,” Demi Lovato explained, in the most humble of ways possible for someone who’s been famous since they were a toddler. “That’s why you use auto-tune and I don’t,” he replied. Eh, um, what? Rebuttal?
“Ooh!” is right, L.A. Reid. Those are fighting words, particularly when spewed towards someone who takes pride in the fact that she actually sings. Normally we’d say this is Simon’s territory—coming to the defense of someone he believes to be a true star with some biting critique of the wannabe standing before him—but we were pleased to see that Britney stepped in. “I wanna know who let you on stage,” she said. “I feel uncomfortable with you even staring at me.”
Don’t worry, Demi. Nobody says anything bad about auto-tune when Britney’s in the room.