'The X Factor' recap: Miami Bleat

Simon and company redeemed themselves by sticking Xander Alexander (stage name) at the very end of the show.

Story highlights

  • We heard Melanie Amaro's entire amazing performance of Beyonce's "Listen"
  • Dexter Haygood broke out a rote James Brown tribute act with "Sexy Machine"
  • Paula suggested Nick lose the Michael Jackson choreography and focus on his vocals
Oof. The Miami and Dallas audition rounds of "The X Factor" brought us a few solid acts -- and one stunning one -- and an utterly ridiculous amount of screentime dedicated to losers and fools.
Have I been suckered into recapping "America's Got Talent?"
Thankfully, Simon and company redeemed themselves by sticking a grey-sweatered dagger into that festering zit of a human being Xander Alexander (stage name) at the very end of the show. If you look up "the worst" in a dictionary, you will find this tattered seafoam creature, standing all alone with only his terrible attitude and a trash-basket Pepsi to keep him company. FOR THE REST OF HIS LIFE. Books are timeless.
I'd love to have seen more footage of promising "yeses" like Jeremiah Pagan (one of "only like seven" male sopranos in the world -- as if), or blink-and-you'd-miss-her Ma'at Bingham Shango. 31-year-old blonde-banged Hannah Jackson, I know you've just become able to fly out of your birdcage, but come back to me! Hog farmer Kyle Corr, sing to me some more! I almost always feel like a pig, so I promise it won't be weird. Stick with me, people!
No dice. In lieu of more quality time spent with promising acts like girl group 2Squar'd, country singer/teacher Kendra Williams, and music instructor Brandon O'Hara, we got entire segments devoted to the likes of a defective Justin Bieber doll (if Justin Bieber dolls had been around in the '80s) and motormouth yawns like Ashley Nothing At All Like Pink and Ashley Ghost Hunter. (The ensuing inter-judge antics re: ghosts was pretty much the dumbest thing I've ever seen, and I've been watching "Dancing With the Stars" for 13 seasons.)
The airtime devoted to yellow-bloused high school junior Caitlynne Curtis was a little easier to swallow, because it's been a while since we've seen Pauler put on her thinking cap and concoct a delicious scheme to trot up and hug someone. That poor girl's life would have been a lot worse from that moment forward if Paula hadn't done that. And she was sweet, you know? I would have hugged her myself. I cannot say the same about Dreamcatcher Crotch. But Nicole might.
Despite an inspirational visit from local hero Gloria Estefan and a giant rainbow-colored beach ball, the talent in Miami was dreadful. "Honest to God, nothing," complained Simon. "I hope this is the worst session. I'm beginning to wonder why we came here." Way to inspire people to keep watching, boss. And.... cue music!
Meet Vanilla Ice Nick Voss, 21, who got fired from a job at the airport because all he wanted to do was dance. Silly airport. Those planes don't need to know where they're going! What Nick lacks in vocal talent and fully-grown-in eyebrows, he makes up for with fancy footwork and enthusiastic family members. Stevecrest Jones even did an overhead clap during Nick's rendition of Elvis Presley's "Trouble." A beaten-down L.A. Reid immediately gave in, "because this is really the entertainment business." Wise Paula suggested Nick lose the Michael Jackson choreography and focus on his vocals, and Simon declared "Nick, I absolutely love you." He had to. The episode was getting that bad.
But Melanie Amaro, 18, redeemed it completely. FINALLY! We heard her entire amazing performance of Beyonce's "Listen" -- cutting her off would have seemed illegal. I got total Whitney Houston/Leona Lewis vibes from Melanie's voice alone. The fact that she has such a real, unassuming personality on top of the voice makes me want to go buy her entire album right now. It was so refreshing to see such a good-natured reaction to the crowd's overwhelming reception. There's nothing worse than an 18-year-old who knows she's the s---. The judges were nearly passing out with excitement. "This is why I do this. People like you inspire me," said Nicole, who will never come close to singing as well as Melanie in her life. She's the best contestant we've seen by far.
Dexter Haygood, 49, used to tour with Hall and Oates as part of a band called Xavion. I took the liberty of googling this up and now I'm kind of obsessed with him:
Here's where I finally felt the potential magic of "The X Factor." I mean, seriously? This guy? "Why NOT this guy?" seems to be the whole point of the show. It'll take some getting used to -- especially when I'm not instantly sold on a contestant's performance quality in present-day -- but I can legitimately see myself becoming invested in real people with real, living-out-of-their-car problems (who aren't, like, 17).
First Dexter broke out a rote James Brown tribute act with "Sexy Machine." Ladies loved it; girls adored it, but Simon could see right through it and asked him to sing 15 seconds a cappella. During that entire commercial break I honestly wondered if maybe this guy would freeze up and either refuse for some creepy reason or not be able to think of just the right song. But he did! Nicole, who'd been switching up her dialects according to the occasion, called Dexter "one of the funkiest cats I've seen up here." Ooh. Two hours of actual funky cats auditioning for The X Factor probably would have flown by.
Along with Melanie, Caitlyn Koch, 21, gave the most American Idol-esque audition. She was un-jaded, pretty, intrigued Simon before even singing (rugby coach!), and I loved the way she rearranged the Supremes. Nicole once again adjusted her critique to the personality in question and tossed Caitlyn a "tough jock girl" bone by awarding her "a big ol' fat juicy delicious YES."
You guys, I have no idea why I'm only spotlighting Nicole's lines. I know they're the worst!