The X-Factor brought the auditions to New Orleans on Thursday for Episode 4 of Season 3 auditions.

This episode contained multiple eye rolls from head judge Simon Cowell and some very enthusiastic responses from Demi Lovato and new judges Kelly Rowland and Paulina Rubio.

The biggest standout of the night was Ashly Williams, a 24-year-old who sang Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You.” Any Whitney Houston song is always a gamble to perform for a singing competition, and Simon looked extremely skeptical when Ashly announced her song choice. Barely a minute into her emotional performance, Ashly had the crowd going wild and even managed to put a smile on Simon’s frowny face.

Ashly got a standing ovation from the judges and two very enthusiastic thumbs up from Simon.


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“This is why we brought this show to America, to find people like you,” Simon told Ashly.

In the package shown pre-audition, it was revealed that Ashly’s mother was murdered when she was a teenager, and the cameras even accompanied the young singer on a trip to visit her mother’s grave. Her story and amazing talent are sure to drive her straight into the live shows.

Former finalist Ellona Santiago, who competed on Season 1 of The X-Factor as part of a group, InTENsity, auditioned with “Wings” by Little Mix. Ellona grabbed the crowd immediately with her upbeat performance. Kelly fell in love, and Simon even told her that she was the girl he “most wanted to work with in this competition,” even though he didn’t remember her from Season 1.

The X-Factor Season 3 found their mini version of One Direction (a band created on The X-Factor UK) in Stone Martin, a 14 year old who sang 1D’s ballad, “Little Things.”

New judge Paulina Rubio told Stone, “I think your life is about to change forever.” And Simon even told him he had a “star glow” about him.

While Stone won over the tweens in the audience, good looking contestant Blake Shankle had Kelly ogling him until he started to sing. His off-key rendition of “Jar of Hearts” by Christina Perri received no love from the judges or the audience.

The nicest thing the judges could say was that he “had a specific look,” in Demi’s words. After getting three No’s from Demi, Paulina and Kelly, Blake tried to earn himself another shot, begging the judges, “I can kill it, and I can rap, come on.”

Simon was not impressed and ushered Blake offstage.

Another iffy performance came from Andrew Scholz, a “corn-fed country boy,” in Kelly's words, who did close to nothing for the female judges, but got Simon’s attention. After hearing the negative comments from Paulina, Kelly and Demi, Simon insisted that he sing a different song. Apparently Kelly wasn’t the only one under Andrew’s handsome spell, and Simon directly appealed to Demi to “give this guy a chance.”

Simon asked Andrew for something “more old school,” and Andrew’s decision to go country ended up swaying all the women on the judges’ table, and he sailed through the second voting round.

The X-Factor airs Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8 p.m. on Fox.

Uinterview is interviewing The X-Factor contestant Carlos Guevara. Submit your questions here.

Olivia Truffaut-Wong

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More on The X-Factor:

'The X-Factor' Episode 3 Recap: Colton Peck, Carlos Guevara, Danie Geimer Shine

‘The X Factor’ Premiere Recap: Lillie McCloud Gives Best Performance; Kelly Rowland, Paulina Rubio Join Judges’ Panel

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