Wednesday night's X Factor premiere was, surprise, really, really damn cute. Or at least full of cute moments to off-set some terribly awful singing. Even Simon Cowell's behavior was kind of adorable. The three stand-out auditions of the night all featured lovable and equally talented people who drew out the kindness in all of the judges. We can only hope that they add puppies and kittens from here on out to keep up with the bar tonight's episode set.
Let's talk about those three best of the night, shall we?
First, was Lillie McCloud from Orlando, a 54-year-old mother and grandmother, who got not only Kelly Rowland but also Demi Lovato to cry during her performance of "Alabaster Box" by Cece Winan. Seeing Rowland sing along was endearing and Demi saying that she felt like she was "listening to Whitney" was also just a really cute fangirl moment. Needless to say, she got four resounding versions of "yes".
Second, was the student couple, also from Orlando, Alex and Sierra who sang a quirky version of Britney Spears' "Toxic" that would make Zooey Deschanel ever so proud. They were so in love, with the added bonus of extremely talented, that it gave Simon Cowell the giggles. They were almost entirely perfect and spent the entire audition incredulous to the fact that they were actually on stage performing. It also really helped their case that Sierra responded to Kelly calling the twosome cute by telling them that they were really cute, as well. Did I mention this episode was cute? Not sure.
Finally, last but absolutely not least, was Rion Paige, a fireball of a 13-year-old, complete with a curly, blonde mane a la Taylor Swift during her YouTube days, who auditioned during the Charleston, S.C., portion of the show. Rion, who revealed before her performance that she is almost entirely blind in her right eye and is living with arthrogryposis, a disease that limits the use of her hands, didn't let anything stop her from being the shining audition of the episode. She performed Carrie Underwood's "Blown Away" with so much passion and talent that Simon Cowell proclaimed her the next Carrie Underwood, saying he would remember her audition for a very long time. That's about the cutest Simon Cowell is ever going to get, right there.
A notable cuteness mention goes to Paulina Rubio whose slight language barrier is going to be an endless natural resource of adorable quips for the rest of the season. (I mean, how long can Simon's warm and fuzzy persona keep a lid on his brutal and soul crushing alter ego.) Her attempt at possibly the most over-used word on singing-oriented talent competition shows (mostly by Randy Jackson), "pitchy", was so endearing I just wanted to hug her. "Pitchy" came out as "peachy", prompting a giggle among her fellow judges that she responded to by listing off a bunch of other fruits before saying that it's all the same and laughing it off. She even knows she's cute, so she can totally get away with anything ... including those fingerless, blue leather (or pleather?) gloves and that pink cowboy hat.
The X Factor is on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8 p.m. on Fox.