"The X Factor (US)" kicked off its third season on Wednesday, September 11 and already some contestants emerged as frontrunners. But first of all, the judging panel deserved a spotlight with the return of Simon Cowell and Demi Lovato, who are joined by new additions Kelly Rowland and Paulina Rubio this season.
"This year, I would say I'm back in control," expectant father Simon claimed, while Demi shared, "What I'm looking for is somebody who has that sparkle behind their eyes." Paulina added, "I'm just looking for something unique, I'm looking for a superstar," as Kelly would like to find "passionate" contestants.
During the auditions in the premiere episode, Lillie McCloud impressed the judges with her beautiful rendition of CeCe Winans' "Alabaster Box". She stunned them more when it was revealed that she's 54 years old despite her 30-something look.
"That was unbelievable," Paulina gushed, while Kelly asked, "Where you been? Where you been hiding?" Simon compared her to Gladys Knight, and Demi who was tearing up said, "You ripped my heart out of my chest. I feel like I'm listening to Whitney Houston." Lillie got four "Yes" and Demi was eager to mentor the Over-25s group.
Dating couple Alex Kinsey and Sierra Dayton showed that they're also good singing partners. Simon called them both "cool and quirky" after the acoustic version of Britney Spears' "Toxic". "I have the chills," Demi admitted as Kelly declared that she's "rooting" for the duo.
Also making it to the next round was 23-year-old coffee boy Carlito Olivero, whom Simon thought looks like a real star. Rion Paige, who has a condition called arthrogryposis multiplex congentia which causes her hands to be bent backwards and is almost permanently blind in one eye, overcomes these serious medical issues to nail a cover of Carrie Underwood's "Blown Away" which blew the judges away.