The "X Factor" audition episodes began this week for the 2013 season and there were several that not only stood out but simply stole our hearts. Like the inspiring story of Denise Weeks, a 41-year-old mother of two that put her kids through college by singing on the subway. But one story from the Wednesday night episode simple blew everyone away. Then, appropriately enough, little Rion Paige performed Carrie Underwood's "Blown Away." And before her audition was over, she would blow that multi-platinum artist away as well...
Rion Page's story, which aired Sept. 11 and was posted by TheXFactorUSA to YouTube on the "X Factor" channel, could have been one of pure, unadulterated sympathy-mining. But it was not. It did, however, touch hearts and present a backstory of an indomitable spirit. Where it might have elicited sympathy from viewers because of her condition, one where she was born with her wrists reversed, this was not what Rion wanted. She admitted to frustrations about her joints being backwards and an inability to do certain things, but she said she didn't want the judges to look at her as "different." The backstory depicted a young girl intent on circumventing her disability and pushing on despite it -- and a loving mother there to support her daughter's dreams no matter what. Rion Page had never let her disability get in the way of her passion -- singing. And she was on "X Factor" to showcase what she could do.
She literally bounced onto the "X Factor" stage, her tightly curled, past-the shoulders blonde hair bouncing along with her. She introduced herself and Judge Demi Lovato told her she was cute. Judge Simon Cowell asked her to tell him something "interesting" about herself and she told him she had arthrogryposis multiplex congenita, which she explained as a mouthful of words that described the odd curvature of her joints which cause her hands to stay pointed toward her body. And then she told a surprised Simon that she was also almost completely blind in her right eye.
He then wished her good luck...
But she didn't need it. Rion Paige is one of those young vocal talents that amaze us all with their voices. She launched into Carrie Underwood's "Blown Away" as if she wrote it. But write it or no, that girl sung it like she owned it.
The actual singer of the song heard it and took to Twitter to make sure everybody else did as well, throwing her support behind the little girl with the big voice.
"Very cool!" she wrote. "What a beautiful young lady! Sing it, Rion!" She also added a link to the YouTube video.
And by song's end, where young Rion showed the control in her voice by lowering her tone and extending the last note, was met by Simon Cowell getting to his feet for a standing ovation. But he was late to that particular dance, because fellow judges Kelly Rowland, Demi Lovato, and Paulina Rubio, not to mention the entire "X Factor" audience were already standing.
On review, the judges were all praise. Judge Demi told her she was "impressed" by her performance and how "positive" she was. She noted that everyone could be inspired by Rion's attitude.
Judge Paulina said, "Music heals everything. I'm honored to live this with you."
A quick shot of Rion's mother and family backstage showed her mother overcome with tears.
Judge Kelly noted that she had "just witnessed passion... Everything about you is so incredible."
But Simon Cowell had the best compliment of all. He said, "I have to say something about you. I think you're literally extraordinary. I really do. I remember the first day I met Carrie Underwood and I remember predicting this girl was going to go on and do special things with her life. And I'm going to say the same thing about you, Rion. I'm going to remember this audition for a long, long time. I mean in every single way, Rion, you are a beautiful person."
Of course, Rion Paige got four "yeses," including what Simon said was the "easiest yes" he'd ever given in his life.
As she ran off backstage to her group of supporters, she said, "That did not just happen."
Oh, yes, it did, young Rion. And we've got the video, not to mention Carrie Underwood's Twitter post, to prove that everybody was blown away.
It would appear that even Rion Paige was a bit blown away by the response.
"X Factor" airs on Wednesday and Thursday on Fox Television.