The "X Factor" is back for 2013... with all that that entails. Two new judges -- Grammy winner Kelly Rowland of Destiny's Child and Mexican pop singer Paulina Rubio -- joined Simon Cowell and second-year returner Demi Lovato at the judges table. And with little fanfare (except for that major pitch showing how awesome "X Factor" has been everywhere but in the U. S.), host Mario Lopez (and aren't we all just a little bit grateful that Simon -- as executive producer -- decided to dump Khloe Kardashian as co-host?) led viewers into the good and the bad of the latest "X Factor" auditions.
And although there were some great auditions on the first night of the two-night Season 3 premiere, it may have been the musical stylings of Alex and Sierra that won the night. However, it might not have appeared that way at first. In fact, the syrupy-sweet run-up to the couple's audition might have made some a almost physically ill...
In the preview video, which was posted to YouTube by TheXFactorUSA Sept. 11, viewers met the duo. It wasn't difficult to tell they were romantically attached. Holding hands, hugs, bodies angled toward each other, the constant use of the words "us" and "we." And then there was Alex's use of the word "chemistry," which seemed to seal it. But it might have been Sierra's puppy-dog glances at the handsome Alex that may have done it as well. Regardless, by the time they went on stage, hand in hand, folks at home were probably ready to watch this duo crash and burn in delusional mutual-affirming bliss.
But if that was the case, people were disappointed...
As soon as Alex and Sierra hit the stage, Simon asked if they were siblings. Alex didn't miss a beat: "No, we kiss, so... that would be weird."
Kelly Rowland said they made a cute couple and when they said thanks, Sierra said, "So are you... all." This got a laugh from all the judges (and the audience). Alex quipped, "Good save."
Simon asked what they would be singing. When Sierra said Britney Spears' "Toxic," she explained that it was a song that she knew and that Alex also already knew all the words to, something that Alex then told her "they didn't need to know." The audience laughed again.
And still, there's a feeling that these two, cute couple thought they are, will still exhibit a massive stage fail.
But they did not...
Sierra sultry's vocals added a jazzy twist to the pop song, making it far better and easily more accessible to a wider audience. And where her puppy-dog eyes had verged on the cliche backstage, they were pricelessly come-hither-y when she huskily breathed the lyrics at her boyfriend. What had been nearly sickening had been transformed into cute and sexy.
Alex played a great supporting role, lending a nice accompanying harmony. That is, he did until later in the song, when he took the lead. Turns out, Alex has an excellent voice as well, a nice compliment to Sierra's.
"Toxic" was exactly that...
One of the more endearing aspects of the performance was Sierra's big-eyed surprise at the audience's positive feedback throughout the song. At song's end, the audience hit their feet, giving the duo a standing ovation. Sierra simply wept.
The judges all agreed that the two had a magnetic chemistry. Even Simon Cowell, who admitted that he thought their act would be "corny," noted that they were very good. And, of course, they got four "yeses."
But can Alex and Sierra win it all? That remains to be seen. They still have to get through the Judges Houses round. But they've certainly jumped off to a great start.
Does that mean love conquers all, including the rush to nausea when viewing total mutual adoration? Perhaps. If not love, then the power of music...
"X Factor" airs on Wednesdays and Thursdays on Fox Television.