December 22, 2014
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'The X Factor' invades Rhode Island
Don Fowler

“Providence has been by far the best city on our tour,” Simon Cowell told the packed house at the Dunkin Donuts Center after the final audition taping last Friday night.

My reaction was that I bet he says that in every city, but warm-up man Frank Nicoreto confirmed the statement, adding that we were the smallest audience in the smallest state, but by far the loudest. One hundred twenty decibels was recorded as Nicoreto egged on the mostly young crowd to cheer their loudest.

I’ve seen a lot of unusual things over the years, but watching the taping of a reality show has to be one of the wildest.

In a completely “hurry up and wait” mode, thousands of people gathered outside the Dunkin Donuts Center to be a part of the crowd, as three limos with a police escort blaring their sirens pulled up, one each for three judges, L.A. Reid, Demi Lovato and Britney Spears. So, they were over an hour late. This is show biz.

Where’s Simon? That’s who many of the fans were waiting for. He snuck in another entrance, to the dismay of his loyal following.

Inside The Dunk, it was a long, tedious process as ticket holders filled the seats (less than half of the arena was used, with a big stage and backstage area taking the other half). After all the ticket holders were seated, ushers filled the remaining empty seats with “standbys.”

During the process, Nicoreto entertained the audience, giving them instructions on when to stand, shout, boo and whatever was needed to make “good TV.” Auditions ran from spectacular to excruciating, with judges offering constructive criticism and Simon being his usual acerbic self.

During the breaks, Nicoreto went into the audience to give those not brave enough to audition a chance to sing to the crowd. The results were good to awful. A number of young people from Cranston and Warwick participated, with lots of applause from their friends and family, regardless of how good or bad they were.

“The X Factor” PR folks asked us to comment on particular contestants, waiting for the show to air in late September or early October. I can tell you that there were two 15-year-old girls who sang beyond their years and are sure to go a long way in the competition.

Contestants came from as far away as California, with a number from New England. One local rapper made the mistake of using a vulgar profanity and was immediately ordered off the stage.

I can’t wait to see the Providence edition of the show and see how much of the long process will be part of the hour airing.


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