Justin Bieber, Will.i.am Help Judge 'X Factor' - Rolling Stone
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Justin Bieber, Will.i.am Help Judge ‘X Factor’

Contestants vie for spots on L.A. Reid’s and Britney Spears’ teams

Night two of the terribly-titled Judges’ Homes round of The X Factor came hot on the heels of some controversy. Indeed, it was hard not to spend the hour thinking about two things that hit the web yesterday: photos of guest mentor Justin Bieber supposedly nekkid, and the fact that the mansions featured on the show don’t really belong to the judges. Honestly, we can let the rented real estate slide – we don’t really expect Britney Spears to allow a film crew and a gaggle of teens to run wild through her home. What we couldn’t stop thinking about was the poor little baby bird that will forever reside in tattoo form on the Biebs’ girlish hips. It’s a tough image to shake, so think long and hard (ahem) before you go Googling anything. You have been warned.

But shake it off we did, as the remaining Teens and Over 25s auditioned one last time to secure a spot in the upcoming live shows. Two hopefuls from each team will be sent packing, and it’s clear that both Britney and L.A. Reid have tough decisions ahead of them. While all six of Britney’s 12- to 17-year-old contestants are almost equally good, there’s some obvious fat on L.A.’s Over 25s team. (We’re looking at you, poor man’s Adam Lambert Jason Brock and self-absorbed diva Tara Simon, who would only squeak through to fill the lone female quota on the team.)

However, tattooed Bruno Mars knockoff David Correy should have no problem going the distance, as he was by far the best with his unique version of Jessie J’s “Domino,” which gave L.A. those elusive “chill-bumps” he’s always mentioning. Apparently they distracted him so much, he didn’t understand what the Biebs meant by “I thought he was great.” So confusing was this statement that L.A. asked, “What do you mean?” To which Justin replied, again: “I thought he was great.” Uh, thanks for the clarification. These guest mentors are really earning their keep. (In his defense, Justin has tweeted his disappointment about how much of his input was left on the cutting room floor.)

Meanwhile, Britney’s really got her work cut out for her with the Teens. Not only are her mini-me contestants cute, they’re also talented and driven. In fact, they’re just as serious and cutthroat as their older competition, laying it on thick with statements like, “My entire life has been in preparation for this moment.” We’re sure it’s been a long, hard 13 years, Reed Deming. And will.i.am referred to Carly Rose Sonenclar as a “dragon” ready to “scorch the town” after her powerful take on Karmin’s “Brokenhearted.” Yeah, so, watch your back, Britney, ’cause you’re not getting any younger.

Next week, the top 16 finalists are revealed. 

Previous recap: L.A. Reid Throws Tantrum on ‘X Factor’


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