As if we didn't get enough manufactured sentimentality on reality competition shows, last night's 'X Factor' delivered the queen bee of all intolerably clichéd moments: The onstage marriage proposal.

After a guy in horribly green pants talked his way through a rendition of "Nice and Slow" by Usher in an attempt to avoid fully embarrassing himself by actually attempting to sing, his girlfriend came out and actually sang kind of well.

The problem was, by that point, it was quite clear what game was afoot - this guy was going to soil one knee of his flagrantly green pants with stage dust and ask the almighty question of this girl who may or may not have passed her audition.

That's when I hit the beloved fast forward on the DVR. There's really nothing worse, more contrived or cheesier than a public proposal like this and taking away time where Simon could be insulting pre-teens or making people who've held onto a dream for 45 years cry for such maudline sentimentality is just completely unforgivable and has no space on this show.

So I don't know if the girlfriend said yes, I don't know if she got through to the next round, I don't even remember her name, and I don't care to find out. I want singing and judgment when I tune into 'The X Factor'.

Luckily, there was still plenty of that last night.

The Three Worst Auditions


This is the lady who looked like Laura Dern and made two mistakes before she started singing: She pronounced David Guetta "Goo-etta" and she wore dress gloves

I feel bad making fun of her, because she was so earnest, but here goes anyway. She sounded like a ghost yawning after taking a hit of helium: squeaky, eerie with the sound of a beer burp thrown in for good measure. The worst part, again, was that she believed in herself so fully. It's strange to think that nobody ever told her she sounded like something got caught in the exhaust pipe of their dryer, but that seems to be what these shows are built on.


This is the guy who Simon offered a glass of water after his speaking voice recalled a cartoon rat from a Don Bluth film.

Sadly for Joseph, his singing voice wasn't a whole lot better. It just kind of sounded like that same rat in the animated movie had just been dumped by his cat girlfriend because in their back-alley Romeo and Juliet world, they just couldn't be seen together. Only if that rat had swallowed a can of sawdust.

The judges spotted this and recommended him for voiceover. Solid career choice, though his would voice would have to be about 37% more annoying to qualify for being a voice on FM Radio commercials.

Second Hand High

This was the engaged (or formerly engaged, I lost interest in hearing them speak) couple who looked like a reverse-sex Punch and Judy show.

They were supposedly a group, but didn't do much together. First, the girl who looked like the greeter at a tropical strip club rapped for what seemed like 27 minutes, but was probably only 23. Then the guy who looked like the manager of a heel wrestler in a regional promotion rapped for a little while longer, bringing the whole performance to at least two hours. I'm not sure how they had time for anybody else, or maybe it was a four hour episode. I kind of blacked out.

At least I stayed awake long enough to catch this brilliant lyric: "Why buy the cow when you can get the leche for free?"

Why indeed?