Rylie Brown, 15, of Lee’s Summit, Mo., was the first contestant to charm the judges with her version of Zedd’s “Clarity.” Although she forgot some of the lyrics, the smiley-faced singer earned a standing ovation from the audience and the judges.
“I absolutely love you,” Simon Cowell told her. “You are one to watch. I really mean that.”
Simon’s fellow judges agreed: Paulina Rubio told Rylie her life was “about to change forever,” and Kelly Rowland added, “I want you to be here, with us.”
Jeff Brinkman, 36, a married dad and doggy-daycare owner, earned his spot in the next round with a moving rendition of Joe Cocker’s “You Are So Beautiful.” Kelly loved his sincerity while Paulina dug his raspy voice and Simon called it “a brilliant, brilliant vocal.”
Also receiving “four big fat yeses,” was Rachel Potter, a 29-year-old bartender from Nashville, who served up an electrifying country version of Queen’s “Somebody to Love.”
“This industry is ready for you,” Demi Lovato told her.
Then there was 22-year-old Jorge Pena, a Long Island native who works in an ice cream truck. While his performance of “Amame” was solid, the judges didn’t seem to like his cocky attitude. Demi, in particular, took issue with him calling her “woman.
“You know what’s really cute?” she said. “You know what’s really sexy? … humility,” she snapped back. Pena still earned his ticket to the next round.
Long Island’s Simone Torres, 19, also impressed with her version of “Mustang Sally.” Simon called it “the best audition.” (Watch her performance below and hear the judges’ rave reviews.)
Simon called girl group Roxxy Montana, made up of three sisters from Detroit, “potentially the best group we’ve ever had” after they performed “One Night Only” from Dreamgirls.
Al Calderon, a 19-year-old restaurant host and “designated ‘Happy Birthday’ singer,” sent the women in the audience into a frenzy – including Kelly.
“If I were 18, I would want you to take me out on a date,” she said, to which Simon kiddingly replied, “Time machines don’t travel that far back in time.”
And literally last but definitely not least, single mom and New York subway singer Denise Weeks, 41, blew everyone away with her heartfelt performance of Whitney Houston’s “Greatest Love of All.”
“You’re going to be singing in front of lots and lots of people,” Demi said of what may have been the best performance of the night.
But the worst came courtesy of none other than Simon, who stuttered out a few notes after Demi dared him and Kelly brought the mic down from the stage.
Simon: Don’t quit your day job!