Paige Thomas was the first wannabe to perform on tonight's (Sept. 12) Season 2 premiere of 'X Factor,' turning in a poppier-than-expected rendition of the Mary J. Blige-popularized 'I'm Going Down,' which earned adjectives like "flawless" from the judges. The song has quickly become a staple of reality singing shows, and Thomas did it her way.

The song is meant for belters, but that isn't what the 21-year-old Thomas is. She infused it with a much edgier element, and she aligns more with Rihanna than Mary J. on the pop diva scale. She has the edgy, unique look (think a less androgynous Janelle Monae) and she can sing, but she is not in the same range, register or key as room-filling vocalists. The rendition was good and exciting, if a little thin.

The San Antonio-based Thomas, who rocked underwear-as-outerwear and a tri-color mani, also has the type of backstory that the American viewing audience just looooves. She has an adorbs daughter Jade, who was dressed like little ballerina you want to squeeze. She elected to pursue a nursing degree, as opposed to that elusive record deal, since she has to provide for her daughter. That explanation, along with her backbone, pretty much locked things up for her.

New judge Britney Spears called her "flawless," while L.A. Reid posed a rhetorical question -- why has Thomas been delaying the inevitable, which is her date with stardom? He labeled her a "star" who reminded him of a girl he met five years ago. That girl's name is Rihanna. Now that's what we call a compliment.

Does RiRi have a future rival currently climbing the 'X Factor' ranks? Guess we'll find out as the season progresses.

Meanwhile, producers were hard at work setting up drama for Thomas. Kaci Newton, a big-haired, Taylor Swift-meets-Carrie-Underwood clone, and her sister, a big-haired, Taylor-Swift-meets-Carrie-Underwood clone, spewed the "love ya, mean it" hate towards Thomas, asking to share her mirror in the dressing room then talking trash about the run in her stocking and her daughter!

The two b---tastic blondes continued rolling their eyes and being generally catty during Thomas' performance, which was likely an act to score camera time, which they got. The producers were clearly staging a 'Mean Girls'-style rivalry.

It didn't last, since Newton you-know-what the bed during her audition, which we were kinda hoping for.