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‘X Factor’ Judge Paula Abdul Consoles Caitlynne Curtis After Her Katy Perry ‘Firework’ Audition

Paula Abdul
Frederick M. Brown, Getty Images

Auditions in Miami were already off to a challenging start when 16-year-old Caitlynne Curtis strutted onto the stage during Thursday night’s episode of ‘X Factor.’ The four judges were hopeful that the wide-eyed and spunky teenager would give them the night’s first finalist. In the end, even the curmudgeonly Simon Cowell couldn’t help but give her words of encouragement.

But it wasn’t the encouragement she was looking for. Curtis’ version of Katy Perry‘s ‘Firework’ was average at best, but she had such big teddy bear eyes you just hoped the four judges — including L.A. Reid and Nicole Scherzinger — saw something you didn’t. “I think there’s room to grow,” the usually plucky Scherzinger said as Curtis finished. Cowell joked that those comments weren’t good news for the singer whose emotions teetered on moving on to the next round or not.

As each of the judges told her she wasn’t ready to move forward but to keep trying, the teen broke down. Her family — including aunts, uncles and parents — watched from offstage, unable to console Curtis, so Abdul did the job. The judge walked out from behind the table and gave her a big hug, asking her to not take the bad news too hard. She did calm down, albeit temporarily.

“I don’t even care about the money, I just wanted to sing,” Curtis said in a private room after her audition. She walked away with constructive criticism instead of sharp insults, something few Miami singers can say.

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