‘The X Factor’ Continues Thursday Night

X Factor judges
In this undated image released by FOX, judges Simon Cowell, right, and Paula Abdul. (AP Photo/Fox, Ray Mickshaw)

Didn’t have enough of “X Factor” Wednesday night? Well, Simon Cowell and his buddies are back Thursday night for another two hours on Fox.

Wednesday’s show got off to a big start with a performance from an energetic 13-year-old girl named Rachel Crow who earned a standing ovation from a packed audience of about 4,000 people after singing Duffy’s “Mercy.”

The first episode demonstrated the differences between “X Factor” and “Idol.” Crow and a 42-year-old from Brooklyn received plenty of airtime, possibly a strategic move by Cowell who is trying to dig deep into the talent pool in his search for a singer worth handing a $5 million recording contract.

Airing powerful performances by two people in opposite age groups clearly stated that age is not a problem for “X Factor.”

Unlike “Idol,” “X Factor” lowered its age limit to 12 years old. Said an impressed Cowell, after Crow’s audition: “You are the reason we were right taking this age down.”

Stacy Francis, the 42-year-old mentioned above, brought the crowd—and judges—to their feet Wednesday night with her performance. She cried on stage and told Cowell that she didn’t want to die with her voice inside.

Francis let it all out, and displayed the emotion that attracts viewers who love to root for the underdog.

“X Factor” also introduced viewers to a whole new set of judges, which includes Cowell and Paula Abdul—the duo who judged “Idol” for years before leaving the hit show.

Viewers were somewhat confused Wednesday when Nicole Scherzinger of the Pussycat Doll’s replaced British recording-artist Cheryl Cole after the Los Angeles auditions on the judges panel.

Rumors swirling around the entertainment business say Cole’s thick accent may have been her downfall. But Simon Cowell told Piers Morgan that Cole was fired because she looked “bewildered” on the panel.

There was a clear difference between Cole and Scherzinger—which was apparent early on in the second hour after the Pussycat Doll stood up with Paula Abdul and danced in front of the stage during one performance. Cole seemed comfortable just sitting in her seat and critiquing the auditions.

Critics seemed to have Cole’s back.  The New York Times called Cole’s replacement a “downgrade.”

USA Today said: “When she goes into her little-girl act, judge/mentor Nicole Scherzinger makes Paula Abdul look smart.”

Also on the judges panel is music producer L.A. Reid who looks to be developing a friendly rivalry with Simon, America’s favorite outspoken judge.