Fans of Christopher High School junior Austin Corini were unsure if he survived another round of cuts Thursday, following the conclusion of “The X Factor” boot camp episode filmed in Miami, Fla.
Approximately 120 singers, or group acts, will be whittled down to 24 by the end of next week.
Many of those watching Gilroy’s 16-year-old singing prodigy, or “blond lady-killer balladeer,” as the New York Daily News dubbed him, had a hard time spotting Austin in the final frenzied cluster of contestants who received a green light from judges at the end of episode 8.
Rest-assured, Corini is still in the running.
“He was in the last group in the back row,” explained Austin’s mom and vocal coach, Jeanine Corini. “We are getting flooded with texts and Facebook posts wondering if he’s still in it. It was unclear in the way they showed it last night.”
The second night of “boot camp” on the FOX TV music competition saw contestants paired up, pitted against one another and singing their hearts out in front of the show’s four celebrity judges: Singer-songwriter Demi Lovato, pop princess Britney Spears, record executive L.A. Reid and “American Idol” alumnus Simon Cowell (the creator of “The X Factor”).
Austin sang “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” (originally performed by the Shirelles) alongside “two good looking guys that are twins,” said Jeanine, referring to 22-year-old Texas brothers Josh and Jeremiah Olsen.
Jeanine said the brothers chose the song and “dominated the practice time,” but “when it came time for the sing-off, one of them completely dropped his words and stalled out,” she said. “When they got out on the stage with (Austin) I was thinking, ‘my kid look so small next to these guys! This is so unfair.’ But then they choked, and (Austin) didn’t.”
Unfortunately, Austin’s fans and viewers didn’t get to see any of those clips.
Of the hundreds of hours of footage recorded onstage and behind-the-scenes, only a fraction survives the editing process.
That part has been frustrating, Jeanine says. A lot of people are asking Austin why he isn’t flexing his vocal muscles the way he does in all of his recorded songs and videos on his own YouTube channel.
“He is,” Jeanine explains. “But they don’t always show it.”
The teen did get some face time Wednesday, however, when his rendition of Bob Dylan’s “Make You Feel My Love” solicited mixed reviews from the judges.
“I didn’t think he nailed the song,” said Reid.
“I think people would like him,” Cowell fired back.
Austin previously received a glowing review from Spears and Lovato during auditions in Greensboro, N.C, where Cowell also advised, “you’ve gotta be remembered not for your hair, but for your voice.”
Sagacious as that wisdom as that may be, Austin’s signature bleached-blonde faux hawk is certainly becoming a part of his brand.
“There are so many things to love about Austin’s Mohawk,” tweeted Lovato on Oct. 3.
On the home front, Wednesday and Thursday evenings are buzzing at the Corini household in Gilroy. Neighbors and friends filter in to watch the show together, while family members in different parts of the country text Jeanine ahead of time, giving her a heads up as to whether and when Austin appears in the episode.
“It’s fun to watch them all,” she says, of the other contestants with whom her son made friends. “It’s like watching a bunch of your friends on the show.”
As Gilroy follows Austin’s progress on “The X Factor” each week – episodes are pre-taped until the show goes live and viewers get to vote for their favorite top contestants – the CHS student is taking advantage of the publicity and gearing up for new opportunities headed his way.
In the immediate future, Austin will be featured in an interview hosted by Dreamers Radio online at 8:30 p.m. Sunday. He’s also been invited to sing the national anthem at the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday morning in San Jose, where Austin will be presented with a plaque for youth achievement by District 1 Supervisor Mike Wasserman, who is “a big fan,” said Jeanine.
“We’re trying to use the momentum, because we know it’s short-lived,” she continued. “We want to get his name out there and have our act together….we’re just ready.”
Read more about Austin here.