X Factor USA: Was Josh Krajcik's gimmick his scruffy appearance?

Josh Krajcik songs Etta James' At Last on X Factor

For us, he's got a Joe Cocker-powerful voice...

Josh Krajcik‘s audition had train wreck written all over it. From the blotchy skin, greasy hair, overexciteable mother, scruffy clothes. Well, it could have been a complete disaster.

There’s a couple of very entertaining moments as Josh and his mother Lisa wait for auditions. He’s nervous, but trying to be cool, and she’s fussing and fidgeting and singing his praises to the camera. While at the same time fretting that Simon’s trademark put-downs might damage her fragile 30-year-old.

She obviously doesn’t realise that Simon Cowell hasn’t traumatised anyone properly in more then three years…

Anyway, Josh has the outward appearance of a total slob. A self-confessed “burrito slinger”, the guy walks out on stage, having made no effort whatsoever to tidy up his appearance. You’d think somebody auditioning on TV (and a $5 Million prize) would take a shower and wear something stage-y, right?

When Josh launches into a cover of Etta James’ At Last (officially the most overused audition song of the last few years), he blows everyone away with a seriously powerful soul vocal. We’re thinking Joe Cocker powerful here. It’s that kind of growly, satisfying delivery and it’s brilliant.

However, when Simon Cowell praises anyone’s ‘honesty’, alarm bells start ringing. Really, Simon? Could it be that Josh has pulled the same trick that Paul Potts, Susan Boyle and a host of others have done to wow audiences? Turn up looking dowdy, then showcase a remarkable voice. Make the audience think you’re a joke audition, then surprise them by being amazing.

You’ve got to admit, it works!

Even LA Reid saw through the ruse – he told a laughing Josh “you’re not fooling me for a second”. So while Simon said Josh didn’t have any gimmicks, isn’t it fair to say the old “scruffy singer” routine is a gimmick? Watch for an impressive X Factor makeover if Josh progresses any further!

Not that we’re complaining. Josh Krajcik has a seriously impressive voice, and we’d be interested to hear what his songwriting skills are really like. And we think his mother needs to be a star in her own right – she’s awesome and bonkers all at the same time! We know you’re reading this, Lisa – don’t forget to say hello!

Update: I’d like to thank all the Josh supporters out there who took the time to back him up. I’ve watched a few of his videos online now, and it’s definitely a case of “what you see is what you get”. And can I say, there are videos out there that prove with Josh Krajcik, we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg!

What the judges said about Josh:

  • Simon Cowell: I’ve got to say, Josh…I always thought after a few auditions over the years I wouldn’t be surprised again. And then you started singing and it just blew me away. What I love about you, Josh, is that you’re honest. You didn’t come out here with any gimmicks. Good for you.
  • LA Reid: I know why you’re dressed like that. You’re not fooling me for a second. This is your before, because the after’s gonna be…you’re not foolin’ me. You’re too good. You’re way too good.
  • Cheryl Cole: The room’s electric right now. You just killed it.
  • Paula Abdul: You feel good. There are just certain voices that the second you open up your mouth to sing, it gets into our skin and that energy…it’s incredible. What a treat.

Result: Josh got a fantastic four yeses from the judges. Oh, and I dug out this video of one of his other performances for you. Check it out:

by Gerard McGarry on September 29th, 2011

Gerard is the founder and editor of Unreality TV. He writes about TV dramas as well as reality TV talent shows and is obsessed by sci-fi and Doctor Who. Follow him on Twitter @gerrybot or Google+

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15 thoughts on “X Factor USA: Was Josh Krajcik's gimmick his scruffy appearance?

  1. Seattle's Coffee House Fan says:

    No Gimmick, no tricks, having seen him many times in his home town Wooster, at Seattle’s Coffee House. He is what he is. One of the best voices on earth, wait till you hear him play the piano and sing. He is truly one of a kind..

    1. Actually, I’ve got to give Josh his fair dues – I spent about half an hour watching him on YouTube after I wrote this and…wow. And you’re right – what you see is most definitely what you get. I’d watch out for the X Factor makeover though.

      I take it you’ve seen him play live?

      1. Seattle's Coffee House Fan says:

        Yes, I know him well. I owned Seattle’s in Wooster. Josh lived with my family for a while and played twice a week at Seattle’s, I have taken the band from NYC to LA (spent my family vacation money to do this). Meet him, hear him, and you know that he belongs on the big stage. So tired of spoiled brats with little to no talent making it. He deserves his time in the spot light, and I am sure it will make it shine for a long time to come.

  2. polly says:

    Wonderful, I cried listening to him, Tears of Joy of course. Not too many singers do that. Great Gift!! Good luck already a winner!

  3. Al says:

    Nope what you see is what you get!! From a former Wooster person

  4. Trey Farris says:

    Simply Fantastic.

  5. Mike Rhees says:

    So inspiring. He truly has a gift from God and I’m so honored to be able to see his moment on X Factor. Josh, you are truly amazing. I love Shorn. Beautiful song.

  6. Kathleen says:

    He is amazing live. It’s enough to give you goosebumps everytime. You never know if you want to sit down in Seattle’s cafe in Wooster and drink, smoke, and cry or turn it up at home and dance around with your honey and a glass of wine. It’s music for every mood. I hope this is the break he deserves. He came just as he is, and I don’t think he needs any sort of “make-over”.

    1. Todd Dugan says:

      Nope. No ruse. Josh has played my club probably 15 time in the last 2 years and his appearance and personality were exactly how you see it on TV.

  7. Dawgpnd says:

    I live in Wooster, OH I’m 30 years old and I grew up with Josh. I’ve known him since we were in kindergarten going to church together. In junior high he went from preppy-dressing athlete to grunge-looking musician. This is no “ruse.” This is Josh, pure and true. And his talent is unquestionable. I have seen him in bars and clubs since college at Bowling Green, the House of Blues in Cleveland and I know he “slings burritos” in Columbus. There is no act, his mom is as cool and sweet and loving as she seems. Good luck to him and all those who are doubting, Wooster is halfway between Columbus and Cleveland and there are 25,000 residents who will confirm that Josh is what he appears to be!

  8. Gail says:

    AWESOME performance goes to Josh!! I could NOT stop watching this. Thank GOD for DVR…I kept rewinding and watching his unbelievable debut………then I made everyone in my house watch it as well. It’s unanimous…we are all hooked!!

  9. Atla says:

    Wow !!!!!!!! What a fantastic voice Josh. Goose bumps

  10. Tony says:

    Blew me away, fantastic

  11. Pingback: X Factor USA 2011: Josh Krajcik sings Jar Of Hearts by Christina Perri

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