Christopher High School junior Austin Corini, 16, finally got his big televised moment in the national spotlight Wednesday during the premiere of his pre-taped auditions in Greensboro, N.C. for the TV music competition known as "The X Factor."
Looking energized, groomed and sporting his signature bleached blonde faux hawk and boyishly charming grin, Corini snagged the admiration of celebrity judge Britney Spears, notably – not to mention hundreds of screaming girls who booed the constructive criticism doled by judges Simon Cowell and L.A. Reid.
Watch Austin next Wednesday and Thursday at 8 p.m., and keep tabs on his progress here under "Austin Watch."
A taken Spears – herself a veteran princess of pop – exhibited a soft spot for the "adorable" Corini.
"I love your hair," she cooed. "I think you have the whole package."
Singer-songwriter celebrity judge Demi Lovato commented on Corini's cuteness, his "great voice" and the "sparkle" in his eyes.
"I don't know if I was 'jumping out of my seat' excited, but I think there's something special about you," Lovato mused.
Record executive L.A. Reid and "American Idol" alumnus Simon Cowell (the creator of "X Factor") expressed a cautious confidence in Corini's talents, although their verdicts came generously sprinkled with insightful direction and critique. Cowell wants Corini to continue taking vocal lessons.
"Austin, I think what you're used to is performing and getting a good reaction cause you're a good looking boy (who sings) nice songs," observed Cowell. "I kind of want a bit more. I think that was 80 percent. To do well in this competition is 110 percent...you've gotta be remembered not for your hair, but for your voice."
Spears and Lovato voted "yes" to put Corini through to the boot camp phase of the competition. Following a quintessential, "I'm thinking really hard about it" TV-dramatized pensive pause, Reid and Cowell gave Corini the green light – based on what they "believe" and are "hoping" can come of the teen's promising potential.
A beaming and overwhelmed Corini thanked the judges as he walked off the stage and into an emotional bear hug from his father, who was watching with baited anticipated from behind the curtain.
"He's a nice kid," noted Cowell, leaning toward Lovato and watching Corini as he exited the spotlight.
"He's a star. That's what it is," said Reid, chiming in.
Read Corini's full story here.