All right, X Factor fans! Straighten your bed, shine your boots, and make sure your haircut is regulation... it’s time for boot camp! DUN DUN DUN!
“162 acts face the toughest week of their lives,” Steve tells us. And we believe him, because we see footage of everyone either crying or looking like they’re about to cry. Whee, drama!
So boot camp takes place in Los Angeles, naturally, and tension is high, everyone’s nervous. Oh, Chris Rene’s sister Gina made it through to boot camp, too! Cool. We knew they were a musical family but we’d had no idea Gina had tried out as well!
Anyway, Steve gives us a rundown on how boot camp is going to go, which is basically cuts, cuts, cuts and more cuts until we’re left with eight girls, eight guys, eight “over 30” contestants, and eight groups. One judge will be in charge of each group, who will then go... live in the judge’s house? And then the judge narrows it down further? What kind of show is this? Hee!
The judges arrive and give the contestants a pep talk, and now it’s time for dancing! Um, awesome. Brian Friedman (who we know/love from So You Think You Can Dance) shows up to teach everyone some choreography. Brian Bradley, the 14-year-old rapper from Brooklyn, flat-out refuses to participate. Apparently nobody cares, though, so we move on to the singing portion of the evening. That was... pointless?
Siameze Floyd sings “More Than a Feeling” by Boston and it’s awful. The Anser does some harmonizing. Tiger Budbill hits a long note. Caitlyn Koch is awesome and so is Drew Ryniewicz. We get a quick glimpse of Gina Rene and she sounds great, Rachel Crow is still cute as a button, Tora Woloshin apparently picks a song that Simon hates. We see Tiah, we see uber-hot Brennin Hunt, soul man Josh Krajcik, oddball J. Mark Inman doing a weird “Bennie and the Jets,” it’s all these two-second clips so you can’t really tell how anyone’s doing. Handsome Jesus-looking dude Brendan O’Hara forgets his lyrics. Chris Rene sings “Sexual Healing” sexually. Melanie Amaro sings Whitney Houston gorgeously. Stacy Francis holds a note through seven commercial breaks and it’s impressive but kind of annoying, and Simon agrees. “For you, a little less is more,” he tells her.
The contestants have been split into three groups, and the first group has Josh Krajcik, Stacy, that guy Marcus Something-or-Other, and Nick Voss, the cute/weird guy with the lines shaved into his head and his eyebrow. They’re all through. Next group has lyrics-forgetter Brendan O’Hara and they’re all toast. Some dude severely loses it in the lobby. It’s uncomfortable. Third group has Chris Rene and Tora and so you know they’re all getting through, and they do, and oh, there’s James Brown enthusiast Dexter Haygood, yay!
The two groups who made it through all join together and celebrate. Chris Rene looks for his sister, who made it through in the first group, and the siblings have a happy, huggy reunion. Aw!
The next day, everyone oversleeps because they were up celebrating the night before. After a whole lot of ass-hauling, they get to boot camp and L.A. tells them they’ll be put into groups and will be assigned a song to perform. They get five hours to learn the song and will have help from vocal coaches and choreographers.
Group 1: Drew Ryniewicz, Caitlin Koch, The Anser, Audrey Turner (turns out she was married to Ike Turner!), Elaine Gibbs (who?), Clayton Senne (he’s new) and Dexter Haygood. The song they’ve been given is “Creep” by Radiohead and it seems like nobody knows it. This will clearly be awesome. They spend some time with Brian to discuss choreography, everyone is nervous and confused, Drew is weirded out by Dexter. Drew starts the performance and sounds awesome, although she clearly hasn’t paid any attention to the lyrics since she sings it in a pretty perky, cutesy style. Because she’s fourteen. Dexter sounds okay and flails around. The Anser sounds pretty great, and so does Audrey. Elaine Gibbs forgets the lyrics, maybe? Caitlin Koch nails it and looks bangin’ in some bright red pants. The judges are pretty much psyched on everyone.
Group 2: Jazzlyn Little, Melanie Amaro, Heather Gayle, Aaron Surgeon, Arin Day, a group called Special Guest and Stacy Francis. Their song is U2’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.” Jazzlyn is nervous, as always. Stacy is “fighting for [her] life.” Jazzlyn starts out the song and immediately forgets the lyrics. Stacy is better, and the arrangement of the song is pretty cool, a little slow-jam action. Melanie Amaro is amazing, of course. When they all sing together as a group at the end it gets really good. Backstage, Jazzlyn sobs about letting her group down. Will the judges give her a reprieve? Probably.
Group 3: Dani Knights, Skyelor Anderson, Leroy Bell, Chelsea Musick, Ben Rue, Paige Ogle and Cari Fletcher. “Desperado” by The Eagles is their song. Skyelor and Dani both want to get into country music. Leroy says this is his last chance (he’s 59). Paige Ogle sounds great and has never been away from home before. Leroy sounds great and really connects to the emotion of the lyrics, moreso than any of his groupmates (probably because he’s 59, even though seriously, he looks maybe 40). Dani also sounds great. Cari sounds great. Skyelor sounds great. What’s even going on here? Everyone is awesome!
Group 4: Tinuke Oyefule, Jennifay Joy, Lauren Ashley, Tatiana “Reina” Williams and -- the only one we recognize -- Brian Bradley. There are some other guys in the group, but apparently they’re not important so we never learn their names. They’re doing “Wishing On a Star” by Jay Z, which includes rapping, which is good for Brian and Reina, and bad for everyone else. Reina actually blows Brian out of the water. We like her.
Group 5: Josh Krajcik, Tiger Budbill, Nick Dean, a group called Kompl3te (ugh), Andrew Muccitelli, James Kenney, Thomas McAbee, singing Five for Fighting’s “Superman.” Tiger Budbill, it turns out, is sort of charming. Nick Dean, who’s 15, starts off badly, like painfully so. James Kenney looks like he’s in a rock musical on Broadway, which is good or bad depending on what you’re into. Tiger is great and then Josh is supergreat. The song ends with a little harmony from the group.
Group 6: Phillip Lomax, Tiah Tolliver, Chesi Spriggs, Robert Cruz, Kelly Warner, Austin Simmons, Nick Voss. Tiah has something to prove, because Nicole and Paula didn’t want to put her through after her audition. They’re singing “Feeling Good” and self-proclaimed “hipster” Phillip starts it off. He’s fine. Chesi is good but not as good as she thinks she is. Austin is platinum blond and tattooed and cute, and sounds pretty decent. Tiah is BRINGING IT, and, frankly, sounding way better than her audition. Kelly is adorable. Nick Voss still has the hair and eyebrow thing going on. The overall effect of the performance is TIAH TIAH TIAH. TIAH!
Group 7: Rachel Crow, Joshua Maddox, the group 4Shore, Hayley Orrantia, a trio called Illusion Confusion, Caylie Gregorio, De’quan Allen, Ellona Santiago. Don’t worry if you don’t know who they are, neither do we, except for Rachel (who was the first auditioner shown in the premiere). They get Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing,” which, ooh, that’s a hard song. It’s... okay. Rachel’s spunky and fun. Ellona is kind of over-the-top, but good. Hayley has a nice voice under a little too much vibrato.
Group 8: Siameze Floyd, Jeremiah Pagan, a group called Song Preservation Society, Cesar De La Rosa, Makenna & Brock, The Stereo Hogzz, Emily Michalak. Boot camp has brought Brock and Makenna closer! Makenna thinks they’re gonna get together soon! Awwww!!!! And now Emily Michalak -- who is 12 -- is freaking out and the rest of the group members are trying to calm her. Cute! This is the cutest group of all the groups. Their performance is actually really nice, too. Brock and Makenna are great, Emily is great, Jeremiah sings to the rafters at the end while the others go all gospel chorus behind him, and it’s nice.
Tomorrow night: more groups, more cuts, and the final 32 are revealed! It’s hard to believe we’re already at this point. What did you think of tonight’s show? Did anyone stand out to you?