Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.
Traditionally, boot camp is where soldiers go to get their asses handed to them and then come out better, faster and stronger. It’s where drill sergeants yell at you to get your fingers out of Mary Jane Rottencrotch’s panties, get your ass in gear, and make your firearm your best friend. In Hollywood, however, boot camp represents something totally different. In Hollywood, boot camp is about jazz hands, hi-def makeup, and hip thrusts. So instead of this:
You get this:
162 acts have made it to X Factor boot camp. Welsh host Steve Jones tells us that this will be the hardest week of their lives. Considering that some of these people just got out of rehab, are single parents, or live in two bedroom houses with 35 other people, I think that Steve might be exaggerating a tad bit.
With 162 acts, this episode was a bit like going to Times Square on drugs. You wake up in a filthy hotel room and all you can recall is a kaleidoscope of lights and faces while you brush the bed bugs off your skin. It was frenetic to say the least, and there’s a good chance that I’m not going to remember everything, so I’m going to rely on you, Gasmii, to fill in some blanks in the comments.
This episode made the judges’ heads explode.
While all of the aspiring artists are packing their best hair weaves, makeup and skin tight outfits in garbage bags and heading to L.A., the judges are all moving verrry slooowwwly and saying very wise things. Thus spake the wise Paula Abdul: We’re going to separate the good from the great. And good is not a good place to be.
X Factor overlord Simon Cowell says he’s concerned there’s not a STAR in the group, but he’s contractually obligated to give away all of Pepsi’s money, so one of these fools is getting a $5 million recording contract. I’m going to guess that doesn’t mean they’re actually getting a $5 million check. They’re probably counting good and services toward that. “Let’s see, L.A. Reid is going to manage you and his fee is $4.5 million, so here’s a check for $500,000. Minus taxes… Oh, you’re rich now, so you don’t have to worry about that — never mind!”
Can we take a second to talk about Simon’s face? What. The. Fuck. I thought he was looking a little weird and bloated in some commercials I’ve seen lately, but then he looked normal during auditions. But now — it looks like someone filled his head with helium. It’s so tight and shiny. It looks like it would pop if he tried to shave. Either he got a facelift and the swelling hasn’t gone down yet or he has a peanut allergy and refuses to stop eating Nutter Butters. I don’t blame him. Nutter Butters are delicious.
Was the goal to look as unnatural as possible, or was that just a side effect?
In addition to the judges, boot camp will be run by the drill sergeants of the entertainment world: Officer Stylist, Private Choreographer, and Lieutenant Voice Coach. I’m sure we’ll be getting to know these tough but sassy task masters very well in the coming weeks, but for now, the only one I can recall is choreographer Brian, whose outfits look like they’re capable of either tickling and murdering a wayward contestant.
“Big Bird. Ain’t got nuthin’. On ME!”
Now that the contestants are in L.A. (“where stars are made and dreams are broken,” Steve Jones reminds us) it’s time for the first elimination round. A wise scribe called Sheryl Crow once said “the first cut is the deepest.” In the case of The X Factor, it’s also the one we care about the least because there’s still too many damn people to keep up with.
The first task is to learn and perform some choreography. I’m not sure what the point of this is, because all of the contestants have to dance together and it’s kind of a hot mess and you can’t tell who’s doing what, anyway. Simon says that if Beyonce were there, she would have shoved all those other bitches out of the way and been right up front performing like the star she is, not hiding in the back trying to conceal the fact that she has no skills.
This is accomplishing nothing.
Little Brian Bradley has flat out refused to dance and his sitting against the wall. One of the other contestants lurches over, wheezing and dripping sweat and trying to get him to participate, but Brian just shakes his head because he’s 14 and teenagers are little shits who don’t yet realize that life is solely about doing things you don’t want to do.
MC’s do not dance, he says. Have you ever seen Jay Z dance? he adds. Someone needs to get that kid a WWJD bracelet. What Would Jay Z Do? I want you to all live your lives like that for the next week. When you have a personal quandry, ask WWJD? And then do that. You’ll probably all be millionaires by the end of the week. You’re welcome.
The next task is for everyone to go on stage in groups of ten and perform act by act. We don’t see a whole lot of this because I imagine that with 162 acts, it took a long freakin’ time to get through the day.
We do see Siameze Floyd murder “More Than a Feeling.” He crimped his hair for the performance and wore pants with cut outs in them. As you may recall from his audition, he considers himself quite the ladies’ man. His singing was probably so terrible because he was too busy fighting off women to practice. Us ladies love a man with crimped hair and hip bones poking through his pants.
The Anser, the trio of hipsters from Seattle, do far better. But that doesn’t stop Simon from acting like he’s on his period and bitching about everything. When Nicole says that one guy “has lungs,” Simon says “that’s ’cause he’s human.” Awww… someone’s a crabby patty. Nicole glares but doesn’t say anything because, unfortunately, you’re not allowed to call your boss a moody cunt to his face.
There’s a montage of great singers, including audition favorite, 13-year-old Rachel Crow and Gina Rene. Gina’s brother is Chris Rene, the recovering alcoholic who blew everyone away with his story and the song her wrote. The Rene’s have some strong genes and look just alike. I suspect that Chris and Gina are the same person. Chris just wanted to hedge his bets so he threw on a wig and auditioned twice.
Tora, another audition favorite, did not win Simon over with her song choice and J. Mark Inman is predictably terrible. He’s the one who performed “Creep” during auditions and made it through solely on his weird dancing/performing creds.
There’s the bearded guy who forgot his lyrics… Chris Rene does a yowly version of “Sexual Healing” that Nicole liked. Stacy Francis, the single mom in her 40s who told the judges this is her last chance during auditions held one note in her song for so long that everyone just started looking uncomfortable and irritated, rather than impressed. Simon tells her that less is more and it was too over the top. When she apologizes, Simon snaps “your choice.” She goes backstage to cry. Sigh. This lady’s gonna cry a river, an ocean and a sea, huh? How do such fragile people make it through life? They certainly don’t belong in places called “boot camp.”
After all of this, the judges have to cut 62 acts. They divide everyone into three groups. Group one is brought on stage and told they’ve made it through. They include Brian Bradley, Stacy Francis, Gina Rene, Cari, the 17-year-old hot blond chick, the guy who makes burritos, and Marcus, who collapsed on stage in victory during his audition.
Group two did not make it through. I immediately forgot their names, since we no longer have any use for them anymore, but the group included: Beardy, Fatty, Baldy, Sweater Vest and Braces. I’m kind of understanding why they didn’t make it through. J. Mark Inman jumps up and down screaming “I don’t have a life!” before collapsing, thus ending the worst performance art we’ve seen since American Idol, season 6.
Group three made it through and includes Chris and Tora. They meet up with group one to have drinks and a hot tub party.
Hot tubbing should be reserved for “lovers” only.
All of that partying and a six am call time the next day do not make a good combination, and The X Factor crew has to go around waking people up and telling them they’ve got five minutes to get down to the lobby. It’s pretty hilarious watching these people realize they may have fucked up their one shot at fame and fortune and then stumble around trying to get ready. This is also a reminder of why I’d probably never survive this sort of thing. I’m not a morning person and I look so heinous when I wake up that the cameramen would probably walk off the job in protest. “I didn’t sign up for this,” they’d say, unable to look away from my hi-def visage in their viewfinders.
After everyone’s crawled out of bed, they’re divided into groups and given an envelope. In the envelope is a name. That person will be executed. Oh wait, in the envelope is a SONG and they have to sing that song for the judges. They’ll have access to the world’s best stylists, vocal coaches and choreographers to help them get ready. Each group has five hours to rehearse. After they perform, a third of the acts will be cut.
The first group we’re introduced to includes: Drew Rynwiezeces (did I spell that correctly? I don’t think so. She’ll have to change that if she gets famous), The Anser, Dexter Haygood, Amanda Koch (Steve Jones pronounces that last name “Cook”) and Audrey Turner.
Their song is Radiohead’s “Creep,” and a lot of them don’t know it. Dexter, especially, has trouble remembering the words and whatever drugs he’s on has him twitching and flinching all over the place. During auditions, the judges asked him not to act like James Brown, so he’s channeling Mick Jagger, according to Brian, the choreographer.
This is Dexter toning it down.
Audrey Turner is 52 and used to be married to Ike Turner, former husband and beater of Tina Turner. I suppose people can change, but I always raise an eyebrow at women who date and marry known woman beaters. I suppose, for some people, fame and fortune literally beat out black eyes and broken bones.
It’s performance time and Drew kicks things off alone in the middle of the stage. She sounds great but does a dance that involves a lot of squatting and wriggling. She looks like she’s trying to take a piss in the woods without taking her pants all the way off. Fellas, I can tell you that this is a lot harder for us than it is for you.
Dexter’s up next and seems to do his best to ruin the whole performance, but The Anser steps in and does a good job of harmonizing and redeeming things. Audrey really turns it up and isn’t afraid to jump around all over the stage. She’s good at it, but I think her first purchase, if she wins the show, might be a good sports bra.
An older woman named Elaine steps in and initially sounds like she’s singing a different song, but then she takes it to church and it’s awesome. Caitlin brings the tone back down, singing much softer than Elaine, and pulling on her own hair for emphasis. There’s also a guy that we never get to see perform or speak, so he can’t be terribly important.
The judges loved the overall performance. Simon thought Audry was the strongest. Nicole thought she was the weakest. They also disagree on Dexter.
The next group includes Jazzlyn Little, Melanie Amaro, Special Guest, Stacy Francis and Aaron Surgeon.
Hoping the carpet does NOT match the drapes.
After her run in with Simon, Stacy tearfully says that she doesn’t want to be over the top. She weepily interviews that no one in her life ever told her NOT to be over the top, so she didn’t know she wasn’t supposed to do that. Sigh. This lady is really annoying. Here’s a short list of things I’ve never been told NOT to do: kill someone; fill gas tanks with sugar; throw rocks from overpasses; kidnap children; hijack planes; microwave DVDs; punch strangers in the ovaries; poison the city water supply.
Also struggling a bit with all of this is 17-year-old Jazzlyn Little. You may recall that during her auditions, Jazzlyn suffered from an absurdly low level of self esteem. She went on to blow everyone away with “I’m Going Down,” but nearly vomited from the nerves. Jazzlyn interviews that she doesn’t feel good enough to be competing.
This group is covering U2′s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.” Jazzlyn’s solo kicks off the song and she immediately forgets the lyrics.
“Your head looks like a delicious ham.”
Her mediocrity is compounded by Stacy’s version of “reigning it in,” which means that she’s offkey and soft. Also, she forgot her pants.
Melanie rescues the song with her amazing voice, and the group eventually gets it together long enough to stand in a circle and sing. It’s all very Sister Act 2.
Everyone knows moving your fingers up and down makes you stay in tune.
Backstage, Jazzlyn cries because she forgot the lyrics and let the group down. They tell her not to worry. Afterall, someone has to get cut, and it might as well be her. Jazzlyn and Stacy should start a girl group called the Cry Babies. Their Tour of Sorrow will be a big hit.
The next group includes Dani Knights, Cari Fletcher, Skyelor Anderson, Leroy Bell, Paige Ogle, Ben Rue, and the aptly named Chelsea Musick.
At her audition, the judges told Cari that she was beautiful but boring.
Nobody ever told her NOT to be boring.
She wants to change their minds, although she’s nervous because the judges are so prestigious. One is well known for his bitch face, the other is a known slur-er, the third was the lead singer of the Pussycat Dolls (a group known for their subtle and thoughtful songs) and the fourth is also a judge on American Idol.
Leroy Bell is excited that their song is The Eagles’ “Desperado.” He’s from that generation and familiar with the tune, but this is his last shot at success in this industry. He’s not a kid anymore. A kid who has never heard of the The Eagles. A kid like Dani Knights who wants to use her “God given talent” to become a country star. I’m sure that when God was giving out talent, he thought to himself, what’s the best thing that I can put on this planet I created? Country singers, yes, that’s it. Earth needs more country singers! Go forth, little baby! And then He appeared before her parents in the form of an angel and told them to give her a stupid, porn-sounding name.
Did God also gift you with the power to irritate? Or did you develop that talent on your own?
Paige Ogle slurs that she just turned 18 and this is her first time out of Baltimore. That’s… odd. She probably could have taken a bus to the next town over and then she could say she’s been to Baltimore AND Ellicott City. Really impress people with her worldliness.
Ohh… Baltimore, California. That’s even worse…
Paige kicks off the song and her voice is very pop. Very nasal and high-pitched and rather irritating. Leroy sings the part about not gettin’ no younger. He’s very in control of his voice, but his eyes are closed, which is probably not the sign of a great performer.
Wake up! This is the performance of your life!
Dani gets up very self-assuredly to do her part and if her voice is the best God could give, it’s safe to say God’s strength does not lie in blessing people with country music talent.
Cari gets up to hit some big notes, but continues to be a snore. Skyelor, the black kid who wants to be a country singer, is clearly not ready for this. He either forgot the lyrics or couldn’t hear, because he seems to be a tad bit behind the music. He’s obviously a kid who has some natural talent but would benefit from some coaching.
The judes think that Dani and Paige are stars. They talk about people and point at things we can’t see, so these segments seem a bit pointless until we get to the actual judging.
The next group gets Jay Z’s version of “Wishing on a Star.” The group inclues Tinuke Oyefule, Jennifay Joy, Reina Williams, Lauren Ashley, and Brian Bradley. To be in this group you either have to have a bizarre first name, or two first names. I don’t make up the rules, people. I just follow them.
There is rapping in it, which is awesome for Brian, but not so great for the rest of the group, because they all really suck as rappers. Except for Reina, whose ultra feminine name is attached to a rather masculine body. Reina isn’t a terrible rapper, and this seems to upset Brian, who has already claimed to be the heir apparent to Jay Z and nobody else is allowed to rap, ever. Nobody! Otherwise he’s tellin’ his moms. And you better not be lookin’ at his moms!
Very supportive of all his groupmates.
Tinuke and Brian start the song off with a combination of singing and rapping. It seems expert musician and best rapper on the planet, Brian, forgot some of his lyrics. Uh-oh. Reina comes in and does a much better job and Brian watches, irritated.
Lauren Ashley was high-pitched and irritating. What’s the opposite of mad rap skillz? Sad wrap skills? Cause that’s what Jennifay has. But she does redeem herself with a pretty big note at the end.
During the judges’ confab, they point to Brian’s missed lyrics and L.A. tells them that as an expert in managing rappers, Brian’s just too young for this. What??? During auditions, L.A. said he’d been waiting for Brian all his life! What’s going on here? I’d trust L.A. about as far as I could throw Randy Jackson. And I’m not talking about skinny Randy. I’m talking American Idol season one Randy. I’m pretty sure you don’t get to the top of the music industry by being super honest and earnest all the time.
The next group is doing Five for Fighting’s “Superman.” The group includes: Josh “Burrito King” Krajcik, Tiger Budbill, Nick Dean, KOMPL3TE (ugh), Thomas McAbee, James Kenney, and what appears to be a fetus. I don’t know that kid’s name, but it look like he walked out of his mom’s vagina and onto the stage after slapping a Justin Bieber wig on.
As you may recall from the auditions, Josh looked like he rolled around inside of a burrito before coming onstage, but he was an amazing singer, once you looked past all of the burrito juice in his hair and the bits of ground beef on his face.
Tiger Budbill had a much rougher time at the auditions. L.A. didn’t want to put him through, even though Tiger hit some big notes. I bet the hair factored into L.A.’s reasoning. Adult gingers do tend to be a bit offputting.
The future of pop music lies with the dynamic duo here.
14-year-old Nick Dean started things off and immediately ran into trouble, forgetting the lyrics and the key of the song. His Restore Haiti t-shirt might not even be enough to save him. Worse than a bad performance, he spends the rest of the song standing off to the side with a sad, sappy look on his face.
Just realized he murdered his own dream.
Tiger does not pull off his mission of redeeming himself when he, too, forgets the lyrics and can’t cover it up. Meanwhile, upstage, Josh is practially busting to get in the mix. When it’s his turn, he oozes downstage, leaving a trail of hot burrito juice in his wake and tries to outsing the rest of the group. Compl3te finishes off the song.
The judges’ whispering indicates that they liked Tiger’s performance a lot. Josh’s made them realize it was time for a lunch break. I don’t know why I’m so obsessed with him being a burrito-maker. It just seems like a very, specific career. Why only burritos? Why not tacos, too? And taco salads? And chimichangas? Only burritos, huh? Weird.
Next group up does “Feeling Good” and consists of Phillip Lomax, Tiah Toliver, Chesi Spriggs, Kelly Warner, Robert Cruz, Austin Simmons and Nick Voss.
Tiah auditioned in Seattle and had to beg for a position at boot camp. Nicole and Paula didn’t want to put her through and Simon fought for her and Paula threw food in protest. Before the group is on stage Paula and Nicole are bitching about Tiah being there. Tiah isn’t really phased, though, and interviews that she knows she’s an underdog but she wants to be remembered as the girl with steel eyes.
Phillip Lomax starts the song off. It’s a good choice and allows him to show off the old school quality of his voice. Chesi reminds me of Adele, but that may have more to do with her full figure than her actual singing ability.
Really enjoys performing.
It’s finally Tiah’s turn and she struts to the middle of the stage, giving a growly, sexy performance that makes the other girls onstage look a bit nervous.
Get it, girl!
As she finishes up, Simon throws up his hands in victory.
I bet these four have really fun board game nights.
Overall, the group sounds pretty terrible, but there were some strong individual performances, and the ladies admit that they’re glad they saved Tiah.
Speaking of struggling groups… the next lot is really struggling with Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing.” This group includes Rachel Crow, Joshua Maddox, 4Shore, Illusion Confusion, Ellona Santiago, Hayley Orrantia, Caylie Gregorio and De’Quan Allen.
Not lovin’ the song choice.
13-year-old Rachel is having an especially difficult time. The vocal coach says that Rachel has a great voice but this is the most difficult song of the day.
As a whole, the group doesn’t really do the song much justice. Rachel stands out for having a lot of attitude, 4Shore turned in an enjoyable performance and Ellona sang the best. She’s not ready to be cut because she still has “more to give.” Save your empty platitudes for the judges! They’re the ones who are easily impressed.
Selling it, no matter what.
Final group of the night is Siameze Floyd, Jeremiah Pagan, Song Preservation Society, Emily Michalak, Brock & Makenna, Cesar De La Rosa and the Stereo Hogzz, whom Steve Jones helpfully describes as “an R&B group,” in case we were all wondering what this group of young, black, highly-choreographed performers specialized in. They’re singing Run by Snow Patrol.
You probably remember Brock and Makenna from auditions. Brock privately revealed that he was in love with Makenna and America collectively agreed to keep that bit of information to ourselves, so as not to embarrass him. Brock says that boot camp has brought them closer together and puts an arm around Makenna who just sits there.
So in love.
In a solo interview, however, Makenna says she hopes for a relationship very soon. What does that mean?? Is she talking about Brock? Does she know he’s in love with her? I don’t like having these little subplots to distract me from the performances.
12-year-old Emily is getting cold feet. She tells us that she’s really self-conscious singing in front of people that are going to talk to her afterwards. Ha! So weird. What a weird little girl. I love that these unknowns walk in demanding riders on non-existent contracts like they’re Christina Aguilera performing at Madison Square Garden. “Yes, I’m going to have to insist that nobody look at me, talk to me, or breath oxygen within a two foot radius of me. Plus, I’m gonna need a bowl of purple M&Ms and bouquets of flowers that did NOT grow from dirt, OK?”
Wait, you mean I have to sing in front of people?
Siameze wants the judges to know that he’s his own performer, and if he has to screw over everyone in his group – including the crying little girl – he’s got no problem doing it.
He starts the song off softly, Makenna and Brock follow up with a mediocre performance, and then Emily comes in to kill it. She sounds awesome, even when she forgets some of the lyrics.
The Stereo Hogzz don’t really impress me, but Paula and Nicole seem to like them. Jeremiah hits some crazy high notes and, overall, the group sounds pretty good together. The judges especially liked Emily’s performance. They thought Siameze was so-so, but they’re still intrigued by him. Ugh. Cut his corny ass already!
Up next… thre rest of the groups perform and then eliminations until the final 32 acts are revealed. Whew! I’ll be glad when we get this down to a manageable number. So, what’d I miss? And who are your current front runners? If you were the judges, who’d be your easy cuts?