'The X Factor' Redux: Tears, Jeers, and Beers, It Must Be Boot Camp

Auditions are over and 162 people must fight to move on.

To paraphrase Simon Cowell, it’s time to separate the good singers from the not so good ones on Wednesday’s episode of The X Factor. Exactly 162 people made it to the boot camp phase of the competition and only 32 will move on to be mentored by one of the judges in groups separated into guys, gals, over 30s, and groups.

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Right away, the performers went into learning choreography, which little Brian Bradley felt was beneath an MC. They then had to sing one more time for the judges in what the audience saw in bits and pieces. Before we knew it, the judges cut the group down to 100. Thankfully, we said goodbye to J Mark Inman. Even more thankfully, he threw a hissy fit that would rival the young girls on Toddlers & Tiaras. That was an unexpected treat.

The remaining performers were treated to a booze-filled party before the work really started the next day. I felt like the show was trying to create some drama, but all they got were a few people who overslept the next morning. The competitors were broken into eight groups and assigned songs to perform as an ensemble.

Group 1, which included the now homeless former pro funk singer, Dexter Haygood, Bieber fever’s Drew Ryniewicz, Ike Turner’s ex, Audrey Turner, and Caitlin Koch, who sang Radiohead’s “Creep.” Afterward, the judges were  split on which former pro singer was worst, Haygood or Turner.

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Group 2 included powerhouse singers Jazzlyn Little, Stacy Francis, and Melanie Amaro on U2’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.”Jazzlyn forgot her words and Simon was keen to point it out to Paula Abdul. And Stacy, who really overdid it the day before, shows she can sing a line quietly and still hold her control.

Group 3 performed “Desperado” by the Eagles. The ensemble included Jersey high school junior Cari Fletcher, youthful 59-year-old Leroy Bell, country soul Skyelor Anderson and Paige Ogle. Paige started off the song and left a lasting impression on the judges.

Group 4 was thrown for a loop with Jay-Z’s predominately rapped “Wishing On A Star.” The group’s big players were young rapper Brian Bradley, Tatiana “Reina” Williams, Lauren Ashley and Jennifay Joy. Since Brian was the only real rapper, both Reina and Jennifay stepped up to help with the verses. The strange part was that Brian ended up forgetting the words and L.A. Reid summed him up by saying he’s just too young. Overall, Simon thought the group’s timing was off.

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Group 5 included Josh Krajcik who killed on an Etta James tune in his audition, as well as Tiger Budbill, and teen dream Nick Dean. The group performed “Superman” by Five For Fighting. It became a nightmare for Nick who forgot his words. The performance ended up better for Tiger. During his audition, L.A. didn’t feel he had star qualities. He ended up being one of the better singers on this performance. Simon said he liked his fight.

Group 6 were assigned the jazzy “Feeling Good.” It was a fit for Sinatra crooner Philip Lomax, whose ensemble included Nick Voss, Austin Simmons, and Tiah Tolliver. Tiah split the men and the women on the judges’ panel during her audition and she had a lot to prove. And that’s what she did. Paula and Nicole Scherzinger had to admit she rocked that performance and Simon made sure of that.

Group 7 had some big voices and the song to match: “I Have Nothing” by Whitney Houston. Young Rachel Crow had some problems finding the key during rehearsals, but she definitely solved that by the time she got on stage. 14-year-old Ellona Santiago had some off moments – she seemed to be pushing too hard. I cringed watching the cheese-tastic choreography and I’m not sure the good singing was able to help me get over that.

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Group 8 was like the motley crew of the ensembles and included Siameze Floyd, McKenna & Brock, and R&B group The Stereo Hogzz on Snow Patrol’s “Run.” I love how Brock took boot camp as a choice to put the moves on clueless McKenna. Twelve-year-old Emily Michalak needed some coddling from her teammates, but her nerves pretty much subsided on stage. Now, I really wish I knew which girl from this group Simon called a wannabee.

Who are you rooting for? Tell us in the comments section below.

Email: Jethro.Nededog@thr.com; Twitter: @TheRealJethro


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