With the auditions in the rearview, The X Factor 2011 continued October 5 with the first evening of boot camp action. Which of the 162 remaining acts made positive strides toward making the top 32 and which were sent packing? Here’s a recap of the episode.
The first night of boot camp action opened with the nervous hopefuls as they arrived in Los Angeles. A voiceover explained that each of the four show judges–Simon Cowell, L.A. Reid, Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger–would ultimately mentor a single group of contestants for the remainder of the season: Girls, Boys, Over 30s or Groups.
The four greeted the 162 acts, and a voiceover revealed that just 100 of them would make it beyond day one of X Factor boot camp. A collection of music industry insiders joined the quartet of mentors to help them get a feel for who should continue on. Choreographer Brian Friedman got them moving with some dance moves.
Most of the contestants got into the groove, but Brooklyn’s Brian Bradley, 14, refused to take part, saying “it’s not what I’m here for.” Yeah, that’ll turn out well for him.
When the dance portion of the evening ended, groups of 10 took to the stage to impress the judges with their vocal talents. And their performances flew by in rapid-fire style, with one familiar face after another–from Melanie Amaro to Stacy Francis to Brennan Hunt to Tora Woloshin–flashing by with dizzying speed.
The singers were then split into three groups to find out whether or not they’d advance to the next round. The first group got good news, but the second found themselves eliminated. The third? They advanced. And there was a big happy party that raged well into the night for some.
As it turned out, partying all night wasn’t a great idea; The X Factor boot camp resumed the following morning at 6 a.m. to face L.A. and begin their next challenge. They were placed into groups and given five hours to rehearse a song chosen by the judges. The stakes? A whopping third of the acts would be booted from the competition based on their ensemble performances.
The first group, comprised of hopefuls Drew Ryniewicz, Caitlin Koch, Elaine Gibbs, Clayton Senne, The Anser, Audrey Turner and Dexter Haygood, were assigned the song “Creep” by Radiohead. Most expressed their own insecurities, but Dexter in particular struggled with establishing a genuine presence on stage. When performance time rolled around, 14-year-old Drew opened the act with a center stage solo, and was joined by Dexter, who pranced awkwardly in his platform shoes. Caitlin closed it out in memorable fashion. And the judges were impressed with the performance, though they disagreed on the weakest link.
A second group, which featured a particularly strong group of competitors including Jazzlyn Little, Melanie Amaro, Heather Gayle, Aaron Surgeon, Arin Ray, Special Guest and Stacy Francis, followed with U2’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.” The pack of performers put together a soulful version of the classic tune that ended with Jazzlyn, who forgot the lyrics, in tears.
The third group, assigned the 1973 Eagles’ hit “Desperado,” included Dani Nights, Skyelor Anderson, Leroy Bell, Chelsea Musick, Ben Rue, Paige Ogle and Cari Fletcher. Dani in particular was pumped with the song selection, given her country music aspirations, while 59-year-old Leroy felt intense pressure to succeed. Simon in particular was struck by Paige’s contribution to the group.
Jay Z’s “Wishing on a Star” was the song given to group four, which featured Tinuke Oyefule, Jennifay Joy Nichols, Lauren Ashley, Reina Williams and Brian Bradley (who apparently lived to sing again despite his earlier refusal to dance). A little tension surfaced on Brian’s face when Reina joined in during the rap portions of the song. Simon thought it was an “interesting” performance, and L.A., from a “rap perspective,” called Brian “just too young.”
Next up: “Superman,” tackled by an all-guy bunch including Josh Krajcik, Tiger Budbill, Nick Dean, Kompl3te, Andrew Muccitelli, James Kenney and Thomas McAbee. It wasn’t the best performance of the night, with Nick blowing the first verse, but Simon and Paula were particularly impressed by Tiger’s tenacity.
Group six featured Phillip Lomax, Tiah Tolliver, Chesi Spriggs, Robert Cruz, Kelly Warner, Austin Simmons and Nick Voss singing “Feeling Good.” Tiah in particular felt the pressure to impress, given the less than stellar impression her initial audition made on Nicole and Paula. And she brought her A-game, forcing the ladies to admit that they were glad Simon insisted she be sent to boot camp.
Group seven followed and included Rachel Crow, Joshua Maddox, 4Shore, Hayley Orrantia, Illusion Confusion, Caylie Gregorio, De’Quan Allen an Ellona Santiago. The group was handed the uber-challenging Whitney Houston classic “I Have Nothing,” the song deemed the most challenging by the industry insiders helping them rehearse.
Siameze Floyd, Jeremiah Pagan, Song Preservation Society, Cesar de la Rosa, Makenna and Brock, The Stereo Hogzz and Emily Michalak were assigned to the eighth and final group of the evening, and they performed “Light Up” with moderate success.
And with that, the first night of boot camp came to an abrupt end.
So who makes the top 32 and which mentor will be assigned to which group of fledging performers? Find out tomorrow night when the second night of The X Factor boot camp airs on FOX from 8 to 10 p.m.