The X Factor Season 2 Episode 7 Recap: Boot Camp Begins
Oct 03 2012 10:56 pm ET
Boot Camp! Simon Cowell, Britney Spears, Demi Lovato and LA Reid put 120 acts through the wringer as we move one step closer to finding the winner of a $5 million recording contract. Half the acts will learn they do not have The X Factor.
Tonight's episode begins with visits to the homes of various contestants as they get ready for The X Factor Boot Camp X-Perience. We see Willie Jones at home in Louisiana, Jennel Garcia at work in Rochester, MA, Vino Alan in Manhattan and the boys of Emblem 3 surfing in California. They've decided to tank the tanks, if you catch my drift. This travel montage ends with a tearful goodbye between Jillian Jensen and her mom, who looks exactly like her daughter. It's a lot like that cell phone commercial a few months ago with the mom/daughter sobbing with subtitles.
Anyway, TXFBCX is taking place in Miami this year. 120 acts have advanced to this stage, but that's far too many to deal with when viewer voting comes into play. Over the next few days, acts will get cut until 24 remain – six in each category – who will advance to Judges' Houses. Simon Cowell tells us "this will not be a holiday." We then cut to bus drivers yelling at the contestants to find their damn seats. Nice. The first task of Boot Camp features all 120 acts hanging out on the auditorium stage as each act performs a song for the panel. After all 120 performances, approximately half the field will get cut. I love the efficiency of Boot Camp.
Kicking things off is 13-year-old Diamond White, who will be singing Whitney Houston's "I Have Nothing." LA Reid instantly loves the arrangement, calling it a "great version" five seconds into the song. Diamond is a little pitchy in parts, but she is not afraid to attack the power of the chorus of the track. Demi Lovato thinks Diamond is amazing, but may be at a slight disadvantage being one of the first acts to perform. Diamond slides into home plate at the end of the song, and everyone (myself included) lets out an "ooooo" of appreciation. If Diamond is the low-water mark for Boot Camp, we are going to be drowning in talent this year.
Austin Corini, the 16-year-old who looks like a blonde Q-tip, performs a country-influenced version of "To Make You Feel My Love." I think it's okay, but his lack of experience is making the performance feel like something at a high school talent show. LA didn't think he nailed the song, but Simon thinks people will like him. You can't discount the confused 11-year-old girl demographic. This leads into a montage of greatest hits, including the never-before-seen rapper/bedazzled eyepatch enthusiast Lyric Da Queen. The montage ends with a slightly overwhelmed Jessica Espinoza taking her turn at the mic. Demi adds pressure by telling Jessica she is one of the only people from the auditions for whom she remembered both first and last names. Jessica starts singing and I honestly have no clue what song this is. She's overdoing every single word to the point that I can't even Google the lyrics. I can tell I'm not the only one having problems as everyone on stage finds a partner to share a side-eyed glance. The song(?) ends and Demi whispers to her fellow judges she is disappointed.
Despite that speed bump, we get treated to more good performances. Jennel Garcia takes on "Sweeter" by Gavin DeGraw. She knows her niche is "rocker sex kitten" and spends a good deal of time strutting back and forth across the stage while flipping her hair. Jennel has the voice, but she's going to need to show some versatility soon. Not now though: LA calls her "spicy." Later, Vino Alan sings "Bad Company" by Bad Company. I didn't care for Vino's song choice in Kansas City, but I found this to be a much better match for his voice. Also of note, this is Simon's first time hearing Vino, which may be to the singer's advantage. Britney Spears tempers the enthusiasm a bit, saying she didn't feel "oh my God" about this performance.
The "oh my God" vibe started working its way through the auditorium as nerves have taken over the auditions. Johnny Maxwell flubbed the lyrics to "I'll Be Missing You," Jordyn Foley (as expected) is way over her head and Trevor Moran goes DEFCON Oogieloves on "Starships" by Nicki Minaj. Kind of a mess. This montage of the unfortunate ends with Jake Garza, age 12, taking on "Total Eclipse of the Heart" by Bonnie Tyler. He has a total eclipse of the lyrics three words in. He tells the judges he is completely lost and looks for the nearest exit. Backstage, he says he wants his mom who shows up to comfort her son. Then Coldplay kicks in. Hasn't Jake already had a bad enough day, show?
Remember: The X Factor also has groups who are competing. Although we have seen a total of five seconds of some female groups, let's take a look at the boybands competing. L3vel does a version of "Free Fallin'" by Tom Petty, Citizen does more doofy choreography, Jetset does a soulful cover of "Always Be My Baby" by Mariah Carey, and Emblem 3 (who have been snarking on the other groups) does a nu-metal-ish version of "Iris" by the Goo Goo Dolls. Simon mentions that he thinks the lead singer of Emblem 3 is the best of that group, so we may see some reshuffling in the coming days.
Tara Simon, one of the villains from the audition rounds, continues to be dead-set on becoming the Wendy Pepper of this show. I'm not sure if that would be the best thing ever or a little annoying. We shall see, I suppose. Anyway, she takes on "Somebody to Love" by Queen. The audition is chock full of tryhard, with Tara sounding like one of those tribute acts that plays in a Vegas casino at 4:30pm on a Tuesday. Also, her leopard-print dress was a little too short, and Simon made sure to comment on that once Tara finished singing.
Next on stage is Willie Jones, the aspiring country musician of color. He takes on "She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy" by Kenny Chesney. With the shock factor of his preferred style in the distant past, you had no choice but to listen to Willie sing. Willie's voice is fine, but the whole song sounded like really good karaoke. Britney is more blunt, saying she is not a fan. She likes Willie's low-range, but his actual singing voice does nothing for her.
Round one of Boot Camp ends with an inadvertent sing-off between Paige Thomas (the first audition of this season) and CeCe "Leopardface" Frey. They have both chosen "I Will Always Love You" as their song. Paige goes first, adding so much vibrato to the performance she should have attributed the song to Dolly Parton instead. Although CeCe's personality gives Tara Simon a run for her money, I liked CeCe's rendition more. Both hit the power notes solidly, so I would be surprised if one advances and the other doesn't.
Task One ends and the judges deliberate. The contestants are split into three groups to learn their fates. Group A, which features Jason Brock, Diamond White, Jannel Garcia and Paige Thomas, advance to Task Two. Group B, which featured all of tonight's troubled auditioners (except Johnny Maxwell), get told the journey has ended. Group C, which featured Freddie Combs, Tate Stevens, and a bunch of other people who were featured in the auditions but not tonight, might get some airtime tomorrow because they advance to the next round.
Tomorrow on The X Factor: It's do-or-die as the acts have to battle each other for one of the coveted spots at the Judges' Houses. 24 acts will survive and we will learn which judge will mentor each category this season. Programming note: I will traveling this weekend, so there will be no recap tomorrow (annoying, I know). I'll see you next week at Judges' Houses!
Mike McComb – TVLatest.com
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