THE X FACTOR (US) “Bootcamp #2” Review

THE X FACTOR (US) “Bootcamp #2” – So the table is set. Sort of. Some of the choices were obvious, others a little… reachy?

Let’s say our goodbyes first:

Gone is former A.I. contestant Emma Henry and her warbling voice, as well as Paige Elizabeth Ogle and her nasal vocals, Siameze Floyd and—why did they let him through again? Also gone is Cari Fletcher, who had that girl-next-door thing going, but it didn’t do her any favors. Gina Rene—Chris’s sister—is also gone. Too bad. Shocked Audrey Turner didn’t make it. I’m actually thinking they were afraid of insulting the other Mrs. Turner (Tina) by letting Ike’s second ex-wife through. She was certainly good enough.

Here’s the list of the ones who made it through; I’m listing them in order of how well I think they’ll do. Feel free to debate my (always fabulous) taste!

BOYS: L.A. Reid is licking his chops at this, the opportunity to go against Cowell’s girls. Too bad the boys don’t quite have as much talent. Lucky for him, these sorts of shows get girls voting—and girls love boys. (It’s a fact. I looked it up.)

Brennin Hunt: Simon didn’t like his rendition of an Alicia Keys song, but once he goes top 4 (and he will) I think America will vote their asses off for him. Well, the women will.

Marcus Canton: Probably the single most talented male performer here; won’t quite have the female vote Brennin will have. Top 4 guaranteed.

Tim Ciphers: After throwin’ down the great C&W vocals, this was a no-brainer. He’s tailor-made for the genre.

Chris Rene wasn’t great with The Police’s “Every Breath You Take,” but I still see loads of potential.

Phillip Lomax and his singing’-through-the-side-of-his-mouth style, and his douchebag hat… well, I guess confidence gets you places.

Brian Bradley, that li’l rapper, needs more street cred—hell, he needs some age—but he made it through. Is he top 4 though? No way.

Nick Voss: Don’t see much in him at all. He’s got looks, but he’s straaaange.

Skyelor Anderson, who I didn’t really love, squeaked in.

GIRLS: Simon Cowell got the girls. Are we shocked?

Caitlin Koch (pronounced “Cook”) probably has the most unique voice—probably the best voice, actually. Sort of Clarksonesque. Easy choice and frontrunner.

Rachel Crow crushed “If I Were A Boy,” and made it through easy. What a thunderous voice. I can’t imagine what she’ll be like when she’s 18.

Tora Woloshin: Love this chick; glad she’s through. Can’t wait to hear her live. Top 4, yesiree.

Tia Tolliver and her gigantic, cherry-red lips threw it down. Another easy choice, despite how mad this makes Abdul and Scherzinger.

Drew Ryniewicz isn’t quite the cute girl-next-door she tries to evoke; there’s a little sex kitten going on there. But she’s got skills in abundance.

Jazzlyn Little: Another good choice. Jazzy Jazzlyn may not quite be top 4 material (though she could surprise me), but top 8 was an easy call.

Melanie Amaro: I was surprised she made it since her stage presence is so bad, but her Dion-inspired vocals carried the day. Man, the Girls competition is stiff. They’re all good. Well, except for…

Simone Battle and her misguided overconfidence and forgotten lyrics…. wow. Train wreck. (Nicole: “I think that’s the best I have ever heard her sing.”) Worst choice yet? By far. Probably one of the few “looks only” contestants to make it through.

OVER 30’s: Nicole not exactly thrilled (what an ego-enraged bitch), calling her group the “Overs.” But what did you expect, Scherzinger? You’re low man (woman) on the totem pole. And no one wants the Over-30’s.

Which is stupid, since I think either of my top 2 in this category can take the whole thing:

Stacy Francis opened with the story of her father’s passing, then made the song “Summertime” somehow beautifully tragic. Never heard it done like that before. If she doesn’t make it in music, she’s a cinch for Broadway. That woman shouldn’t be unemployed ever again. No-brainer.

Josh Krajcik smashed his way in with a Kelly Clarkson song of all things. “Up To The Mountain” indeed. His voice is gold.

Elaine Gibbs: I sort of forgot about her until her name was called, then remembered how good she was. I’m naming her my Dark Horse of this category, though Josh and Stacy would probably need a meltdown first.

Leroy Bell: Still stares at his feet when he performs, but his voice is fantastic. If he gets any sort of stage confidence, he could be deadly.

Christa Collins: Strong, but not unstoppable. She looked sort of just happy to be there.

Tiger Budbill: Still love the name; still don’t like the act.

James Kenney: Why is he wearing a 20-year old’s hair?

Dexter Goodman: What, seriously? Completely unoriginal. I don’t care if his homeless sob story tugs at Paula’s tear ducts, he’s a James Brown knockoff.

GROUPS: Paula Abdul as a mentor is a no-brainer, as she’s a choreographer and can make the groups really shine. Most of these groups were so unforgettable, however, which is why the show decided to take certain castoffs and force them into two more groups. I’m calling them Four Mostly Blondes and Ten Teens. I’m thinking Glee. Aren’t you thinking Glee?

I also truly believe one of the final two “hastily assembled leftovers” groups will win the groups stage. Still, they could just devolve into catfights (the Four Mostly Blondes especially), but if they really want this and work, it could be the exact kind of story The X Factor is looking for. The other groups that made it are:

The Anser: I called that. Easy Answer. Or Anser.

The Stereo Hogzz kind of underwhelmed. I don’t feel like I had to “hold onto my seat,” but they did enough to get through to the mentoring stage.

2Squared: I don’t even remember them. Maybe they were good? Good luck, girls.

4Shore: Will probably get stomped by The Stereo Hogzz.

The Brewer Boys: the ‘Boys and their 2009 Justin Bieber hair confuse me, because I haven’t seen them be anywhere remotely good yet. It feels like the tall, good-looking one is basically carrying the short chubby one. And please, kids, get new hair!

Illusion Confusion: I’m surprised and confused they made it. Must be a trick of the light.

Next week on The X Factor: It’s on! Sort of. The eight get whittled to four “in the privacy of their own mansions,” after which, I assume, America will finally be allowed to vote. I had sort of wished we would have more control, but what else do you really expect in a Simon Cowell produced show? I can’t wait to see some of these performers go head-to-head.

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