L.A. Reid had a hissy fit and Simon Cowell may have found the female equivalent of One Direction as Wednesday night’s episode of The X Factor brought us to the end of Boot Camp.
In quick succession, 60 performers were pared down to 24 and assigned into their respective groups.
“This is the moment of truth,” said Cowell.
Adding to the drama, of course, was the announcement of the categories: teens, young adults, over-25s and groups.
“I don’t want to let any of my family down,” said Dinah Jane Hansen, as the camera cut back and forth between the angst-ridden vocalists and the judges making their final decisions.
So who made each category? Here are the breakdowns:
Teens: Beatrice Miller, James Tanner, Carly Rose Sonenclar, Diamond White, Reed Deming, Arin Ray.
Young Adults: Cece Frey, Willie Jones, Jennel Garcia, Nick Youngerman, Paige Thomas, Jillian Jensen.
Over 25s: Jason Brock, Daryl Back, David Correy, Tara Simon, Tate Stevens, Vino Alan.
Groups: Pre-formed: Sister C, Dope Crisis, Emblem3; Assembled by judges: Playback, Lylas, Lyric 145.
A few notes: Gene Simmons’ daughter, Sophie Tweed Simmons, was sent home, but vocal teacher Tara Simon, was retained. The two women were prominently featured and presented as rivals in auditions, but both debunked that rumor on Twitter with positive messages and inside information about editing. Incidentally, Simon tweeted that the leopard-faced Frey is “a sweetie and a fabulous performer.” Speaking of Frey, the producers made an obvious choice to put on-camera competition Thomas through to the judge’s home right along with her.
While some judges were elated to get their assignments -- Britney Spears got the teens, which was exactly the group she wanted, and Demi Lovato seemed to have a strategy already in place for the young adults category (“I got the best group ... I am 20 and in the middle of that age group ... I have the winning team,” she declared) –C owell and Reid had alternate reactions.
Of learning he was assigned groups, Cowell moaned that he would have to “make the most of it.” Yes, he has to tough it out in beautiful Miami, with Marc Anthony assisting as a mentor. Life is rough. Granted, groups didn’t do well last year, but Cowell has a knack for assembling talent with that “One Thing,” so don’t count him out.
Reid, however, reacted to his assigment of the over-25s by beating up his phone, which is too bad for his team, especially Correy, who really wanted to see Reid walk through the doors. Reid led off by telling his recruits he was disappointed when he heard he had them. Again, not the right way to motivate your talent -- especially Alan, a true diamond in the rough, or Brock, who could be a huge vote-getter with the right song. At least guest mentor Justin Bieber kept it classy, advising the group that you are never too young or too old to go for your dreams. Bieber's manager, Scooter Braun, will also help the cause. L.A., it is so not hopeless. You have some good people, work with them!
The mood in the Los Angeles mansion is far more jovial. Lovato, as it turns out, is taking her job of choosing her final four acts very seriously. Not only does she dole out advice, she labors over the contestant’s entire act. In the case of Garcia, she advises her not to flip her hair so much -- then is upset to see Garcia’s light dimming so quickly. Thomas showed her vulnerable side on a Chris Brown song, but Lovato sensed an insecurity issue. Frey, on the other hand, has attitude to spare, but Lovato warns that makes her “unlikable.” Frey is a quick study, and guest mentor Nick Jonas made the correct observation that the pint-sized singer took “direction really well.” A playful and humorous rendition of “I’m Sexy and I Know It” by LMFAO may have fixed that problem in the nick of time. Jensen continued her dominance, which Jonas found “sexy.”
Jones, the nice country boy thrown under the bus by Stevens in Boot Camp, had his revenge by performing the very song he messed up, “Nobody Knows” by The Tony Rich Project. This time, he nailed it and I hope he goes up against Stevens in the live shows.
It is interesting to note that while one person is singing for the mentors, the others get to hear the entire audition from the next room. Jensen said it best, describing the room as a cauldron of stress. Youngerman managed to annoy Jensen by coldly saying that as each of the others gets eliminated, it only improves his odds. Jensen was clearly perturbed by his attitude, and asked if he would miss her if she was axed. She is such a kind soul. She is going to gain so many fans with her disposition.
One question: Just what do they see in Youngerman, the Ohio janitor who seems to think he’s a comedic rapper? What am I missing? His first audition of “Ice, Ice Baby” by Vanilla Ice seemed like a joke to me, and he totally choked on his song in Boot Camp. Lovato, assisted by Jonas (who seemed to like every performance he saw -- and that would have irked me if he did that judging Idol had he got the job), said it best when she said she couldn’t decide if she enjoyed or was “super annoyed” by Youngerman’s take on Ke$ha’s “Tik Tok.”
Still, there were some really nice choices made last night: Hooray for Ray, formerly of the season one group InTENsity, for getting his shot as a solo performer. So happy to see that Garcia and, yes, Simon, weren’t hurt by their weird and sluggish take on “Landslide” by Stevie Nicks. I believe that Frey will bring credibility behind the Twitter hashtag #CeCeThunder in later rounds if she doesn’t get cut. Roomates Correy and Alan will be stiff competition for each other in the over-25s, and HOORAY for BROCK, my little Adam Lambert disciple!! I can’t wait to get my Brock on tomorrow night!
The most exciting twist, however, came with the formation of three groups: Lyric145 is fronted by Flint, Mich.’s Lyric Da Queen, who already looks like a superstar. She is paired with the Queens, N.Y. act 145, the guys that auditioned with the weird zombie eyes in Rhode Island. They already seem ready to tear it up at the MTV Awards. Ditto for LYLAs, a female teen super group who turned the tables of the whole competiton simply by sitting on chairs and trading vocals on "Impossible" by Shontelle. These young ladies seem primed to duet with One Direction. Speaking of which, Playback has some of the most adorable teen boys concentrated in one group. Sister C would be wise to take Cowell’s advice and show more personality. All three women seemed to come out of their shells a little bit more after their pow-wow, impressing Anthony, who thinks they have a future.
A few quibbles: Emblem3 are still rubbing me the wrong way. I loved it when one of the teens mocked one of the guys (who flubbed his verse on “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic” by The Police) for continually taking off his shirt. Those guys talk smack about everyone, and they so had that one coming.
THR asked Cowell which categories had the best shot at winning, and he said teen and groups. Granted, he is mentoring groups so we get why he would pimp his own people, but this year’s groups look stronger than what Paula Abdul had to work with.
Tomorrow night, Spears and Reid get their turn.
The teens will be mentored by Spears, who was excited and eager to work with them in her Malibu Barbie Mansion. She will be assisted by Will i. am, who is always an astute mentor on American Idol. Spears will get her turn to showcase her talent. We can’t wait to see the Bieber clone, Deming, in action, as well the adorable White, rapping boy Tanner, Jersey girl Miller and the insanely gifted Sonenclar.
Watch The Lylas perform "Impossible" by Shontelle below:
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