X Factor US 2011: Bootcamp!

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As you all know by now, I personally found the auditions to be long and painful. But out of it, we did get some really good contestants with loads of potential. We now enter Bootcamp, where 162 acts will be whittled down to 32 that advance to the Judges Houses. Will your favorite contestant make the cut or crumble to the pressure? And who will win a recording contract with Epic Records worth 5 million dollars? ... It's time to face the music!

Recap and videos after the JUMP ...


Day 1

We are beginning with 162 acts that will perform their acts on stage to the Judges Panel, only 100 of the acts will advance to the next stage. From there, they will be organized into groups and perform a song chosen by the Judges. They will cut the 100 into 64. At this point, the remaining contestants will choose a song to perform in front of the Judges and an audience. The Judges will then advance 8 Boys, 8 Girls, 8 Over 30's and 8 Groups, 32 in all, to the Judges Houses.

The contestants arrive with their carry-on bags, the Judges then arrive separately in black SUVs. Simon says "I'm trying to find someone who's going to have a long-term career as a recording artist, not just the winner of a talent show. There's a difference." Well said.

Vocal coach Claude Kelly and choreographer Brian Friedman are among the many experts there to assist the contestants and help the Judges come to their decisions.
The Judges start things off by wanting to see everyone dance, because there is more to being the X-Factor than just singing. They are definitely looking for a full package. The song playing for everyone to learn the dance moves to is "Smooth Criminal" by the King of Pop Michael Jackson. Some contestants are uncomfortable with it. "This is frustrating... I'm scared." says Chris Rene with a smile, whose sister Gina Rene is also here to compete for the 5 million dollar prize. Brian Bradley decides not to dance at all. "I don't wanna dance, I'm not doing that... That's not what I'm here for." Now that the dance session is over, we move on to the singing part.
Please forgive me for some of the short performance recaps, they literally speed through some of these contestants so fast, I can't even tell what they are singing. We only get to hear like 10 seconds at the most too. Bah.

Siameze Floyd starts things off by singing "More Than a Feeling" by Boston. It's gets off to a good start, but then gets pitchy. The Anser is next, they still don't sound great. Simon calls them "forgettable". Harumph. We then see Tiger Budbill hold a really good glory note. Nice! Nicole says "definitely his lungs", whatever that means. Simon says "Yes, because he is human, darling." Caitlin Koch performs next, all I can hear her sing is "every time you go away". Paula tells the other Judges "I got chills... I love her voice". Next is Drew Ryniewicz, we see her perform part of "Apologize" by OneRepublic and I am personally blown away. Holy shit. She totally won me over, I want her to make the Live Shows now. The Judges are impressed also.

Simone Battle performs next, Paula tells the other Judges that she has a great stage presence but needs to work on her vocals. Gina Rene performs, it's alright. We only see part of Rachel Crow's performance and I don't mind. I find it to be screechy and annoying. Tora Woloshin disappoints, what we hear is very bland. "Do you know how frustrating that is for me? You get to prepare one song for a 5 million dollar contract and you come up with that?" Simon tells her. We then speed through Paige Ogle, Jazzlyn Little, Arin Ray and Tiah Tolliver. Marcus Canty performs "Never Too Much" by Luther Vandross, what we hear sounds alright. We then rush through Brennin Hunt, Josh Krajcik, Terrell Carter and Nick Dean. The next clip we see is of J. Mark Inman, who performs his version of "Bennie and the Jets", it sucks badly. He is definitely out, I find this sad because I loved his audition with his version of "Creep" by Radiohead. Lol

The Brewer Boys are next, I don't recognize the song from the clip we hear but they harmonize very well. Brendan O'Hara sings "Price Tag" by Jessie J, we're not even at the chorus yet and totally forgets the words. FAIL. He knows he just blew it. We speed through James Kenney's performance. Chris Rene performs "Sexual Healing" by Marvin Gaye and sounds AMAZING. My favorite performance by him at this point, it shows that he's not all about rapping and that he can definitely sing. I now take him seriously as a contender. After rushing through Jeremiah Pagan and Dexter Haygood, we see Melanie Amaro perform "Run To You" by Whitney Houston and it sounds great. Stacy Francis is next, she goes for a 15 second long glory note, she stays on-key but it backfires. "I think with you, a little less is more... That was way over the top." Stacy goes backstage and cries.

The Judges separate the contestants into 3 groups and has each one come on stage one at a time for the results of the first round. They announce that group 1, which includes Andrew Muccinelli, Nick Dean, Nick Voss, The Anser, Stacy Francis, Josh Krajcik, James Kenney and Marcus Canty, advances to the next round. The Judges then bring group 2 on stage and informs them that they have been eliminated, we see Brendan O'Hara, Terrell Carter and J. Mark Inman in this group. One contestant says to Simon "I'm honest to God when I say I'm willing to do anything to be given another shot at this show." Simon kindly responds "At this stage, it's not gonna happen. This time, we can't make an exception. You gotta get better." Simon later goes backstage to comfort and encourage the poor guy.

Everyone is taking the bad news well, except for J. Mark, who is jumping and screaming "I DON'T HAVE A LIFE! I DON'T HAVE A LIFE! $%@#!!" he then drops to the floor and starts shaking. Group 3, which includes Chris Rene, Simone Battle, Kingston, Caitlin Koch, Dexter Haygood and Tora Woloshin, are informed that they have made it to the next round. The Judges re-introduce the 2 groups that made it, Chris goes looking for his sister Gina to see if she advanced too. He finally finds her and they embrace each other. The Judges watch this happen, Paula is touched. Aww... Simon tells the remaining 100 "Someone up there is going to walk away with 5 million dollars" Everyone screams. Some contestants choose to get rest, the others party, enjoy drinks and chill in the hot tub.

Day 2

It is now 6AM and most of the final 100 have overslept, XF staff is now knocking on everyone's doors to inform them they have 5 minutes to be ready for the next stage. "I guess this is why they call it 'bootcamp'" says Nick Voss. After watching everyone haul ass to the meeting room, they are informed by L.A. that they are going to be organized into groups and given a song chosen by the Judges, they will then have 5 hours to rehearse. After this stage, around one-third of the remaining contestants will be eliminated.

Group 1: "Creep" by Radiohead - Drew Ryniewicz, Caitlin Koch, The Anser, Audrey Turner (Ike's widow), Clayton Senne, Dexter Haygood, Elaine Gibbs - Choreographer Brian lets them know "I'm not here to choreograph you. I'm here to assist you in making sure what you want looks polished." which I find cool. Drew is unfamiliar with the song and Dexter is also struggling and keeps going for a copycat-ish Mick Jagger thing. They finally begin, Drew starts off and sounds excellent. Dexter joins in and sounds better than I expected him to, he pulls a Jagger jump. The Anser struggles to stay on-key, Audrey sounds weird and shaky. Elaine sounds good but her vibrato annoys me, they end it with Caitlin, and I just don't care for her. The Judges love them. They conveniently play "Moves Like Jagger" in the background for Dexter. Lol

Group 2: "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" by U2 - Jazzlyn Little, Melanie Amaro, Heather Gayle, Aaron Surgeon, Arin Ray, Special Guest, Stacy Francis - Stacy asks Claude Kelly for some advice after her fumble in the previous round. They begin, Jazzlyn gets the song off to a good start, Stacy definitely holds back but I'm still annoyed, I guess I just can't stand her style of singing. Melanie comes in and sounds awesome, I think this show may have found their equivalent of Idol's Pia Toscano. Big Gospel-feel to the ending of the song. The Judges seem pleased again. Jazzlyn feels like she let her group down, she is still really insecure. For once, Stacy isn't the one crying. Feels like Bizarro World.

Group 3: "Desperado" by The Eagles - Dani Knights, Skyelor Anderson, Leroy Bell, Chelsea Musick, Ben Rue, Cari Fletcher, Paige Elizabeth Ogle - Most of the younger contestants are very unfamiliar with the song and uncomfortable while Leroy is very happy with the choice. Paige starts and doesn't sound very good, in my opinion. Leroy is obviously in his element so he's swimming along just fine. Dani is whatever, Cari sounds okay and has a nice glory note. Skyelor would have been good but he forgot the words. The Judges aren't crazy about this performance but definitely have a few favorites.

Group 4: "Wishing On a Star" by Jay-Z - Tinuke Oyefule, Jennifay Joy, Lauren Ashley, Reina Williams, Brian Bradley (Astro Kid)- The song contains some rapping and coincidentally, annoying brat rapper Brian Bradley is in this group. Claude Kelly warns Brian about not being connected or devoted to the rest of the song after his part. Reina steps it up and volunteers to rap the second verse and sounds pretty good. Brian is visibly aggravated. Haha... They start performing. As annoying as Brian is, he's a fantastic rapper. Apparently he forgot the words and was "free-styling" through his part, I wouldn't have noticed had he not said anything. Reina's turn, she sounds great. Brian decides to sing parts with her even though he couldn't remember his own, what a douche. It's now basically a rap-off between Astro Kid and Reina while the rest hum quietly in the background. I personally think Reina kicked his ass at the rapping. I like Lauren's falsetto but she's weak. Jennifay is rapping now too, but it's not nearly as enjoyable as the rap war experienced a minute earlier. They end on a great note though. The Judges and the experts talk about what an arrogant jackass Brian is. "Let me give it to you purely from a rap perspective, he's just too young." says L.A. THANK YOU.

Group 5: "Superman" by Five for Fighting - Kompl3te, Josh Krajcik, Tiger Budbill, Nick Dean, Andrew Muccitelli, James Kenney, Thomas McAbee - We see a few audition replays, most of the contestants express how much they want to win and then we move on to the song. Nick starts and he's off-key, he's trying to grind his voice and it's not working. He then completely forgets the words for half of the chorus and no one jumps in to help him. James is next, his singing style is just yuck to me. Tiger sounds a little better, Josh is making the Judges smile. Kompl3te sings the very last note and it sucks. I didn't really like this at all.. Ugh...

Group 6: "Feeling Good" by Cy Grant - Phillip Lomax, Chessi Spriggs, Tiah Tolliver, Robert Cruz, Kelly Warner, Austin Simmons, Nick Voss - So the group audition begins, Phillip gets it off to a nice smooth start, I really liked his part. Chessi is next, she sounds alright. She tries to growl and it's a bit weak. Something about her just screams "Cannon Fodder!" to me. Austin is next, he sounds really weak. Probably out. Tiah's turn, she sounds a lot better than she did in her audition. The Judges fall in love with her attitude on the stage. Kelly goes next, nothing special. Then Nick sings his part, it's a lot better than his audition and I liked it but it's shaky and he still needs a vocal coach but I now see the potential in him. They all sing together, it's pretty sloppy. Simon is waving his "Told you so" flag to the other Judges.

Group 7: "I Have Nothing"- Whitney Houston - Rachel Crow, Joshua Maddox, 4Shore, Hayley Orrantia, Illusion Confusion, Caylie Gregorio, Ellona Santiago, De'Quan Allen - We see 4Shore and Rachel struggling with the song. The vocal coach thinks this group has the hardest song. They begin, De'Quan sounds alright, nothing special. Joshua seems lost, his glory note sucks. Rachel goes next and I think she sounds really off-key and shaky. Ellona is next and barely fairs better. 4Shore sounds blah. The Judges seem to like the group performance more than I did.

Group 8: "Run" by Snow Patrol - Siameze Floyd, Jeremiah Pagan, Song Preservation Society, Cesar De La Rosa, Makenna & Brock, The Stereo Hogzz, Emily Michalak - More filler interviews, Makenna now sees the possibility of a relationship with Brock in the future. Emily is nervous about the notes she needs to hit. Siameze talks about being a "performer" (cuz he would know). Siameze actually starts and sounds much better than he has in the past, Makenna & Brock can't harmonize to save their lives. Emily sounds kinda shitty too. Siameze is screaming in the background, The Stereo Hogzz are pitchy and weak too. Jeremiah hits some nice high notes. They all sound pretty good toward the end, I actually like it.

Group 9: "What's Going On" by Marvin Gaye- Brennin Hunt, Equality, Marcus Canty, Matthew Johnson, Ma'at Bingham Shango, Chris Rene, Gina Rene - The group is happy with the song selection. Chris and Gina rehearse some harmonies. They finally start, Ma'at is really off-key and almost shouty. Gina goes next, her voice just isn't amazing. Matthew actually sounds pretty good, nice falsetto toward the end of his part. Brennin goes next, sounds fantastic. Marcus is overdoing it a bit and Chris basically goes to his vocal boundaries and almost sounds really bad and shouty, that is conveniently ignored by the Judges. Equality performs a part, meh. Whatever. They end singing together and it sounds about as okay as one can expect after seeing the first part of their performance. Definitely not my favorite group performance, slightly disappointed. The Judges seem to really like it.

Group 10: "I Won't Let Go" by Rascal Flatts- Tim Cipers, Matthew Slovacek, Hannah Bethel, Kingston, Thomas Wells, Jeremy Easley - The Country artists get a Country song, who da thunk it. After the filler interviews, they start. Tim begins and damn does he sound good. I'm not a fan of Country music whatsoever but this guy can really sing and I loved it. Matthew goes next and sounds off-key and weak to me. Kingston comes on stage, they are pitchy and not mind-blowing by any means. Hannah goes next, again whatever. Thomas seems to be on the verge of being shouty. They end on a good note but Tim is the only one I would advance out of this group.

Group 11: "Chasing Cars" by Snow Patrol- James Douglas, Henri Bredouw, Christa Collins, Emma Henry, The Brewer Boys, Hannah Jackson, Ryan Sims, Kyle Corr - After watching the contestants talk about being nervous and fight over which lines they sing in the song, we begin. Henri starts things off, I cannot stand the way he decides to phrase this part. Hannah is boring verging on annoying. Emma is next, I actually like the way she phrases her part but the weird quirky walking is almost too much. The Brewer Boys harmonize quite nicely, I hope they advance. Ryan's part is horribly shouty and off-key. Christa is worse but actually has a decent glory note and the end of her part. They sound horrible together but I can still hear some people successfully harmonizing (probably Brewer if anyone).

Again they split them into 3 groups and have them come on stage one at a time for the results. Group 1, consisting of Kelly Warner, Emma Henry, Austin Simmons, Henri Bredouw, Jennifay Joy, Reina Williams and Kompl3te, are informed that they did not make the cut. Reina flips shit and starts screaming at the camera, "Maybe I'm just too talented!!! I don't know who I have to talk to!!"
Group 2 goes next, included in this group is Tiah Tolliver, Chris Rene, Gina Rene, Brennin Hunt, Paige Ogle, Nick Voss, Tora Woloshin and Ma'at Bingham Shango, they are told that they advanced! Yay! Group 3 follows, they are also told they are safe. Among the ones in Group 3 advancing are Nick Dean, Melanie Amaro, Simone Battle, Tiger Budbill. Rachel Crow, The Anser and The Brewer Boys.

Now officially in the Top 64, the remaining contestants rehearse their songs which they will perform on stage in front of the Judges and an audience of about 3000 people.

Nervous Rachel Crow goes first, singing "If I Were a Boy" by Beyonce. I don't like this song. A lot of people thought she nailed it. I personally couldn't stand it and thought she was kind of shrieky aside from also being off-key several times. I will say that this was probably her best song so far but her singing style really isn't my cup of tea.

We flash through the performances of James Kenney and Emily Michalak. Audrey Turner goes next, singing "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" originally by Marvin Gaye. It's a little shouty, but I actually like it. Kinda reminds me of Adam Lambert in a strange way.

Paige Ogle performs "Somewhere Only We Know" by Keane. Again, I don't care for it.

Next is Tiger Budbill, he sings a slowed down version of "Billie Jean" by Michael Jackson. Very very very solid, love the falsetto note at the end. Go Tiger!

Josh Krajcik comes up next. He gives a small speech to the audience. He's singing "Up To the Mountain" by Patty Griffin. I absolutely love how soulful and gravelly his voice is. He almost gets screamy in some parts, he's definitely pushing his limits. Still a very solid performance.

Performing next is Simone Battle. Every episode, her shorts appear to be getting shorter. She thinks she has what it takes to be the next Pop Icon. She's singing "Your Song" by Elton John. She tries to put a Rihanna-esque spin on it and it absolutely FAILS. She forgets the words and decides to sing along and make something up. Grrrr... She just ruined one of my favorite songs of all-time, I'm now pissed at her. She better not advance.

4Shore goes next and turns "Fix You" by Coldplay (another favorite song of mine) into this stupid dance track version. OMG... This was fucking horrible. LOLZ. Simon thinks this is the worst they have ever sounded, he isn't the only one.

Teen group Little Ladiez then sing "I know, I know, I know, I know. Heeeyyyy" repeatedly and take their jackets off. How did they get this far? Simon is just getting pissed at this point.

Makenna & Brock go next. I like the arrangement. Makenna is off-key, Brock is worse and completely forgets the words on top of it. Ugh...

Next is Siameze Floyd... What the fuck was that??! ROTFLMAO!!!!!!!

After recovering from hysterical laughter, I resume my XF recapping duties. Brennin Hunt is next up, doing his own version of "If I Ain't Got You" by Alicia Keys. I love his arrangement and he sounds excellent, especially going into the chorus. I love it. He is then cut off by Simon who decides that he's had enough of all the different arrangements of songs but is going to to take it out on the one guy that actually sounds good. WTF. This seriously pissed me off. "Why didn't you just sing with that and the piano?" asks Simon. Brennin says he wanted to give the song his own twist and style. The audience seems very supportive of Brennin. It ends there.

Simon then gets all pissy with the staff "I am hating this... Why are they making these weirdo versions?" He decides he is so fed up, they need to take a break. The audience seems confused, booing.

After they resume, The Stereo Hogzz take the stage and sing "Cry Me a River". They really stepped it up. Great harmonies, smooth choreography. The lead singer of the group sounds awesome. Really nice falsetto at the end. Loved it.

We then see Brian Bradley/ Astro Kid go up next and rap to something.. Yawn.

Phillip Lomax goes up next and sings "Summertime" in his 1940's crooner style. Sounds good, no complaints here.

Performing next is Chris Rene with "Every Breath You Take" by The Police. He sounds good but I wish we got to see more.

We see Nick Dean is next he performs "Somewhere Only We Know" by Keane. I really like his version, definitely the best we've seen of him. Simon doesn't think he rehearsed well enough.

Going next is Stacy Francis, apparently her dad dies when she first arrived at bootcamp. She sings "Summertime", I like how reserved she's being in this performance. Even though some parts still really annoyed me, it is by far her best performance. Standing ovation from the Judges.

Tiah Tolliver sings "Man's World". She sounds a lot better but I'm still not sure why Simon is such a fan-tard of her.

Next, Cari Fletcher sings "Already There" by Lonestar. It's generic and boring.

We see Drew Ryniewicz walk on stage, she is performing "Like a Star" by Corinne Bailey Rae. I love everything about this girl. Her tone, phrasing, falsetto. She sounds great.

Caitlin Koch performs "Cry Me a Rive". Again, this doesn't wow me at all. I put her in the same boat with Cari Fletcher. Bland bland bland.

Last but not least, we see Leroy Bell sing "To Make You Feel My Love" by Bob Dylan. It sounds like he muttered through the song but I still like his tone. The Judges talk about this being his last chance blah blah blah...

Bootcamp is over, now the Judges have to pick the Top 32 that will advance to the Judges Houses. Simon talks about how he has gotten really attached to some contestants more than the other Judgess and that he needs to go in and fight for these people. L.A. says ordinary singers will be eliminated and that's not a good place to be. After much deliberation, the Judges finally agree on who shall advance to the next round. Who made it? WHO MADE IT??

After announcing the 8 Boys, 8 Girls, 8 Overs and 6 Groups, The Judges call back 14 boys and girls onto the stage and manufacture 2 new groups that will go to the next round. The first group is InTENsity, which is composed of Nick Dean, Francesca Duncan, John Lindahl, Emily Michalak, Arin Ray, Lauren Ashley, Ellona Santiago, Ma'at Bingham Shango and lastly Austin Percario and Emily Wilson of the duo AusEm. The second group, Lakoda Rayne, is composed of Cari Fletcher, Dani Knights, Paige Ogle and Hayley Orrantia. - VIDEO

Below is a list of your Top 32, see you next time at Judges Houses!

Top 32


Boys - L.A.
  1. Brennin Hunt
  2. Brian Bradley
  3. Skyelor Anderson
  4. Nick Voss
  5. Tim Cipers
  6. Phillip Lomax
  7. Marcus Canty
  8. Chris Rene

Girls - Simon
  1. Caitlin Koch
  2. Tora Woloshin
  3. Simone Battle
  4. Drew Ryniewicz
  5. Rachel Crow
  6. Jazzlyn Little
  7. Melanie Amaro
  8. Tiah Tolliver
Overs - Nicole
  1. Elaine Gibbs
  2. Tiger Budbill
  3. Leroy Bell
  4. James Kenney
  5. Josh Krajcik
  6. Christa Collins
  7. Dexter Haygood
  8. Stacy Francis

Groups - Paula

  1. The Stereo Hogzz
  2. 2Squar'd
  3. 4Shore
  4. The Brewer Boys
  5. Illusion Confusion
  6. The Answe
  7. InTENsity
  8. Lakoda Rayne

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