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'The X Factor' USA: Boot Camp Day 1 recap

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After scouring the country for the best singing talent, X Factor USA judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, Nicole Scherzinger and LA Reid settled upon 162 contestants to progress to the competition's Boot Camp stage, where they'll battle it out for the opportunity to move on to Judges' Houses.

The X Factor USA Boot Camp

© Fox



We're in Los Angeles and tensions are high as the talent begins arriving, where the successful singers will be split into four groups - Boys, Girls, Groups and Over 30s. As the judges arrive, Simon wishes everyone best of luck and claims that the day will separate the good from the bad. Helping the judges make their decision will be a creative team including stylists, choreographers and vocal coaches.

Dancing is the first challenge set for the hopefuls, with Simon saying that anyone who wants to be a popstar needs to be able to learn choreography. However, 14-year-old rapper Brian Bradley refuses to go along with it as he feels that "MCs don't dance".

Once the dancing is over, acts are called to the stage in groups of ten in order to sing a small selection in front of the panel again. Siameze Floyd gives it a go with 'More Than A Feeling', while The Anser also impress with their harmonies. Tiger Budbill, Caitlin Koch and Drew Ryniewicz also get another go.

The X Factor USA Boot Camp

© Fox



Rachel Crow goes for Jessie J's 'Price Tag' and we also see Tora Woloshin, Marcus Canty and Brennin Hunt again. Early favourite Chris Rene impresses with a Marvin Gaye cover, Melanie Amaro's 'Run to You' is exquisite and even Stacy Francis is in fine form, belting out notes for an ungodly amount of time, which doesn't please Simon. The judges have their work cut out for them, however, as only 100 singers will move on to the next day of Boot Camp.

At the cut, singers are split into three groups to find out their fate. Amongst those sent home are J Mark Inman (who has a bit of a breakdown, truth be told) and several others who were never prominently shown anyway, so you probably won't miss them. The other two groups will be moving on and will get another chance to make their mark.

The successful 100 are thrown a party by the judges, complete with drinks, balloons and dancing. Some acts head off early in order to get a good night's rest, but others are up into the late hours, piling into the hot tub which always seems to show up on reality shows featuring young people and booze.

The X Factor USA Boot Camp

© Fox



It's 6am on day two of Boot Camp, and plenty of contestants have overslept and are having to be woken up by the show's crew. As they gather in front of the judges, LA reveals that the singers will be put into groups and will have only a few hours to prepare a song that they will then perform in front of the panel.

After they're split into their ensembles, the acts begin preparing. The first group consists of Drew Ryniewicz, Caitlin Koch, The Anser, Audrey Turner, Elaine Gibbs and Dexter Haygood and they'll perform 'Creep' by Radiohead. While the group works together, Dexter runs into trouble with following directions and still manages to come off as a poor imitation of Mick Jagger.



Onstage, Drew bags the opening verses and she's actually quite good, especially for someone so young. Then Dexter comes in and sort of ruins it with his weird antics. The Anser's harmonies seem a bit out of place, but at least they're not out of tune. Elaine Gibbs and Audrey Turner do well with the diva card, although it's nothing we've not heard before and I'm kind of over acts like that. Caitlin Koch brings it home and the judges think they did really well.

Next up, Jazzlyn Little, Melanie Amaro, Arin Ray, Aaron Surgeon and Stacey Francis are assigned U2's 'I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For'. Two of my favourite contestants - Jazzlyn and Melanie - are part of this group, so I have high hopes for what they'll come up with.



Unfortunately, Jazzlyn forgets the lyrics but she does seem to cover it up well enough and doesn't crumble or stop the track. Stacey is okay but forgettable, and Melanie absolutely kills it. She sort of reminds me of a young Leona Lewis and I can totally see her going to the very end. All in all, it's not too bad, especially considering the short amount of time they had to put it all together.

Dani Knights, Skyelor Anderson, Leroy Bell, Ben Rue, Paige Ogle and Cari Fletcher comprise the next group and they're singing 'Desperado' by The Eagles. Paige's voice is rather unappealing to me and Leroy sounds a bit like Kenny Rogers, truth be told.

Dani Knights is a bit pitchy and seems to have trouble staying on key, and the others don't fare much better. The whole thing is a bit of a trainwreck, in my opinion, but the judges privately fawn all over Dani and Paige, whatever that's about.

Next up, Brian Bradley is teamed up with Chris Rene, Jennifay Joy Nichols, Reina Williams and Lauren Ashley for a rap version of 'Wishing on A Star'.

There's a bit of a competition between Reina and Brian, with Brian seemingly unable to shut his trap long enough for anyone else to do their parts. Regardless, it's pretty good, actually. Not perfect, but pleasant enough to listen to.



Josh Krajic, Tiger Budbill, Nick Dean, Kompl3te, Andrew Muccietelle, Tomas McAbee and James Kenney get together for Five For Fighting's 'Superman'. The performance isn't offensive, but it's certainly nothing special and not worth writing a paragraph about.

Dean does forget his words, though, and Josh Krajik - who I professed my love for during his first audition - is fantastic again and does the strangest little groovy head bop as Tiger sings, which makes the whole thing okay.

Next up are Phillip Lomax, Tiah Tolliver, Chesi Sprigs, Robert Cruz, Kelly Warner, Austin Simmons and Nick Voss, who hope to impress the judges with Muse's 'Feeling Good'. The singing from everyone is quality, but the only person I really want to hear more from is Tiah, who even starts to win over Nicole. As a side note, Nick "Morrissey Redux" Voss can head home because I've seen enough of him.



'I Have Nothing' by Whitney Houston is the magic track for Rachel Crow, Joshua Maddox, 4Shore, Hayley Orrantia, Illusion Confusion, Caylie Gregorio, De'Quan Allen and Ellona Santiago. It's admittedly a tough song and the group struggles with some of the more difficult runs.

De'Quan forgets some of his lyrics on stage, Joshua completely messes up the key and the others don't fare much better. The only bright spot is little 13-year-old Rachel, who manages to make her mark despite struggling during rehearsals.

The next group - consisting of Siameze Floyd, Jeremiah Pagan, Song Preservation Society, Cesar de la Rosa, The Stereo Hoggz, Makenna and Brock and Emily Michalak - is assigned Leona Lewis' 'Run' as their song to perform. I"m not a fan of Siameze personally, but the others stand out and sound really good, giving one of the best performances of the day, I'd say and completely wowing the judges.



And with that, we're done for the night. Tomorrow, more group performances and more cuts are made, with the Top 32 finally revealed.

The X Factor USA continues Thursday at 8/7c on Fox.

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