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The X Factor: 2.08 – “Boot Camp, Task Two”

Night two of the Boot Camp rounds of The X Factor. These rounds went very fast with the one-hour episodes and didn’t really seem like a Boot Camp at all. There were two quick rounds that easily pared the contestants from 120 to 60. The 60 that performed tonight will be widdled down further to 24 on next week’s episode. Those 24 will then go to the judges houses. That 6 contestants per group, which seems very low. I’m not exactly sure what the show has planned, but I think there are going to be a few surprises that they haven’t revealed yet. Just a guess. Onto tonight’s episode…

The episode begins with Simon explaining what Task Two of Boot Camp will feature. They will put the remaining contestants into pairs to compete against her each. Both contestants have to agree on song choice and which portion of the song they will sing. But Simon says that there is no set rule on who wins the battle. Both of the contestants could make it to the next round, one could only make it, or neither could make it. It seems like they’re trying to copy The Voice with this new additional task, but it doesn’t seem as interesting.

Tara Simon & Jennel Garcia (I will never spell her first name correctly, but I’m pretty sure this is the correct one they displayed tonight) were the first pair up. They sang Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide”. I was really disappointed with Jennel. She’s been my favorite through this whole competition and the song did nothing for her voice. Annoying Tara Simon was too melodramatic and mannered to be taken seriously. Simon criticized their song choice and said to the other judges that felt Jennel let Tara take over to much of the performance. He felt sorry for Jennel.

The next battle was between Carly Rose Senenclar & Beatrice Miller, two of the most popular pretty young girls in the competition. They did a version of “Pumped Up Kicks” that was pretty great. Beatrice was a little too happy and smiley for the content of the song, but her vocals were good. Carly Rose stole the show. She really nailed the tone of the song and her vocals were just as strong.

Vino Alan & David Correy were next. Vino & David were roommates in Miami during this round so they had a genuine respect for each other going into the performance. David did a weird thing before it started. He told the judges that every time he sings, he views them as the four roadblocks to his success. They did a version of “What’s Going On?” that was the best thing I’ve seen so far this season. Both of their voices complemented each other so well and they nailed it. Vino didn’t think so. After some quick comments from the judges, Vino threw his cap and refused to talk to the cameras. He felt he screwed up bad, which couldn’t be further from the truth.

Diamond White & Dinah Jane Hansen performed Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger” in the next battle. These have been two of the most featured contestants on the show so far and there was some real tension between them in the performance. It was a slowed down version that sounded beautiful, but I wish it had been sped up just a tiny bit. Dinah Jane forgot some of the lyrics but she powered right through with strong vocals. Diamond blew everyone away with the chorus, but I felt her end to the song (sitting down on the stage looking melancholy) was too melodramatic. L.A. Reid loved that though and called it ‘genius’.

There was a quick montage of good performances. Sister C took on Lauren Jauregui with “These Arms of Mine”. Simon has really been pushing Sister C but I just find them annoying (an opinion that Britney Spears also shares). Brandon Hasson faced Reed Deming with “Secrets”. It was too short to judge and I actually don’t remember either of them from the auditions. Julia Bullock (one of my favorite auditions) & Ally Brooke did a version of “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” that was okay. Julia doesn’t seem to be getting much screentime. I don’t think that bodes well for her future on the show. Jeffrey Gutt was also shown facing someone who I haven’t seen before and has never been featured. He’s still one of the best, but Simon was shown saying that he feels Jeffrey had his big moment with the audition and hasn’t matched it since.

A brief break in the action for a product placement. A Pepsi delivery guy showed up with coolers full of the special Pepsi/X Factor* cans. The fans voted and the Dragon flavor won. FOX needs to pay some bills so they showed this Pepsi delivery as an effort to make some money. I swear.

Back to the performances. Willie Jones, the black country singer, took on Tate Stevens with “Nobody Knows”. Willie completely forgot the lyrics and bombed. Tate remembered them and did a nice job vocally. He’s just not an interesting performer and kept his eyes closed the entire time. After the performance, the judges talked and Demi felt that Tate might’ve tried to sabotage Willie by picking that song. I don’t believe that’s true but they need to create drama for the show.

Arin Ray & Normani Hamilton were next. Arin was one of my favorite auditions and this was the first time he’s been shown since that original audition. They did a performance of “What Makes You Beautiful”. I hate that song, but they made the performance really fun and had great chemistry together. They were one of the few pairs to play off of each other and I think it benefited them both greatly. There doesn’t always need to be fighting and drama. Peace and harmony can create some good performances. Learn your lesson contestants!

LaTasha Robinson and Jillian Jensen were paired up next. They did Sugarland’s “Stay”. Seconds into the song, LaTasha completely blanks on the lyrics and breaks down in front of the judges. Jillian tries to help her out by softly singing the lyrics to her but LaTasha can’t recover. Jillian picks up her part and does an incredible job. Without the backstory and original song melodrama from the auditions, I actually saw her voice and she was great. They finish and LaTasha storms off the stage and avoids the camera. They catch up with her outside and she’s a mess, screaming at the cameras. “A 19 year-old girl just stood there and out-shined me!” This was followed by a montage of other contestants forgetting the lyrics and breaking down during this round. Freddie Combs, Jessie Bryant, Nick Youngerman and Jordan Shane are shown biting the dust. Britney feels bad for Jordan and cries after she leaves the stage. Britney apparently still experiences some emotion.

Before the final pair of the night faces off: Jason Brocks, Camila Cabello, Owen Stuart & Lyric Da Queen are shown giving great performances and getting positive comments from the judges. Paige Thomas & CeCe Frey face off yet again with another song, “Secrets” by OneRepublic. There’s some drama going into it because CeCe picked the song and Paige agreed to it, despite not knowing it very well. The performance goes well. Paige kinda mumbled through the verses but kills the chorus. CeCe gives a solid performance, but she still annoys me and I like to root for the underdog and not the bully. And the show had a shot of her putting her body paint on her leg and face, so thankfully that design on her face is not a tattoo.

That was it for this episode. Next week, they will narrow down this group to 24 and head to the judges’ houses. I’m interested to see how things are split up and who goes to the live shows.