Sunday, July 24, 2011

X Factor: Boot Camp- Top 70

Note: I do NOT know which contestants made it thru to the Top 32. 
These were the final performances before the cut, but no judges comments were made during the Saturday sessions. They said the Top 32 would be chosen tomorrow (Sunday).

Note: Spelling of names are more than likely off, as well as some actual names. 
Also, come contestants failed to mention their name, so I have no idea who they are. If only they would flash the contestant's name and youtube account during the performances.....
I'm not completely familiar with the XFactor format, but for some reason they decided to do their Top 70 performances live in front of an audience. To relate to American Idol, the T70 performances are like the 'Sing For Your Life', Top 40 performances. One last chance to sing before the judges pick who makes it to the semi-final rounds. The performances were split up into two sessions. I attended the 1pm (which was more like 3:30pm) and saw 32 acts perform.

I sat in the balcony section with my pen and notepad, and I jotted down as much info as I could about each contestant. Some, however, failed to mention their name. So there isn't much I can do about that. Also, I was not in view of the judges, so I cannot tell you how they reacted to any of the performances.

Simon being the diva that he is, was late and stalled our taping for an hour. :| The emcee for the evening, Bill, was as boring as could be. As much as I may hate to say it, I could have used some Corey in my life today. Corey is the main emcee for Idol tapings. He tends to get repetitive, and when you've attended multiple tapings, you may have his routine memorized to the T. least he was more entertaining that this guy.

The Judges
Simon, Paula, Nicole and LA arrived on set and gave some quick memo type of introductions:
LA: Please be as honest as you can with us. Let us know if you like or don't like a contestant.
Nicole: Let's make this a supportive environment so that they give it their all.
Paula: "I've never witnessed such incredible talent in all my years…of sitting next to Simon."
Simon: This is for a 5 million dollar recording contract. 

For the curious minds, they sat Simon, Paula, Nicole, LA. 

Simon and LA did most of the talking, though there was not much, as feedback was not part of the process. Some contestants did get small remarks before they sang, as in they had impressed them or been struggling throughout the week.  Simon liked to stress that this was for a 5 million dollar recording contract. If I had a dollar for every time he said it...I could fill my gas tank...once. 

The point of the introductions was one last chance to show themselves to "America" (also known as, the thousand or so people in the auditorium). "What do you want us to know about YOU!?" 

The contestants were given the song list (obviously small by the number of repeats in just half the performances) the night before, and it definitely reflected on a handful of the contestants. It also seemed there were no age appropriate songs for the children to sing. I doubt they know the extent of "Jar of Hearts" or have experienced the lengths of "If I Were a Boy."

I'm going to make these short and sweet...and by that I mean, I'll attempt to stop myself from making this post into its own book since we have 32 to acts to cover. Also, because the judges did not comment, you get to hear my honest opinion about them. :)

For Sure - Four black males (maybe 20ish), who failed to mention their actual names
Performed "Fix You" Coldplay
They made the song a dance remix, which completely ruined the song. I question if they even payed attention to the lyrics. The vocals were not on par, though their harmonies were decent.

Astro - Teen black male
Performed "Like a Star" Corrine Bailey Rae
Made a comment about how he can't sing, but can rap. Afterward, LA told him, "Don't make excuses for being a rapper. Do what you do." And as such, he isn't that great of a singer but a mighty fine rapper he is.

Jamie Lynch - Late teens/early 20s white female
Performed "This Years Love" David Gray
First of all, her bright red heels did not match her outfit & were quite distracting. She had a slight twang to her voice, but the lowness of her voice kind of reminded me of Katie Stevens (yes, I will continue to make Idol references because I can.) Forgotten words, could be the death of her....XF career.

Little Ladies - Four teen girls (Molly, Haley, Lindsey and _____)
Performed "Ain't No Sunshine"
Acapella opening with some very lovely harmonies. The individual solos were rough, though one girl is definitely the standout with some power vocals. Now sure how I feel about them stripping off their jacket mid song.....

Marcus Canteen - Early 20s black male
Performed "Flying Without Wings" Westlife (obviously the Ruben Studdard version)
Speaking of Ruben, he kind of haves a velvet teddy bear type of voice. More on the fact that it makes you melt, than an actual teddy bear. His high tones, however, need some fine tuning.

Dixon Haggan - Older black male (Lenny Kravitz look-a-like)
Performed "It's a Man's World" James Brown
This guy is crazy. Just crazy. No one was sure if he was a gimmick or not, though we were promised that these were all serious contestants. He started off accapella but then Simon stopped him to figure out where the band was. The band said it was the wrong song...Dixon said he was told to sing the song. Who knows what was up, but they eventually tried again with the music. I feel crazy to say but the guy was actually pretty good. Reminds me of Steven Tyler a bit....just not so, blunt or insane.

Ace Montatelli (sp) - 12 year old white male
Performed "Jar of Hearts" Christina Perri
He looked like a Justin Bieber wannabee. Not sure he gets the song....and he wasn't horrible but it was too big for him on multiple levels. He was cut off after less than a minute. :|

Brennin - Late 20s/early 30s white male
Performed "If I Ain't Got You" Alicia Keys
He did a slight change of tempo to add his touch to the song. He definitely stole Pat Monahan (from Train) pants. They were super tight. He said that he'd been at this for a long time but just can't catch a break, he's hoping this is his chance. Simon interrupted him mid song to ask why he changed it up. He wanted to stand out...restarted and rocked the house. He's definitely the season's token WG (not sure if he plays guitar). Worked the stage quite well, and did I mention from my view (which was kinda far) he looked hot. 

Stereo House (or Stereo Host) - Five 20ish black males
Performed "Cry Me a River"
The guys did some simple yet dramatic choreography that leaned more towards broadway than boy band. One main singer (smart move to make your strongest shine right now) and the rest did background vocals. Beautiful harmonies.

Nameless Boy - Teen white boy
Performed "If I Ain't Got You" Alicia Keys
Didn't say his name (boo) but he kind of has a Jesse McCartney look and feel. He was actually really good, especially considering the song choice. Um, watch your back Bieber. This kid is legit.

Nameless Female - 20ish black female, decked out in white sparkle dress
Performed "Fix You" Coldplay
Failed to mention her name. She's got an amazing voice, gave me goose pimples! Though, asked the audience to make some noise mid song and this really is the wrong song to do so. A bit awkward. Received a half 'standing O' from the audience.

Nameless Girl - Little black girl, pretty in pink
Performed "If I Ain't Got You" Alicia Keys
Didn't say her name. Amazing vocal control and quite beautiful vocals. Just, so little. Had to be twelve years old.

Audrey Turner - Older woman (Ike Turner's widow?)
Performed "Ain't No Mountain"
Ready to take her life back and that this song means so much to her. She was overly dramatic, and even fell to her knees and started crying. She wasn't horrible per say, but not great. Oh, and her pants stole the show....they were, um, ridiculous. I hope they show just the pants on TV.

Nameless Girl - White girl, blonde hair
Performed "Like a Star" Corrine Bailey Rae
Another one to not mention her name. She seems very nice and grateful to be there. She had some awkward hand gestures while singing. Her tone is Adele like, and soulful. Very good. (I honestly cannot remember her potential age range, but I think she was mid/late teens)

Rachel Crow - Little girl, possibly mix raced
Performed "If I Were a Boy" Beyonce
She didn't mention her name, but we found her on youtube! She was bubbly, adorable, and a talker. Talked about how her family live in a small house and she wanted her own bathroom. Also something about setting a foundation for adopted kids. Simon asked what she was singing and she replied, "It's a surprise!"

Within just a few bars of the song, the entire audience was up on their feet. It. Was. AMAZING.  I was moved to tears. (I, for one, am not big on the child performers. Parents, let them live their lives...they have time to be a star. But this girl...amazed me.) I'd go as far as saying she out sang Beyonce on this one. She sang with conviction, emotion, a song I sure hope she cannot relate to at her age.

Oddly enough, I am convinced she sang the whole song, while others sang partial versions of their song. Hm. No doubt that this girl will make it through. They would be stupid.

Aaron Ray (or Rehn) - Older teen black male
Performed "That's the Way Loves Goes" Janet Jackson
Wants to put real music back on the radio. He didn't even sing the chorus of the song which brought Simon to question what song it was at the end. He kind of gave off a Bruno Mars feel. He wasn't bad but his pronunciation  needs work and he needs to cut about half his runs.

Nameless Male - White male [Name could be Phillip]
Performed "Summertime"
He didn't mention his name but I believe I overheard Simon call him Phillip. He had a Sinatra/Buble tone and feel. Worked the audience well, but they weren't that into him. He wasn't bad, she not very relevant in today's music word, but he could always change that.

Nameless Female - 31 yr old white female, with 5 kids
Performed "Somewhere Only We Know" Keane
Again, no name. :| Reminds me of a Christina Perri/Hayley Williams. Her voice was very haunting and beautiful. She has great control. She caught herself in a lyric mishap, great recovery. Her stage presence was odd: She hunched over while singing. Really good tho. 

Clayton (Staney) - Early 20s, white male from Topeka, KS
Performed "Jar of Hearts" Christina Perri
He said he doesn't want to play the game, he just wants to sing and play. He's kind of average, nothing unique or standout about his voice. Could easily blend in. Still, he has strong vocals, nice control and emotional connection to the song. 

Emily Motolik (sp) - 12 year old, white female
Performed "To Make You Feel My Love"
She's got some power in that young voice of hers but mumbles a lot when not going for the notes. She was quite nervous and forgot some words. Maybe has a slight twang in her voice? 

Austin & Emily - 15 year old white male/female, bffs
Performed "Just a Dream" Nelly
They called themselves "Ausem." They said it was time for a teen male/female duet to shine. Nice harmonies at first but for most of the song the voices didn't blend well. They picked a bad song, it was too wordy and not a good duet song. The girl carried the song, the boy...not so much. 

Alona - 14 year old asian female
Performed "Cry Me a River"
She's got some attitude and sass. Great control for so young, and amazing vocals. Actually gave out a Christina Aguilera vibe, with her soulfulness...though less runs. Thankfully. 

Gina Rene - Older female
Performed "Praying for Time" George Michael
One of the three acts we saw go thru at the LA Auditions, first session, in May. She was pegged as a rapper then, but did not rap in this performance. It was rather boring.  Not memorable and not a good stand out for your last performance. Oh, and Gina, please get a new are not a teenager or in your 20s.  

Statik Express - 12-14 years old, two boys & three girls (cousins)
Performed "Just a Dream" Nelly
Another act we saw go thru at the LA Auditions. Simon's comment before they sing: "You've barely scrapped thru." Ouch. It was a wreck. The boys had the words on their hands (pointed out later by the judges) and the harmonies were not good. They were better when they were prepared and sang acapella at the auditions. Would be shocked to see them make it further.

Nameless Male - Older white male
Performed "Billie Jean" the Chris Cornell version
He auditioned on a whim. Remembered how much he loved music, as the process went on. He is trying to save his house, and he just buried his brother last Thursday. His looks and vocals are a bit mismatched. He was very good. He's got power vocals and a beautifully controlled head voice. Wow. Half standing O from the audience.

Nameless Female - Blonde, white female
Performed "I'm Already There" Lonestar
No mention of name. Another fail. She's definitely country, she had the country look before she even sang. Forgot the words to the song. Decent vocals, but not really ready for this. She has a lot to improve on, such as pronunciation, stage presence and charisma.

Nameless Male - 20ish black male
Performed "If [You] Were [My] Woman" Gladys Knight
Before he begins, LA: "I've been impressed with you. We'll see how it goes today." He was mediocre. Not sure it was the performance LA was hoping for. He slurred a lot of his words, made it hard to comprehend him.

Raphael _____ - Older black male
Performed "To Make You Feel My Love" Adele version
Could be wrong on the name, he said it fast. He could not remember the name of the song, Nicole had to help him out. He was very mellow, beautiful vocals, but it's hard to see him go mainstream. Especially the mainstream they seem to focused on finding. LA loved his outfit tho. He was dressed to impress.

Nick Dean  - 15 year old white boy
Performed "Somewhere Only We Know" Keane
Thank you Paula for making him say his name! Simon: "It's been up and down over the last few days." I see the potential, I do, but it wasn't that great. Nothing worth calling home about. He slurs his words, forgets his words and his mic holding is worse than Scotty's. He couldn't keep it by his mouth, he needs to some lessons from Lady Gaga.

Justin & Nathan - 14 & 17 year old white boys (brothers?)
Performed "To Make You Feel My Love" Bob Dylan
When the older one came out, we thought it was Tim Urban! They kind of had a Beatles-esk feel to them and when they harmonized, it sounded pretty good. The 14 year old completely flaked on his words. The older one did his best to keep him going and carry the song. They have some interesting potential.

Illusion Confusion (Lance, Richard, AJ) - Three 20ish males
Performed "Jar of Hearts" Christina Perri
They wanted to strip it down this time. Not really sure that was a stripped down version but maybe for them it was? There voices blend quite well together, however, separately they should not sing.

Nameless Female - Late teens/early 20s white female [Name could be Chelsea]
Performed "I'm Already There" Lonestar
Didn't mention her name but I believe Simon called her Chelsea. Started off way too low. Wow. You could tell she was having issues, and was off key. They stopped her and tried to mend the problem. Nicole: "Is it the wrong key?" Chelsea: "Oh no, it's the right key, I just can't hear the piano." Um, pretty sure it was the wrong key. She starts up again. Better than the first time but still off-key, then suddenly, "Oh I am off key...." and finds the right one mid-song. Despite that there were some decent notes but it was a wreck of a performance. Felt bad for her.

On that off-key note, session one was done...five hours later. Can't imagine how round two will fare with 40 more performances to get thru and already starting at least an hour late. :| This is why I chose the earlier session. It was interesting to see this process live and for them to have to perform this one last time (probably their most important performance) in front of a live audience.

Heather's theory on why we saw so many children was because of the child labor laws. Assuming the second round went till midnight.....makes sense. I was hoping to see at least one of the rumored former Idol contestants but didn't. I had my list handy, just in case.

That's all I got. It was far too long of a day, and no air conditioning in the balcony to make enough clever, witty comments to entertain you through 32 auditioners.

My personal favorite of the day were:
Marcus Canteen, Brennan, Stereo House, Jesse McCartney boy, Goose Pimples girl, Adele vibe girl, Nicole, The Mother of 5, and the Billie Jean guy. I wish I had names for most of these.....

Oh, one last comment....did you guys know this is for a 5 million dollar recording contract? Stashes another dollar in pocket, thanks Simon!

Not gonna lie....Kinda looking forward to the show this fall....shh, don't tell Idol!


  1. NIce Read!!

    Keep up with the blog, your talent truly shines

  2. Entertaining read! Im glad your looking forward to it because that means there might be some hope for a good singing competition this fall.

  3. Thanks for the info! It was a great read. :D Please keep this up!

    If you don't mind though, I just have a few things I want to ask, say, ect. though. :P

    -Top 32? That's odd...I guess that means instead of following typical X Factor format they're going to follow UK X Factor season 7's format, which was last year's season. You see, normally Bootcamp narrows down each category to 6 acts each, which with four categories total, makes 24 acts. And after Judges Houses, where each judge gets a category and narrows it down to three acts, the Live Shows start with a Top 12, with 3 acts from each category. But on season 7, they increased the number to 32, which means instead of 6 from each category there will be 8 from each category, which also means the Live Shows will start with a Top 16 instead of a Top 12, with 4 acts from each category instead of 3. I wonder if this means they'll have Wildcards like they did on UK X Factor season 7 as well? I must say I'm surprised since I figured everything from season 7 was just going to be a one time thing...

    -Yeah, during the final stages of Bootcamp the judges don't really make a lot of direct comments to the contestants. To be honest they really don't for all of Bootcamp; they just make comments to each other and people they're working with. (like vocal coaches and the choreographer, ect.)

    -Yeah, an audience being at Bootcamp is a fairly new thing. They didn't start including an audience during Bootcamp 'til season 6 of UK X Factor (which aired fall 2009), but they didn't do it in season 7 for some reason. Maybe because the two female judges were out? (one was one maternity leave after having her first child while the other was recovering from malaria)

    -Out of curiosity, what were the judges wearing? 8D

    -Yeah, the song list for the final performance day of Bootcamp is pretty small. Usually 40 songs, if I recall correctly. (they mainly do that to see who can stand out)

    - Yeah, forgetting words is one of the biggest no-nos you can ever do on X Factor. Doing it almost ALWAYS guarantees definite elimination.

    -THERE WAS A BAND!? :O :D On UK X Factor they almost ALWAYS used a studio backing track, even during Bootcamp and the Live Shows. The only time they don't is Judges Houses, where all the performances are acoustic (with only an acoustic guitar and/or piano/keyboard being played) I'm a bit surprised to hear they changed that, but I don't mind at all.

    -I'm excited about the nameless girl who sung Beyonce because I've heard the EXACT SAME THING from every last person who attended Bootcamp. (that I talked to) She sounds great and I can't wait to hear it! Out of curiosity, was it anything like this? (I assume it was even better of course, but I just want an idea of what ti was like...)

    -Actually this isn't their most important performance yet. Close, but their most important performance won't be 'til Judges Houses, where the remaining acts will have to perform for their future mentor and a guest judge at a exotic location (literally could be in a mansion anywhere in the world) and try to impress them enough to make the live shows.

    -Heather's theory about the children sounds very plausible, and is what a lot of other people are thinking as well. I mean surely with only 8 Boys (12-24, or possibly 12-27 if they go UK X Factor season 7) and 8 Girls (12-24, or possibly 12-27 if they go UK X Factor season 7) going through to Judges Houses, and even less to the live shows 4 from the Boys Category and 4 from the Girls) they don't need that many young kids... Excluding the Groups of course, which can be any age.

    -I am as well! It's nothing to be ashamed of because it'll be a great show! Dare I say better than Idol since it's like Idol perfected and on steroids. >:D (in a good way) But don't worry, I won't! ;)

    -Sorry this is so long by the way. D: Hope it's not too long... >>;

  4. @Anonymous There was only a piano & guitar, with a drum track. Not an actual full band.

  5. did anyone review the second session?

  6. spoilers from the evening show are here:

  7. While waiting in line for the 6pm shoot, i walked to the front of the building where sodas and chips were being sold. I heard a group of people in the front of the line singing and thought i recognized the voice of one. Low and behold, one of my favorite YouTube artists was there...Jessica Sanchez!!! :D

    I kind of hung around and upon listening to their conversations heard that the guys she was with just got cut from the X Factor show the night before. All I remember were first names, Ryan, George & Thomas. All the guys were cute and had great voices!

    Wonder if Jessica got cut too? If so, that sucks because she would have kicked some major booty out of the everyone that performed in the 6pm show. The only one that stood out last night was a 42 year old black woman that sang the hell outta Summertime.

    Anyway, what an awesome night! Watching X Factor LIVE, seeing Simon, Paula & Nicole up close and personal and then seeing and hearing Jessica Sanchez all within a matter of hours...can it get any better? I hope the see Jessica on The Voice or Idol since i know she won't be on The X Factor this year. :(

  8. @Brittany Keener: Ah, okay. Thanks for clearing that up!

  9. Justin and Nathan are the Brewer Boys. They totally flubbed it at Boot Camp, but were awesome in their audition.

  10. YOU MIGHT GET SUED FOR SPOILING X FACTOR. Make sure Simon doesn't find out. *calls Simon on speed dial*