'The X Factor' recap: And the final 32 are ...
Well, that was fast! At the start of "The X Factor" on Wednesday night, as Boot Camp kicked off, 162 contestants were still in the running, cramming the stage with their hopes and dreams. By the end of Thursday night's episode, the vast majority of those contenders had been shed, their hopes and dreams waved away like a bad aroma by judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, Nicole Scherzinger and L.A. Reid.
After a few more group performances, the numbers were thinned to 64. Those remaining contestants were given one last chance to impress the judges with a solo performance, choosing their songs from a prescribed list, before the final selections were made. Then, quite precipitously, only 32 acts remained.
There were some surprises: Dexter Haygood, the homeless soul singer who channels James Brown and Mick Jagger, did make it through. (Back in the '80s, Haygood was the lead singer for a band called Xavion, which toured with Hall and Oates: See a video here.) Simone Battle, a confident-bordering-on-delusional performer who said she brought "to this competition something that the world has never seen before" and that there is "no other artist like me in the world today," also got a top-32 slot, despite having forgotten every single word to Elton John's "Your Song" during her final performance. And several solo artists who'd been cut -– weeping tears of bitter disappointment in the arms of moms and other loved ones –- were brought back to form two groups to round out that category. (I would have found that much more surprising if a Show Tracker commenter hadn't predicted that the producers would do just that: Good call, Stephen McMillan!)
There were a handful of wait-who-is-that-again? choices: I really can't keep the groups straight. Abdul, who will mentor that category, really has her work cut out for her, and she seems to know it.
And there were a few performers we're maybe a bit sad to see go home, if not because we'll miss their talent, then because now we won't get to see how their stories play out: Will Makenna and Brock find love amid the shards of their "X Factor" ambitions?
So here are your final 32 -– eight in each of four categories:
The Brewer Boys
Illusion / Confusion
Plus two groups comprised of contestants who'd previously competed as soloists
Nicole Scherzinger: The over 30s
Her response: "I can do that. I can do that. It's not the girls. You didn't say 'girls,' did you?"
L.A. Reid: The boys
His response: "I think I just won."
Paula Abdul: The groups
Her response: "I'm excited and feeling a little bit overwhelmed already."
Simon Cowell: The girls
His response: "You just made eight girls very, very happy."
What do you think of the final 32? Did your favorite make it through?
-- Amy Reiter
Photo: Contestants find out if they move on to the judges' homes on "The X Factor" on Thursday. Credit: Ray Mickshaw / Fox.