The acts weren’t required merely to sing

(CBS) You might have imagined, from the four previous audition episodes of Simon Cowell’s latest attempt to invade your imagination – “The X Factor” – that perhaps 30 acts had passed muster rather than being squirted with mustard.

What was quite stunning about the first of the so-called “Boot Camp” nights out was that, actually, 162 acts had survived the scrutiny of Cowell and his two girls and one boy band of judges.

Who could these people all be? Boy bands that juggled elephants while they sang? Old ladies who had come back from the dead and still believed that Sinatra and Maria Callas were still alive?

As last night’s show began, these last 162 acts, there to be whittled down to just 32, were split into four blood types: Boys, Girls, Over 30s (who are neither boys nor girls) and Groups. This would mean 130 acts would have their dreams decimated as if by a typhoon of cruelty or even indifference.

This would mean we’d see tantrums and tears, screaming and steaming. It would also mean that Paula Abdul would have at least 130 opportunities to weep uncontrollably, as if someone had taken her favorite doll and dismembered it with a very sharp nail file.

The acts weren’t required merely to sing. They were required to show their star quality. So Cowell had brought together vocal coaches, stylists and choreographers. Where were the dieticians? Where were the astrologers? Where were the agents, managers, hairdressers and manicurists? They would, no doubt, come soon.

Heroine of the first audition episode, 42-year-old single mom Stacy Francis, managed to provide such a stunning act of vocal self-indulgence that she was lucky to survive the first elimination. She seemed to believe that holding one note for longer than many are willing to hold Treasury Bonds was a good idea. She cried with fear when she believed Cowell didn’t like her. She cried with relief when she made the next round.

However, when a whole group was summarily dismissed like diseased battery chickens one contestant had what could only be described as a crazed fit of anger. He collapsed to the floor. He wanted to bang his head against the ground, in the hope that it would split apart and lead him to a new world.

“I DON’T HAVE A LIFE! I DON’T HAVE A LIFE!” is what he seemed to shriek. It was J-Mark Inman, Doctor of Philosophy, who had entertained some in the initial auditions with his version of Radiohead’s “Creep.”

Show business isn’t terribly academic.

Once untold (really, they never told us) numbers were cast into the anonymity from which they had so recently arrived, the producers then did the “American Idol” thing and put the remaining contenders into groups. Yes, even groups were put into groups.

In one particular act of cruelty, one group was given Radiohead’s “Creep.” Some contestants appeared never to have heard of Radiohead, never mind this song. This group included Audrey Turner, widow of Ike, and now a 53-year-old unemployed woman looking for a break.

The show was finding it hard to maintain momentum. Suddenly, there was no audience. Which made it seem as if there was no atmosphere.

This was like a documentary about a production line. In essence, it was – without the benefit of a Michael Moore voiceover or a Ken Burns sense of time and place. What it showed was that there are many people in America who can sing (passably), there are many people in America who are photogenic, charming and desperate (largely) – but, very much like your own local bar, there are very few whom one will remember in the morning (happily).

The young particularly struggled and scraped for survival. Fourteen-year-olds like Nick Dean and rapper Brian Bradley stumbled badly through nerves and immature egotism (in Bradley’s case). Thirteen-year-old Rachel Crow lost her way entirely attempting to do what Whitney Houston no longer can, but once could.

The slightly older ones fared a little better. Sixteen-year-old Jazzlyn Little forgot the words, but somehow still performed with a depth of heart that most would envy. Eighteen-year-old Tiah Tolliver managed to turn Nicole Scheriznger’s frown into the face of a clown, after the Pussycat Doll (and Paula Abdul) had doubted Simon Cowell’s obviously unerring instinct that she had that ephemeral sprinkle of stardust in the first audition.

Were the producers still hiding a new star? Would the last 32 be filled with names, faces, voices and, most importantly, stories that we had neither seen nor heard?

One can only hope, because this show was beginning to try the patience. Its ratings, 카지노 슬롯 머신 종류 hovering around the 12 million mark, are similar to those of NBC’s “The Voice,” which came and went on a wave of sympathy.

But for a new show to maintain interest through these most laborious phases, it really has to offer something memorable. Having attempted to eke out as much drama, tears and crotch exposition as possible through the first two weeks, suddenly we were experiencing a grasp for credibility – which is noble, but somehow less engrossing. Perhaps we’ve all reached the stage where it’s the gross that engrosses us most.

From what one could tell of this awkward night, Jazzlyn Little, Josh Krajcik, and 12-year-old Emily Michalak seem like genuine, fearless talents.

At the end of Wednesday’s grueling exercise, no results were announced. Hopes were merely raised, as were fears.

Thursday, we are promised one final challenge. Will the contestants have to sing a song they’ve never heard with only ten minutes to rehearse? Will they have to be filmed while singing in the shower?

All we know is that it is likely to be excruciating. That is, after all, why they call it Boot Camp.

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