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The X Factor Recap: Boot Camp Time! Who's Staying and Who's Going?

Stacy Francis, X Factor Ray Mickshaw / FOX

"They better be on their game, because they will have only a moment to strut their stuff," L.A. Reid threatens on his way to the first day of boot camp.

And boy, do they ever! When Simon Cowell looks like looks like the sweeter of the judges, you definitely want to stay on L.A.'s nice side. Speaking of Simon, he's got some lofty expectations too: "I'm trying to find someone who's gonna have a long-term career as a recording artist, not just a winner of a talent show. There's a difference."

The show starts and we get another chance to hear the voices that blew our minds in auditions. Ya know, like...

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Rachel Crow, the 13-year-old that we haven't stopped talking about since she first auditioned. But we'll get to the rest of the standouts in a sec.

Boot camp is pretty friggin' grueling, starting with all 162 contestants getting schooled in choreography, courtesy of coach Brian Friedman, to Michael Jackson's "Smooth Criminal." And this was just the warm up, ‘cause some peeps are seriously out of shape. Yikes, you can't be tired already!

Next, the judges ask each contestant to prepare a song to perform that they think is worthy of the $5 million recording contract. And the first disappointment of the night? Stacy Francis, who we were totally rooting for, is out to impress...and does the exact opposite.

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"A little less is more," Simon scolds. "That was way over the top."

After everyone does their thing, 62 acts are chopped, leaving only 100. FYI, by the end of boot camp, there will be only 32. So no pressure.

Anyway, cue the sappy music, because the first round is over. And in true American Idol style, groups are called up and either put through or let go. But in not-so-Idol fashion the judges throw a party for those who were put through, cocktails and all!

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The next day, they're put into smaller groups and the judges pick the song they will be performing. We see eight groups total tonight; some are good and some are great! Here are the standouts:

The first group sings "Creep" by Radiohead and has Dexter Haygood, Drew Ryniewiez, The Anser, Audrey Turner, Caitlin Koch and Elaine Gibbs in it, which (as we're sure you know) is quit the lineup.

"They did great," says Simon. "They did wonderful, they were amazing'" gushes Nicole Scherzinger. Got it?

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The next group performs "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" by U2, and contains Jazzlyn Little, who forgets the lyrics, which is a huge no-no! Stacy Francis is also in this group and seems to bounce back nicely after her disastrous song beforehand. Finishing off the group is Melanie Amaro, Heather Gayle, Aaron Surgeon, Arin Ray, and the group Special Guest.

Next up "Desperado" by the Eagles for group three. Cari Fletcher, Simon thought was forgettable in the auditions, joins Leroy Bell, Dani Knights, Skyelor Anderson (who also forgets his words) and Paige Ogle. The judges seem on the fence with this group. Rightfully so, total snoozefest.

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The fourth group contains, Brian Bradley, the 14-year-old rapper from Brooklyn, who is thrilled that his group landed Jay-Z's "Wishing on a Star." Brian, who during the performance also forgets the words, raps along side Tinuke Oyefule, Jennifay Joy Nichols, Lauren Ashley and Tatiana "Reina" Williams.

Paula Abdul calls the group "a little bit of a mess," and when Paula calls you a mess, you know it's really a disaster.

The fifth—and worst— group starts off with Nick Dean, who maybe sings two words of the "Superman" by Five For Fighting before completely forgetting the rest. His group is not-so-terrible and Josh Krajcik and Tiger Budbill are the standouts.

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Tiah Tolliver is in sixth group performing "I'm Feelin' Good" by Nina Simone, and the rest of the group have might as well not even been there. If you remember, Tiah was the chica Simon saved after Paula and Nicole didn't think she was good enough. Paula tossed Simon's snack out of his hand...Now you remember? Well, she's incredible, and Simon takes a bow after her performance. Kudos, Mr. Cowell.  

The seventh group has one of our little favorites, Rachel Crow, and the hardest song yet, "I Have Nothing" by Whitney Houston.  Our four boys from Virginia Beach, 4Shore, are with her along with Illusion Confusion, Ellona Santiago, Joshua Maddox and Hayley Orrantia. The group is pretty good. And we obvi love our cute little Rachel!

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Makenna and Brock are in the last group of the day, and it seems that love may eventually be in the air for these two. Wonder what changed from auditions to boot camp? Anywhoo, the real standout from this group is Emily Michalak, who was nervous beforehand for not being familiar with the song, but impressed herself and the judges.

Tomorrow night boot camp continues with more groups and more cuts. Only 32 will remain, then it's live time!

So who are you rooting for? Sound off in the comments!

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