Ray Mickshaw / FOX
Ray Mickshaw / FOX
Forget the rain delay last night, talk about pressure!
Tonight the 32 remaining acts went to the judges' homes where they will live and be mentored by this fierce foursome...That is, if they don't get cut! 'Cause by the end of this round, the acts will be cut to just 16 before going live.
So who's got the best team?
"This is absolutely the category I wanted because I know the winner is in this category," boasted Simon Cowell.
But not if L.A. Reid has anything to say about it: "Pound for pound, we have the most talent in this category."
Our groups go to Planet Paula, which is technically Santa Barbara with guest Enrique. The boys go with L.A. Reid and Rihanna to the Hamptons. The over-30s are with Nichole Scherzinger in Malibu joined by Pharrell, and the lucky girls are with Simon Cowell in France. Mariah Carey was a no show due to Hurricane Irene, so Simon named himself his own guest judge.
"It's like having me twice," laughs Simon. Yikes for the girls!
Tonight, we heard half of the singers, four from each group and the contestants get one chance to impress the judges before the decisions were made. They sing a song chosen by the judges and if they make it through to the next round, then they will be mentored by their judge for the remainder of their time on the show.
It starts off with the boys, Brian "Astro" Bradley our Brooklyn rapper, who has Rihanna trippin' after his performance. Brian does a good job that he thinks is absolutely amazing. Kid's got skills.
Skyelar Anderson was up next for the boys and gives an OK performance of "Nobody Knows It but Me" with a heart-wrenching story. "The dimensions of his voice are incredible. He has a lot of material to work with, he just needs to be polished," said Rihanna, and we totally agree.
Phillip Lomax may have had the toughest job of the night. He had to sing "Please Don't Stop the Music" to Rihanna, thanks L.A.! Rihanna seems to be OK with his rendition, but they wonder if he is commercial enough.
And finishing off the guys was Nick Voss. Unfortunately he didn't impress, and L.A. said, "I've seen him better. Is he $5 million price caliber?"
Simone Battle lead off the girls, and ditched her hot pants for a classier look with a slow version of the Beatles "Help." Simon seemed to mildly enjoy her performance.
One of our favs, Tora Woloshin, just didn't seem herself tonight. "I'm losing it," she said prior to her performance of "Satisfaction," and she sounded and danced like she did. Bummer for us, and Simon seemed disappointed in his dream car enthusiast/pop diva.
Caitlin Koch sang "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow." "I loved her pitch. I loved her tone," beamed Simon, us too! She can sing!
And last but certainly not least for the girls category is Drew Ryniewicz, who sang "It Must Have Been Love," and, we think, blew it out of the water. Simon thinks she is amazing for 14 years old but questioned if she is just too young. Boo.
The groups were just OK, with the obvious standout being 4Shore. "You guys are holding it down vocally," said Pharrell.
The Anser didn't stand out, but they were still good.
The Brewer Boys and Lakoda Rayne, who the judges made a group at the end of boot camp, weren't as good as they needed to be.
The over-30s were the standout category of the night, with only one pretty bad performance—from Dexter Haygood, who we were really pulling for. But unfortunately he sang Beyoncé's "Crazy in Love," where he danced, kicked and sang. Craziness. He also forgot the words. Tear.
Stacy Francis sang "Purple Rain" and it was ah-maz-ing. "She'll only be as great as her fears and insecurities and doubts," said Nicole. Totally true.
Elaine Gibbs did her thing, but James Kenney was out-of-this-world good with an awesome rendition of "Russian Roulette." "I totally see this guy being a rock star," said Enrique. So do we, he was so good.
We finish up with the rest of the contestants Sunday night, and then the judges make their decisions on who will be going through. Then it's time to get live!