'X Factor' Boot Camp Opens With Whitney Houston Sing-Off - Rolling Stone
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‘X Factor’ Boot Camp Opens With Whitney Houston Sing-Off

Paige Thomas and CeCe Frey go head-to-head with same song

“We’re looking for killers,” Simon Cowell said with a straight face as contestants from all over the country converged in Miami for boot camp, an intensive week of X Factor auditions. While they don’t have to dig their own latrines or eat rations out of a can, they do have to worry about surviving, as only 24 of the 120 hopefuls will still be standing in the end. Welcome to boot camp, bitches.

Two of said hopefuls just so happened to sing the same song during round one, where everyone performed in front of both the judges and the other contestants. Rihanna doppelganger Paige Thomas and leopard-spotted CeCe Frey went head-to-head in what can only be described as a “Whitney-off” when they each performed Houston’s version of “I Will Always Love You” back-to-back. While Thomas’ rendition was decent, it was also somewhat pitchy, muffled and garbled – yet the judges ate it up, probably because she’s a dead ringer for RiRi. On the flipside, “CeCe Thunder,” still rocking that distracting temporary tattoo that looks like tire tracks on her forehead, did the song justice by hitting every note with confidence.

At the end of the sing-off, Simon said: “One of you nailed it.” And it seemed pretty obvious at the time that it was CeCe. But in the end, both of them made it through to the next round. The lesson of the night? Never underestimate how far looks will get you in a competition like this.

Also making it through were Adam Lambert wannabe Jason Brock, Gene Simmons’ daughter Sophie Tweed-Simmons, 540-pound Freddie Combs and 13-year-old Diamond White, who also tackled a Whitney tune. Plus, despite pulling a pre-meltdown Britney move and accidentally flashing the judges while dropping to her knees in a short skirt, diva-riffic vocal coach Tara Simon squeaked by, alongside lovesick cutie Owen Stuart; rhinestone-studded, eye-patch-wearing rapper Lyric DaQueen; and diamond in the rough David Correy.

Becoming reality-show roadkill were, not surprisingly, “X Factor Annie” Jordyn Foley; inappropriate “Sexy and I Know It” gyrator Trevor Moran; whiteboy rapper Rizzloe Jones; and Jake Garza, who got so nervous he forgot the words and melody of his song and stood onstage shaking and apologizing. “I’m sad,” said one-look wonder Britney, as the 12-year-old Garza ran backstage and heartbreakingly sobbed, “I want my mom!” Yup, things just got real.

Previous recap: Simon Cowell Speechless Over ‘X Factor’ ‘Annie’ Wannabe


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