Tonight's pre-credits sequence is all about Boot Camp in Miami, y'all. Looks intense, but I'm only going to weecap these moments once. Each.
The sun rises over Shreveport, Louisiana and its miles and miles of b-roll. Willie Jones (the hip-hop looking kid with the deep country voice) says goodbye to his dad in what may be the most authentic family moment ever captured from five different camera angles. In Rochester, Massachusetts, Jennel Garcia lifts her welding mask Flashdance-style in her dad's auto shop. Vino Alan rides a cab in Manhattan and Nick Perrelli goes down into the subway. In Huntington Beach, Emblem3 pulls their surfboards out of the water for some The Hills-like exposition. Jenell has a totally unstaged farewell with her mom on the front porch of their house. Jason Brock and Tara Simon ride to their respective airports. Diamond White looks nervous, Jillian Jensen bonds with her identical and equally emotionally raw mother. And the next thing you know, we're in Miami! Which looks much like it does in all those transition shots on Burn Notice. Simon talking-heads that they brought about 120 acts from the initial auditions, and there will be 24 of those left by the end of the week. At the airport, Arin Ray is with his mom. L.A. says they'll work harder than they have in their lived, but then Demi Lovato THs that they're putting everyone up at the Mondrian, just to dangle the rock & roll lifestyle in front of their noses. Some of them hang out by the pool, but Simon warns us that this will be the most intense week of their lives and Britney promises to push them to their limits. Hey, Britney Spears is on this show!
Everyone caravans to the auditorium where the boot camp challenges will take place -- the Fillmore. The judges exposit that the contestants will all have to sing in front of each other, and that half of them will be going home by the end of the day. Intense! Intense!
They make Diamond White go first, because why not start by throwing the 13-year-old in the deep end? With all the rest of the contestants gathered around her on the stage, she sings Whitney Houston's "I Have Nothing." She does very well -- if not flawlessly -- and I was wrong about her being intimidated, because she's clearly doing the intimidating.
Ads. Melanie Amaro is back! Who took her away in the first place?
Coming back, three-sister singing act Sister C fails to visibly impress Britney, and then Austin Corini, the boy-band sounding 16-year-old with the blond faux-hawk, gets up and sings another bland, unthreatening ballad. Then the judges bring up David Correy, the 26-year-old who was adopted from Brazil. He belts out "Mercy" and impresses the judges. Dinah Jane Hansen, the preternaturally mature 16-year-old, sings "Hero." Lyric Da Queen, who I don't recall seeing before, raps while wearing headphones and a Bedazzled eyepatch. Jason Brock is also there, sounding less like Jack Black than at his initial audition. Carly Rose Sonenclar sings a rock song better than a 13-year-old has any right to, prompting Simon to wonder to the other judges if she's too old for her age. During a break, a lot of folks are pretty intimidated, like Jessica Espinoza, the unemployed 22-year-old. The judges are excited to hear her sing again, but her nerves are clearly getting the better of her. Lots of polite cringes among the listeners. "She's not as good as I remember," Demi mutters to Simon. I don't think it's just her memory.