I sure do enjoy how the pre-credits sequence so frequently edits together snippets of different people's performances so it sounds like they're all singing a single, unbroken, "AAAaaaAAAAAAaaAAAAAAH." A poor man's Wolfman Jack chokes out that of the remaining top sixteen, that eight acts will sing for survival tonight, and four will be sent home. After the credits, the announcer and the audience welcome Khloe and Mario, who bring out the judges/mentors with the usual fanfare. As the fab four take their seats, the hosts explain tonight's procedure: each mentor will pick two of their own acts to automatically go to the top twelve. Mario and Khloe cross the stage unnecessarily in awkward lockstep as he concludes that the other two acts from each category will sing tonight, and one of those will go home -- again, one from each category, so four losers will be crowned tonight. Or flushed, as the case may be. They interview the judges a bit, because that's who we care about. L.A. mentions that he wasn't initially happy about his category (yes, the phone-slamming will live in infamy), Britney talks about how difficult it will be to send home one of the people who have become like her children (and of course they are actual children), Demi says she's looking for the X Factor (working the brand more than any other judge as usual), and Simon claims he still hasn't made up his mind, because suspense=attention.
Lucky for him, Demi's category, the Young Adults, is going first. We see some flashbacks from last night of the performances by and judges' feedback for Paige Thomas, Jennel Garcia, CeCe Frey, and Willie Jones, along with some backstage moments like Paige holding her kid and CeCe trotting out her new vulnerable act while still vowing to show everyone what being a vocalist means in the event she has to save herself tonight. After all these clips, Mario brings out the category's final five. Yes, I can count; the hat Paige is rocking is wide enough to cover any two of Simon's groups, so I'm counting it as a fifth. Demi says she's proud of all of her performers for taking her notes and working hard, and announces that the first of them going to the final twelve will be Jennel. So she's dismissed from the stage for tonight. Demi deploys a rather shorter pause before naming Paige Thomas as the other safe one, leaving Willie and CeCe waiting onstage to sing.
But first we have to cut backstage to watch Khloe awkwardly interviewing a weepy Jennel and then also Paige's hat. Nothing terribly insightful arises from that, as you might imagine. But it gives them time to reset the stage so CeCe can come back out and flash her Manson lamps to the back row before warbling "Out Here On My Own." It's of course a well-known vocalist showcase ballad production type thing, but hearing it come out from behind those killer's eyes is more than a little eerie. L.A. tells her she just saved herself, and Britney says she was powerful tonight after last night's weird Ke$ha impression. Simon asks why she didn't just do something like this last night in the first place. Indeed, I think a running theme tonight is going to be how much better people are without all the distracting overproduction. Mario tells us that Demi has to sit on her hands for now, and then he sends it to ads, promising Willie's save-me song after the break. And despite all the weepy-faces she threw during the judges' comments, CeCe's eyes are still bone-dry. All I know is that if I had to stand as close to her as Mario and Khloe do right now, I'd want Kevlar under my clothes.