Tonight's opening starts out so cheesy-looking that I at first think it's a local ad. Some PA knocks on a door that's supposedly the one to Mario Lopez's dressing room, but when he comes out wearing his first suit of the season, he's clearly emerging from some curtained-off backstage area instead. He takes a little tour of the four categories all standing around together while he's walking and talking, and he says that each mentor will have to eliminate one of their own acts tonight. He goes on about that just long enough to reach the stage and greet the crowd in the auditorium. Okay, they pulled it out right at the end there.
After a truncated title sequence, Mario greets the judges and asks Simon how he's feeling about having to ditch one of his acts later tonight. Simon's not thrilled about it, but he says he might not have to, because it's his show after all. And then we get started right away with Demi Lovato's category, the Girls. Demi has returned from the two-week break with peacock-colored hair, and we see her working with her four protégées in a long rehearsal montage. So I guess we're not starting right away.
Back on the stage, Mario tells us we can vote for our favorites online, for all the influence that'll have on the judges, and then a rather excited Demi gets to introduce her first singer, Ellona Santiago. The former InTENsity member sings a dance-heavy, clubby version of Britney Spears's "Dance Until the World Ends," complete with backup dancers and everything, which doesn't really play to her strengths as an emotional belter, but she acquits herself surprisingly well. Demi ends up doing most of the cheering from the judges' table, giving Ellona a standing ovation of one. Kelly is also impressed, though, saying she's happy Ellona started the show. Paulina agrees, following that up with some babbling some more, and Simon congratulates himself for being right before when he said Demi needed to keep Ellona. Demi is obviously proud of her as well, and actually so is Mario, who invites Ellona to say something to Demi. Which Ellona does, but it's not at all interesting.
Demi remains so excited about Ellona that she misses her cue to introduce the bespectacled and allegedly awkward Danie Geimer. Plus she says her name wrong. Does not bode well for Danie. She's going with "Wrecking Ball," in which she alternates between warbling and shouting unintelligibly. Though maybe that's how the original sounds too, I don't know. Her production is rather more stripped down than Ellona's was, relying on a rose/thorn-themed projection as the backdrop. And it's a bit of a letdown. Kelly says she was expecting more from Danie, and Simon wonders how they're supposed to make Danie "not boring." Okay, ow. Paulina passes on commenting for now, and even Demi says Danie's performance needed more energy. Not looking at all good for Danie right now. She tells the judges that this is what she wants to do for the rest of her life. We'll see about that. And soon, I’m guessing.