It's Day 2 of Boot Camp on "The X Factor" and only 60 acts remain. Now, we move on to the Battle Rounds ... um, oh wait. ... that's that OTHER singing show.
But it's basically the same idea: Performers are paired off and pitted against each other in head-to-head challenges. In this competition, however, there's not necessarily a "winner." One, or both, or neither could advance.
The tricky thing is that the pairs have to agree on what song they'll sing and on which parts they'll perform. That leads to conflict and we all know conflict equals drama.
"On this task," says Simon Cowell, "forget about friendships. Forget about nerves. It's one-on-one. By the end of this task, there will be only 24 acts left in this competition."
Those surviving this round move on to the judges' homes, where hopefully there will be slumber parties and all-night movie marathons. But we'll see. On with the duets:
-- Tara Simon, 27, vs. Jannel Garcia, 18 ("Landslide"): Tara, a vocal coach, basically steamrolls Jannel, going with a Stevie Nicks song the youngster really doesn't feel is her style. During the performance, a nervous-looking Jannel sticks with the mellow basics while Tara throws in a bunchy of runs. Simon doesn't get the song choice: "You didn't represent yourselves ... (and) I feel really bad for you, Jannel."
-- Beatrice Miller, 13, vs. Carly Rose Sonenclare, 13 ("Pumped Up Kicks"): Both girls pretty much shine on the Foster the People's song, but we'd have to give the edge to Carly Rose, who had the more powerful pipes. "From experience, like, it's so hard when you're that young," observes Demi Lovato.
-- David Correy, 26 vs. Vino Alan, 40 ("What's Going On"): These guys are roommates and friends, but, like Simon says, forget friendships. "Vino is my brother, but today I need to crush the competition," Correy says. David brings his soulful smoothness to the Marvin Gaye classic and Vino his gravelly grit. Vino, for some reason, thinks he blew it. He throws down his hat, storms off the stage and punches a wall. "He scares me a little bit," Britney says. Vino may be overreacting. Simon likes his voice and Demi points out that there's no one in the business like him right now.
-- Diamond White, 13, vs. Dinah Jane Hansen, 16 ("Stronger") -- The two teens from Southern California deliver a mellow take on Kelly Clarkson's hit with Dinah starting things out and Diamond finishing strong. "I loved them both," Britney says, but we'll go with Diamond.
-- Sister C vs. Lauren Jauregui, 16: We get only a short clip of this strange matchup that has a three-girl group going against a soloist. "I think Sister C's annoying," Britney says, but Simon senses she and Demi just might be jealous (or something?). "I think it's safe to say that you two girls don't want them and they don't want you," he says.
-- Brandon Hassan, 16, vs. Reed Deming, 13 ("Secrets"): Again, the clip is too short to judge as these Bieber wannabes go at it. Brandon seemed to be off-key.
-- Julia Bullock, 18, vs. Ally Brooke, 19 ("Knocking On Heaven's Door"): We'll take Ally. Brooke sounded atrocious.
-- Willie Jones, 17, vs. Tate Stevens, 37 ("Nobody Knows It But Me"): The country crooners go at it on the Babyface song. We've loved Willie from the start, but he stumbles on the lyrics and Tate comes through with smooth conviction. Afterwards, Willie is asked who picked the song. Not him. "I think Tate hustled him," L.A. Reid says. A tearful Willie says he feels like he blew his chance.
-- Arin Ray, 16, vs. Normani Hamilton, 16 ("What Makes You Beautiful"): The first mixed-gender duet has Ray, last year's Intensity castoff, going against a girl he's been flirting with. They hug afterwards and the judges like them both. "My heart just melted," Demi says of Arin.
-- Jillian Jensen, 19, vs. Latasha Robinson, 27 ("Stay"): The softspoken Jillian fears she might get blown away by Latasha, who has a dominant personality. But Latasha immediately screws up the lyrics on the Sugarland song and starts crying. Jillian, to her credit, tries to help her out, but Latash is toast. Jillian takes advantage to completely kick ass.
"I humiliated myself in front of those judges," Latasha says, choking back the tears. "... A 19-year-old girl just stood there and outshined me."
Several more singers botch the lyrics on their songs, including Freddie Combs, Nick Youngerman, One4Five, Jordan Shane and Jessie Bryant. Several of them are shown bawling and our poor Britney even starts to cry. This boot camp is turning into a blubber-fest.
-- Cece Frey, 21 vs. Paige Thomas, 21 ("Secrets"): The producers aren't dumb. They've matched up these two leggy divas, who already went at it Wednesday on Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You" and made for some good TV. Now, they square off on the One Republic tune and both girls are emotional before even they even start, talking about how much they want this. They both get through the song and have their moments, but it's not without flaws.
"They look exhausted. I've never seen anyone look so tired in my life," Simon says. Britney likes Paige. Simon says he likes them both. We have no idea who'll they'll pick because we have to wait until next week. Of course.