"The X Factor" moves into its "boot camp" phase tonight, so we expect to see our contestants doing a lot of push-ups and running laps ... Oh, but wait. It's not THAT kind of boot camp.
Still, there are sweat and tears aplenty. "Boot camp is the epitome of tough," someone says in a voice-over. "If you're not strong mentally, you're going to crumble."
Right about now, a U.S. Marine is sitting on his couch at home and laughing hysterically.
But let's not make too much light of this. After all, many hopes and dreams will be crushed tonight in beautiful sunny Miami, much like moderator Jim Lehrer was crushed during the presidential debate.
"There are no second chances," says Britney Spears. "You either stand out or go home."
One of those headed home is Jordyn Foley, the adorable 12-year-old from Brentwood, who was seen last week singing "Tomorrow" with theatrical flourish. This time, though, she stumbled on Christina Perri's "Jar of Hearts" -- a performance Simon Cowell called "dreadful."
"Maybe it's just not my time," Jordyn said, after being dismissed.
Another East Bay contestant -- Johnny Maxwell, 16 of Castro Valley -- also had a bad night, botching the lyrics on his rap song. Chris Rene, he's not.
And we saw how brutal this contest can be on child hopefuls. After blowing the lyrics on his song -- repeatedly --Texas 12-year-old Jake Garza began bawling and asking for his mom. He even made Britney sad.
Whitney's songbook was a popular choice as Paige Thomas and CeCe Frey both opted to perform "I Will Always Love You." After singing back-to-back, Simon Cowell slyly said, "One of you actually nailed it." So which one was it? They both made it through to the next round.
Other standouts included:
-- David Correy, who was highly energetic and entertaining on his rendition of "Mercy."
-- Jason Brock, a 35-year-old tech support operator from San Francisco impressed the judges and made it through.
-- Jennel Garcia won us over with a sexy cover of Gavin DeGraw's "Sweeter."
-- Willie Jones, the country crooner with his "black-boy tan," is quickly becoming one of our favorites. Dude can belt it out.
-- Vino Alan: Britney may not be a fan, but this crome-domed 40-something guy has a deep and gritty rocker voice that stands out above the crowd.
Boot Camp competition continues Thursday night.