The Presidential Debate tonight is responsible for a variety of things. Chief among them is that we had a 60-minute ‘X Factor’ instead of the two-hour variety to which we’ve grown accustomed on Wednesday night.

Also, I guess there’s something about the fate of the free world and some kind of election coming up. I don’t know about all that, but what I do know is that boot camp started last night in Miami rather than Hollywood. In honor of those debates, I’ll make the case for both the good and bad of a variety of contestants.

First, a few random observations. Consider them opening remarks.

The documentary format is an incredible upgrade over Steve Jones saying things to the camera. It builds more drama, makes the whole thing seem grander and just looks better.

After showing us their entire boot camp performance, it might be nice if they gave us a definitive result for each contestant rather than making us sift through groups of people standing onstage.

I’ve done my best to track those results below.

Now…on with the debate!

Diamond White

The Case For: She’s got a great soul-pop voice and the spunky personality that just makes you want to root for her. She wasn’t quite as good here as she was in her initial audition, but she still showed pipes beyond her years.

The Case Against: Those years. At only 13-years-old, I doubt she has the ability to really make a deep run. The youngsters always get swallowed up by the pressure. And get on my nerves.

Result: SAFE


The Case For: He made a good song choice with the Bob Dylan track?

The Case Against: He can’t really sing. His phrasing is atrocious and he has an extremely difficult time staying on pitch and on melody. Plus he has a bleach-blonde faux-hawk.

Result: SAFE, I think

David Corey

The Case For: A big fun soul voice and somebody who actually knows how to sell a song and work the stage. No standing around just singing along for this guy.

The Case Against: He has two first names. He was wearing a ridiculous hipster fedora. He had on green shorts with boots.

Result: SAFE

Lyric Da Queen

The Case For: The eyepatch.

The Case Against: The self-glossed nickname.

Result: SAFE

Jessica Espinoza

The Case For: She clearly has pipes. A cool soul rasp and the ability to sink into some really pretty notes.

The Case Against: A super-dramatic singing voice. Like she was singing opera without the pipes. She was just trying way too hard and not letting the song stand on its own. Every single second had to be a an overwhelming moment for her rather than just being parts of the song. If she’d settle down, she could be really good, but what she did was just a scary mess.

Result: OUT

Jennel Garcia

The Case For: She’s got a big ol’ rock voice and actually seems to know how to apply it to the song she’s singing rather than just doing her own thing with whatever like so many of these aspiring singers do on these shows. She also had a little bit of the stage presence thing going on. Not bad for a half-pint.

The Case Against: I don’t know that this tiny little wonder quite has the punch to compete with some of the more polished singers in the competition. It’s tough to see her really blowing anybody away.

Result: SAFE

Vino Alan

The Case For: He’s got the cool rock voice and a good backstory. He’s the type of standout soul-rocker that will stick out on this show and make a deep run.

The Case Against: He just reminds me too much of Aaron Lewis from Staind. That’s never a good thing.

Result: SAFE

Johnny Maxwell

The Case For: Ummmm. A Members-Only jacket with a hoodie is an interesting fashion choice.

The Case Against: He forgot his lyrics. He couldn’t rap despite rapping. He obviously can’t sing since he chose to rap. And, again, he couldn’t rap.

Result: SAFE

The Montage of Terrible Singers

The Case For: It was getting a bit boring with a parade of good singer after good singer for awhile. It was a nice entertaining diversion in the middle of the show.

The Case Against: Some of these singers were so bad. So bad that it almost seemed like they were put through just to create that montage. How else could tone-deaf no-talents be invited to boot camp?

Result: ALL OUT


The Case For: A really cool hip-hop flavored rendition of ‘Iris’ where the only similarity was the lyrics. That’s a real, true cover of a song and I really dig that on these shows. People taking the opportunity to show real musical ability beyond just singing.

The Case Against: They couldn’t really sing. And they certainly couldn’t harmonize. A bit messy despite the cool arrangement.

Result: SAFE

Tara Simon

The Case For: She certainly had the confidence and swagger. Plus, she looked pretty good in that leopard dress.

The Case Against: She sang and moved like the drunk girl at the end of karaoke that you just wish would get her ass off the stage, and then ends up crying because she went home alone while all of her friends have boyfriends. Sloppy all the way.

Result: SAFE

Willie Jones

The Case For: Look. If you rock a high-top fad like Kid and Play along with a Texas tie and a cool country voice, there’s not really a case that can be made against you.

The Case Against: Well, he can’t really sing all that good despite his bravado. A lot of flat notes lost in the verse and Britney was spot-on when she said his low notes were by the best part of his voice. He might not have the full package.

Result: SAFE

Paige Thomas

The Case For: She has some really cool hair and stuck it to Leopard Face by singing “her jam”.

The Case Against: Well, singing is a relative term. She struggled mightily with the phrasing in the verse where her voice just sounded kind of non-present. Then in the chorus she could not reach those high notes. Game, set, match Leopard Face.

Result: SAFE

Leopard Face

The Case For: The singing was covered above, but it’s worth reiterating that she can really blow. Huge and pure pipes. Plus she has the inside track on hottest contestant right now.

The Case Against: She will only ever be known as Leopard Face. Wait, maybe that’s a case for.

Result: SAFE