Following two straight weeks of double eliminations, the eight remaining acts on “The X Factor” know the pressure is building as we are just weeks away from the finish line and only 24 hours away from losing another two contestants. So which acts rose to the occasion tonight and which ones came up short? Here’s how the night went down…
Teens – Mentor : Britney Spears
Diamond may seem like she has more confidence every week, but in reality she’s actually feeling the pressure as teased during her opening video. Tonight she did a twist on Whitney Houston’s “I Want To Dance With Somebody,” by starting out slow and more stripped down, before launching into a trademark “X Factor” extravagant over the top number. The end result was her feeding off the crowd’s energy and showing she can handle both slow and fast tempo songs. White could easily be a dark horse during these last few weeks.
-Carly Rose Sonenclar
Britney Spears may have taken a double hit last week, but she still has two of the strongest acts in the competition on her team. After upsetting Tate Stevens in the voting last week and claiming the top spot, Carly Rose got a little more adventurous this week by covering Adele’s “Rolling In The Deep,” and putting her own unique twist on it. While L.A. Reid wasn’t a fan of the performance, the other three panelists couldn’t stop praising the teenager, but this may be a case where the show is pushing their own favorites ahead of the reality. Reid’s line that even “her second best was better than many people’s first best” was 100% accurate, as even though this performance was solid, something still seemed off overall and it will be interesting to see if that’s reflected in the voting. Regardless, it’s looking more and more likely this show is going to come down to Sonenclar and Stevens.
Over 25’s – Mentor: L.A. Reid
From the beginning Vino has consistently placed third and while that was fine for now by the popular singer’s standards, his mentor wanted him to shoot higher. However, Vino is actually right where he should be as this a show that typically has a “Final 3” and it is still early enough in the competition for Vino to pace himself. L.A. Reid’s decision to force Vino to change songs just a day before the competition was a big risk and one that didn’t have a big payoff. Alan is one of the most talented acts in the competition and in a week with a double-elimination in play and the fact that one act will be sent home without having the chance at a “save me” song; this was the wrong time to try and shake it up. Keep voting for Vino, because this week he may need the support.
The nice thing about “The X Factor” is that if you make the top three, the odds are good you will get signed to a record deal, which means even though Tate slipped to second in the rankings it shouldn’t impact his chances of getting a chance to live out his dream and put out a successful album. Yet, like his mentor, Tate isn’t happy settling for second place and he pushed himself this week to try something different to reclaim the votes he lost last week. Covering Keith Urban’s “Somebody Like You,” Stevens hit the stage with a upbeat performance complete with his guitar. Stevens has always been talented, but tonight he looked like a star on the stage and could have easily been performing at his own concert. The message though was loud and clear; game on!
Young Adults – Mentor: Demi Lovato
Paige got roughed up last week and even got criticized by her mentor. This week she decided to fight back and shoot for that “it” moment that all the contestants know they need to have to break out in the competition. For Paige, that meant a big production number, but as her mentor correctly pointed out those numbers don’t benefit her and usually end with her polling towards the bottom of the pack. Lovato was dead-on in her advice, but Thomas was adamant in not doing a completely stripped down number. In the end, she decided on a mix of the two styles set to Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” and it worked. Simon Cowell said it best in that “this was the first time she looked and sounded like a real popstar.”
As mentioned below with Fifth Harmony, being completely brutalized by the judges will earn just about any contestant a bump in the ratings, but at most it buys them a week. Frey learned that last week as her voting totals came back down to Earth. Tonight CeCe came out swinging with a huge dance number set to “Lady Marmalade” from “Moulin Rouge.” While it was a good performance, it doesn’t look like the public is going to consistently back her and that means she’s probably not long for this competition. As L.A. Reid said, “she’s going down, but she’s going down fighting!”
Groups – Mentor: Simon Cowell
-Fifth Harmony (formally 1-4-3-2/The Lylas)
In a reality competition voted on by the public three things will normally always (temporarily) boost a contestant’s chances; being the last act of the night, being brutally maligned by the judges or being told heart-wrenching news on camera. For one of the members of Fifth Harmony, that last one was the case as Ally learned this week her grandfather had passed away. Singing Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger,” the girls banded together to support their friend, but the problem was despite the fitting nature of the song only one of the five was really showcasing her talents. It was like a group number without the full group. Yet because of somber backstory this week the judges were restrained in their comments, with the exception of Simon who (of course) believes it was their best performance ever. Still, expect a bump in the numbers this week for Fifth Harmony.
For the pop this boy band gets from the crowd every time they take the stage, they really should be polling higher, but for some reason can’t crack the top three. Getting to the close the show tonight was a great opportunity for them, however the selection of The Monkees’ “I’m A Believer,” just seemed odd, which was apparent to everyone but L.A and Simon. Yes these guys are talented and they probably will be the next big pop group regardless of how they finish, but I highly doubt something like “I’m A Believer” will be their first single.
That’s a wrap for tonight, but make sure to tune back in tomorrow night (locally on FOX 5 NY) at 8 p.m. EST for the results of America’s vote. In the meantime, don’t forget to subscribe to this column for everything “X Factor” and for full information on all the contestants you can visit the show’s official site at FOX.com.
Who are your favorites New York? Hit the comments and let us know.