Eight X-survivors perform tonight; two will go home Thursday night, explains “The X Factor” host Mario Lopez with an assist Khloe Kardashian Odom, who is shaping up as the most wonderfully awkward reality competition show host ever.
First up: adorable Diamond White, who ranked No. 5 in last week’s voting, and one of two surviving 13-year-olds in this year’s competition. She does a barely passable job with Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.” Whose stage inspiration was it to wheel a 13-year-old girl around on a jungle gym while scantily clad adult women jostle each other? Anyway, Diamond’s dazzling smile pulls her through.
“You are gunning for No. 1,” Supreme Judge Simon Cowell tells her; the other, lesser judges make similar noises.
Hulking, tattoo vehicle Vino Alan comes out to do his impression of a nightclub bouncer with a slipped disk, hunching his way around the stage on “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling”. The song plods along.
“I feel like it’s the same thing with you every week,” says Usually Compassionate Judge Britney Spears. Simon and 18-24 Demographic Judge Demi Lovato are also negative. Vino’s mentor, the show’s Bespoke Judge, LA Reid says the other judge/mentors are only trying to knock Vino out of the competition. Vino ranked No. 3 in viewer voting last week with an equally plodding version of “God Bless the USA,” except last week he had a video backdrop/travelogue pictures of American landscapes to provide much needed visual relief.
Fashion model-esque Paige Thomas, who came in at No. 6 last week, dressed in simple jeans and leather jacket, rather than her usual Vogue fashion shoot outtake outfits. It adds much needed credibility, and somehow makes her sound better too, on “Never Gonna Give You Up” by Rick Astley.
“This is the first time you have looked and sounded like a legitimate pop star,” observes Judge Supreme Simon.
Fifth Harmony, the girl group molded by Simon, sings Kelly Clarkson’s “What Doesn’t Kill You” like a bunch of backup singers vamping when the lead singer misses her cue.
Judge LA Reid disses them for lack of harmony and originality. “The energy got sucked out because you didn’t move around,” adds Demi.
Simon, however, insists they were “fantastic.”
Carly Rose Sonnenclar, the 13 year-old with the preternaturally mature voice, finally hit No. 1 in the voting last week, which only stands to reason given that she’s in a whole other competition than the rest of the X-testants.
Last week she managed to make “Over The Rainbow” not scream Judy Garland night at the karaoke bar, even while dressed as a Lullaby League Munchkin attending a birthday party.
This week judge/mentor Britney has wisely chosen a more age-appropriate outfit for Carly Rose.
Carly takes on Adele’s “Rolling In The Deep” and again, she manages to wrest the tune from the singer with whom it is so closely associated, giving it her own pacing, and a more bluesy turn.
The judges heap praise on her. LA says it was not her best performance, but even her second best is better than everyone else’s best. Simon drags back out the must-be-an-alien gag about her, which is getting so old it’s starting to curl up around the edges.
Once ranked No. 1, but last week bumped to No. 2, country singer Tate Stevens looks like he’s having a great time singing Keith Urban’s “Somebody Like You.” Moving his bulk around the stage with a guitar mostly slung over his back for effect, he even does a little two-step. He doesn’t have a particularly distinctive voice by country standards but he’s likeable, and apparently gets points for dedicating all his songs to his wife.
“One day when I get married I want my husband to love me as much as you love your wife,” says Demi.
“I think that might be a tall order,” Simon snipes.
“At least I’ll get married one day, “ snaps Demi.
“You don’t think I will?” says Simon, defensively.
“This is about Tate,” snarls Demi.
From “likeable,” we move on to, well, Cece Frey.
Personally, we love the aura of barely concealed desperation that clings to Cece. Tonight is Cece’s maddest outing yet: “Voulez Vous Coucher Avec Moi,” staged as a floorshow in a New Orleans brothel around the year 1900.
Cece is dressed as a Victorian lampshade carrying a parasol. She may have been singing, too -- we didn’t notice.
“My advice tonight is pack a suitcase,” says Simon.
Roll tape on a music video starring Britney and will.i.am for their new single “Scream and Shout.” Why is Britney singing with a phony English accent? This truly Brit Brit is a head scratcher. Fortunately, Brit Brit does hardly any singing. Sadly, Brit Brit does hardly any dancing either. It’s really will.i.am’s vehicle, with Brit Brit tagging along.
Emblem3, Simon’s high hope to get a new commercial boy band out of this season, winds up the show. Always some anticipation here—how will Simon further break their spirit, pouring heaps of artificial sweetener on the kinda surfer-street vibe with which they started?
We hear the first strains of music and …No, it can’t be. Simon wouldn’t actually go so far as to send them to cover 60’s made-for-TV boy band The Monkees’ “I’m A Believer”?
The Emblem 3 guys look as though they aren’t even waiting for tomorrow morning to hate themselves.
Demi calls it right: “I’m a 20 year old girl and those boys have lost their spark.”
The guys begin trying to salvage their cred, shouting at her that they have their own original music nobody’s heard yet, and each plays an instrument.
“And I’ve sold over 300 million records, sweetheart,” Simon hisses at Demi, not sensing how much that makes him sound like the irrelevant geezer that Demi had just needled him about being.
“You guys have turned into real pop stars,” Simon tells the guys, smugly.