Results night on “X Factor” and our head’s spinning with questions.
Which two contestants will each judge/mentor pick from his/her team to go through, which two will have to “sing for survival,” and who will get sent packing?
Will Chief Judge Simon “Plumpy” Cowell take to openly eating ice cream during performances to assuage his nerves about the show ratings – last night’s show having only TIED the bajillionth rerun of “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.”
Will Associate Judge Demi Lovato continue her attack on Plumpy for being old and out of touch with the music industry? Maybe she’ll present him with a poster of Boy George?
Will Executive Vice Judge LA Reid continue to tell his mentorees to plug their ears to all constructive criticism by the other judges because they’re just haters?
Will the Child Protective Services Agency step in to protect the show’s 13-year old X-testants from the bad song choices, bad costuming, and bad staging choices of Associate Judge Britney Spears?
Will Ko-Host Khloe Kardashian Odom wear any more peek-a-boo blouses in her ongoing attempt to upstage Co-Host Mario Lopez?
We can answer that one straight off. Khloe arrives in a blue pleather minidress.
Demi starts the culling of the herd, sending fashionista Paige White to safety, along with Joan Jett-alike Jenel Garcia.
That leaves a sing-off between CeCe Frey, who gave a messy performance last night while made up as a tropical fish, and Willie Jones, who didn’t live up to his promise as the young old-school country singer who happens to be black.
CeCe gives a very tremulous version of “Out Here On My Own” and looks close to falling apart. But, doesn’t she always, in a pinch?
The judges love her. Brit: “Last night you had an identity crisis. You were trying to be Ke$ha. Tonight you pulled through.”
Willie Jones sings the Eddie Arnold tune made famous by Ray Charles, “You Don’t Know Me” and it’s just okay, which is a pity because, he had he a real mentor, he could have done something with it. Not looking good for Willie.
“You need someone who understands what to do with your voice,” says Plumpy. We agree.
After appropriate squints and pauses to draw out the tension, Demi sends Willie home. Is it just me, or does Demi look very Olivia DeHaviland in “The Heiress” tonight?
Next for judgement: The Over-25’s -- LA Reid’s team.
LA starts with an apology to Jason Brock, marred only by his apparent forgetting of Jason’s name.
“If I’m to be honest, the song choice that I gave uh uh Jason, I think I failed you, because you can sing much better than that. “
No apology, however, for dressing Jason up like Liberace.
LA sends to safety the hulking Vino Alan, who gave a muddled performance the previous night, but is interesting enough to deserve a second choice. And, no surprise here, he also saves the last remaining country soloist, the likeable Tate Stevens.
So that leaves David Correy pitted against Jason.
David is a passable singer but so hokes it up with crouches, bends and abdominal clenching that it’s like watching a painful pilates workout, not the deep emotional sincerity David thinkS he’s projecting.
Brit likes him, but Demi calls it “way too forced” and Plump agrees it was “a little bit melodramatic,” while attributing David’s contortions to real emotional engagement.
Bring out a toned down Jason Brock in a black and grey outfit to sing “One Moment In Time” by Whitney Houston. He’s certainly a better singer than David.
Brit and Demi are complimentary. Not so Plumpy, who says asking him to choose between these two is like “asking me to judge two horses who are going to come in last in a race.”
“Do I go with Mr. Entertainment or do I go with the star?” LA Reid wonders out loud. Apparently LA has decided Jason isn’t Liberace – he’s Wayne Newton. Anyway, LA surprisingly goes with Mr. Entertainment, aka Jason.
Teen time. Britney saves Beatrice Miller and Carly Rose Sonnenclar, both 13 and both talented singers, despite Brit’s efforts last night to stretch them in all the wrong directions.
So Arin Ray, 17, who got bounced last year from X-Factor as a member of a pickup group, will sing against Diamond White, the bouncy little 13-year-old.
Arin is a good enough looking guy who almost sings well, and seems to coast along more on audience expectations than reality. And so it goes again, with his performance of Whitney Houston’s “I Look to You”
Nonethless, the judges rave.
“I think the girls in this audience are screaming for you,” says Demi.
Simon calls it “a great performance.”
Diamond White takes on Elton John’s “Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word” and we’re reminded of what was so interesting about her during auditions – her cuteness contrasted with her surprisingly sophisticated musical song choices and takes.
LA: “You gave me chill bumps.”
Demi: “I saw the soul and fire behind your eyes.”
Plumpy: “I don’t think either should leave the competition.
But leave one must – and Britney chooses appearance over talent, and saves Arin. Too bad because the most interesting three singers in the competition were the three 13-year-olds, and that would have been a competition show to watch.
So, on to Groups.
Simon saves Emblem3, who seem to be shaping up as the overall favorite of the competition, and rappers Lyric 145. He pits SisterC, the country sister act from Texas, against the pickup group 1432, formed by pooling five rejected soloists.
SisterC is compelling on Miley Cyrus’s “When I Look At You” – interesting voices and they seem to have left behind the knock that they’re “too distant.”
“I feel you guys really want this and have the eye of the tiger,” says Brit.
1432 makes a political choice, performing Demi’s own “Like A Skyscraper,” mostly as a series of solos. It’s like speed dating; before we can focus on one, another one pops into view. Overall, it’s pleasant enough, if confusing.
Demi is gracious: “I don’t know who that song is by, but regardless, you did better than the original singer.”
Plumpy looks grim. We go to commercial to give him time to collect his thoughts.
To SisterC he says, “there’s a lot in this competition we can do together” and to 1432 he says “we had a bit of a wobble last night” so we think we know where he’s going. But no, he sends the sisters home.
So there it is America: your final 12, and you didn’t even have to vote.
Except one last thing. Simon had apparently made up his mind to send home SisterC and hang on to 1432, before the results show even started — to gin up some traffic for the show’s Web site. Simon announces he’s decided the group name “1432” has got to go. The pickup group is going to get yet another name change, only this time the public gets to submit suggestions, on the show website (where traffic must be lagging). Cast your vote now at www.plumpy-needs-a-name.com!