Last night the Top 6 performers / groups on The X Factor performed two songs apiece : one was a hit song that they performed an unplugged, quasi-acoustic version of. The second was a song and performance tailored by the fans as part of the Pepsi Challenge. Viewers were able to vote for the song as well as their appearance and key elements to the performance.
I really like feel like week separated the singers from the stars. Some performers absolutely nailed it and others … did okay. In my opinion little Carly Rose Sonenclar had undoubtedly the best performances of the night and if we’re going to be real here, she has the best voice in the competition. Her performance of Justin Bieber’s “As Long as You Love Me” was flawless and beautiful and yes definitely better than the original. In round two America voted for Beyonce’s “If I Were a Boy,” and she did a beautiful job with this as well. Carly is one of the most consistent singers in this competition and I would be shocked if we don’t see her in the Final 2.
Tate Stevens would be my choice for the other half of that Final 2. Not only is he another very consistently good performer, but I think we all emotionally want to see him finally make it with his music career. This man is what X Factor is all about and I would be so happy for him if he won. His vocals are worthy of the prize and he definitely has a quiet kind of Star Power that is very appealing. He’s not showy or conceited, he is just talented and hard working and just confident enough to get the job done. He did a very good job with Bon Jovi’s “Living on a Prayer” and while it wasn’t his best performance it was still better than a lot of the other contestants and his version of “If Tomorrow Never Comes” by Garth Brooks was perfect and perfectly in his wheelhouse.
Everyone else in my opinion did good in some areas, okay in others and possibly awful. My third place vote this week would go to Miss Diamond White, a contestant that I was sure would blow us away week to week way back in the auditions. When she harnesses her abilities she is absolutely amazing. Her first performance of James Brown’s “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World” was absolutely magical – she put it all on the line and it paid off in a big way. Her Pepsi Challenge performance of Rihanna’s “Diamonds” was less good but perhaps that is because I don’t personally like the song.
Okay, let’s talk Emblem 3. Demi Lovato was pretty hard on them last night and despite Simon Cowell’s rebuttals (though when has any of the judges been hard on their mentees, honestly?) I have to say that I agree with Demi. Emblem 3 has a nice little niche in the surfer rock sound which barely exists these days, but when taken out of their comfort zone of “devil may care / we don’t have to have nice vocals to have fun” universe, I really feel they fall flat. America will no doubt vote for them because “America” is really a bunch of twelve year old girls who seem to have decided that these boys are cute. I don’t get it, but then I’m hardly their demographic.
The thing is, I really liked Emblem 3 when they first auditioned and they have had some good moments on the show, but I think they have plateaued in a big way and that neither Bruno Mars’ “Just the Way You Are” nor Alphaville’s “Forever Young” rendered them a very good performance. The twelve year olds of America likely disagree with me on this, but that’s just something I’ll have to live with.
Fifth Harmony attempted “Set Fire to the Rain” by Adele for their first song choice and frankly fell flat. It was one of those performances that just had me wishing they’d stop singing and give the song back to it’s owner. L.A. Reid was not wrong to criticize their lack of Harmony and one of the judges (Brit or Demi) commented that a few of the members of this factory assembled girl group would do better with a solo career. They weren’t wrong. That said, in round two they came back swinging with a beautifully harmonized rendition of Demi Lovato’s own “Give Your Heart a Break” proving that they do have what it takes, they just haven’t quite figured out how to unleash it consistently. Which to me says, “They might have a future but they aren’t ready for the grand prize yet.”
Cece Frey was the opposite for me. I absolutely adored her slowed down rendition of Lady Gaga’s “Edge of Glory” – it was one of her strongest vocal performances in awhile now and though I still don’t know if I buy that “I’m a nice girl I swear, look I erased the cheetah print” routine, I enjoyed the song and thought the judges were oddly critical of it. Was it as good as little Carly Rose? Not even a little bit – but it was arguably one of the better performances of the night. In round two America requested that she sing Katy Perry’s “Part of Me” while wearing the most ridiculous eye sore of an outfit that I’ve ever seen and yup look, the cheetah spots are back. So was her attitude but unfortunately her vocal abilities took a nap while she bitched the audience and judges out in song. It all felt like a Swan Song to me, as though even she knew she was saying good bye.
Of course if she says goodbye tonight or not remains to be seen but I would predict Cece and Fifth Harmony hitting the road tonight and I’m hoping that the X Factor Voters continue to support Carly Rose and Tate Stevens. But that’s just my less than humble opinion! What did you think of last night’s performances? Who do you love? Who do you hate?