I just finished watching last night’s X-Factor and the Top 4 Semi-finalists’ performances. Like last week, each contestant sang two songs – one chosen by the finalists and one chosen by their mentors. I feel like for the most part the performances were pretty predictable, to quote Demi – the great people were great, the good people were good, the boring people were boring. But just in case you can’t read between those lines, allow me to break it down for you.
Last night Tate Stevens opened the show with a song called Bonfire by Craig Morgan, a song he apparently loves because it brings back memories of all the amazing times he’s had with his friends back home and is the type of song he’d like to record someday. It was much rowdier than the ballads he typically sings and although a good performance, not his best vocal in my opinion. The judges commended him for his song choice, except for Brit who like me felt it wasn’t his best. Now, I’m not saying it wasn’t fun and that he doesn’t charm the pants off everyone watching, I’m just saying that vocally I don’t think the song fit him well and it was all a little… angry? I don’t know. I didn’t dig it.
In round two he sang Fall by Clay Walker which he dedicated to his wife, fittingly. It may be clichéd, but this is Stevens’ sweet spot and he needs to remember that. He is GOOD at romantic ballads of the hard working country boy persuasion. It was much more charming and endearing and frankly sounded better. I do hope that he makes it to the finals next week, he is my 2nd favorite of the contestants, and I would not hate to see him win, he surely deserves it. That said, I have to reiterate that I 100% agree with Brittany on his first performance, as fun as bonfires are.
Carly Rose Sonenclar sang some oldies but goodies in both rounds. Sometimes when a young person sings an older, more mature song, it comes off as odd and sort of Miss America for me – like they are trying to prove themselves to all the adults listening. But I find Carly Rose to be an old soul with a voice that fits these older ballads perfectly. Though she can hold her own with the Biebs and Rhianna, she does so by bringing that soulful maturity to younger songs and it always works because she is magic. So her singing Elton John and John Lennon this week fit like a glove and was as amazing as you’d expect.
In round one she sang Your Song by Elton John, a song her dad used to play all the time when she was growing up that she just loves. The judges all loved it except for Grumpy Mr. Cowell who told her simply that it wasn’t her best. I have to wonder if he was trying to throw her off her game competitively for the sake of his two groups who have been trailing behind Carly for weeks now. Even if it wasn’t her best, it was still better than anything either of his groups have done thus far.
In round two Brit asked her to sing Imagine by John Lennon which is always a risky move but one that’s been known to pay off in spades (David Archuleta). Simon was hard on her again in this round, saying it was too fussy. I will admit that she did a LOT with this song, pulling all the stops. But I think that it was a smart move to remind America, in case they’d somehow forgotten, that this child can sing notes that are unreal. I actually quite liked the arrangement but then, I might be biased at this point.
So Emblem 3 continue to make tween girls across America swoon with their Unemployed Beach-rat Bedhead Vibe and though I am sure I liked them at some point, I’m struggling to remember why now. I ate a bag of chips while listening to their first performance, Peter Frampton’s Baby, I Love Your Way and when I realized that the loud crunch of the chips was kind of blocking out the performance, I decided that I didn’t care and kept eating chips. I mean, it’s not that they sound bad or anything, it’s just that it’s all feeling really redundant and tired already and they haven’t even put out an album yet. I get it, you’re from California. You can sort of sing and you ooze charisma and a can do attitude. But you don’t sing that well, certainly not as well as other contestants and also one of your members almost never sings at all.
In round two the boys took on Beatles classic, Hey Jude. Simon made a big deal about how the youngest Emblem boy needed to really nail that final frantic “Judey Judey” bit near the end and they all stressed out over that a lot, but then when he finally sang it the tween girls in the audience kind of over screamed him and you couldn’t really hear it and it’s honestly just as well because from what I could hear it was a bit underwhelming. The judges sang their praises though while I wished I had more potato chips. I will be shocked if they get sent home though because somebody told American girls everywhere to find them attractive.
Fifth Harmony closed the show and everyone collectively made it really clear that they are a long shot to win this thing and should just be grateful they’ve been given one more week. Even their song choices of Ellie Goulding’s Anything Could Happen and Impossible by Shontelle seem to be saying everything. They are a long shot, but hey, anything could happen right? The thing is, these girls are all talented (especially Camila Cabello – the voice on that girl is amazing) and though capable of harmonizing together and all clearly nice girls that get along well, I still don’t buy them as being a major girl group worth $50,000 let alone $5 million.
Tonight the Top 3 contestants will be revealed. Best of luck to all of them, may the best performers be chosen and may the rest go on to live happy, healthy lives somewhere else.