I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but overall, the best performances of the night were from Fifth Harmony. Singing the exact same song in the exact same way two weeks in a row notwithstanding, the girls version of “Anything Can Happen” is one of the best performances of the season. “Give Your Heart a Break” was really entertaining and well sung, even if duet partner, Demi Lovato, tended to dominate the performance. And there were some great solo moments on “Let it Be,” although 5 girls singing solos does not a group song make.
There were a few caveats in that endorsement, weren’t there? That’s because it was a rather imperfect night of performances. Poor Carly really got shafted with the Leann Rimes duet. The country singer performed as if she were full of alcohol or cough syrup. Or maybe both. Did the duo even have time to rehearse? Carly was completely thrown off her game, hitting several wonky notes. It was a real shame, because her first song “Feeling Good” had loads of attitude when she was in her well rehearsed comfort zone. “Hallelujah” suffered by comparison to the loads of covers and reality show performances already out there. I will give Carly credit for checking the over singing this week. And she did manage to hit all of her big notes. But overall? Meh.
Tate Stevens is solid. He’s got a sweet recordable croon and knows his way around a country ballad. But he sang two slow songs tonight that I could barely distinguish. And I don’t think Little Big Town’s silly “Pontoon” song did him any favors. Tate is utterly generic and I’m not convinced he’s got star quality. But, as I said, he’s got a great recording voice. With some good songs, he may do well. I digress because Tate will probably take the win tomorrow. It will be interesting to see what Simon and Co. does with him.
Speaking of duet partners, I’d like to say once again that I DON’T believe super-star duets belong in the competition. They take the focus off of the contestants, and add too many variables outside of the finalists control. Let me say once again–poor Carly. Leann may have wrecked any chance she had of winning. If the young singer had a chance at all. Tate appeals to the demo that loves singing competitions and he’s been consistent and clear about who he is since day one. I think it’s a no brainer.
Simon Cowell makes a short statement about the Sandy Hook tragedy. Yep. The Top 13 contestants are singing a tribute. “You are Not Alone” by Michael Jackson. Well, this is nice. A children’s choir pops up near the end to sing along. The names of the victims are flashed behind the singers on the video screen. It’s not as intensely personal and emotional as The Voice tribute–which had the judges and contestants holding up placards of the victims names and ages. And I’m relieved, to be honest.
When did the “5 million dollar” prize turn into a “5 million dollar recording contract”? Hm. The winner will see only a fraction of that prize in real money.
Here come the X Factor judges and the finalists, preceded by a dancing drum line. Whee. This show is so over the top.
Next, it’s Khloe and Mario. Oh look. We’re going to the hometowns of each of the acts, American Idol style. Crowds are cheering. Gah. A two hour final means lots and lots and lots of time to kill.
Each act will have two phone numbers. First up, the finalists will be performing a favorite song from the competition.
Carly Rose Sonenclar – Britney Spears – Teens – “Feeling Good” – Carly auditioned with this number. I remember it well, because I was sitting in the audience in Providence going “HOLY CRAP”. I had a feeling she’d go far. Before Carly takes the stage we get an extended recap of her journey. She sounds amazing, just as she did the first time she performed this classic. Carly has a confidence tonight we have not seen in a while. She’s definitely in her comfort zone. LA says, “You have to top everything you’ve done…and you did.” Demi says, “You are going to inspire so many young girls to follow their dreams.” Simon says, “You sang it better tonight than you did the first time. I like your competitive spirit.” Britney says, “It’s shocking how bright your star is. We’re going to win this.” – Text Vote to 9301 – 1-855-843-9301 – 1-855-843-9304
Oh. Here’s the proud mayor of Westchester New York to declare today Carly Rose Sonenclar Day. She’s blown away!
Tate Stevems – LA Reid – Over 25s – “Anything Goes” by Randy Houser – More blah blah about how much he loves his family and all he’s given up to raise his kids. Tate says auditioning was his wife’s idea. “Everyone left in this competition are kids. They want to win. I need to win,” he says. Look at Simon bobbing his head. Such a country fan, he is. This is not my kinda thing, these big country weepers. But It’s right in his wheelhouse. I’m sure his fans loved it. Britney says, “When you do right down the middle country, you are right on.” Demi says, “You turned that performance into a stadium performance.” Simon says, “Demi, I’m agreeing with you. Tate, you are made in America. You’ve retained your integrity.” LA says, “I’m really proud of you. You haven’t changed.” – Text Vote to 9302 – 1-855-843-9302 – 1-855-843-9305
The party is at Tate’s old high school. Tate’s boss and the Mayor are in the house. Mayor McCheese announces that Tate’s name will be emblazoned across the town’s water tower. Even Scotty McCreery and Carrie Underwood can’t claim that honor, as cliched as it is.
Fifth Harmony – Simon Cowell – Groups – “Anything Can Happen” – Wait…they just sang this song? Last week. Chatting with the girls at his house, Simon claims that he remembers every single one of their auditions. One of them is sobbing on Simon’s couch. Let the hair braiding begin! Yes, the performance is the girls’ best of the season, but singing it again so soon is a little…tedious. But still a great performance. LA says, “It’s magical. I don’t know what to say.” Even LA’s comments are the same as last week. Although he does add that the group is the act to beat. Britney says, “Spectacular, girly, fun.” Demi says, “I really hope America pulls through and votes for you guys. Simon says, “These girls have made it happen. Maybe we aren’t going to win the competition. But I like being the underdog.” – Text Vote to 9303 – 1-855-843-9303 – 1-855-843-9306
Allie’s hometown has the honors. People are at her church, screaming unintelligibly.
Khloe promises a surprise. But it’s not a surprise. The top 3 are singing duets with singing stars.
Carly Rose Sonenclar and Leann Rimes – “How Do I Live Without You” – Since Carly is no country singer, this was pretty much the only song on the list for her. Carly kinda cheated on that high note, didn’t she? Is she having throat problem? . I hope Carly is taking a good hard look at Leann Rimes…as an object lesson of WHAT NOT TO TURN INTO. Wow. This sounds really unrehearsed and sloppy! Carly is actually choking and Leann isn’t helping. Is Leann drunk? Boy that was awkward. Britney calls it “shockingly amazing”. I’ll go with the first word and leave it at that. Poor Carly, stuck with a completely unsuitable duet partner. Congratulations Tate. You just won the X Factor.
Tate Stevens and Little Big Town – “Pontoon” – Would Tate really be singing a song like this in the real world? God, I hate stupid country songs about getting drunk, driving trucks/boats/motorcycles and getting laid or whatever. I don’t even have much to say about this performance, because I zoned out halfway through. Not a great song to showcase his talents. He’s lucky Carly didn’t nail her duet. LA says the new love of his life is country music. Sure.
Why do they keep calling these duets “surprises”? The duet partners have been announced several times in the press.
Fifth Harmony and Demi Lovato – “Give Your Heart a Break” – The girls already sang THIS song too, so there wasn’t much rehearsing involved. Plus I’m sure Demi made herself available to them. They got such a better deal than Carly. Simon gives them a standing ovation. Simon says, “Demi Lovato you were sensational.” Uh. How about your act, Simon? They were completely over shadowed by Demi, but the result was pretty fabulous.
One more song from each of the contestants. It’s their “5 million dollar song”
Carly Rose Sonenclar – “Halelujah” – NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. Gah. SO SICK OF THIS SONG. The kids choir is back to sing. Carly goes for the big note, which she hits this time at least. She’s having a moment here–I think. But I’m so burnt out on this song, I can’t even hear it. LA noted that she still managed to hit the big money notes without oversinging. That’s true, Carly was careful not to make the mistakes she made last week in her “Imagine” performance. Building slowly to the big note was the way to do it. Demi compliments her on her growth. Simon says, “You had a good night.” Britney says, “I think that song alone is worth 5 million bucks, so get out your checkbook Simon.”
Tate Stevens – “Tomorrow” by Chris Young – And Tate winds things up with another big ballad. It’s his sweet spot. He sings beautifully, and he finishes, near tears. But if I’m being honest, these big country power ballads all sound the same to me. Britney says, “I always enjoy what you do.” Demi says, “I’m almost crying.” Simon says, “You have represented this older category so well. In a year’s time we’re going to be hearing about your record sales. You had a really really really good night.” LA says, “I’m always proud of you.”
Some dude from his home town is yelling at the camera. He likes the word “buddy”. OMG. Look at this crazy woman with her body covered in puffy paint! She calls herself his “#1 fan”. These are the folks who will dial their fingers off to push Tate over the top.
Fifth Harmony – “Let it Be” by the Beatles – A few of the solos were gorgeous, but that was NOT A GROUP PERFORMANCE! The girls traded off solos and did not sing once together. Isn’t that cheating? LA says, “You did that song a lot of justice.” Britney says, “You have come a long way as a group.” Demi says, “I’m really proud of you.” Simon says, “I am more than proud. You are 5 great singers. I really do believe on the night that you deserve to win this competition.”
So what if Tate has a water tower with his name on it! In Allie’s hometown, there’s a pizza named after them!