The X-Factor: The Final Four Showdown- Live Blog and Discussion

Join me here tonight for some X-Factor. I’m back this week. 8PM.

Who will make the finals? Alex and Sierra? Restless Road? Jeff Gutt? Carlito Olivero?

I honestly didn’t think this would be the final four. Alex and Sierra is the only act that deserves to be here. That being said, Carlito might be able to have some radio play, with the right producer. Restless Road won’t be accepted by country music fans, the same way they shunned Tate Stevens. I can’t believe this show is 2 hours long…

Personally, I would rather have seen the finals be Alex and Sierra, Josh Levi, Ellona Santiago, and Lillie, I suppose.

Anything could happen. Last season, Emblem3 went home at this stage.

1) Carlito Olivero- Boyfriend by Justin Bieber
His package is his whole journey so far on the show. He’s been in the bottom a few times, so he’s aware that he needs to fight for the top 3. I think it’s surprising that Paulina got someone to the top 4, who wasn’t Josh Levi. He raps the first part. He has to bring swag to a Justin Bieber song. He brings a girl on stage into a chair. She seems really happy. I think girls like him, which is probably why he’s still around. If we’re talking about “pop stars”, Carlito is a viable pop star. I don’t hate that he’s in the finals, I just wish he was Josh Levi. That being said, this is a good performance. Even if his falsetto isn’t as strong as he probably wishes it was. He dances a bit with Kelly. Great song choice for him. America got it right. Kelly is so proud of him, and has been waiting for that all season. Demi says he has star quality, and has the X-Factor. Simon can tell that Carlito is here to get into the finals and isn’t messing around. Simon says he’s nervous. Paulina says the girls received the message.

My Grade: B+

To vote for Carlito:
You can vote online at THEXFACTORUSA.COM until 10AM PT THURSDAY, and you can vote up to 50 TIMES.
You can also use the X-Factor USA app (voting is counted alongside the online voting)
You can text 2 to 21523
You can call 1-855-THE XF 02 (lines open only for two hours)
You can also vote using SHAZAM.

2) Restless Road- That’s My Kind Of Night by Luke Bryan
Simon pronounces them like he’s “country”, and it’s ridiculous. I wish these boys were stronger soloists. They’re getting more comfortable on stage, but when you put it in perspective that this is the final four, this just doesn’t seem to be on par with that level. They don’t have the stage presence that Carlito has. Last year, Simon lost a group at this stage, and I can’t help but think Restless Road will go the way of Emblem3. Then again, we still have Jeff Gutt. Kelly says it was fun to watch. Demi says it didn’t do it for her. Paulina says she’s a big fan, but says that Zack and Colton need to match the other guys level. Simon acknowledges shaky vocals, and says the final would not be the same without them.

My Grade: C+

To vote for Restless Road:
You can vote online at THEXFACTORUSA.COM until 10AM PT THURSDAY, and you can vote up to 50 TIMES.
You can also use the X-Factor USA app (voting is counted alongside the online voting)
You can text 10 to 21523
You can call 1-855-THE XF 10 (lines open only for two hours)
You can also vote using SHAZAM!

3) Alex and Sierra- Little Talks by Of Monsters and Men
If these guys don’t win… I don’t know why they subtitled her mom. I completely understood her. They just stand on stage, no instruments, and sing. It’s really cool. I agree that this is the kind of song they would do. There’s something almost TOO subdued about their choices, like they didn’t take this song seriously. The problem is that Alex and Sierra have set the bar so high for themselves, that this seems like a disappointment, even though it was really good. Kelly says they just killed it. Demi says she uses their songs as her alarm clock. Alex retorts “I always dreamed of you waking up to us.” LULZ. Demi think they are going to win. Paulina says they have a huge space in the music industry. Simon says they are making records, and says they are one of the best contestants he’s worked with in a long time.

My Grade: B+

To vote for Alex and Sierra:
You can vote online at THEXFACTORUSA.COM until 10AM PT THURSDAY, and you can vote up to 50 TIMES.
You can also use the X-Factor USA app (voting is counted alongside the online voting)
You can text 1 to 21523
You can call 1-855-THE XF 01 (lines open only for two hours)
You can also vote using SHAZAM!

4) Jeff Gutt- Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen
Jeff is singing his audition song from last year. He has a son. He’s super excited to do this for his son. I did not know he had a son. Why didn’t X-Factor tell me? He starts on his knees center stage. This is a pretty overdone song, but I’ll give him a pass since America actually voted for this. They chose to hear this song covered one more time. There are five verses to this, and its interesting to hear which ones he chose to sing. He actually skipped my favorite verses (which are a little less kid-friendly). He gets a standing O from the judges. Honestly, this is probably his best performance of the season. It’s really hard to hate this. Demi thinks Jeff will fight against Alex and Sierra in the finals. Demi says this is her favorite cover of this song. Paulina thinks he did amazing and he made it into his own. Simon says it was one of the best versions he’s ever heard because it had absolute sincerity and passion.

My Grade: A-

To vote for Jeff Gutt:
You can vote online at THEXFACTORUSA.COM until 10AM PT THURSDAY, and you can vote up to 50 TIMES.
You can also use the X-Factor USA app (voting is counted alongside the online voting)
You can text 5 to 21523
You can call 1-855-THE XF 05 (lines open only for two hours)
You can also vote using SHAZAM!

1) Carlito Olivero vs Alex and Sierra- Falling Slowly
Sorry, Carlito. This song was made for Alex and Sierra. Seriously, are you kidding? I can’t believe Carlito was thrown under this bus. This song is originally a duet. That being said, I actually think Carlito is doing a commendable job. It’s a little more nasal than he usually is. I feel like Alex and Sierra just slayed a very small dragon though, like it was nothing. I’ve been waiting to hear them do this, and it was fantastic. Paulina loves them both, but thinks Carlito did it better. Simon is really happy that everyone is fighting, thought Carlito did well, but Sierra stole the song. Kelly thought Alex and Sierra were pitchy in the beginning, but thought everyone was amazing, back and forth. Demi thought it was Carlito’s best vocal. Demi thought it was Sierra’s best vocal.

My Grade for Alex and Sierra: A+
My Grade for Carlito: B+

2) Jeff Gutt vs Restless Road- Every Breath You Take
This song is suited for Jeff. Jeff says he’s been performing as long as Restless Road has been alive. LOL. Jeff opens the song perfectly. I actually don’t hate Restless Road on this. This song is just perfect for Jeff. It’s not Restless Road’s fault. I like this better than their song earlier. Jeff is having a very good night. Restless Road comes across as Jeff’s backup singers. Kelly thought they were both being good, but that Jeff killed it. Simon likes that Restless Road kept to their roots, and begs America to vote for them. Paulina thinks they were terrific, and gives the edge to Jeff. Demi says Restless Road’s look was on point. She liked the country take on it. But she thought Jeff had better vocals and stole the performance.

My Grade for Jeff: A-
My Grade for Restless Road: B

It’s like the producers want the final two to be Jeff and Alex and Sierra.

Second Solo Set

1) Carlito Olivero- I Need To Know by Marc Anthony
Carlito is reminding us he’s a latin artist. He sings a verse in Spanish. I really dig the staging, and I think Carlito is killing the vocals. It’s funny how this song is over 10 years old, and sounds like it could still be on the radio right now. Demi judges him in Spanish. She thought he sounded great. Simon thought it was a singing act and a magic act at the same time. He wants to know where to buy those speakers. He thought the song was perfect for Carlito. Simon says he’s had the best week he’s had so far in the competition. I think Simon realizes that the 3rd act will be either Carlito or Restless Road, and he doesn’t want to overpraise Carlito.

My Grade: A-

2) Restless Road- Wanted by Hunter Hayes
OK. Colton’s solo at the beginning? Best Vocal Restless Road Has Ever Had. They have pitch problems later, but Colton is totally on point for once. Colton should get some vocal training and re-compete next year as a solo act. Actually, Andrew’s solo was on point too. The other guy though? No. This is my favorite Restless Road performance, I think, ever. I know people hate them, but this was a really smart choice to end the night for them. If they sang like that all season, we’d be talking about a different Restless Road. They got a standing O from the judges. Kelly comments on Zach and Andrew’s vocals being strong. Demi says this was comfortable and confident. Demi thinks they saved themselves with this performance, and calls it incredible. Paulina says they finally had an amazing vocal. Simon says this is the kind of record they should make. Simon begs for America to vote for them again.

My Grade: A-

3) Alex and Sierra- Gravity by Sara Bareillas
Alex’s opening vocals are beautiful. I would buy their album. They’ve got me. Their chemistry sells the song. This is so different from their first song. They are really in it. This is going to rocket up Itunes. Perfection. Standing O. Kelly wipes tears away from her eyes. Kelly says they sound incredible, but what she loved the most has been watching Sierra blossom as a performer. Demi was crying too. She says they sang it flawless. She’s looking at stars. Paulina says they have the X-Factor. Simon says it was raw and subtle and wants to bottle the last 10 seconds of the song and have it for the rest of his life.

My Grade: A+

4) Jeff Gutt- Demons by Imagine Dragons
Jeff has had a really good night. When I started tonight, I didn’t want him in the finals. I do now. I think he earned his place tonight. This song is a little more current, and it shows that Jeff might be able to do some stuff on the radio right now. This has been a really good night, largely because it was void of a theme. When they stop giving horrific themes, the artists really get to shine. He’s a little shaky on the vocals. I think he’s pushing it more than he needs to. It’s not quite Hallelujah, but it’s still a great effort. Demi says it is his time now, but addresses the pitchy parts of the song. Paulina says Kelly did a great job here. Simon says it was an incredible song and an incredible performance. Simon says it was the best show they’ve ever had. Kelly cries as she says she’s enjoyed being his mentor. Jeff says he never could have done it without Kelly.

My Grade: B+

MY GRADES (and further rankings):
1) Alex and Sierra- Gravity- A+
2) Alex and Sierra- Falling Slowly- A+
3) Jeff Gutt- Hallelujah- A-
4) Restless Road- Wanted- A-
5) Jeff Gutt- Every Breath You Take- A-
6) Carlito Olivero- I Need To Know- A-
7) Carlito Olivero- Boyfriend- B+
8) Jeff Gutt- Demons- B+
9) Carlito Olivero- Falling Slowly- B+
10) Alex and Sierra- Little Talks- B+
11) Restless Road- Every Breath You Take- B
12) Restless Road- That’s My Kind Of Night- C+

That’s it. Who will make the finale? It’s really close. I’m guessing that Alex and Sierra and Jeff have both done enough, but Carlito and Restless Road are battling for that last spot. Then again, this show has sent home some strong acts much earlier than they should have gone.

If X-Factor comes back next season, I hope they keep Kelly. I think she was a great addition to the panel. I’d still swap out Paulina.

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Contributor to EIC of, Contributor at Holds a BA in Film from the University of Central Florida.