Once The X Factor's Top 16 contestants were revealed, ongoing Power Rankings seemed like a natural fit for our coverage of the Simon Cowell-produced crooning contest. After all, every singing competition series since the dawn of Pop Idol has carefully guarded the rankings determined by audience voting results, typically via the tried-and-true elimination practice of only revealing the bottom two contestants and forcing them to sing for survival.
"Well, not anymore!" said The X Factor this week. Yes, the singing-for-survival thing is still true, but on Thursday the show decided to reveal the complete order of how America voted after Wednesday's performances. Jason Brock was eliminated just as we suspected he would be (sorry, Mr. Entertainment!). And finally—and perhaps most importantly—we learned *exactly* what kind of music fans are watching this show along with us.
Updated Power Rankings (Now officially reflective of America's vote, with our take on what the country's tastes have brought to the table)
See last week's power rankings here.
12. Cece Frey
It's been a stunning fall from grace for Cece as her "Eye of the Tiger" performance on Wednesday was clearly despised by America. And the judges didn't even enjoy her much stronger sing-off performance enough to give her the majority of the votes (L.A. and Britney voted for Jason, somehow). As a result, Cece survived only because more viewers voted for her. In fairness, only Jason Brock's immediate family and high school theater director voted for him, but it was still a very bad sign for Cece's future on the show.
11. Arin Ray
On Wednesday night he sang "American Boy" and it turns out he can rap a little, dipping into Kanye West's part of the duo. Who woulda thunk it? The performance was a big step up from last week. L.A. loved it. Demi was speechless. Simon: "Big, big difference." But America? Less enthusiastic, with a #11 ranking.
10. Beatrice Miller
She sang "Iris" by the Goo Goo Dolls on Wednesday night, a song that Emblem3 had previously take n a shot at. Her scratchy voice added a little something different and the crowd really seemed into it. Demi jumped on board with support immediately: "No matter what song you're singing, I know that I can connect to you."
9. Lyric 145
On Wednesday they went with a song from Mary Poppins, and yes, you read that correctly: It was "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" remixed to hell. Inventive and trippy. Entertaining, even. We'd work out to it, at least. Demi: "You guys got me so hyped." Simon: "Bloody fantastic." But as the ranking shows, The X Factor likely doesn't have many hip-hop friendly viewers.
8. Paige Thomas
It has to be the Rihanna resemblence that is still powering Paige Thomas at this point because Demi's ridiculous staging is not doing her any favors. She sang "Take My Breath Away" on Wednesday and the judges were consistent with their coaching. L.A: Good, but "you're capable of great." Simon wanted more out of the performance. A dance song transition. "You don't want to make this into a karaoke competition."
7. Jennel Garcia
The rankings really took an interesting turn here, as we fully expected Jennel to be in close competition with Carly Rose for America's teenage vote. She took on a Joan Jett song this week. Demi is *really* amping up the sex appeal and we didn't think Jennel would pull it off, but this week's performance just worked, at least for us and Britney: "Hot. hot. hot." The judges, however, were not amused. L.A. didn't see the originality; he said it felt like a Joan Jett parody. And Simon didn't like the new look, requesting that Jennel return to fun and charming. "You are better than this."
Because Emblem3 is a Simon creation, they tackled a mashup, which Simon can't get enough of this year. This time it was "My Girl" into "California Gurls" with a little surfer rap thrown in. L.A.: "I hate perfection." And Demi ripped Simon for throwing in a tease of a One Direction song because they're an easy comparison.
5. Fifth Harmony
The group formerly known as LYLAS and 1432 became "Fifth Harmony" on Wedneday night and sang a Christina Perri song. As we predicted, the group has become Camilla Cabello's; this week she sat center chair and started off the song with a solo. When the rest of the grouped joined in, they really did harmonize. Britney: "This week from last week, it's just night and day." Demi: "Wasn't crazy about the arrangement of the song, but I loved the vocals on it."
4. Diamond White
No, you aren't crazy. She was eliminated last week, but her exit turned out to be brief because the judges (read: Simon) determined that a mistake had been made. So this week, Diamond and her adorable child (don't underestimate the Kiddo Wild Card) reentered the competition. On Wednesday she wore a white suit and tackled Whitney Houston's "I Have Nothing." There've been a ton of Whitney songs this year, but Diamond hit some impressive notes. L.A.: "Amibitious song choice. But you know you brought it, girl." Demi: "Trying not to cry." Britney: "You channeled Whitney."
3. Vino Alan
We had Vino way back at #9 in last week's rankings, but it turns out America really has a soft spot for head tattoos. Either way, we really did love Vino's take on "When A Man Loves a Woman." Simple. Classy. Showed off his range. Simon: "You went from zero to hero in one week." He had been calling for Vino to be a soul singer from day one and L.A. finally listened. Simon even defended Vino's marketability to Demi, bringing up the previously unmarketable Susan Boyle as his prime example.
2. Carly Rose Sonneclar
We've always had her at #1 in our rankings, and she seemed generally shocked to be beaten out by the old man. Expect her to double down on that moment where she almost broke into tears at the end of her song on Wednesday night. The girl knows what works. Britney said it best: "I feel like you should have closed the show, because no one can follow that."
1. Tate Stevens
Well geez, America, you really DO like country music right now, don't you? Tate couldn't really believe it either and we're afraid this #1 ranking might end up being a curse, as the guy hasn't exactly been the best at dealing with pressure so far. Wednesday's performance set him apart; he sang "Wanted Dead or Alive" and it *was* pretty solid, but we really didn't see country music topping The X Factor's charts. Britney: "You definitely are a true cowboy." Simon: "Tonight it actually feels like you've arrived back in this competition."
Eliminated: Jason Brock
Jason went for a song from Space Jam. Great album, sure, but "I Believe I can Fly" didn't exactly show off any new talents from Jason. Britney: "Feels like a Vegas lounge act." Demi: "Predictable. Cabaret." Simon: "The way that you're dressed, you look like a singer in an Italian restaurant." Sorry, Jason. Better luck next year.
"Let's do it live!" Our favorite judge and host moments this week...
– The screaming announcer is back! But why?!
– Mario Lopez is calling girls "sweetie" a lot this year. He may be overcompensating after Jason Brock's groping incident last week.
– Speaking of that incident, Jason Brock left the show in a memorable way, stating he "did it for the gays... and Japan." Also, while squeezing Mario's shoulder: "I'm keeping my hands to myself this week, Mario."
– Why does Simon never pay attention to the hosts? On at least three occasions, Mario asked a question and Simon had to have him repeat it.
– Simon and Demi have battled back and forth the last two weeks over song choice and performance elements. Their spat over Jennel's image was perhaps the most interesting, though, as Demi could easily submarine a strong contender if she continues to insist on her style choices.
1. Do you like knowing the exact ranking of America's voting?
2. Do you think that viewers knowing the ranking will affect how they vote going forward?
3. Likewise, do you think that with the singers knowing the ranking, will it affect them going forward?
4. Will Cece make it past next week?