We're changing things up on you again, but in fairness, we're dealing with the constantly changing rules of The X Factor. Tonight's show will apparently eliminate two contestants. We're not sure why, but we've decided to highlight the best moments from the last night's far more exciting performance episode instead of waiting to watch tonight's much slower Thursday elimination show.
Let's dive right in...
Updated Power Rankings
See last week's power rankings here.
12. Cece Frey - Cece closed the show on Wednesday, because if she's going to get eliminated, The X Factor is going to make sure she's the focus. We were treated to some great footage of her breakdown following last week's near elimination. Her family was back home in Illinois, one of the few families that didn't make the trip to Los Angeles as a result of the cost. There were a few carefully edited moments that were clearly part of the Cece Rehabilitation Tour—a final attempt to earn some sympathy. The producers have re-established her as an underdog, despite our high expectations going into the live show.
Cece went with "All By Myself" by Celine Dion, and Demi gave her some assistance via a glamour wind tunnel, but she definitely missed some notes at the end. L.A. apparently didn't like her dress, and said so in an attempt to maintain his crown as the sassiest judge. Demi took offense, and Britney followed with, "Sorry, I just don't get it." Which led to the night's best moment as L.A. shot back with, "Say something to Britney. You've got so much lip..." Awkward pause. Demi: "Nobody talks to the queen." Simon of course broke the awkwardness by destroying Cece, which may very well seal her fate. In her defense, Cece took it in stride: "I'm just going to keep... working on this." But it felt like an early goodbye speech.
11. Arin Ray - Brilliantly re-introduced his love story with Normani from Fifth Harmony. Voters dig a love story. He sang "Crazy for you" by Madonna. Clearly we're not big Madonna fans or we'd have known this song from her... slower catalog. L.A. didn't get goosebumps. Demi agreed. She was bored and wanted Arin to go the soulful route. Simon thought he'd be in trouble in the voting. Britney disagreed; as the Madonna song is one of her favorites. Backstage, Normani looked both worried and smitten. Here's hoping there wasn't a producer directing her actions offscreen.
10. Beatrice Miller - She sang "Time After Time" in front of a giant hourglass backdrop (the sand was awkwardly positioned to appear as if it were falling on her head) and a "YOLO" winter hat. We're not making this up. It was quite a slow song choice again, but we do still enjoy her scratchy voice. L.A. wanted a better song to let her voice peak. Demi liked the soulfulness. Simon thought it was an improvement on last week, but criticized the boring tune. Britney got defensive: "Simon, she has more talent in her pinkie, than you... and all of contestants together." That wasn't an edited quote. Britney just stumbled a bit through her insult. Still, it was thrilling to see Britney join in on the judge-on-judge sniping.
9. Lyric 145 - Simon made an announcement: "We changed this song at midnight last night." They went with a Katy Perry/Queen mashup at the last moment. L.A. thought this was a calculated move to set our expectations, but it's quite clear that Simon was simply throwing everything against the wall for this group. This week's mashup was a stretch on the diva front (Simon contends "Freddie Mercury was a diva"), but it was another fun, if less trippy, performance. L.A. thought it was a step up from last week's "disaster," but he was determined to pick apart Simon's handling of the rap group, which still felt like sour grapes over being forced to judge "the olds." Britney agreed: "Simon, they're a hip-hop group and they should be doing hip-hop tracks." Simon sold them for a bit, but the audience voting will tell. If they survive the week, it might be time for Simon to let them loose to write their own songs.
8. Paige Thomas - She sang "Last Dance" and hoped to remember her mother, who passed away in a car accident on Christmas Eve. The X Factor can take some jarring turns in and out of emotional moments, but this one may have taken the cake. Paige's performance was certainly the most energetic of the evening, even if it was a bit quieter than we wanted. She trotted down to the judges and even got a wink from Simon for her troubles. L.A. thought it was her best performance. Britney: "It was like a disco ball exploded on stage. It was like the best disco throwback ever." Simon blamed Demi for distracting us with too many dancers and Demi proceeded to throw Paige under the bus for that decision. Ouch.
7. Jennel Garcia - Jennel sang a faster version of "Proud Mary" at the Tina Turner speed. Britney loved her "Tina would be proud" line so much. She almost seemed to look around to make sure no one else thought of it first. Simon: "You are back in the competition." We agree; it was great to see Jennel in her natural, un-Demi-Lovato'd state (the jet black straightened hair doesn't necessarily work for Demi either).
6. Emblem3 - Sixth place last week was a huge shock for both Simon and the band, who expected to finish in the top three. In the wake (and bake) of the disappointment, the producers decided we needed to learn more about the group. We learned that Drew is a high school dropout, in the least shocking moment of the broadcast. Plus we got to meet the father of the brothers, who looked *exactly* like you'd expect a 50-year-old surfer to look like. It appears he's basically a Kris Jenner for these kids. This week they went with Alicia Keys' "No One," which is perfectly in their wheelhouse. They have an on-stage logo already! Simon is putting his money into this group and it's paying off early. Positive comments from all of the judges lead to a lot of screaming from the girls in the front row. We agree with Simon, they deserve a higher ranking.
5. Fifth Harmony - We got a whole lot of group-bonding footage and this group really does seem to realize that they need to be nice to Camilla if she's going to carry them to the title. They sang "Hero" and Camilla didn't lead off this time, but she took over the song halfway through and carried it to the end. L.A.: "You struggled in the beginning, honestly. But it turned into a really great performance." Britney: "Simon is doing a really great job." Simon: "Great vocals. You work hard. And you all love puppies." So there's that.
4. Diamond White - She was eliminated two weeks ago and made a triumphant return to the #4 spot in the voting last week. And this week she delivered her best performance by far, with Beyonce's "Halo." Simon: "Don't walk and sing at the same time, as that seemed to bother you." But also, "I think we're looking at a future star." After the judges' comments, Diamond announced that on stage she has an alter ego: "Carrion," her middle name. Oooookay. Naturally, Khloe one-upped her with her own alter ego, "Khlo-money." That one we believe.
3. Vino Alan - Vino was pumped to be ranked so highly in the audience vote last week, and we got to meet his son! He was shockingly clean cut, rocking an argyle sweater alongside his father's head tattoos. Vino went for Tina Turner's "Let's Stay Together" and brought his distinctive style to it. The faster pace actually helped him feel less stop-and-start as he belted out his notes. Britney: "You are so soulful. It doesn't make sense that that voice comes out of your body, but it works." Demi was bored again. Her favorite word of the evening. Simon was happy to see Vino up so high in the rankings last week, because he knew Vino would benefit from confidence. But he thought last week's performance was better. Simon hinted that Vino had a different song choice in mind, but we didn't get to learn what it was.
Vino pretty obnoxiously focused more on the screaming fans in the first few rows than on the judges' comments. Since his fate is in the hands of the audience now, he probably doesn't need to listen to any criticism, but here's hoping we see Demi snap over his lack of eye contact in future weeks.
2. Carly Rose Sonneclar - She *really* went for the home run, singing "My Heart Will Go On" by Celine Dion, the Titanic song you slow-danced to in middle school. Did she deliver? Of course. But that doesn't mean it was the best song choice in front of a ridiculous CGI background of... a mansion hallway? Still, the judges loved it. Simon: "How old are you, 13? Then I don't believe you're a human being." Despite America's love for Tate Stevens, we're still ready to crown Carly Rose the winner based solely off the judges' reactions, aren't you?
1. Tate Stevens - Before Tate's performance, Cece was shown being sweeter than we've ever seen her as part of the Cece Rehabilitation Tour. But we definitely understand Tate's love for his family at this point. They beat the dead horse further in explaining he opted to sing a Shania Twain tune for his wife, because of course. It was a duet of sorts, even though we weren't shown the girl singer, and again Tate hit some great notes. Britney: "Heartfelt." Simon: "That was better than last week. The winner of this show gets $5 million. I would be happy to write you that check."
Our best guesses for elimination: Cece Frey & Beatrice Miller
"Let's do it live!" Our favorite judge and host moments this week
- Wednesday night's theme was "divas"... and Mario Lopez really loved saying the word "divas."
- Khloe called Simon a diva at the top of the show. Somehow Simon passed up the opportunity to comment on her skin-tight, sparkly dress. We do love Khloe's ability to make people squirm in the moment; she's truly embracing the live format of the show!
- Taylor Swift is performing tonight. That's a pretty impressive follow-up to One Direction. The X Factor really seems to have narrowed down on its target demographic this season.
- Britney seemed to prefer introducing her contestants without saying their names. It sort of worked, but it was clearly off-script. In her defense, Britney's been off-script for years now.
- Vino loves wrapping his arm around Khloe... and naturally she stumbled a bit on her lines as he did so. Get it Vino (kidding, Lamar).
- Is it just us or has Simon put on a little weight this season? He's a bit puffier lately.
1. Who are your two picks to be sent home?
2. Are you pumped for Taylor Swift to perform tonight?
3. How long can these singing shows justify a separate night/additional episode solely for recap and elimination purposes?