The X Factor's First Live Shows: The Week in Review and Top 12 Power Rankings

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After three hours of live The X Factor this week, some answers! When the show started on Wednesday, we really had no idea what format the eliminations would follow this season, but new hosts Khloe Kardashian and Mario Lopez informed us (repeatedly!) that the judges would be making the first round of eliminations to bring us down to 12 contestants.

So on Wednesday, everyone sang. And on Thursday each judge picked two contenders from their own team to stay, while the remaining two were forced to sing once more before their coach made a tough decision.

Without further ado, the results:



The "Young Adults"

Eliminated: Willie Jones
Remaining: Jennel Garcia, Paige Thomas, Cece Frey

– The judges gushed over Jennel Garcia's Wednesday performance, but her sexy makeover was a shocking departure from her cuter look. Still, she received near universal praise and was Demi's first pick on Thursday. She's a contender.

– Paige Thomas had a spiky ice queen helmet and a whole lot of crotch thrusts. And apparently that's was enough to get her through to the next round.

– After we awarded her a Top 5 spot in last week's Power Rankings, Cece's bleached blonde Wednesday performance was dismal. There was some awkward floor crawling and she didn't offer any hint of the powerful voice she showed previously. She went with a simpler performance on Thursday and for now, she survives.

– Poor Willie was the victim of Wednesday's terrible performance that saw him dressed in a blue suit and curiously paired with writhing dancers wearing next to nothing. When pressed by Simon on the presentation and song choice, Demi threw her age in his face—she's 20, after all, and she knows what people like.


Jennel sings Motley Crue:




The "Over 25s"

Eliminated: David Correy
Remaining: Vino Alan, Tate Stevens, Jason Brock

– We dug Vino's more upbeat rock song on Wednesday, but wow were the judges harsh. Simon even dropped an F-bomb. And yet L.A. made Vino his first choice.

– Tate Stevens was *easily* the biggest surprise on Wednesday as perhaps the only singer who projected to the back row of the arena. It was easy to envision him at a country festival. To top it off, his voice cracked during his shout-out to his children. Sweet guy.

– Jason Brock's survival was Thursday's shocker. Simon deemed his Wednesday performance "utterly horrendous," but L.A. really seems to believe in his Mr. Entertainment. Still, it'll be a miracle if he lasts another week.

– David Correy really dropped off the contender list quickly. We had him as a threat to win it all, but after running out of breath during a Whitney Houston song on Wednesday his Thursday song was a whole lot of shouting and crying.


Vino Alan's Nickelback cover:




The Teens:

Eliminated: Diamond White
Remaining: Beatrice Miller, Carly Rose Sonenclar, Arin Ray

– Beatrice Miller turned out to be Britney's first choice for the final 12. Her rendition of "I Won't Give Up" by Jason Mraz was solid despite her admission that she didn't really love the song choice. For kicks, though, compare it to a better version from this year's UK competition, which is happening now as well.

– Carly Rose Sonenclar, our favorite to win it all, took possibly the worst presentation advice of the competition from Britney and still completely nailed her vocals. Simon told her "it would be criminal for you to leave this competition."

– Arin Ray and Diamond White faced off to avoid elimination and while both performances were good enough, it's pretty clear that this week's survivor Arin will struggle going forward.


Carly Rose's "Good Feeling":




The Groups:

Eliminated: Sister C
Remaining: Emblem3, Lyric 145, 1432 Unnamed Girl Group

– Lyric 145's getup was completely distracting as they covered Will Smith and DJ Jazzy Jeff's "Boom Shake the Room" mixed with a brief tease of "Gangnam Style" (you knew it would happen). But they were definitely fun. In an effort to defend his title as a rap and hip-hop expert, L.A. questioned the song choice.

– Emblem3 is so California. Jumping in the pool. Flirting with Sister C. Dancing. The main singer is tankin' it, bro. Song choice was perfect—Matisyahu's "One Day." And these guys really did nail it with some harmonizing. Some rapping. Some hopping around. Simon sang along, naturally.

– NAME CHANGE ALERT! LYLAS was apparently threatened with a lawsuit because Bruno Mars' sisters have a band with the same name. "Boring reasons," according to Simon. So on Wednesday they announced their new "1432" moniker, which Simons told us means "I Love You Too." Pager speak—way to be on-trend, ladies! In their Wednesday performance they went with Taylor Swift's new single, which is a pretty smart strategy these days. And Camilla Cabello was again, quite clearly, the strongest singer. Can they just make this Camilla's group? We can already see the T-shirt with Camilla standing in front and the blurry backup singers behind her. It might make all the difference.

– In Thursday's performance, singing to avoid elimination, 1432 made a bold, bold choice by singing Demi Lovato's own song in their face off with Sister C. And in keeping them on, Simon smartly decided that they would need to be re-named again. This time via fan suggestion.

– Sister C sang well, but seemed dead on Wednesday. It doesn't help that they always wear muted colors; they literally blend into each other. Thursday's song was better, but again it was hard to get excited about them. Even the hosts struggled to remember them as the hosts pulled the microphone away before Sister C could complete their goodbye speech.


Emblem3 covers Matisyahu:




"Let's do it live!" Our favorite judge and host moments this week

– On Wednesday night, new host Khloe Kardashian decided to go without a bra. Simon noticed and naturally, commented. "The air conditioning is on high tonight..." (mutters: "Very distracting.")

– At least half of Britney's statements were straight from a fortune cookie. Some samples: "You have the eye of the tiger." "I felt you. A lot." "You were a little genius up there." "I know you get the girls. You get me." "You really drew us in."

– Simon used the word "swag" in his critique of Arin Ray. So it's officially off-limits. We've retired that word.

– L.A. Reid was again the sassiest of the judges, calling out Simon's expertise in his comments to Tate Stevens: "You and I both know Simon isn't a country music expert."

– And Jason Brock provides our first live TV moment when he says "Mario Lopez, can I pinch your butt?" Mario's painful response: "Oh yeah, keep it PG-13 up here. Buddy. Live show."

– After 1432's performance, Demi made an offhand comment that only one singer in the group was impressing her. In her defining moment as a host thus far, Khloe would not. let. this. go. She pressed Demi. Demi ignored her. Khloe asked again and forced Demi to admit that Camilla Cabello was the star. Nice job, Khloe. Fighting with Kim has really developed your skills.

– Britney decided to dress Carly Rose Sonenclar as a school girl on Wednesday night (she actually referenced "Baby One More Time") to completely fly in the face of her "old soul" vibe. Needless to say it was an odd match. This was a consistent for the Teens—Britney's heavy reliance on dancers could be a huge disadvantage for them.

– In Britney's Thursday-night critique of Cece Frey, she said Cece was trying to be "Quisha." To be honest, we're just happy that Britney was able to reference a singer with a semi-recent hit.

– Demi could not handle Emblem3. Wes, their ultimate bro of a lead singer, made sure to lock in eye contact to seal the deal. An actual Demi quote: "You boys make me swoon. I can't look you in the eye when you sing to me. I'm supposed to be a judge..."




Updated Power Rankings

See last week's power rankings here.

12. Jason Brock – how long can this last?
11. Arin Ray – up one from #12, solely for having survived
10. Beatrice Miller – up one from #11, but looks poised to climb higher
9. Vino Alan – down only one from #8 even though the judges seem to struggle with him
8. Cece Frey – dropped all the way from #2
7. Tate Stevens – this week's biggest winner; up from #16
6. Paige Thomas – up one from #7
5. 1432 (final name still TBD) – down one from #5, because they were forced to sing off
4. Lyric 145 – up two spots from #6 because the audience loves them
3. Emblem3 – a huge jump up from #13
2. Jennel Garcia – moving up quickly from #5
1. Carly Rose – holding steady in the top spot



Do you agree with the judges' eliminations? How do you like Khloe Kardashian and Mario Lopez as hosts?

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