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The X Factor: 2.17 – “Top 12 Perform”

The show is back for another live performance show. Not much to add in the introduction. It’s “Divas Night”, so all of the song selections will be based around that. Whatever that means. Another vague theme that doesn’t really do anything.

The introduction at the beginning of the show is another forced mess. Khloe & Mario ask some generic questions of the judges, and the judges give their expected overconfident responses of “My contestants are better than everyone”. Mario also announces which hashtags people on Twitter should use for the contestants: #DivaHOT or #DivaNOT. Not going to use that and I hope no one else did either.

Jennel Garcia – Young Adults – “Proud Mary”
More backstory for Jennel this week. She’s a dance teacher back at home and she has a Skype session with some of her students. I think it’s funny that all of the students asked questions about Britney and not Demi. The performance was a mess. Jennel’s one of my favorites but I thought she ate it this week. Her movements around the stage were awkward and I got the feeling that she wasn’t invested in the song. It also felt way too long. The judges completely disagreed though. Simon and L.A. loved it and Britney said that Tina Turner would be proud of that. And Demi tried to take credit for Jennel’s performance, “Together we did this.”

Tate Stevens – Over 25s – “From This Moment On”
Get ready for boredom city. I don’t like Tate, but he was at the top of the leaderboard last week so I suspect he’ll be around to the finale. I better prepare myself. This week was focused about Tate’s love for his wife. The most interesting part of that was a conversation he had backstage with CeCe. She wasn’t wearing any makeup and had her hair in a ponytail, it was the best she’s ever looked. I wish she would do that on stage. (Yeah, I’m taking up the space to talk about CeCe because I have no interest in Tate.) Back to Tate though. an expected song choice that wasn’t interesting in any way. The judges loved it though. Simon said he would love to write him a $5 million dollar check. Whatever.

Diamond White – Teens – “Halo”
Diamond had a really sweet moment with Britney in the mentoring session. I love those moments because I think we get to see Britney unguarded, unlike her critiques during the live portions. I thought this was one of the best performances on the show this season. Her vocals were great. She didn’t have any ridiculous background dancers or props. Her voice was the star and it created a great moment. The judges loved it. Simon said she is someone who could be a star because she’s a hard worker who’s going to practice, practice, practice.

Beatrice Miller – Teens – “Time After Time”
Beatrice was having a tough week. She was upset about coming in 10th place, but she also revealed that both of her Moms lost this jobs so they won’t have any income without her. First of all, why haven’t they brought up her lesbian mothers before? I like her more because of that. I thought this was another strong performance. Her vocals were great. I think the arrangement was a little slow and she felt a little disconnected in some moments, but overall it was stellar. The judges were lukewarm about it. Simon made a comment that it was boring and Britney came back with a probably scripted smackdown, “She has more talent in her pinky than you did in your contestants.” Nice to see Britney doing something, but she always sounds so rehearsed and not authentic.

Lyric 145 – Groups – “E.T.”/”We Will Rock You”
Simon makes an announcement before introducing the act that they decided to change the song selection at midnight last night. Their narrative this week: the guys in the group are from the east coast and their families have been affected by Hurricane Sandy. This was a confusing performance. The opening with “E.T” was great and I wish they would’ve just done that song instead of making it a mash-up with the Queen song. The judges were mixed on it. Simon loved it while the other said that they “didn’t get it”. L.A. also brought up the point about whether Freddie Mercury would be considered a diva or not.

Arin Ray – Teens – “Crazy for You”
His pre-recorded stuff turned into the show expanding on his showmance with Normani Hamilton (one of the members of Fifth Harmony in the Groups category). He’s going to be thinking about her during the song. The performance was a little bit light. His vocals were good but the performance felt like it lasted forever. Also, I think it’s interesting that Britney’s contestants staging and song choices have been ballads and completely toned down. The judges didn’t like it at all. Simon said that he could tell that Arin wasn’t into the song and Britney made a horrible selection.

Paige Thomas – Young Adults – “Last Dance”
The show went further into Paige’s backstory and she takes about her mother dying in a car accident on Christmas Eve when Paige was 6 years old. Not really sure what this has to do with diva week or her song choice. The opening was okay, with low music and Paige just singing. Then the tempo kicked up, dancers came out, and it was an absolute disaster. Paige sounded awful and looked weird next to all of the dancers. Nobody would ever buy a ticket to see that in a concert. The judges loved it though. L.A. and Simon said it was her best yet, but Simon hated the dancers. Demi agreed about the dancers because that wasn’t her original vision for the staging.

Fifth Harmony – Groups – “Hero”
The pre-recorded package tried to sell that they were bonding together and completely getting along. They are all so wonderful and get along perfectly. I’m sure that’s not the case but the show is doing a good job of selling it. Their performance was great though. They’ve been growing on be every week and I think they’ve become my favorite in the competition. Their performances have been really simple, focusing on their vocals and harmonizing and it works well. Lauren took the lead at the beginning and started it off strong. Camilla was a little pitchy, but overall it was stellar. The judges really liked it and Simon said they could be a threat to win.

Carly Rose Sonenclar – Teens – “My Heart Will Go On”
Britney questions Carly Rose about why she was so emotional at the end of last week’s performance. Carly Rose said that her dad came to the show for the first time and she hasn’t seen him for a little while, so it was for him and she let her emotions go when she was finished. Britney had a cute facial expression, a different one than the two or three we’ve been treated to at the judging table. The performance was pretty spectacular. Her vocals were flawless. There could’ve been a little more entertaining, but she made me not hate the song choice so she gets bonus points for that. The judges absolutely loved it. L.A. said that he could be looking at the winner and Simon said that her control of her vocals was unbelievable.

Vino Alan – Over 25s – “Let’s Stay Together”
I still can’t believe that he came in 3rd place last week. His performance last week was mediocre and he still got a high-ranking on the leaderboard. I have to imagine he’ll place higher if he does anything better (which is a possibility because the bar is so low). This was much better than the first two weeks. His voice was fantastic and he really dug deep and made the audience feel the song. The ending was a little weird, but it was still a stellar performance. Britney & Simon really liked it. Demi was a little bored. L.A. was very proud and said it was “one of the very best voices I’ve ever heard on this stage”. I guess that’s a compliment even though there haven’t been a whole lot of contestants on The X Factor stage in two seasons.

Emblem3 – Groups – “No One”
The group was disappointed last week that they didn’t get higher than 6th place. They know they need to work harder now (and try to overcome their villain editing from the early rounds). There’s also a brief foray into the non-brother member’s not so glamorous life before starting the band. I’m not a fan of them and this week’s performance didn’t change that. It sounded exactly like their first two performances. Their versions of these covers sound exactly the same and their personalities annoy the crap out of me. The judges loved it though. L.A. said they were complete superstars.

CeCe Frey – Young Adults – “All By Myself”
CeCe is upset about being in the bottom two last week. Also, she feels alone because all of the other contestants have their family members supporting them. But none of her friends or family from Illinois are able to travel to California to do the same. So what is her obvious song choice? “All By Myself”. I think CeCe would be interesting on another reality show that doesn’t involve singing. She could be a great villain on Suvivor or Big Brother or even one of the trashy young adults on The Real World. Her vocals are all over the place and she sounds terrible. Nobody is going to be a record that she sells. My favorite part of her performance was when she “hit” the high note and the wind machine and was cranked full blast. I would assume that she’s going home tomorrow but getting the final slot helps her and I’m guessing she’ll be around for another week. The judges were mixed. L.A., Britney & Simon weren’t impressed. Demi said that she hopes America will vote for CeCe because of how much she wants it (not because of talent apparently).

OVERALL:
I thought it was a good night overall. Diamond, Carly Rose & Fifth Harmony gave some of the strongest performances of the season so far. The judges weren’t too annoying either, which is always a positive. Two acts are going home tomorrow. I’m assuming that Arin Ray is going to have the lowest voices and is going to be automatically eliminated. Then the other bottom two will consist of Lyric 145 or Beatrice Miller with CeCe Frey. And hopefully CeCe will go home. I would love to see Paige eliminated too but I don’t think that’s happening.

I’ll be back tomorrow with a recap of the results show and a recap of the “Glease” episode of Glee.

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