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The X Factor: 2.19 – “Top 10 Perform”

Last week Lyric 145 & Jennel Garcia (two of the more interesting acts this season) were eliminated last week. We’re down to the Top 10 now. The theme of tonight’s show is “Giving Thanks”. The contestants will take about somebody that they are most thankful for and the song choice is going to pay tribute to that person. Mario (in a weird maroon suit) & Khloe also announce that there will be another double elimination this week. The lowest voted act will be immediately sent home and the other two lowest vote-getters will have to sing for their lives.

Tate Stevens – Over 25s – “I’m Already There”
Tate is most thankful for his father. He was also a country singer but gave up on his dream because he wanted to take care of his family and be a father. Tate also did the same thing but now he’s getting a chance at doing what his father never got to do. A nice narrative, actually. This is also Tate’s strongest performance so far. The show really needed to give him a boost of personality and I think the narrative they pushed this week was successful at doing this week. I was impressed this week, mildly. The judges were slightly mixed. Britney loved it. Simon & Demi also really enjoyed it but saw a few flaws in the performance.

Diamond White – Teens – “Because You Loved Me”
Diamond talks about her mother and how much she gave up to see her daughter’s dreams come true. Diamond tells Britney about her mother almost during on the operating table during a surgery, and Britney really had no reaction. I thought this was a decent performance from Diamond. One thing that Britney has going for her contestants is the staging. I think all of her acts are still here because she knows what to do in each performance to hide their flaws and accentuate what they do well. The reveal of the choir behind her worked well. The judges loved it. L.A., Britney & Demi gave her a standing ovation (Simon didn’t but he gave her some of the highest praise he’s given on the show so far).

Emblem3 – Groups – “Secrets”
The two brothers in the group picked their “spiritual leader” as the person who most inspired them. He runs some kind of wilderness camp. The other guy picked an older dude that took him into his home when he was 18 and lost. Not really digging these stories compared to Tate & Diamond’s so far. I hate the song choice. We heard about 1,000 times during the Boot Camp rounds. It just seems tired at this point. Once again, the lead guy (sorry, I’m too lazy to remember or care about the names) is the strongest vocalists and carries the other two during the performance. L.A. had some issues with the performance and their lack of emotion, but the others were very positive.

Arin Ray – Teens – “Hero”
Arin chose his brother as his biggest inspiration. Not really too emotional. The song choice of Enrique Iglesias’ “Hero” is a little inappropriate because it’s about a romantic relationship. But there was a funny interaction between Arin & his brother during the backstage footage where Arin explained not to take the meaning of the song too literally. The performance is okay but I think he will be in trouble this week. Ballads haven’t worked for him. Britney should’ve given him something uptempo to erase the memory of last week’s mediocrity. L.A. and Demi didn’t enjoy it. Simon asked Arin what the problem was and Arin admitted that he just wants to be himself on stage and he hasn’t been given that chance yet. Britney liked it and didn’t even address what Arin had just said. Her writers probably weren’t prepared for Arin saying that. But Khloe makes her acknowledge it when she comes out and Britney just “completely agrees” with Arin’s statement.

CeCe Frey – Young Adults – “Wind Beneath My Wings”
CeCe’s hero this week was her sister who had cerebral palsy and died when she was 7 years-old in 1991. How am I supposed to hate her this week? I’m putting her backstory aside, because her vocals were terrible here. But I think that she’ll be safe this week just based on her narrative of her sister this week. Once again, CeCe is a compelling person and I just wish she was on another show that didn’t require good singers. The judges really sidestepped her vocals and just applauded her backstory this week.

Fifth Harmony – Groups – “I’ll Stand By You”
The show has to really power through the inspirations because there are 5 people in the group with 5 different inspirations. The most compelling: Ally Brooke was a premature baby and had a birth weight of just over 1 lb. Their performance didn’t work for me. It just didn’t connect to me. They really relied on Dinah Jane Hansen and she’s probably the least interesting vocalist of the group. I wasn’t very impressed and I think they are going to be in trouble this week. It’s a shame because they are one of the people I actually look forward to watching perform. The judges really liked it though, so what do I know?

Beatrice Miller – Teens – “Chasing Cars”
Beatrice’s inspirations this week are her two younger sisters, twins from Vietnam. There’s an interesting moment in the opening where Arin asks if they are going to come to see the show and Beatrice mentions that they probably can’t afford to fly to L.A. (oh please, Simon Cowell can afford it). But she is surprised by them earlier in the week and it’s a really touching moment. It’s a decent performance. Her vocals are interesting but I think her emotions got the best of her and it made her pitchy in some places. The judges really enjoyed it though and Britney almost cried. That’s a sign of improvement and life for her.

Vino Alan – Over 25s – “God Bless the U.S.A.”
Vino is dedicating his performance this week to the U.S. military. His grandfather was in the military and Vino performs shows for the troops all the time. I hate the song choice though. I mean, really, how fucking obvious is that? It’s also manipulative because who is going to criticize him for that (besides me sitting behind a laptop)? Vino’s vocals are strong but I can help but feel manipulated by the song choice. Sorry. The judges loved it and gave him a standing ovation. I bet he’ll be the #1 vote getter this week. No doubt in my mind.

Paige Thomas – Young Adults – “Everytime”
Paige is dedicating her song this week to her mentor Colleen. She took Paige in as a teenager and acted like a mother towards her. Pretty gutsy song choice, singing “Everytime” with Britney sitting just a few feet away. It’s a ballad and Paige isn’t the best vocalist. Her voice is all over the place and I wish she would have went home instead of Jennel. She’s not good at all. Britney thought it was beautiful, L.A. said it won’t get her out of 10th place and Simon was mixed on it.

Carly Rose Sonenclar – Teens – “Over the Rainbow”
Carly Rose is dedicating her song this week to her brother. She really looks up to him. She also tells a story about her mother having a stroke in front of her and her brother helping their family through that time. Her brother also surprised her backstage earlier this week and it’s a really sweet moment. She’s come one of my favorites in this competition and her performance this week was phenomenal. Her vocals were unbelievable and the arrangement of the song was absolutely beautiful. The show really hit a new high with this performance. I think Vino is still going to be #1 with the votes, but Carly Rose absolutely deserves it. Incredible.

Carly Rose took the show to a new level this week. That performance is going to be remembered for a long time. All of the other singers that are on this show needed to reach that level of excellence. The show needs to raise the bar for talent expectations and I think that moment could be the breakthrough moment. In terms of elimination: I think Arin Ray is going to be the lowest vote getter and immediately sent home. Then I think the two groups: Emblem3 & Fifth Harmony are going to have to sing for their lives with Fifth Harmony being eliminated. Unfortunately. I hope I’m wrong though.