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The X Factor
: 2.21 – “Top 8 Perform”

The Top 8 perform Billboard Top 10 hits this week. The show bullshits around for the first 8 minutes. Mario & Khloe announce that there will be ANOTHER double elimination tomorrow night. The lowest vote-getter will be eliminated, then the next two bottom vote-getters will have to sing for their lives and have their fate decided by the judges.

Diamond White – Teens – “I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)”
Diamond is nervous this week because it’s an uptempo song and she hasn’t been successful with those in the competition so far. Britney reassures her and says that everyone knows that Diamond can sing, it’s about becoming a better performer now. It’s actually a pretty fair assessment from Britney. The performance starts, they completely slowed it down to a ballad. It picks up for the chorus and it gets much more interesting. It’s an interesting arrangement. There’s an awkward moment with the contraption that the creative built for her. Plus the male dancers look much older and it comes off a little creepy. Also, apparently these performances are going to be longer. Not sure if that’s good or bad yet. L.A. was lukewarm, Demi was slightly more positive, and Simon loved it. He was very impressed with her performance. One of his highest praises of the season.

Vino Alan – Over 25s – “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'”
Vino is upset about getting third place again and he’s not getting along with L.A. Vino was shown rehearsing “If You Don’t Know Me By Now” and L.A. hated it. L.A. changed it during the soundcheck. There’s a weird moment where the show cuts to Mario & Khloe throwing to commercial instead of the performance. Vino takes the stage and it is incredibly awkward. I don’t think he’s really feeling the song and you can tell it was thrown together at the final hour. There’s a brief moment of relief when he goes back to interact with the band (which we never see) and the background singers, but it’s so boring that I am extremely tempted to DVR through the rest of it. Why won’t it end? Britney, Demi & Simon all hated it. I think Vino will be singing for his life tomorrow if not being instantly eliminated.

Paige Thomas – Young Adults – “Never Gonna Give You Up”
Paige didn’t like her performance last week. She enjoys the big outfits and the numerous background dancers. That’s what she wants to be as an artist and she doesn’t want to do ballads. Paige brings this up with Demi and Demi brings up the good point that every time there’s been a big production number Paige has been in the bottom and had to sing for her life. Paige goes against Demi’s advice. So Paige chooses to Rick Roll the audience. They really slowed up the tempo at the beginning of the song. It works for a second but Paige loses focus and she loses my attention. This is not a well staged performance at all. It has the same problem of Vino. It picks up towards the end when the background dancers appear. There’s a sad moment towards the end where Paige asks the audience to sing along and nobody does. L.A. loved it and called it her best so far, Britney liked it, and Simon thought she finally sounded like a legitimate star. He also pushed that Paige was responsible for the performance and she shouldn’t listen to Demi anymore. Demi defends herself and blah blah blah.

Fifth Harmony – Groups – “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)”
Normani talks about missing Arin after he was eliminated last week. There’s also a portion where they talk about Ally’s grandfather dying this week. It’s actually a moving moment where the other girls rally around her, but it’s almost undercut by the show’s use of the overplayed “Fix You”. But Ally is dedicating her performance to her grandfather this week. The performance is okay. I think they’ve made Lauren the defacto lead. She’s got a unique look but I don’t think her vocals really stand out from the others. All of the judges offer their condolences. L.A. said it was good but wanted more harmonies (I agree). Demi wanted more movement, but Simon loved it, of course. I would say the group would be in trouble but pessimistically, I think the dead grandfather story is going to give them some added votes.

Carly Rose Sonenclar – Teens – “Rolling in the Deep”
Carly Rose doesn’t have a big dramatic story this week. She spends some more time with her brother, which includes having a cupcake fight in some upscale bakery. Britney chose an Adele song for her this week because she wants to raise the bar even higher for the competition. The performance is pretty strong but not up to par with last week. One thing that Britney’s contestants have going for them is that their performances are always well staged. Just when you get tired of one part, it shifts gears and keeps you entertained. It’s true once again here. Carly Rose’s vocals are insane and the different arrangement of the song allowed her to add her own flourishes without copycatting Adele. L.A. and Demi were positive but not glowing. Simon thought the first half of the song was good and the second half was sensational. He also tells her that she has a very good shot of selling records outside of this competition.

Tate Stevens – Over 25s – “Somebody Like You”
Honestly, I was only half paying attention to the pre-recorded piece. He loves his family and he’s taking a risk with the song was what I gathered from it. I like that he did an uptempo song this time around. It was much more entertaining and showed off more of his personality. I’m still not invested in him as a person though. I can’t really put my finger on it. When the judges give him criticisms, he just doesn’t seem present enough for me and that prevents me from liking him further. He’s just so bland, which probably works for country music. I don’t know. The judges were all positive though. I assume he’ll be safe and back in the #1 spot tomorrow.

CeCe Frey – Young Adults – “Lady Marmalade”
CeCe is pissed about being in the bottom two again. She criticizes America while she does it too, which help her with the votes this week. She also can’t figure out why she hasn’t been doing well in the votes. Well, she was edited as a villain in the early audition rounds and you can’t really recover from that with mediocre vocals. The performance is a complete and utter mess. Her vocals are all over the place. The big production looks cheap and phony. CeCe doesn’t even attempt the choreography. She just walks around while the other dancers work around her. I hope this finally sends her home. L.A. and Britney said it was entertaining. Simon hated it. He compared it to eating “62 slices of cake” and tells her to pack a suitcase for tomorrow. I hope that he’s right.

Emblem3 – Groups – “I’m a Believer”
First of all, I have to discuss the opening video of them. They were shown shopping in Hollywood but they had to run and hide for cover when a group of screaming girls found them. That was staged. 100% fake. The performance itself was completely mediocre. They do the exact same thing every week and I was pretty sure they performed this song already. The staging and the background dancers. The performance can’t end fast enough. L.A. loved it and said that he would sign them in a second to his record label, Britney didn’t like the song, and Demi thinks that they are predictable every week and they’ve lost their sparks. They completely talk over her for whatever reason. Demi actually has a good point for once. Also, Mario walks right in front of Simon’s camera at the end of the judging.

Some good points tonight, but mostly another mediocre night. Predictions: CeCe is immediately sent home tomorrow. Vino Alan & Diamond White will have to sing for their lives. With Vino hopefully going home.

*My favorite moment of the night. Britney was clearly engaged and paying attention during Emblem3’s performance. I love her, but she’s just collection a $20 million dollar paycheck.*