The X Factor Recap: Even Though the Sound Mix Is Something Quite Atrocious... [Updated]

arin rayWelcome to The X Factor, sponsored by Aleve — the long-acting analgesic with the power to ward off gale-force migraines caused by the pack of perpetually screeching harpies sitting in the first three rows of the audience.

It doesn’t matter what the Top 13 are singing. It doesn’t matter how the judges are reacting. It doesn’t matter if Demi Lovato can’t pronounce the names of the singers she’s mentoring. And it doesn’t even matter whether the producers fill Mario Lopez’s teleprompter with the script from Ken Burns’ Jazz or an announcement that a meteor is hurtling toward the Earth’s surface and we only have 60 seconds to live (he’d read it with the same soulless enthusiasm that he’d use to sell the “Xtra Factor App” anyway).

Those ghoulish sorority sisters are programmed to make it rain — rain blood from your ears. With more “I’m going to be on TV!” hysteria than the people who stand in Rockefeller Plaza trying to catch glimpses of Today‘s Matt Lauer and more aggression than a mid-’90s sitcom laugh track, the X Factor audience feedback drowns out everything in its path.

PHOTOS | The X Factor: Pre-Season Rankings

And that’s a real shame, seeing how the Season 2 Top 12 13 are a pretty talented bunch. Sure, the first live, viewer-voted performance show of the season contained a couple song choices (“I Have Nothing,” “I Believe I Can Fly”) so tired that they came with a mug of warm milk and a fluffy pillow, but there was only one catastrophic vocal in the bunch (sorry, CeCe!).

Let’s run down the evening’s set list — I’m gonna be pithy this week, since I’ve also got a two-hour episode of The Voice to recap — with letter grades for everyone! (Oh, and because it apparently wouldn’t be X Factor without a “shocking” twist, Diamond White was reinstated in the competition after the judges decided they just couldn’t imagine the finals without her. When the announcement was made, I swear I detected a look on her mentor Britney Spears’ face that read “Who’s that again?”) Onto our grades for “Songs That Have at Some Point Made Their Way Onto a Movie Soundtrack.”

Jennel Garcia: Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock N Roll” | Simon and L.A. called this performance a Joan Jett “parody,” which makes me think they may not know the meaning of parody. Sure, it wasn’t the most groundbreaking performance in reality TV history, but it was really strongly sung, and I loved the liberties Jennel took with the melody on the second verse — making the song soar in places where the lady Jett was content to drop snarling attitude. Demi’s a bit liberal with calling everybody and their sister a “rock star,” but in this case, she may actually be right. Grade: A-

Arin Ray: Estelle’s “American Boy” | After last week’s forgettable mess, I’d written off Arin as destined for an early exit, but I may have judged him too harshly too soon. “American Boy” was nothing short of stellar: The vocal was totally on point, and Arin never got upstaged by the pack of backup dancers dressed in hideous cigarette box/racing flag regalia. I hate to borrow an X Factor cliche, but the kid looked like a star up there. (And isn’t it time someone — anyone? — ate Chris Brown’s lunch?) Side note: Every time the producers mention Arin was part of Season 1 child troupe InTENsity, I want someone to put him on the spot and name all the members of his erstwhile group. Grade: A-

Fifth Harmony: Christina Perri’s “A Thousand Years” | There was still a bit of “pass the mic from Girl A to Girl B to Girl C” going on at the start of each verse, but I’ve got to give credit to this quintet of crazy good vocalists for giving us their first real harmonies of the season. (And not a moment too soon, considering they’re now called “Fifth Harmony.” Try again next week, America!) I especially loved Dinah Jane’s ad-libs on the final chorus, even if that Camilla chick is so much the Beyoncé of the group. I feel like everything about their edit and their trajectory is leading to an inevitable victory. Reality TV vets, am I right? Grade: B+

Lyric145: “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” (from Mary Poppins) | The whole Alice in Wonderland banquet table setting, their American Horror Story light dancers, the choice of song — well, on paper, it would all sound quite atrocious. But there’s an audacity to Lyric 145 that is matched by their charisma and talent. They’ve got the ability to sell you exactly the thing you didn’t think you wanted or needed. And in an era of declining record-company profits, that’s a skill that might be exactly what an X Factor champ needs to have. Grade: B+

Beatrice Miller: Goo Goo Dolls’ “Iris” | Beatrice’s ability to work the stage was made all the more impressive by the fact that someone in wardrobe cruelly weighed her down with 47 pounds of scarves and jackets and leggings and accessories. L.A., who’s been absolutely abhorrent all season, made a good point that Beatrice’s tone sounds like it could be on a hit record — which might be why I loved this performance despite some intermittent pitch problems. Grade: B+

Tate Stevens: Bon Jovi’s “Wanted Dead or Alive” | The only thing more ridiculous than L.A. introducing Tate with the phrase “representing the working class” was Khloe Kardashian praising the Missouri native’s “southern charm.” Or maybe it was Britney’s feedback that the asphalt-laying dad is “a slice of America.” (Good grief — who writes her critiques?) Tate sounded good while coloring inside Bon Jovi’s lines. In other words, I’m not going to be mad if/when he sticks around another four or five weeks, even if I don’t truly believe that he’s “seen a million faces, and rocked them all.” Grade: B

Carly Rose Sonenclar: Bruno Mars’ “It Will Rain” | No doubt this kid has one of the season’s strongest voices, but I felt like there were more than a few flat notes during her rendition of “It Will Rain,” maybe because it’s not really the type of song she should be singing? (Come on Britney…give the kid a grand Broadway ballad or an old jazz standard already.) Also, does it make me a bad person that I reacted to Carly Rose’s end-of-performance tears by thinking, “Oh, so she can cry on cue!”? Grade: B

Emblem3: “My Girl”/”California Girls” | These youths are like the musical equivalent of throwing Red Bull, a Starbucks frappucino, amphetamines, and Banana Boat sunscreen into a blender: There’s a ton of crazy energy, a few moves that border on convulsions, and a lot of tanned skin. And certainly, there was a little nifty creativity using the track of One Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful” to tie together a Temptations oldie and a Katy Perry romp. I’m just not convinced the vocals were particularly pleasant. Does that matter? My years are all, “Yes, yes it does.”Grade: B

Paige Thomas: Berlin’s “Take My Breath Away” | Poor, Paige! She’s had her head shaved, she’s had to be separated from her adorable toddler daughter, and now Demi hoists her above the stage on cables, blows her skirt up to her neck in front of 10 million people, and then hires some random dude to rub up on her while she’s trying to sing a big romantic ballad. The vocal was a lot better than last week’s “What Is Love,” but still, Paige seemed to get swallowed whole in all the crazy-aggressive staging and costumery. Grade: C+

Diamond White: Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing” | I seriously just cahhhhhhhhhn’t with this song choice to the point that I’d consider voting Donald Trump for President if he promised a constitutional amendment banning it from all future reality singing competitions. (Okay, I wouldn’t. That’s DISGUSTING.) Anyhow, cute as she is, Diamond’s voice sounded strained to the point of snapping from start to finish. Grade: C+

Vino Alan: Percy Sledge’s “When a Man Loves a Woman” | Vino was mostly on pitch while tackling a much more logical song choice than last week’s Nickleback cover, but there wasn’t an ounce of nuance or finesse in his delivery. It was really more “When a Man Yells at a Woman,” and if I wanted to see that, I’d be watching Jersey Shore.

Jason Brock: R. Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly” | See me running through that open door? I do that every time some poor misguided contestant has to sing it on a reality singing competition. Jason did with it what he could — taking it to church, riffing till his face matched his red leather suit jacket — but there’s only so much air freshener one can spray to mask the smell of decaying X Factor dreams. Cue sad trombone. Grade: C

CeCe Frey: Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger” | I’m not sure a single note of this vocal performance was in tune, and the look on CeCe’s face as she awaited her critique tells me she was thinking the same exact thing. The cheetah print face/hair craziness is back, but the hard-working postal worker’s inner sparkle seems to be fading away. Grade: D

And with that, let me turn things over to you: Who were your favorites from The X Factor‘s Top 12 performance night? Were the judges too hard on any contestants, or too easy? Who’s going home on Thursday? (I’d guess CeCe or Jason.) Hit the comments with your thoughts!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Kerry says:

    I think the judges were way too easy on Emblem 3. Yes they’re energetic but that performance was awful. And the song had way too much going on with it….My Girl, Katy Perry and One Direction thrown in there. Pick one Simon!

    • Ted Sutton says:

      Spot on comment Kerry. These are the guys that almost got the whole show thrown out of their hotel for their wild late night party ways. Tonight they looked drunk on undeserved adulation.
      The 5 gals that closed the show are America’s “One Direction”. Not these guys.

      • wynalazca says:

        Except two of those five gals are way behind the other three vocally, they have no chance to win the show and probably won’t make it to the top eight, AND they should’ve been sent home last week instead of Sister C. What a shame for those ladies to go home… they could all sing better than any of the five that stayed and they actually understood what harmonizing was.

        • Nedsdag says:

          Completely disagree. They are learning how to harmonize. If they continue to do this, I think they could be in the final four. Sister C has been singing longer, but they didn’t have any oomph.

          • Dark Defender says:

            Problem with Sister C was that they sang a song last week, that they had previously done (and added absolutely no staging or anything new to the performance).. which meant they coasted during the week in rehearsals unlike more of the other acts. They deserved to go for unoriginality alone.

            No matter how much Simon wants a group to win, it ain’t gonna happen. Emblem 3 is a joke, the 5 girls are just 5 solo artists sharing verses of a song each week – Lyric145 has promise.. but they will will be out on the first bad song choice week, so they have to keep uping their game to stay.

    • Slatina Whorinova says:

      I agree with everything you said but a part of me wants Emblem3 to stay because I want to continue watching that blonde rapper’s naked torso.

    • jaxguy says:

      Emblem 3 give me ear cramps. Jason Brock, who much potential, is being sabotaged by his mentor. CeeCee was just plain terrible and the whole idea of movie songs was perplexing at best since most choices were a stretch. Lyric 145 stood out, Tate was ok, Paige was average but Fifth Harmony was sublime.

    • llws88 says:

      So true! It was horrendous vocally from start to finish!

  2. Laurien says:

    So proud of Jennel. I thought she and Carly were the best tonight.

  3. Jennel/Carly/Emblem 3 are my top 3. Hope that’s the finale we get.

  4. Mainegirl says:

    Have X Factor on DVR may not end up watching it. The Voice is soooooooo much better this year. Amazing singers and they dumped all those crazy sets and dancers. X Factor could learn something.

    • Elsa says:

      Same here, didn’t think twice about watching the Voice live and recording (and most probably erasing without watching) the X factor.
      I really love the Voice this year.

    • Billy says:

      The singing in the voice is better but I just don’t care about any of the contestants (or even know their names) well except for De’borah……they tried to make us like all 64 of the contestants that made it thru to the battle rounds but what they really need to do what American Idol and The X Factor has been able to perfect and that is making the viewers actually care about the contestants so sedan root for them by name and not just by the moniker that one person that sang that one song during the battle rounds…

      • Russ says:

        My mom and I watched about 20 mins of the voice and saw De’borah and both decided we disliked her. I didn’t think she was very good singer and I hate the stupid no-lens hipster glasses she wears and my mom is named Deborah but pronounces it like the normal way Debra. I just kinda to bitch about it saw this post so I went for it.

    • TheBeach says:

      The Voice seems to have a much larger catalog of contemporary songs than either AI or X Factor. I wonder if NBC is a bit looser with their purse strings than Fox.

  5. Brian says:

    Carly, Jennel, Fifth Harmony, Tate. In that order.

  6. Mel31602 says:

    I can’t wait to hear the explanations for your grades. CeCe was no worse than Paige. Vino was the best of the night. Carly and Jenell were cl

    • Cleety says:

      I agree! Vino was the best! How could you give him a C?

      • me says:

        Absolutely love Vino! LOVE!

      • Mary says:

        I thought he did okay but certainly not the best. The stage is eating him up sorry, I thought he was off. I thought CeCe was ten times worst than Paige. The singing was off the first note. Paige is not a strong singer, but the staging made up for it. I think she could do well in today’s pop music, most can’t sing well but puts on a show, Katy Perry, Rhinna the list goes on.

    • mandalayna says:

      Totally agree. Vino has something in his voice that makes me want to hear it again. So far this year, he, Tate and Jason are the only contestants that I’ve bookmarked in youtube.

  7. Princess Adora says:

    I LOVED Lyric 145!! That’s all I have to say.
    Oh, and I’m glad you’re up and running again Michael :)

  8. Jon says:

    Carly Rose was fantastic. She brought tears to my eyes. Emblem3, Jennel and Beatrice were all good too. I liked Lyric145 but I’d like to see them get serious next week… all this fun and colors stuff is really tiring.

  9. Mel31602 says:

    I can’t wait to hear the explanations for your grades. CeCe was no worse than Paige. Vino was the best of the night. Carly, Fifth Harmony and Jenell were close behind. Arin was good but nowhere near as good as Diamond and Carly. Beatrice wasn’t better than Diamond either.

    And maybe it’s because I’m younger, but I didn’t see the screaming as a big distraction. It’s no worse than Idol or the other singing shows.

    It should be Paige going home bc even tho she was good everyone else was just better. Arin bored me too and I don’t get the appeal of Emblem3 so I’m fine w either of them going. And i agree that Jason was way too cabaret so I’d understand if he left. Anyone else I’d be sad to lose, including CeCe. Her voice is incredible she just needs to focus more on ballads a la Carly

    • ben says:

      It is worse than idol in terms of the sound balance that they put out onto the show. It tends to drown out the vocals. On idol, they definitely get the sound balance better, so that you can still appreciate the performance even while screaming happens.
      I agree CeCe’s voice is incredible but I don’t think she has shown that in the live shows yet, unfortunately.

    • KB23 says:

      The screaming wasn’t quite as bad this week – I could acutally hear the singers and the judges – all the negative comments out there must have been read by someone on the show.

  10. Mari says:

    Beatrice is really confortable on that stage! It’s a pleasure to see. And the girl from 5th Harmony were pretty amazing at the end. That girl Camila has def. got something. Her voice is great.

    • Alienate says:

      Yes, Beatrice Miller is very good. I wonder if most viewers caught the line about her voice being “scratchy” from some kind of throat problem? Even so, she did a respectable job.

  11. ben says:

    Michael, it’s nice to have you back. I hope you and yours are in reasonably good shape.

  12. RM says:

    That was unfortunately very karoke for almost everyone. Lyric145 was creative. Jennel was better with the Motley Crue ballad. She doesn’t really have a rock voice, plus that Joan Jett song is loaded on every karaoke machine it seems. Beatrice and Cece had trouble staying on pitch. The older girl on 1492 or whatever sounds like Lea Michelle. At least they don’t just alternate verses now.

  13. Blinged Up says:

    Glad you’re back, Michael.

    Lyric145’s Supercali…. was the most entertaining, awesome, delightful performance I’ve seen in a LLLOONNGGG time. I love, love, LOVE them now! I’m buying that. It just makes me smile.

  14. I haven’t seen it, so I’m confused, wasn’t Diamond White booted?

  15. stepmom says:

    Watched X Factor and the Voice and the Voice KILLED it in comparison! X Factor is so overproduced it is unwatchable. Since this is an X Factor thread, I think Carly was the best and Fifth Harmony was next. The rest were unforgettable! Michael, please write more about the Voice!!! And, so happy you are back!!

    • Mel31602 says:

      See I don’t get all these people (and there are plenty) saying the Voice is better than Xfactor. I’ve essentially given up on The Voice before the end of auditions each of the past two seasons (tho I watched the first yr in full). Not one voice on The Voice has stood out to me, while the judges only praise the acts each week so it gets incredibly predictable. Everyone complains about the spectacle and overproduction of XFactor, but that’s A) more realistic of the type of performances singers are expected to give in the real world, and B) keeps the show entertaining.

      • HT says:

        I totally agree.

        • Ted Sutton says:

          I totally disagree. The sound mix on the X-Factor is terrible most nights. If I were the producer I’d fire the audio guy. You can’t hear the singers most of the time because there is just too much other audio in the mix. I don’t care if it sounds great from where Simon is sitting, or if it sounds like what you hear at a concert. It sounds like crap on TVs all across America.

          The guy who came in 2nd last year had a beautiful voice. You never heard it after the Judges House round because they buried him in overproduced arrangements of bad song choices full of dancers, flashing lights, the shower of sparks, the wind machine, the fog machine, and way too much other audio besides the singer in the mix.

          That guy got screwed out of a recording career by a clueless mentor, and a show that uses the contestants to stage productions that are not in their best interest. If you can’t hear the singers how do you vote? Longest shower of sparks? The audio mix is terrible most nights. Terrible.

          • T_T says:

            I agree about the bad audio!!! Don’t they watch these shows back on tv? I get tired of adjusting my TV’s volume and experimenting on my TV’s sound option everytime. So frustrating!

      • Valeegirl says:

        Yes! The Voice bores me to tears… Don’t think I’ve ever watched a full episode. too many different, non descript singers to keep track of. Most people I know who are watching X factor this season love it and think this season is WAY better than the first one.

      • Ehyeh says:

        no, spectacle and overproduction is not realistic. at best, most of these singers will just end up singing in clubs, bars and smaller venues. at worst, at the streets or in the malls.

        not every singer needs a big stage. some singers thrive in more intimate settings. having these amateurs sing on a big stage only makes them feel and look smaller because that’s no who they are.

        ridiculous staging doesn’t necessarily equate to more entertaining. if anything, it’s obnoxious.

      • Nedsdag says:

        I like The Voice; however, the singers do not personally stand out except for De’borah, the Justin Bieber/Buddy Holly mashup, and Amanda. I feel more invested in the X Factor contestants.

      • asherlev1 says:

        I’m always done with the voice by the live playoffs because all my favorites are gone. The voice also overproduces ,imo, but without giving you the chance to get to know the contestants as well.

      • TiaGata says:

        I agree with you a lot. Modern Family beat out the Voice for recording space last night. I just didn’t have the energy to undo the recording settings to get to the Voice. I wanted to see Debo’rah, but I figured I could see anything I wanted online somewhere.

        The X-Factor – I liked Vino, Diamond, Carly Rose, Jason, and Tate. I would never watch a “rap” group that performed like Lyric145, I had such hope for them. After I watched their performance last night (this a.m.), I said out loud – “Where is Astro,” for me, he had the X Factor last year, but General America is not into “rap music”

  16. nickseydiva says:

    Is it wrong that I get a slight Allison Iraheta vibe from Jenell? Maybe that’s why I love her. However, Fifth Harmony and Carly Rose were my faves tonight. Also enjoyed Emblem 3 (which pains me) and Lyric 145. Cece needs to go.

    • Slatina Whorinova says:

      Allison Iraheta was never slutty. So I don’t see the similarity between her and the trying-hard-to-be-a-pole-dancer Jennel.

    • TiaGata says:

      Allison can sing CIRCLES around Jennell. Jennell has already gone down the drain in my opinion. These “mentors” don’t have a clue on how to shape an artist. This is a joke.

    • Delon says:

      Jennell is not even eligible to wash Allison Iraheta’s feet , OK? Get it together.

      • scrutinizer says:

        allison is the most underrated singer of the last 10 years. she’s a one-of-a-kind and still not even 20 years old! we need more allison on the airwaves and in concert. mr. slezak, as much as i love melinda, it would be great for you to have allison do at least one reality check with you :)

  17. B.Rich says:

    Camila is amazing and would be the front runner with Carly if they put her through as a soloist

  18. dj says:

    Cece was terrible tonight. Bad song choice, bad singing, really bad face tattoo (is it just me, or is that thing morphing into a rare disease?). It really makes me wish Demi had picked Jillian.

    I liked Beatrice and Carly Rose. When I found out Lyric145 was doing a song from Mary Poppins, I was hoping it was going to be Chim Chim Cheree, complete with Dick Van Dyke doing his best impression of a rockette.

    I liked Tate better this week. I thought Jason did better than last week, too. Everyone else seemed kind of safe and boring, except Emblem3, who seemed kind of spazzy and soulless.

    I have to kind of agree with Simon. I don’t know why Demi feels the need to give all the women in her group drastic makeovers that don’t seem to be an improvement, but she does nothing to Arin in the looks department. That seems kind of sexist.

    • dj says:

      Oh, and I forgot to say, I totally agree about how annoying the screaming of the audience has been this year on the show. They never shut up! Who ARE these people, and why have they no courtesy?

      • millie says:

        The producers could stop the screaming whenever they want to – they encourage it. I believe they think it makes the show seem very popular and exciting. It’s just incredibly annoying.

    • me says:

      Demi isn’t Arin’s mentor. Britney is. lol

      The sexist thing may be true since Demi cut her only male contestant last week, even though he is comparable to both CeCe and Paige.

      • dj says:

        Oops, I forgot Britney is his coach.

        But I still think Demi is making her people look worse, not better, and losing who they are in the process.

  19. Stacie says:

    I am so tired of the sob stories. Other than maybe Carly was there anyone else that didn’t have a super “sad” story. Not one of them said they had anything at home, and as unfortunate as that is, only 1 person is gonna win this show, so a lot of these people will be going home. I just can’t take these clipped packages. After 11 years of American Idol I am incredibly over them. I appreciate the hardships these people have, but it’s just too much.

    The manipulation of bringing back Diamond White is so apparent. I know X Factor did this last year, then American Idol did it last season, so it’s now the thing to do, but it’s just not needed. Plus they aren’t doing a double elimination? Hopefully they will soon. They gotta trim some of these people. There are numerous bad performers left. CeCe, Jason, Paige, Vino, just to name a few. Not good at all.

  20. Vetle says:

    This week was a huuuuge improvement over week 1. I need Lyric 145 to show a serious side as well, but they were WICKED. Loved their performance. I also really liked Beatrice (‘Iris’ is one of my favorite songs ever) and a convincing performer. Carly had a really good performance, she has a strong vocal and she is a great performer for her age. I initially wasn’t so hyped for this season, but now I’m reeeally excited! Arin impressed me as well. I don’t think CeCe was a “D” bad, but she probably had one of the worst performances (I think there were a LOT of good performances this week though). Fifth Harmony is actually a good name, and they did great.

  21. kavyn says:

    I felt bad for Cece, it seemed pretty obvious she was bummed about her performance (possibly the song choice)? I’m glad she at least owned up the song and didn’t pin the bad performance on her coach.

  22. me says:

    Completely disagree!

    Arin Rey gets a higher grade than Carly? Thats ridic. He was a surprise though, he’s much better than Marcus Canty from last year – he can handle dancing/performing and singing at the same time while still being super smooth.

    Carly was RIDICULOUS. This girl SHOULD win. But we’ll see what happens now that the audience is manipulated into equating the Return of Diamond White (who was mediocre) to Melanie Amaro, who sang the same song last year but about…a thousand times better.

    These acts need to go (and I don’t care in which order): CeCe, Tate, Jason Brock, Diamond White and Paige. Once they’re gone, then the real competition begins.

    Emblem3 have the same appeal as Lyric145 – they’re so fun to watch and they are very good at what they do and they are DIFFERENT. I’m just unsure of which I like more, but I can see both appearing on my iPod.

    Fifth Harmony was the surprise for me. Seems like they finally figured out how to sing together. Although the girl on the far end seems annoyed like she got jipped being a background vocal.

    Vino Alan was solid. And sadly for Beatrice, she has a very similar tone/appeal as Carly but Carly can out-sing her. To me, I sometimes forget about how great she is because Carly is so much better.

    Oh and Jennel. She sounded great, as always. I sort of agree with Simon and LA Reid. I like her original style better than this rocker chick thing that Demi transformed her too. Having said that, its not like she’s not pulling it off, I just prefer her the way she was better. Either way though, the girl can saaaaang.

  23. silkrose says:

    Wasn’t Cece sing off key for most of the song?

  24. J says:

    I thought Jennel was terrible, she was moving like a little stripper. And it all sounded very Karaoke, Cece wasn’t great either but nothing like the abysmal performance by Paige. Demi has no idea what she is doing and it’s showing.

    • TiaGata says:

      I agree about Demi not knowing what she is doing. She isn’t “seasoned” enough for this part of the business, for that matter, neither is Britnay.

  25. Annie says:

    Lyric was the best. The guys can go, so that’s why I didn’t write the group’s name.

  26. Tim says:

    Too much production, too much screaming, too little talent.

  27. TheBeach says:

    That camera shot of Paige floating to the floor while the wind machine blew up her skirt to show this really ugly harness was hilarious.

  28. Aria says:

    Fifth Harmony learned to harmonize! They were amazing! (And L.A. is kind of a jerk, constantly bringing up how terrible he thinks their name is every week… let’s focus on the things that matter, yes?
    Meanwhile, Lyric 145 . . . so much potential, but I did not get this performance. WTF was that?
    While I don’t believe Diamond White deserved to go last week, bring her back was kind of a cop-out. I think she might have gone relatively far, but i don’t think we lost a potential winner.
    What is Demi doing to Cece? Her songs have been hideous.
    For me, tonight’s standouts were Fifth Harmony, Paige Thomas (minus the undergarment shot when her robes were blown up), Arin Ray, and Vino Alan, which is surprising because I generally can’t stand the latter two. I didn’t expect any of these four to be great, but they were the best of the night, in my opinion.

  29. Snow says:

    Thank goodness the girl group learned how to harmonize! I really liked them, especially Camilla, I love her tone and hair bows. Although I am concerned that they might be pushing her into to big of a role, having her sit in the middle, and start and finish the song, not that she can’t handle it but it could be polarizing to some people that liked how equal the group seemed at first

  30. Snow says:

    Why is Carly graded so low? She should definitely be above Beatrice at least.

  31. Tim says:

    Bringing back Diamond was pointless, especially if the judges only get to save one in addition to their top vote-getter. That means Carly/Beatrice wins the vote, and she saves the other. Or even worse, she feels guilty and saves Diamond and either Carly or Beatrice gets eliminated.

  32. Margaret says:

    carly’s a star, she was fantastic & that was a tough song. I appreciated that the girls from Fifth Harmony learned to harmonize and their harmonies really were beautiful, but I wasn’t as into their version of A Thousand Years. they were all doing the vocal olympics (to use the phrase Jamie Foxx used when he mentored on AI during season 8) and there are parts of the song where that just isn’t necessary. sorry girls, I’d still take the original, this is Christina Perri’s song…

  33. fiona says:

    The hate on Mario Lopez is unfounded. I rather enjoy him as a host. He’s worlds better than Kardashian or Steve.

    Anyway I don’t really agree with the rankings either. I would rank them this way

    Carly Rose Sonenclar: Bruno Mars’ “It Will Rain” (A-)
    Yeah by the end of this episode I’ve pretty much think the teens are the best out of all the teams followed by the Groups then I’m not to sure. Demi is pretty much ruining her team at this moment, and LA’s hate for his own group reflects how he works with them too… Anyway I think Carly Rose is still one of the top of the pack and has one of the best voices there

    Beatrice Miller: Goo Goo Dolls’ “Iris” (B+)
    Beatrice was pretty good this week as well I think it might be a race between these two teeny boppers for the top

    Jennel Garcia: Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock N Roll” (B+)
    I like Jennel I do, but have to agree with Simon, I miss her old hair it suited her better and I think that this is pure Joan Jett, lacking a little on the originality department

    Vino Alan: Percy Sledge’s “When a Man Loves a Woman” (B+)
    I really enjoy Vino’s vocals he’s so great, his tattoos are distracting but what you gonna do

    Arin Ray: Estelle’s “American Boy” (B)
    Arin is trying to be a little Usher isn’t he? I think a different R&B song would suit him better than doing American boy…

    Lyric145: “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” (from Mary Poppins) (B)
    Interesting choice, they always seem to pump up the crowd, still waiting for something as terrific as Party in the usa in the Judges Homes Performance

    Fifth Harmony: Christina Perri’s “A Thousand Years” (B)
    I still don’t feel them. I find them 5 girls who are solo artists pretty much competing against each other, not a girl group. And honestly, don’t see a teen girl group singing sweet melodies making it after X Factor. At least boy bands have the crazies

    Diamond White: Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing” (B)
    Good effort, but I don’t think it was needed to have her return.

    Tate Stevens: Bon Jovi’s “Wanted Dead or Alive” (B)
    Hmmm… Country isn’t my genre but he’s a good country singer I suppose

    Emblem3: “My Girl”/”California Girls” (B-)
    Singing sucked, Just pumped up the crowd but didn’t enjoy the mash-up at all

    Paige Thomas: Berlin’s “Take My Breath Away” (C+)
    She reminds me a lot of Rhianna…. But she has one of the weaker vocals in this competition

    Jason Brock: R. Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly” (C-)
    NO… Just NO… I wish David Corey was back……
    CeCe Frey: Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger” (D-)
    Bye Bye C.C. Fry……… Just ruining an iconic song for me is a big no-no

    Overall, I think the best mentor so far is Britney oddly enough, but she actually is beginning to listen to her troupe and matching their genres better. Demi… I don’t know if its the eyebrows that are making you do this, but fix your team before it’s too late. Actually your only hope in your team is Jennel so try and work with her more! Simon’s groups… I like Lyric 145 out of the trio left, I actually would rather see the male teeny bopper group that was eliminated from judges than see the other two sad enough. Like I said Lylas/1432/Fifth Harmony (I thought Simon had enough of the numbers?) is rather bland to me….

    • WesBesNes says:

      Sorry, but your 3rd sentence is wrong. In retrospect Steve Jones was a wonderful host. He used his starchy grey-suited powers to warn us away from the show, lest it draw us into the banal web of Simon’s over-tanned clavicle implants.

  34. kcostell says:

    In my mind you have Jenell and Emblem3 way too high (the former was competent but boring, the latter exciting but painful to the ear). Conversely, Vino (and to a lesser extent Carly) are criminally undergraded.

  35. Leon says:

    MICHAEL… Fifth Harmony didn’t harmonize. They had back up singers (or track). You can see the final verse three of them put their mics down and stopped singing then another line was sung with full harmonies. One looked around then tried to put the mic back up while one who was still singing put her mic down. So if they aren’t doing the harmonies should they change their name again. How about the Five Soloists.

    • Kenya says:

      They were five individuals during “Impossible.” They tried (and failed) to harmonize during “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.” They nailed it last night. Dinah Jane & Normani were doing one set of harmonies, while the other three were doing another set of harmonies at different points in the song. Nothing wrong with that.

      • Lila says:

        but you can see in a wideshot three backup singers standing in the far right helping them out. they can’t harmonize together yet and with 5 strong singers there should be no need for backup singers. harmonizing is the core of a group- you never saw BSB, Spice girls, etc. with background singers.

        I hope they can really improve their harmonizing because i do like them but i can’t get behind them if they fake their way though it.

  36. fiyero says:

    I think that Emblem3 has been Simon’s favorite from DAY 1, and it makes sense, because they definitely have the ability to sell really well, compared to the female singers, because there are so many of the same (talented, but same). I loved Sunset BLVD, but their stuff since then has not been good.

    My other favorite was Jennel Garcia – I completely agree with Simon and LA. She went from being the sweet looking girl, who actually was pretty bad ass, but now she just looks like she’s trying to hard.

  37. Karen says:

    I’m gonna be rooting for Lyric 145, Arin, Jennel & Beatrice from now on. Hope they make it through.
    Diamond’s ‘I Have Nothing’ was a pure mess (and what was up with that oversized whoit
    I still can’t see the appeal of Emblem3

  38. Karen says:

    I’m gonna be rooting for Lyric 145, Arin, Jennel & Beatrice from now on. I thought they all did a good job last night, and I really Hope they make it through.
    Diamond’s ‘I Have Nothing’ was a big mess (and what was up with that oversized white mess
    And I still can’t see the appeal of Emblem3, they’re just a big annoyance to me.
    Also, what was up with the fact that 2/3 of the contestants apparently don’t have a home?!
    But at least most of the contestants weren’t shouting over very loud music and fans screaming

  39. asherlev1 says:

    Aww, I think Carly should have a higher grade that that! I also loved the girl group and Arin Ray. I actually haven’t seen Jennel’s performance, but I find her makeover horribly off-putting. And I was never a fan of her hair-tossing performance style. Has she improved a lot?

  40. John Clayton says:

    Are we grading FIfthHarmony on a curve? I’m concerned for you Mike. They’re not a group. They’re 5 soloists that sing the same song together. There’s a difference. Wake up.

  41. T_T says:

    I can’t decide who really was the best tonight. All were fairly good, not great. It’s so much easier to say who was worst which was definitely was Cece. (Poor girl) Next worst was Diamond.

  42. Kellie says:

    Lyric145 are absolutely amazing and should win the whole thing. They are unique, creative, they aren’t afraid to take risks and Lyric herself is a superstar in the making. Carly Rose is the only other contestant who I think has the potential to be a star once she gets off the show. The girl’s vocal is fantastic and she understands how to connect to a song and to the audience. My only problem with her is that she’s just too young. I don’t know if radio or the public will support a 13-year-old singer who doesn’t have a famous dad (like Willow Smith) or who isn’t a mini Susan Boyle (like Jackie Evancho). If Carly Rose was 16 or older, I’d feel a lot better about her chances.

    No one else stood out to me in a good way. Cece and Jennel were the worst of the night for me — in large part due to absolutely awful song choices. Cece’s vocal was all over the place, while Jennel came off as someone at a karaoke bar.

  43. socalgal says:

    (1) Lose the background vocals and overproduced music. (2) Provide the genre and let the contestants pick their own songs – give assistance with presentation (3) Make sure one genre is a capella. Then we’ll know who can carry a tune. This season contains infinitely more talent than last.

  44. Kellie says:

    I don’t like the voice of the girl in Fifth Harmony who opened their performance with a solo. At all. But they harmonized much better than they did last week.

    I agreed with Simon and L.A. about Jennel’s performance, although I wouldn’t call it a parody, just a bad karaoke performance of that song. I really don’t like the makeover they’ve done on her, turning her into some sort of OTT rocker chick when that isn’t who she is.

    Loved loved LOVED Lyric145. If they don’t win XF, that’s messed up.

    Please do NOT give Carly Rose a boring ballad or an old jazz standard — how would that help her come off as a relevant pop artist? That’s a major flaw with all these singing competitions — song choices that make the contestants come off as too old and not relevant to the current music scene. “Eye of the Tiger” for Cece, for example? That’s a horrible, cheesy song to begin with — so it’s no surprise that her performance came off as a hot mess. That wasn’t a song choice that said — this girl is a future pop star.

    Finally, from what I can tell, every contestant comes from a miserable home life and has nothing to go back to if they are kicked off the show? Seriously???? Emblem3 were the worst offenders with this “sob story” stuff — from what I’ve heard, they are actually from well off families and have several relatives who work in the entertainment business. Yet to hear the one kid talk, he’s one step away from being homeless. Tate Stevens was the only one who seemed to admit to having a happy home life. And even he seemed to complain a little about having to give up his dream to go out and get a real job to support his family. I found all of these sob stories extremely annoying — even if some of them might be true, it was just OTT.

  45. Emma says:

    It’s no wonder that CeCe has lost her swagger. Her “mentor” Demi never passes up an opportunity to tweet and tell the press that Jennel is her favorite. Poor CeCe, she’s like the child who is told she isn’t the parent’s favorite, how is she supposed to thrive in that environment?!? And all Demi is doing with Jennel is trying to make her into a mini-me, Demi is so vain, ugh. I seriously hope that CeCe gets her swag back, because when she had it she was very entertaining. And I hope she makes it farther on the show than Jennel because what Demi is doing is just so unfair and a little cruel tbh.

  46. RD says:

    Where this show differs from the rest of the talent shows can be summed up in one word-Hype.The set up is to make the 5 million prize worth the gamble and that’s why no-one will say a bad word about the decidedly mediocre Emblem 3,because with all this exposure and testosterone their career is assured,and it’s the only way that a 15 million dollar price tag for Britney Spears can be justified. This show is just the pits.

  47. carol says:

    i have absolutely loved vino from the start and brittany being afraid of him is immature. i have NEVER approved of cece she has been a brat from the beginning demi should have kept the girl she supposedly related to in regards to being bullied. even the jonas bro said she was sexy is that why demi didn’t keep her? all demi does are makeovers. the voice is what matters, these people are counting on demi for help … changing their hair aint it.

  48. Lena says:

    People complain about American Idol’s “white guys with a guitar”, but when it comes down to it I like watching pure, raw voices and instrumentals. Sure, all these theatrics are fun at concerts for enormous pop stars, but this TV show is getting downright annoying. I love the Voice so much more, and that’s what makes the blind auditions so fantastic–it’s actually about the VOICE that a singer has. These over the top performances aren’t even good sometimes, so zero payoff. X Factor is just seeming kind of trashy lately.

  49. Tessa says:

    Random thoughts… Arin was really good, appealing, attractive, seemed marketable. Paige, Cece both over-produced and just plain crappy. Demi doesn’t know what she’s doing, and that incessant nasal blathering she does is offputting and annoying. She comes off as a spoiled, entitled brat. Jason is better suited for Broadway; just not mainstream. Lyric 145 will never win the whole thing – not enough people like that style of music. They are sort of interesting, but a lot of screaming and yelling and sensory overload. Did not like Diamond last night at all. Why that song, why? So cliche, and just uninteresting. Love Carly and Beatrice, although Beatrice got the short end of the stick in wardrobe. Can’t she be hip and trendy and bohemian without looking trashy? She’s such a cute girl. Jenel; she’s the only one in that group that is decent and has a chance. And Britney is looking better, thank goodness, but still seems heavily sedated with little to offer. Tate is super likable and I think Vino is pretty good too, definitely has the sexy-ugly vibe going!

    • teatime says:

      Demi is offputting and annoying. I agree. She is not serving her team well by teaching them they should ignore any critique. Simon is spot on with most of what he says. Demi clearly just thinks it is all about him trying to be negative toward her acts. She said as much this week. It is sad. Her team deserve better and more current songs, they need to put more true emotion into what they are singing, and they should all go back to their original hair!

  50. onlyakb says:

    I still think the 13’s in this competition are the most talented bunch!! but love Jennel, Vino and Tate too!! and find Lyric 145 incredibly surprising and creative and I’m not a big fan of rap/hip hop music!!! Cece is vanishing by bits, but I don’t like her, so that will make her more humble, maybe?!! and 5th Harmony the girls are learning how to work together and most of them have a beautiful voice !!