The X Factor Recap: Better the Diva You Know

lyric 145 x factorSometimes I wish I’d stuck with my late-’90s foray into yoga, the better to watch The X Factor while balanced on the top of my noggin. I mean, we’re all desperately seeking a different vantage point from which to make sense of this loud, brightly lit, oftentimes confounding affair, right?

Until I become the best-selling author of How Slezak Got His Namaste Back, however, I’m just going to have to rely on my old friends sauvignon blanc and incredulousness to help me endure the supercalifragilisticwhattheeffjusthappened-ness of it all.

Yes, Ameirca, recoil in terror as Britney Spears tells 13-year-old Carly Rose Sonenclar that her performance gave her chills all over her body. Wince as CeCe Frey reaches for another glory note that wriggles from her grasp and waves harsh finger-pistols of truth in her befuddled face. Jam with the band L.A. Reid is listening to in his mind while pretending he cares what’s going down on stage. Study with fascination the way words like “superstar” and “amazing” and “incredible” are ground into nothingness in the strobe-lit mortar and pestle of the X Factor machine. It’s not always good, but it’s certainly never… boring?

With that damning praise out in the open, let’s grade this week’s performances, the not entirely accurate “Divas Night”:

Paige Thomas: Donna Summer’s “Last Dance” | I knew trouble was in the wind when Demi told us to “give it up for Paige,” then sort of trailed off like she’d forgotten her protege’s last name. And things went from awkward to borderline unwatchable when — following a sad into package about how Paige lost her mom at age 6 — the singer emerged in a sparkling red mini-dress with Dynasty-era shoulder pads, atroshe lipstick in the same exact shade and finish, and black gloves that I can only imagine were worn so that she wouldn’t leave any fingerprints on the brutalized husk of the disco classic she’d was covering. As Paige meekly tried not to get upstaged by her dancers, her vocal became intermittently inaudible, and by the time she botched her lyrics on the second verse, her facial expression read anything but the “fun” Demi had requested. At least the whole mess gave Britney’s scriptwriter a chance to feed her this doozy: “It was like a disco ball exploded on stage.” Said explosion could lead to a casualty come results night. Grade: D+

CeCe Frey: Celine Dion’s version of “All By Myself” | If a ballad is the luminol that can be used to expose a singer’s weaknesses, then it’s safe to say that CeCe’s cover of “All By Myself” had enough ugly moments to make David Caruso readjust his CSI: Miami shades and utter something like, “She hit the notes, Callie…she hit them right in the head with a two-by-four.” To be fair, there were parts of the song where the postal clerk sounded great, especially the huge glory note on “anymorrrrrrrrrrrrre” that coincided with the activation of CeCe’s onstage wind machine. Seconds later, though, as she attempted to bring the number to a close, CeCe spun wildly off pitch, making a last impression that had Britney declaring she just didn’t get it, and that just might leave Demi’s hard-trying contestant in last place on the leaderboard. Grade: C-

Arin Ray: Madonna’s “Crazy for You” | Oh how I wish X Factor would focus on giving us insight into the song-selection and arrangement process, rather than trying to convince us Arin has embarked on a tender fauxmance/showmance with Fifth Harmony’s Normani Hamilton. And maybe Arin should’ve been more single-minded about his performance, too, seeing how he botched the lyrics his second time through the chorus, repeating the line “I never wanted anyone like this” in place of “touch me once and you’ll know it’s true.” That gaffe wouldn’t have been so bad if Arin’s pitch had been flawless, and if he hadn’t added an unfortunate gasping sound before every other line, but apparently last week’s terrific “American Boy” cover was a one-week-only experience. With Demi dropping non-actionable critiques like “you lack soul,” it seemed as though the judges have the handsome teenager marked for elimination. Grade: C

Jennel Garcia: Tina Turner’s “Proud Mary” | Oh, hey, look: It’s Jennel in braided pigtails, talking via Skype to the adorable dance-class moppets she teaches back at home! See, she’s still the “rock star next door,” not the oversexed, leather-clad vamp Demi’s been portraying her as for the last few weeks. But again, what good is a carefully crafted pre-performance interview if the song choice and vocal amount to nothing more than middling karaoke. For the first time in the competition, Jennel showed some serious weaknesses in her lower register, and the white fringe top that shimmied all the way down to Jennel’s knees was so reminiscent of the getups Tina Turner herself has worn while performing the song through the years that it felt like copycatting more than homage. Nope, ending with a backdrop of a vanity license plate with the name “Jennel Garcia” is not making it your own. Grade: C

Diamond White: Beyonce’s “Halo” | If you’d already forgotten that Diamond was ousted on Top 16 results night, the kid reiterated how her “whole spirit was crushed” by the incident. What? You want to crush a beautiful young girl’s “whole spirit”? Is that why you didn’t vote for her after a rendition of “Halo” that was pitched so high, it pushed Diamond’s voice to the borderline of strained and unpleasant? Okay, okay…the opening verse sounded pretty good — despite the interruptions from a screaming teenager in the audience who may or may not have been in the process of being stabbed to death by Ghostface — but Diamond may have lost me forever by robotically declaring that, like Beyonce, she has an alter-ego who takes over for her when she hits the stage. If this show had at least one host who was capable of saying anything that’s not on the teleprompter, the obvious followup would’ve been, “Do you know what an alter-ego is, or did your stage mommy tell you to say that?” Grade: C+

Fifth Harmony: Mariah Carey’s “Hero” | The girls of Fifth Hamony are so close, they even bake together! And next week, they’ll pass around a pair of magical jeans that will fit each of their various body types and lead them into all sorts of dramatic, fun-filled summer adventures! Hopefully, those travelling pants will also help them figure out how to consistently harmonize, rather than just go from gorgeous solo to gorgeous solo to gorgeous solo — the same crime they committed back in the Judges’ Houses round. But despite their lack of tight vocal blend — and a rather clichéd song choice that once again found the quintet standing stock still — there’s no denying the amount of talent on display. Plus, as Simon noted, they all love puppies. Which means they’re gonna be around at least till mid-December — and I don’t have a problem with it, either. Grade: B-

Tate Stevens: Shania Twain’s “From This Moment” | If you had any doubt that L.A. has ceased to speak from the heart, and is merely collecting a paycheck for spewing whatever the show’s producers whisper into his ear, try this intro to Tate’s performance on for size. “This guy represents every American that every gave up on their dreams!” Seriously, L.A.? Far more believable was Tate’s simple, sweet backstory about marrying his high-school sweetheart, which gave “From This Moment” a little extra emotional heft. There were a couple of minor vocal wobbles along the way — and the backdrop and heavy reliance on fog machine were kind of dated — but overall this performance should keep the Tate Wagon moving right long. Grade: B

Beatrice Miller: Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time” |
And the award for this week’s most painfully literal staging goes to Britney Spears, for slapping a half-dozen watches on Beatrice’s arm, placing the kid atop a display of timepieces, and saddling her with a gigantic hourglass backdrop for her rendition of “Time After Time.” (Cut to Britney: “But, like, the song has the word ‘time’ in the title.”) I’m sorry to report the situation with Beatrice’s wardrobe wasn’t much better, unless you spend most of your time at the skate part and find nothing wrong with a “YOLO” hat and a flannel shirt with exposed shoulders. Unfortunately, those little details — plus a pre-performance package that made it look like Beatrice’s success or failure would determine if her two moms could put food on the dinner table — might distract viewers from voting for what turned out to be a morosely pretty vocal. Beatrice may not be Season 2’s most polished performer, but she’s got a terrific tone and an innate ability to cut to the emotional heart of whatever track she’s covering. Her mentor apparently agrees, since Simon’s critique of the song choice made Britney lash out: “She has more talent in her pinkie finger than all your contestants put together!” Whoa, maybe Ms. Spears is actually paying attention to the proceedings? Grade: B

Carly Rose Sonenclar: Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” | While Beatrice may be this year’s most emotionally connected contestant, Carly Rose is definitely staking her claim as its most technically proficient. I mean, if the 13-year-old has hit an off note in the last three weeks, it certainly hasn’t happened in front of the TV cameras. And yet, if I’m being honest, I felt like her rendition of “My Heart Will Go On” lacked a little bit of the drama that’s central to the success of such a big, schlocky ballad. Part of the problem is that the track itself just felt a little too grown up for a kid who’s still in middle school. But part of it was the slightly muted arrangement, which had Carly Rose doing double lutzes instead of quadruple axels. Normally, I’m a big advocate of vocal restraint on reality singing competitions, but if you’re going to climb aboard the Titanic, you’d best make sure you’re up on the mast, arms outstretched and wind in your hair, belting at the top of your lungs. (Side note: I know he meant it as a compliment, but Simon needs to be careful about feedback that could paint Carly Rose as robotic. I mean, out of context, isn’t that how one might interpret a zinger like “I don’t believe you’re a human being”?) Grade: B

Emblem3: Alicia Keys’ “No One” | They may not have the strongest voices in the competition — though who can be sure thanks to the 47 layers of background vocals behind them? — but I liked that Emblem3 put a little acoustic reggae stank on Alicia Keys’ romantic R&B hit. For the record, though, I think Chris Rene did the song better back in Season 1. Grade: B+

Lyric145: Katy Perry’s “E.T.”/Queen’s “We Will Rock You” | Yes, Britney had an excellent point that Lyric145 “should be doing hip-hop tracks.” And no, I didn’t disagree with Demi that “We Will Rock You” has nothing to do with Katy Perry’s absolute worst hit (“E.T.”). And yet somehow, I found myself enjoying the entire noisy mess of a performance –particularly the way Lyric Da Queen bobbed and weaved and swooped her way through both songs like a boxer looking for her opportunity to get the TKO. I’m not sure she ever quite landed that killer punch, but if L.A. is right that the hip-hop act is on its way out of the competition, two things will be certain: Arin, CeCe or Paige got very, very lucky. And X Factor will be far less unpredictably entertaining for the remainder of the season. Grade: B+

Vino Alan: Al Green’s (or Tina Turner’s?) “Let’s Stay Together” | Anyone else notice how some of Fifth Harmony’s flower petals continued to rain onto the stage at the start of Vino’s performance? It may have been accidental, but perhaps it was some crafty production assistant subtly signaling that the gruffest persona in the Season 2 pool was about to give the evening’s most delicately stirring performance. I liked how the first half of the song was stripped back to just a vibrating synth line and Vino’s distinctive, unembellished vocals, after which the drum machines kicked in for added urban relevance. Vino still makes me a little skittish in his interviews — what the heck was his spiel about Phil Collins, Huey Lewis, and Eminem? — but if Demi really found herself “a little bored” by the performance, maybe she’s missing the point of what singers are actually supposed to do when they get on stage? Grade: A-

And with that, let me turn things over to you:

Who were your favorites from The X Factor‘s Top 12 performance night? Who will and should go home? (I’m guessing it’ll be Arin and either Paige or CeCe). 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. rod says:

    its gonna be awesome tomorrow when Demy choses one of her acts over the other one, because there is no way Paige and Cece will not be the bottom two

    • dan says:

      And there’s no way Cece was better than Paige. I want to see her give one great performance before she gets the boot, but that was … I’m thinking it’s what they mean when they say pitchy. Poor Paige’s voice was swallowed up by the production, but at least she sounded better when you could hear her. I’m thinking Carly Rose and Fifth Harmony will be the last ones standing.

      • kavyn says:

        Paige is going to get all the pity votes… She was horrible as well as Cece (I loved Cece during auditions and boot camp but she’s seriously disappointing in the live shows). I think Slezak’s bottom three is more or less my guesses as for whose in the bottom, although I’m a little confused by Arin Ray’s popularity.

        • Shaun says:

          Blame it on Demi mostly…horrible costumes and song choices.Gotta set Cece straight soon.

          • Mary says:

            I disagree you cannot blame Demi for CeCe god awful singing. If you listen to Demi she wasn’t the one who did the staging for Paige. My bottom two are CeCe and Arin.

          • becauseican says:

            Okay this is a singing show so even though they want you to look pretty your voice is the most important so you can’t blame nothing on Demi.

      • wynalazca says:

        Umm… Paige didn’t see a single note in tune. She was by far the worst. So much so that I started cracking up and cheering with the thought that she absolutely had to be going home. Too bad that didn’t happen (good work Simon, Brittany, and LA.)

    • Ty says:

      I am actually convinced tonight that Demi HATES Paige. She knows Paige can’t be trusted with her makeups, we all remember those hundred pound eyelashes that would shame a hooker and that tacky slit cut dress. Then it’s like Demi says to herself, wow, lets make this worse, and makes her fall from the ceiling like a spider. And tonight… wow, that lipstick… WTF – W T F. If Demi was looking out for Paige, she would shut down all her styling choices.

  2. kavyn says:

    Can someone please explain to me what’s so great about Lyric 145? I seriously can’t hear it. The choice of mixing ET and We Will Rock You just seemed ridiculous to me and they sounded the exact same they did when they sang Party In The USA. There’s no diversity they just sound the exact same no matter what they sing…

    I mean at first I was open to them because they sounded unique, but their Gagnam Style performance was just terrible, last week’s was decent but again it all just sounds the same to me. I get that they’re different but that doesn’t make them talented…

    I personally thought Bea rocked her performance (I was really digging it) as well as Carly. Everyone else was very “meh” for me, and Vino was good but it honestly bored me up until the upbeat drumming (which only lasted two seconds at a time).

    • FreeHaley says:

      They sounded nothing at all like when they did Party in the USA. That was pure and she really put in moves. This was a noisy, over-produced bit of a mess. How did ET go with We Will Rock You??? It didn’t! Demi was totally right on this one.
      They were awesome with Party in the USA, ok the first live week but not as good, last week was cool, this week was bad.

      • I Heart Chuck Bass (and Damon Salvatore) says:

        Agreed. I thought they were just yelling and jumping around tonight. And, I’ve been a BIG fan up until this week (loved last week and “Party in the USA” especially).

        Also think Jennel was better than a “C”. More like a solid B. And, Lyric-145 was a C- IF I’m being generous.

    • FreeHaley says:

      Yeah Bea was the best.

  3. Kristin says:

    Thank you for grading Vino’s performance what it deserves…it was awesome and he made it relevant and his own and none of the judges gave him credit for that…I really miss American idol Simon Cowel because this show is ruining his image and brand…way to go vino u totally deserved the win for the night!!’

    • BarbL says:

      I’m glad Michael recognizes Vino’s efforts as the judges aren’t giving Vino the respect he deserves–Vino killed it tonight!

    • Nina says:

      I agree. I hate this refusal or inability-whatever!- to see past Vino’s exterior to the brilliant performances he’s consistently giving. Don’t get me wrong he still has a lot of room to grow, but no way does he deserve to be dismissed in then called out as a bad example when critiquing another contestant. It’s beyond gross.

    • Kathi says:

      Totally agree about vino. I think Demi has some prejudice against anyone over the age of 18!

  4. JimmyJ says:

    B+ for Lyric145?? There was virtually no creativity in their performance like most of the hip hop you hear on the radio today. I like their potential as a group, but I agree with Britney in that they should be performing hip hop tracks. They have way more likability than Astro last year solely based on Lyric da Queen. And judged by her youtube posts, she def has a nice flow that she should be showcasing. I feel like they’re selling out right now

    • luuu says:

      You are so right. Lyric da queen has a mixtape with dj drama and her lyricism and flow is amazing but she swears a lot and the subject matter just wouldnt work on a fake show like this

  5. Andrea says:

    I don’t understand the appeal of Lyric 145. I loved Carly once again!

    • gregk says:

      Love Carly, she is so like Jackie Evancho who was only 12 when she nearly (and should have) won America’s Got Talent two years ago. She was so spectacular that the judges also thought she was doing a lip sync. Scary good talent! However, hated the screamers in the audience; one girl’s tortured distracting cries during Carly’s performance sounded like she was having her fingernails pulled off. Please take the microphones away from the screamers!

  6. Jack says:

    Thank you! I think Paige is by far one of the worst, plus her dancing on Simon was pure pathetic. She’s cried more in 1 episode, then Clair Danes in all 2 seasons of Homeland. But for as much as I love Cece, I truly love her, I think Cece will go. She blew it tonight, and Demi really screwed up.

    I think Arin, Cece, and Beatrice will be in the bottom. Cece will go home. Arin and Beatrice will sing off, Britney will send Arin home. I really want Cece to stay, but she’s really suffering. Killed it in audtion, destroyed Paige in boot camp, rocked Sexy and I know It, and I thought she did a good job with Because the Night, but blew the rest.

    How I think the ratings will go tomorrow:
    1. Tate
    2. Carly
    3. Vino
    4. Emblem 3
    5. 5th harmony
    6. diamond white
    7. jennell garcia
    8. lyric
    9. paige
    10. beatrice

    Cece and Arin are tied for bottom.

    • Huh? says:

      How can CeCe go home while Arin and Beateice sing off? Also, Britney can only vote, not choose to send someone home. That said, there’s no way she, or any judge in the history of the show would vote to send one of her own back home.

    • FreeHaley says:

      Come on man, Beatrice was best of the night!

      • FreeHaley says:

        the rest of your ordering doesn’t seem too crazy to me though, although i might slide things around just a little

        • Jack says:

          I think Cece will go home. No doubt. She was bottom was week. This week 2 goes home. Also I think Arin or Beatrice will go, like I said they would sing, Britney will choose Beatrice. I think Lyric could also be in danger. I pray Paige goes and Cece stays, but i think Paige will squeak by one last week.

          After careful reconstruction, I still think the rankings will go a little like this:
          1. Carly
          2. Vino
          3. Tate
          4. Emblem 3
          5. jennell
          6. 5th harmony
          7. diamond white
          8. lyric
          9. paige
          10. beatrice

          And Cece and Arin in the bottom. Cece has had to sing-off every single live show. Arin should have been eliminated weeks ago. Beatrice finished 10th last week, and this week I don’t think she did much to go beyond.

  7. ben says:

    Gah, why all these powerhouse songs for Jennel?

  8. Mick says:

    After hearing the Lil’ Mo version of Time After Time, everyone else’s falls short.

  9. FreeHaley says:

    Beatrice and 5H tops for the night. Beatrice #1, amazing tone and impact.

    Beatrice needs help and is getting all my votes.

    She has such an amazing tone and connection. I think she will def be a star one day regardless of what happens here, most don’t despite how they tell everyone who leaves that they will be, but I really think she will.

  10. FreeHaley says:

    CeCe sang much better than last week (although a couple missed notes, can miss pitch when stressed).

    Paige worse (her voice faded out at times, disappeared, no strong parts like last week had for a while, judge seemed to love it but it seemed like a step backwards).

    Tate better (but I still find country horrendously boring and he is my least fav, I have to admit he sang it pretty well it seemed though, but I just do not dig country stylings like that).

    Lyric 145 worse (I liked them the very best at the judge’s house, this was their worst so far, Demi was correct how the heck does ET fit into that? Where did it come from? And that is like the worst song to rap to!).

    Jennel may be a bit over rated.

    Arin was worse this week, last week was his only really strong week.

    Vino a touch better, bit boring start.

    Carly similar.

    Diamond a bit better.

    Emblem 3 a bit better.

    And as said above Beatrice and 5H the best for tonight. Beatrice has such amazing tone, def gonna be a star, crazy talent.

  11. FreeHaley says:

    Beatrice best. 5H, Emblem 3, Vino good. Tate not bad although I don’t care for that sort of thing. CeCe a bunch of good but a few brutal little misses on a couple big notes, I think she got too wrecked by the early portrayal and it just never came back. Paige, Arin not so hot.

    • Shaun says:

      how many times you gonna post?

      • Marianne says:

        Is there a limit?

      • Sam says:

        Haha! I didn’t realize it was the same person until you said something. I thought, “Wow, a lot of the same opinion…”

        • FreeHaley says:

          OK. OK. I posted a bit much this week. :) I hadn’t posted in like three weeks at all and mostly not all that much before that either and I overly made up for it this week. For AI many people like 50 times or more and nobody thinks anything of it but AI tends to go on for like 25 pages each time and so many people do that that it doesn’t stand out so much as for XFactor or The Voice (which seem to garner far, FAR fewer posts per TV ratings point, for whatever reason). And now I just added even one more. Damn.

  12. onlyakb says:

    definitely Vino was the best of the night, then Carly, Beatrice and Fifth Harmony!! Then Tate and Jennel,Diamond,Lyric and the rest sounded messy to me!

  13. Forwarddad says:

    Agree with most except E3. Bunch of DBags. The one with tank top looks high. See him at the end crowd surfing. Bleh.

  14. bjp says:

    I thought that Beatrice got the most unfair and unfortunate pre-performance package. Especially in contrast to many other contestants who had nice home and family stories (Fifth Harmony baking together, are you kidding me?!). That said, she does have to watch how she responds to judges’ comments. She has so much talent, and I hope she continues on for many weeks – I think the best is yet to come with her.

    And I can’t believe I’m going to say it, but Carly made me enjoy that stupid Titanic song for the first time ever!

    Did anyone else notice that the youngest kid from Emblem 3 messed up on the second last line of the song? Instead of “feeling” he went to “feel for you” maybe thinking it was the last line? He looked uncomfortable and kept on looking for cues from the other two?

    My prediction is Cece going home.

    • FreeHaley says:

      I hope that Beatrice package doesn’t turn off some voters. I saw a few tweets. It could backfire. Hopefully that wasn’t any sort of plan. For some reason Simon doesn’t seem quite as high on her as you’d think.

      • xbob says:

        What did the tweets say?

        • FreeHaley says:

          I didn’t really look much so I don’t know if it was just a very, very few or a more significant amount, maybe it was just a few out of tens of thousands and means nothing at all, but I glanced over at the tweets for a second right after her story and saw a few along the general lines of OMG! Enough with the sob stories. Can’t handle all these begging, sobbing sales pushes. Bye. or At least 5H are happy. What a relief. Starting to think nobody was. but I didn’t make note of all of the rest.

          On another forum someone was posting something about how her family was coldly using her for support while being lazy and that nobody else cries poverty (which seems ridiculous since half the contestants, maybe three quarters even, were given a back home to nothing storyline more than once already, and I didn’t think her parents were putting any pressure on, they even said the opposite this week (although the post was from the week before) so I don’t know why that person picked on her storyline). But that was just one person and all of the few who responded strongly disagreed and said that person was way out of line and being ridiculous.

          Anyway, as I said I did NOT get a good look at a large number of tweets, just a quick glance at moment and just looked at the few that caught my eye so what I mention above may very well be irrelevant and not particularly representative of anything at all.

    • teatime says:

      I agree about Carly. Her’s is probably my favorite version of that Titanic song. She did not go all OTT. She has real promise.
      Beatrice is apparently very underrated, given her placement last week. She is extremely talented. I hope she is just handicapped by not being featured in the auditions so any personal information will only help. I hope.

    • Liz says:

      I noticed that too (the third emblem making a mistake). I don’t think his mic was even turned on, because you could see his mistake, but you couldn’t hear it at all. Funnier still, they showed it again on the recaps at the end of the show!

      • bjp says:

        Interesting comment about the mike being turned off! I think you may be right! If anything, maybe it was on very very very low… :)

    • Marianne says:

      CeCe . . . and who else? It’s going to be a double-elimination.

  15. teatime says:

    I hope they give us all the rankings again! It will make their vote off show really worth watching.
    I predict Carly will move into first place.
    Vino did a great job again. He should stay in the top 4 and maybe even move up a notch to second place.
    Fifth Harmony did a great job again. They should at least move ahead of Diamond.
    I was not that impressed with Emblem 3. A couple of weeks ago they closed the show with a real impressive performance. IMO that was the only memorable performance they have ever given. I do not see them gaining in the ranking unless they move ahead of Diamond.
    Beatrice is possibly my favorite. She gave another great performance tonight. She deserves to move up several notches. Actually, IMO, she deserves to be in the top 4. But she will have to fight her way up from 10th place.
    Lyric 145 did nothing to help themselves tonight. They all have a lot of personality and are better than what they have been doing.
    Jennel could drop a spot or two.
    Even just based on tonight the ones at the bottom should be Arin, Paige, Cece. Unfortunately Lyric 145 might be in the bottom also just because it was an unimaginative and shouty performance.
    Beatrice should move up not down!

  16. teatime says:

    Slezak, very funny write-up!

  17. Sam says:

    5th Harmony’s story line is eerily similar to Little Mix’s…Solo singers, name change, infinite marketability.

    • dan says:

      X-Factor is very scripted. The love certain storylines, throwing people together, the ambitious pop star who makes a fool of herself. How many times can they pretend that “the judges decided there was too much talent and we have to put them together as a group.” Uh, it happens over and over on the British version.

  18. Lynda Gregory says:

    My opinion is that Carly Rose did make that song enjoyable for the first time in years. Tonight I thought the best three were Fifth Harmony, Carly Rose and Tate Stevens. Bottom 3 should be Paige Thomas, Cece Frey and Lyric 145. Hopefully Lyric 145 goes home but I am afraid it may be Cece.

  19. Aria says:

    Khloe did a little better as host early on, but then it all quickly went downhill. Which brings us to . . .

    The Top 5 Khloe Kardashian Moments of the Night

    5) Announcing that the Taylor Swift performance tomorrow night will be “sensatiable”

    4) Complete failure of a “Who’s the bigger diva” joke with Mario Lopez

    3) That skirt. ‘Nuff said.

    2) Saying, of the double elimination, that “it’s gonna be depressing” . . . with a huge smile on her face

    1) Noting that Beatrice Miller’s song “Time After Time” is sung by “Simpy Lomper”

  20. Mikey says:

    Is it just me, or were they playing Lyric 145’s ET track at the start of Arin’s performance, and some random obnoxious clanging at the start of Carly Rose’s? It’s not a live band, and yet they still manage to screw up the sound.

    • teatime says:

      Yeah. Live TV is supposed to be exciting because anything can happen on stage. The people off screen should have their act together.

  21. Lisa says:

    Lyric 145 near the top??? Really??? And Paige wasn’t that bad, especially compared with Cece and Arin. Slightly biased, no? Emblem3 is stylistically awesome, but they don’t choose vocally demanding songs, so it’s hard to compare them to, say, Carly Rose, who never hits a sour note and sings more difficult songs. Also, I love Fifth Harmony.

    • Ty says:

      Paige’s makeup choices are that bad, what was that on her mouth? It’s like she superglued her lips and kissed a party dress.

  22. Slatina Whorinova says:

    Slezak has it for Paige’s head, but no matter how bad Paige was, nothing can be worse than the terror that Cece subjected us to. Like Britney said, Sorry, I just didn’t get it.

  23. jaxguy says:

    I’ve suddenly become the grumpy old man, but I was HUGELY disappointed with the show tonight. Only 2 stood out for me: Fifth Harmony, I would buy their record if the right producer showcases their absolutely great voices, and Carly. Her vocal, for me, was the best of the night. Can’t handle Emblem 5. Remember I’m a grumpy old man, but I just don’t like them and I don’t think they have much range. Vino and Tate were good, Beatrice was my number 3. Arin was not good, CeCe was almost painful to listen to and Paige was mediocre. Jennel is slipping, Diamond was tolerable. I don’t like rap but I had grown fond of Lyric 145 after their 1st 2 performances, but tonight it was just terrible. I’m not a fan of that song anyway, even though I love Queen. (Wasn’t crazy about the Voice this week either.)
    I told you I was grumpy.

    • teatime says:

      You’re not a grumpy old man (as far as I can tell.) It is just that your hearing is still intact. I agree with your assessment.
      I would just bump Vino up a notch but I recognize that is more because I was already a fan and he did not lose any ground this week IMO.

    • BarbL says:

      Maybe my point of view is skewed because I’m sick unto death of the Titanic song, but I don’t think Carly is all that. I’m kinda confused about the love for her (though I don’t think she’s bad by any means). I’d like to see her in about 7 years, though–I do think she’s going to be a star.
      Bea was bland, though again not bad. Her youth is showing.
      To me, it was between Vino and Tate, though I think Arin is under-rated. And I do like 5th Harmony a lot.

    • Marianne says:

      The Voice WAS bad this week, too. I believe it was mostly bad due to song choices, not the actual singing.

    • wyodad says:

      jaxguy, I too am a GOM and agree with much of what you said. Carly sang the song with a nuance that exceeds the original. The arrangement was a bit off but what do you expect from cutting a great song into a 1:20 minute version? I had some fun last night by watching Sylvia from the Voice singing the song the night before and then juxtaposing that with Carly’s version. Sylvia’s was such a pale, sad little whimper compared to Carly.

  24. PC says:

    X-Factor audience is the worst of any singing competition. Some one is always screaming. Can’t hear the singers sing sometimes. Fox should not put a microphone in the audience.

    • FreeHaley says:

      They really do need to lower the volume on the ambient mics!

    • gregk says:

      Screamers are ten times worse than the swaybots. You can close your eyes for these but cannot turn volume down on the loathesome screamers without affecting the singing quality. Please campaign against this, Slezak, like you did against the swaybots that you monikered years ago when you recapped AI.

  25. Ryan says:

    Tvline has to hate the essence of these types of shows and have to laughing about people taking them seriously. That’s the only possible explanation how or why this writer would make a snarky remark about Carly Rose’s performance tonight. She obviously wasn’t perfect but what a showcase of raw talent and she’s bloody 13.

  26. Brandon says:

    I don’t agree with your grades at all, Slezak. I thought Diamond and Carly were astoundingly good tonight. Jennel was better than a C, and I don’t think Lyric and Emblem3 did that great. And no way was Vino the best of the night. To each his own, I guess.

  27. Deje says:

    Lyric 145 needs to go. All they do is scream and yell in every performance. They’re quite obnoxious and annoying.

  28. Anna says:

    I fell by purposely they give Cece bad songs to do, Celine is not her stile they should give her more like Biance or Rihana they want her out, because in addition she was the best and very beautiful girl she should of been in Simons group

  29. Tim says:

    When you strip away the lights, dancers, and costumes, there’s not very much actual singing talent on this show. When does Idol start?

    • kevin says:

      SPOT ON!, non of the talents this year amaze me, I really think carly rose should wait a couple of years until possibly 16 or 17 and go try out for idol. By then, most people would accept her doing mature songs and her voice has gone through puberty and won’t change much.

  30. Crystal says:

    Maybe it’s because they revealed the order last week, but the pre-packages were a little desperate this week, don’t ya think They usually lay it on thick but it seemed so much worse this week.

  31. dj says:

    X Factor has been so disappointing since the live shows. I hardly liked anyone last night. I just got bored. I did like Beatrice, Carly, and Vino. It will be interesting to see who goes home. I don’t think Paige is going home after they talked about her mother being killed in a car accident when Paige was 6 and how she pictures her mom on stage with her. Cece was just embarrassing to watch/listen to. She has gone off the rails and needs to go back to voice lessons and possibly therapy to recover from all this. I did like the face sans spots, but the rest of her look was just kind of scary weird, as was the way she approached the song.

    • Sam says:

      I really liked CeCe during the auditions, but once Demi got a hold of her it’s been a big mess. She is making a mess of her whole team.
      The audio since the live shows began has been atrocious. Is there a button to turn up the volume of each song and turn down the audience?! Fox needs to fix this ASAP, it’s unbearable.

      • Alienate says:

        The audio for the live shows is the same as last year: Terrible. Sometimes I wonder if Simon is really smart, or just fell into a huge pile of Luck 12 years ago and has been skating ever since. How in the hell can’t he see how crappy these live shows are? We Do.

  32. Mary says:

    First of all I thought this was Diva night – Do the judges know what Diva means. If I had to pick a top act I would say Beatrice, only because she put emotion into the song. Carly was okay but I do not think she delivered on that song. Michael I think you were generous
    on the grading. CeCe needs to go. I wasn’t sold on her audition and everyone can blame Demi but sorry She hit about 1/3 of her notes that is not on Demi. I am not sure I can last the whole season the tracking is killing them and the audience noise drives me insane.
    I would send CeCe and Arin home but to tell you the truth I don’t care who goes.

  33. Jack says:

    The real loser here should be the sound team. The background vocalists’ mics were way too loud on a lot of performances (particularly Tate’s and Cece’s). For Fifth Harmony’s performance, there was some pretty good harmonizing, but you couldn’t tell because half of their mics were turned down too far. Someone has got to get the sound team in check; this is the second week this has been an issue.

    Also, we whined a lot about Steve Jones last year, but maybe it’s just the material the hosts have to work with, because Mario and Khloe are terrible (especially Khloe).

    • FreeHaley says:

      True it was more than just that the crowd mic was too hot, the non-contestant background singers and everything else too. It was a bit hard to hear some of the 5H harmonizing although maybe they had their mics a bit too far when they did it and that was the cause?

  34. bjp says:

    Dear Slezak, Could you please explain (perhaps in your next edition of Reality Check) what you see in Lyric 145? To my ears, they mostly shout, often yell, and jump around. The song arrangements seem done for them rather than by them. What are they alll about? Please enlighten the rest of us.

  35. Marianne says:

    I totally agree with your comments about Paige’s performance. What sad is that I also think it was her best performance thus far. The show was long and almost difficult to watch last night. I was happy when it was over.

    • seattlejohn449 says:

      I like Paige’s theatricality and over-the-top looks but has she ever sang something that she wasn’t flat part of the time? they can edit around that in a recording session but her live voice isn’t as good as it should be…thought Last Dance a good song choice but the choruses went flat

  36. Marianne says:

    P.S. – I also wish that CeCe had not made it through. The fact that she did has duped her into thinking she is a good singer. She isn’t.

  37. Mari says:

    Beatrice, Vino and 5H were my top 3 tonight. But I really enjoyed Lyric 145 as well.

  38. Julie says:

    This was a trainwreck. There were 2 good performances (Carly Rose and Vino) and three ok performances (Tate, Emblem3, Fifth Harmony). Everyone else was horrible. I was especially upset by Lyric145’s performance — what happened there? I read they were supposed to perform an entirely different song, but it got switched for some reason.

    Carly Rose is not a pop artist. She will end up on Broadway or putting out albums of old standards, like a mini Susan Boyle (or Jackie whateverherlastnameis, who is about the same age as Carly Rose). Vino is not a pop artist, either, despite his claim last night. Even if he was, at 40 years old, he is too old for that genre — how many pop artists are able to sustain careers into their 30s, let alone into their 40s? Unfortunately, very few.

    XF needs to stop stop STOP having little kids sing songs that are at least 10 years too young to cover with any authenticity. It does them no good, either in terms of voting for this show, and definitely doesn’t help make them look like potential relevant recording artists.

  39. lukien says:

    For someone who has to rely on alcohol to do what you are supposed to do anyway (your own words, not mine), why you have to bash Britney, who has really put her best to her job right. How about double standards also re: Carly? To restrain but also to go all out? Twisting Simon’s words to make it sound like it a bad thing? Anywho, Carly’s amazing, Bea is ok, her tone is fantastic, Vino’s voice one of the best, Tate performs to deliver tons of votes, a lil disappointed with Emblem3, Ally in 5th Harmony seems like the weakest link, hopefully not goodbye yet to them. Didnt get both Jennel and Paige, Demi is working way to hard with them. Diamond is slightly behind Bea but way under Carly. I like Lyric at the beginning but they kinda annoyed me, da Queen was kinda disrespectful towards Demi when she gave her critics she was screaming to the audience, you can really see it on Demi’s face. Disappointed with Arin, after beautiful performance last week, guess his day is numbered. Cece? The biggest fail of the night, she is definetely worse than Paige.

  40. db says:

    Soak the audience mike! Pun intended…lol….whoever is screaming in the audience rather than listening confuses me. Seems that scream doesn’t come at right time and general doesn’t go away…can you get paid to scream? Maybe they are on salary…lol. my only thot is song choice: that all by myself choice is about as sorry as they come. Depressing song and doesn’t make any sense for a singing competition that was a deservice to the contestant. Vino did a good job on Mr. Green’s bestest song. Interesting voice when the scratchiness kicks in.

  41. db says:

    Just watched the video….you two slay me…..that eyebrown thing at the end …. too funny… that thot haunted me all night during the show….lol

  42. lukien says:

    Wanna add that so far Team LA are the best but i think it’s because the two contestants are mature guys who have fantastic voices and deliveries, not really because of LA. Demi is working too hard, but i guess all her contestants have limitations unlike LA’s, so she needs to figure out something soon otherwise she will be the first judge without any contestants left. Simon might strike the jackpots with Emblem3 and 5th Harmony, but i think he is not sure how to mold Lyric 145, if they survive this week, he needs to scale them down. Britney is doing her best with her team, Arin had a bad day, while the three girls are simply amazing.

  43. Louie says:

    Aretha Franklin apparently doesn’t watch the show… otherwise she’d be throwing a press conference bashing last night’s lack of one of her songs on a “Divas” night.

  44. Derek says:

    Paige did a terrible job with the song, even Brenna Gethers did better. Yes, Brenna Gethers.

  45. Annie says:

    “I mean, we’re all desperately seeking a different vantage point from which to make sense of this loud, brightly lit, oftentimes confounding affair, right? ”

    You always nail it. I don’t know whether this show wants to be taken seriously or not. This week, the message that they are sending is “Not.”

    I’m also confused about why is it so hard to find songs for Lyric and those two guys who are backing her up.

  46. Tim says:

    Buh-bye to Lyric 145 tonight and probably Paige/Cece. And there’s way more deadwood to be cut out of this show to get down to the very few that actually have talent. I hope they keep doing double eliminations for awhile, which I think they have to because the show’s over in a few weeks.

  47. Yo' says:

    Vino’s performance was, for me, the only totally coherent performance of the night. Most of the mini divas who sang power songs had no lower register at all and most of the song choices were terrible. The worst part of the evening was that the performers mostly did better before the judges got ahold of them.

    • seattlejohn449 says:

      I would buy love to but Vino’s album and Fifth Harmony’s too…and possibly Tate’s (depending on if it was produced to be good, honest country – but not top-40 country just to make somebody some money

  48. Justin biebers one less lonley girl says:

    CARLY IS OBVIOUSLY THE BEST SINGER OUT THERE!!! Emblem 3 just screams and Lyric 145 is just horrible in everyway! Carly Rose is better than Beatrice and Dimand White by a land slide! GO CARLY ROSE SONENCLAR!!!!!!!

  49. Justin biebers one less lonley girl says:

    My order:
    1. Carly Rose Sonenclar
    2. Tate Stevens
    3.Vino Alan
    4. 5th Harmony
    5. Jennell Garcia
    6. Paige
    7.Emblem 3
    9. Beatrice
    10. CeCe
    12. Lyric 145


  50. Addie says:

    Beatrice is to me a young Haley Reinhart, and remember Haley struggled at the beginning then she got the right songs and became the one of the greatest idols ever.

    • FreeHaley says:

      MINOR SPOILER for those not able to catch the EST feed:

      Hope so. I don’t get where she is placing either. Something really isn’t adding up in Beatrice’s case since she hasn’t even gotten a total busing yet (although you would think Simon would rave about her more and how does Titanium get forgotten just like that? She was at top of so many lists and then after the first voting week off the cliff? Bizarre.). Sadly more of the same at results tonight, just safe to say that Beatrice was not at the top. I won’t say any more for those who haven’t seen results yet.

      Speaking of Haley, lots of new videos up, all live, lots of tricky stuff, all done amazingly, any style, helluva talent, even Jazz greats who never heard of her before got so blown away by her showing up in their club and singing but once they invited her to the grandest stage a few weeks ago.