Pay no attention to the fact that Simon Cowell admitted on air that last week’s X Factor results were “a joke.” Or that he’s now become so cynical about his U.S.-based singing competition that he gives standing ovations to his prefab country act Restless Road solely for the extra special way they fill out their Wranglers.
By opening tonight’s Top 10 results telecast with all-caps pronouncements about “THE BIGGEST BOYBAND IN THE WORLD” — that’s One Direction, I regret to inform all of you who attended the NKOTB-BSB reunion tour in 2013 — Simon was essentially reminding viewers that his franchise still has a little star-making power left in it. And hey, as an encore to One Direction’s solid rendition of “Story of My Life,” maybe this week’s double elimination wouldn’t wind up as horrifically as last week’s, with a sing-off between two of the competition’s most talented vocalists.
Anyhow, before the sing-off, the first (and cruelest) elimination went down — with voters sending a strong signal that you’re only as good as your last performance. In other words, the girl who had no business being in last week’s sing-off, but did bad things to a Beatles classic on Top 10 performance night, was asked to walk the plank.
First Act to Go Home (aka the Week’s Lowest Vote-Getter)
Khaya Cohen, lower lip protruding but clearly not too shocked. “It was a fun experience,” she said, keeping things in perspective.
After that, Mario Lopez went into Dramatic Host Mode — with his “Aaaands” winning out over his “Buuuuttts.”
Sent to Safety (“IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER!”)
Rion Paige (note lack of bitchy faces from competing mentors!)
Josh Levi (almost imperceptible eyebrow raise from Demi; deep internal prayer from the hot one from Restless Road)
Alex & Sierra (the audience was awake during Wednesday’s vote! Hurrah!)
Lillie McCloud (suck it, Simon!)
Jeff Gutt (Carlito possibly on the brink of collapse)
Ellona Santiago (is she Wonder Woman in disguise, because Miss Thing just dodged a bullet!)
Restless Road (nope, still no unclenching from the deep-voiced one)
Singing for Survival (or PowPow’s in a Pickle — in Two Acts)
Tim Olstad: “I put up with a lot in the last couple weeks and stuff like that with the bad comments. But I’ve come back every week fighting — and I hope that I’m gonna be doing that in the next couple minutes.”
Carlito Olivero: “I love my team, I love my mentor, I love all the judges. My God is almighty, and I’m goin’ hard tonight.”
Yep, Carlito wins the interview portion of the pageant in a landslide. (Bitterness is never the look, Tim!)
And then it was time to sing:
Tim Olstad: “You Raise Me Up” — In tune about 75 percent of the time, but with all the fight and spirit of a guppy being swallowed by a piranha. Dude barely moved from the mic stand, and when he did, his pageant arms failed to bring the drama. Grade: C
Carlito Olivero: “Beneath Your Beautiful” — Not a perfect vocal, but soulful and brimming with passion (plus — yikes — a couple of strategic hip grinds). Versus Tim, Carlito was clearly the artist with life experience — and the ability to infuse a song with it. Grade: B
Kelly: Votes to send home Tim
Demi: Votes to send home Tim
Paulina: Votes to send home Tim
Simon: Doesn’t need to vote after a 3-0 breakdown.
Yep, that’s about right. Alas, though, it shoulda been Carlito or Ellona or Restless Road joining him instead of the more promising Khaya. At least that’s my take. With that, I turn it over to you.
What did you think of X Factor Top 10 results? Sound off down in the comments! And for all my reality TV recaps, news, exclusives and videos, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!