The X Factor Top 4 Performance Recap: Raise Your Hopeful Voice, You Have a Choice

Alex Sierra GravityDear Diary,

I’ve been a real Negative Nancy with my recapping of The X Factor throughout Season 3, and dare I say, I’m starting to feel a little bit bad about it.

Oh, sure, I could blame my lousy attitude on the hysterical hype over Restless Road, three guys whose jeans are guaranteed to be tighter than their harmonies.  Or I could point a finger at Paulina “Words: In no particular order!”* Rubio, the least effective singing-competition panelist since Paula Abdul woke up in the midst of Season 7 Top 4 performance night, looked at her producer-generated notes, and began critiquing a number she hadn’t actually seen (not in the widely accepted timeline of human reality, anyhow). (*Hat tip to Twitter follower @JeannieLeeCBC for that joke; so good, I had to steal it!)

PHOTOS | 13 Musicals We’d Like to See Performed Live on TV (and Who We’d Cast as the Leads)

Keeping it really real, though, just because a shark (one letter away from “snark,” you’ll note) smells blood in the water doesn’t mean said predator shouldn’t separate the lean dolphin meat from the chum. And as Season 3 has been whittled from the 40 acts of the long-since-forgotten Four-Chair Challenge, Simon Cowell’s singing competition has wound up with four acts who, while they vary pretty widely in quality, all have a legitimate shot at post-show chart success.

And so, Diary, I’m not gonna mention Demi Lovato’s hair color (Clairol Unnatural Instincts: Plutonium Lake), and Kelly’s not-quite-Emmy-worthy crying jag and even that standing ovation for Restless Road’s final (hopefully in the larger sense) number, and cut to letter grades!

Yours truly,
Slezak

p.s. I’m keeping my critiques short tonight, because tomorrow’s an earrrrrly morning thanks to Golden Globes nominations.

AMERICA’S SONG CHOICE
Carlito Olivero: Justin Bieber’s “Boyfriend” — Grade: B+ | Is there a direct correlation between the shortness of Carlito’s sleeves and the successfulness of his performances? Perhaps. But “Boyfriend,” even with the unabashedly cheesy “brings one chica up on stage” interaction, was loose, fun and well-sung — with solid choreography, to boot.

Restless Road: Luke Bryan “That’s My Kind of Night” — Grade: C+ | Demi was the only one who spoke truth to tunelessness: Zach, Colton and Andrew displayed none of the stage presence or natural sex appeal that’s woven into Luke Bryan’s DNA. Heck, we didn’t even get a decent booty-shake (something Colton proved he could do back in that Fifthy Harmony-themed hair-product ad the contestants were forced into filming a few weeks back). That decision made, we were left to focus on the vocals, which could only be heard about a third of the time over the blare of the band.

Alex & Sierra: Of Monsters and Men’s “Little Talks” — Grade: A- | This might only rank as A&S’s fifth or sixth best of the season — it was a tad too close to the original, and lacked their brazen brand of individuality, if I’m being picky — but Sierra’s heretofore unheard power notes + some tremendous harmonies made this a winner nevertheless.

Jeff Gutt: Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” — Grade: A- | You’d think Kelly — or at least the X Factor producers — would pay attention to their rivals, realize that a Voice contestant had a huge “Hallelujah” moment just a few weeks back, and not pick the song as one of three ditties America could choose for Jeff. (I know, I know, the definition of insanity and all that…) Nevertheless, I liked the power-rock slant Jeff gave the tune — a gruff middleground somewhere between Neil Diamond and Daughtry — and as Simon noted, there was real passion and sincerity in the performance.

DUET TO THE DEATH
Alex & Sierra Vs. Carlito Olivero: “Falling Slowly” — Grade: A-/B | Maybe Alex hit a rough note or two, but Sierra’s glory note (Rated W…for Whoa, Mama!) and their emotional approach really connected with me; Carlito, meanwhile, weighed down the sweet, simple melody with too many runs and too much affected phrasing. Not every line of a song needs an outstretched hand or a hip swivel, y’know?

Jeff Gutt Vs. Restless Road: “Every Breath You Take” — Grade: B/B-C+ | Restless Road sounded OK-ish — until Colton’s reindeer-colliding-into-the-Nativity-scene final run. Jeff was slightly better, but kinda overbaked his solos in an effort to crush his ManBand competitors. Bottom line? I’ll have forgotten this by the time I have my first seasonal spiked eggnog. (Spoiler alert: That’s happening this weekend. Mmmkay?)

FINAL PERFORMANCE BEFORE THE FINALE
Carlito Olivero: Marc Anthony’s “I Need to Know” — Grade: B- | Carlito sang this number reasonably well — although dude made some weird choices to bring down the melody in the opening verse — but my focus kept getting pulled by those lady dancers popping out of the stacks of lit-up speakers/dominoes behind him. It was like a fantastical, mid-budget game of Hide & Seek, except Carlito never tried yelled “Ollie Ollie oxen free!” Paulina, in her usual bout of ridiculousness, shrieked, “Carlito is INNNNNNN this competition.” Well, yeah, but so is everybody else — at least till Thursday’s results!

Restless Road: Hunter Hayes’ “Wanted” — Grade: C- | I understand the commercial appeal of Restless Road, and I am sure there are less talented people making six- and seven-figure salaries in music right this second. But for the love of the 18-49 demo, how the heck did the boys’ cover — complete with wince-inducing harmonies and a treacherous solo from the deep-voiced one — earn a standing ovation from all four judges? It all made about as much sense as anything spoken by PowPow in the last three months.

Alex & Sierra: Sara Bareilles’ “Gravity” — Grade: A+ | With a sparse piano arrangement that left the focus entirely on their voices, the Season 3 champs — oh come ON, even if they don’t “win”-win, they’ve already won — proved they’ve got the kind of magical vocal chops that will make them a threat in the real world and ensure they never have to scrounge for change to buy tacos again. The look Alex gave Sierra as the melody slid over his sandpapery voice at the top of the number, the way Sierra got lost in the music on her lilting falsetto notes, the way she extended the word “downnnn” in a way that would make even Lillie McCloud shake her damn head, and the way that led into Alex’s plaintive falsetto…I could go on and on and on. But instead I’m gonna go download this on iTunes.

Jeff Gutt: Imagine Dragons’ “Demons” — Grade: C+ | I know Jeff was struggling with staging that had him desperately trying not to fall off a slanted platform, but he picked an unfortunate time to give his weakest vocal of the season. The entire chorus seemed set in a key that stretched his voice well above his natural comfort zone — transforming the final third of the tune into a screamy mess. The whole “Eye of Sauron” and “Giant Jeff Projection Screens” did little to enhance the experience, but hopefully the misfire won’t be enough to put him behind Restless Road in the voting.

Should Go Home: Restless Road
Will Go Home: Carlito Olivero

And with that, let me turn things over to you. What did you think of Top 4 performance night? Who absolutely must make the finale? Who will and should get booted? Take our poll below, then expand on your thoughts in the comments!



Comments (131)

  • Alex and Sierra. Best act on a reality singing show ever. Period.

    Comment by Matt – December 11, 2013 08:05 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • so much yes. first time my favorite audition and act on a reality singing show might actually win. Still feel Haley Reinhart got cheated a few years back on idol.

      Comment by the danger – December 11, 2013 08:18 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Watched A&S’s Gravity performance 4 times in a row and cried every time. They are so freaking amazing!

      Comment by LB – December 11, 2013 08:29 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Totally agree with this. I absolutely love them. Will buy any music they put out. They are the top of the heap between Tne Voice and XFactor by far.

      Comment by MAB – December 11, 2013 08:39 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Including solo singers? If so, not even close.

      Comment by Bonnie – December 11, 2013 09:48 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Yea, so don’t agree. I cannot STAND the way she sings certain words (like the word “downnnn”. Ugh, so annoying!!!). It’s so fake and once they break up, this band is over and done with – I give it a year before that happens.

        Comment by Brendan – December 11, 2013 10:27 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • what do you call Brendan on a donkey?…..TWO ASSES!

          Comment by Ty – December 12, 2013 06:09 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I will put them UP there with Kelly, Carrie, David, and Adam, and that is lofty status… They must win this show if X Factor has even a smidgen of a chance to return for a season 4, and even if it don’t, I will buy everything they put out in the future, just as I have the 4 I mentioned up above…

      Comment by Brian – December 11, 2013 11:25 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Guys… Am I the only one that thinks mkst comments are a bit too Sierra-Centric? THIS IS JUST MY OPINION BUT THEY ARE SO TOTALLY FRIKIN AWESOME!!!!

      Comment by I Am Awesome – December 12, 2013 03:34 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I agree Alex and Sierra are awesome. If they don’t win I will be very sad. I enjoyed every performance.

      Comment by Pat Ketchum – December 15, 2013 11:45 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Jeff Gutt for the win!!!!

    Comment by Jim – December 11, 2013 08:07 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • He should win! he’s worked the hardest and has the best story! :)

      Comment by Shaz – December 12, 2013 05:29 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • When your reasoning has nothing to do with their singing, your opinion is invalid.

        Comment by will – December 14, 2013 07:39 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • I agree. This singing competition should have nothing to do with a person’s story. That also applies to the romance between Alex and Sierra. So they are in love. Big deal. It’s their voices that should matter. JEFF GUTT should win this competition because he has the best voice.

          Comment by Valerie – December 15, 2013 08:43 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Yesssss for Jeff Gutt he is the Best!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Comment by Bozena – December 14, 2013 10:12 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Carlito actually did really good tonight, he should of gotten an A- on that duet, Alex was the weak link on that one.

    Comment by Eric – December 11, 2013 08:10 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I believe in carlito he has amazing voice. He reminds me of Rickie Martin,and if Carlito does not win the X Factor I know he will go far with his voice in English and an Spanish is over the top and people of to here this. Carlito Pienso que Esta oration debe empezar. con que. In English may god contuine to bless you.

      Comment by Denise – December 12, 2013 09:31 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • If Alex and Sierra don’t win this season it’ll be a complete joke. Restless Road have harder issues with harmony than Fifth Harmony or Emblem 3 ever did, Carlito’s voice just isn’t great, and while Jeff has a terrific voice, I think we’ve lost who he essentially is. “Demons” will be the first song in a long time that is less than 15-years-old. Alex and Sierra have done extremely well on iTunes. The show would be foolish if they didn’t want them to win.

    Comment by Damien Roberts (@dam744) – December 11, 2013 08:11 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • It’s for which act america votes for, not what the show and their producers want. I know if Simon had his way, Restless Road would have made the finale

      Comment by Jeff Johnson – December 15, 2013 11:23 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • If, by the act of an insane alien deity in a universe better left unmentioned, Alex and Sierra don’t win this competition, they’d still have a great career in music ahead of them. Gravity was superb in any context, but in this one (being a singing competition), they excelled.

    Comment by Grumpy Ol' Lady – December 11, 2013 08:12 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Why’s there no poll?

    Comment by andrew – December 11, 2013 08:12 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • There is, sir!

      Comment by Michael Slezak – December 11, 2013 08:19 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Jeff Gutt’s Hallelujah was much better than Matthew Schuler.

    Comment by Rex Master – December 11, 2013 08:12 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • This

      Comment by MAB – December 11, 2013 08:42 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I liked it a LOT better!!!

      Comment by Brian – December 11, 2013 11:28 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • While Jeff did a good on Hallelujah, Matt Schuler’s version was far superior and still haunts me to this day . Why did X-Factor copy the Voices battle round .

      Comment by James j – December 12, 2013 04:55 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • NO way over sang that song.

      Comment by Mary – December 12, 2013 05:20 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • It’s time to put Restless Road to Rest.

    Comment by Rex Master – December 11, 2013 08:13 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Seriously, how have they made it this far? They were never going to happen.

      Comment by DarkDefender – December 11, 2013 08:37 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • It still irritates the hell out of me that RR has 4 backup singers, not singing “back-up”, but actually singing the song right along with them. I guess no one is allowed to call them out on this as Simon did this last year with Fifth Harmony. Simon obviously feels that since it’s his show he can manipulate it any way he chooses but it is really unfair to the other contestants. If viewers had heard what they actually sound like without the “help” they would have been gone long ago.

      Comment by The Beach – December 11, 2013 10:35 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Even though I don’t care for Carlito much (though tonight was his best performances to date) I am all for Putting Restless Road out of our memory… Those boys are not good together, with only one of them having a real singing voice (Colton)

      Comment by Brian – December 11, 2013 11:31 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • I totally agree. They have NO chemistry together. NADA! they always look so uncomfortable. I pick Jeff simply because he’s worked the hardest and has the best story, more growth from last year. Love Alex and Sierra, too, but i think another year will make them stronger. :) Carlito? I will be surprised if he beats out Jeff or Alex and Sierra. I see those 2 in the final 2. :)

        Comment by Shaz – December 12, 2013 05:32 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Amen!

      Comment by Ruth Prodan – December 12, 2013 07:46 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Jeff rec’d all of my votes tonight!

    Comment by Scamp – December 11, 2013 08:15 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Jeff got all of mine, too…even after promising hubby that my days of immature power-voting on my cell phone for singing show contestants were over………

      Comment by S7 Fan – December 11, 2013 08:35 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Lol. My 13 year old daughter caught me power voting for Alex and Sierra. She rolled her eyes at me.

        Comment by LB – December 11, 2013 08:39 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I did give Jeff 9 votes, and Alex and Sierra 41…

      Comment by Brian – December 11, 2013 11:33 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Thank you for voting for him

      Comment by Jeff Johnson – December 15, 2013 11:36 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • When are Restless Road finally going home? As you said: They should go home.
    Please America, keep Carlito. At least he can sing well and always work hard and makes the extra effort! I loved Carlito´s performance of Boyfriend. It was great..

    I am praying this is the final night for RR. PLEASE.

    Comment by Titina – December 11, 2013 08:16 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I never understood the negativity on here for Restless Road but tonight they were the weakest of the 4. Carlito had a really good night and he really really impressed me in the duet round.

    I enjoy xfactor so much more than American Idol and the voice and am going to miss it not being around anymore. Hopefully their shows next week are great so the xfactor series ends strong since I think it is a well produced show that deserved to be around for a lot longer

    Comment by Cyndi – December 11, 2013 08:19 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I’ve rewatched Alex and Sierra’s “Gravity” three times, and without fail, I’ve been teary eyed at the end all three times. Chills. Absolutely impressed and eager to hear more. Pleasantly shocked the x-factor has been able to produce such a viable singing act!

    Comment by Khs – December 11, 2013 08:21 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • “Alex & Sierra Vs. Carlito Olivero: “Falling Slowly” — Grade: A-/B”
    .
    I like A&S more to be sure, but they seemed a bit too pitchy on this to take the win and surprisingly I kinda had to give Carlito the win on this.
    .
    And I thought Jeff did noticeably better than RR on their duo, much more than the one third grade difference given.
    .
    OK but here is where I disagree on just about everything:
    .
    “FINAL PERFORMANCE BEFORE THE FINALE
    “Carlito Olivero: Marc Anthony’s “I Need to Know” — Grade: B-
    Restless Road: Hunter Hayes’ “Wanted” — Grade: C-
    Alex & Sierra: Sara Bareilles’ “Gravity” — Grade: A+
    Jeff Gutt: Imagine Dragons’ “Demons” — Grade: C+

    .
    I actually thought Carlito showed his had work is starting to pay off.
    .
    And although I’m still not into RR at all, I thought they did finally get the vocals a bit better on this one. I don’t see how it scores lower than their other two performances?? Even Simon admitted their other two were worse.
    .
    Yeah A&S were pretty damn awesome on that, probably the performance of the night. Although I did like Jeff on his two songs a lot. Which brings me to how the heck does Jeff get only a C+ for his second song???? Man the dude was back tonight again!
    .
    I thought A&S seemed a little off at times on their first song and didn’t blend quite as well as on their best, although it was a super cool song.
    .
    Anyway A&S were awesome on that second song and Jeff had a monster night. I almost have to give the overall night to Jeff, although A&S were wicked good on that last song no doubt and their first song was cool.

    Comment by HTGR – December 11, 2013 08:22 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Loved A&S’s second song…gorgeous. But I thought their first one was one of their weaker of the season. As you said, something with their connection was just a touch off which is so unusual for them. Also, the song seemed to be pitched a bit too low for Alex, who was singing the melody, and as a result all I could hear was Sierra’s harmonies. They’re still the best and deserve to win, I was just a little disappointed in their first song.

      Comment by The Beach – December 11, 2013 10:44 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I actually kinda agree with Demi’s comments the most tonight.

    Comment by HTGR – December 11, 2013 08:26 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • As such a downer X Factor has been this year, Alex and Sierra are the shining stars of singing competitions right now (Tessanne is a close 2nd). I really hope they win because they are by far the best performers on the show. Restless Road are useless and should be sent home now. Carlito well if there is a top 3 like last year then he can stay. Jeff surprised me tonight. I hope Jeff and Alex and Sierra make the finale. The other 2 are karaoke singers.

    Comment by greysfan – December 11, 2013 08:27 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Jeff a c+??
    come one !!! he is the best in that show!

    Comment by van – December 11, 2013 08:32 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Neither of Restless Road’s performances were good, but in what world does Wanted get a lower grade than That’s My Kind of Night & both of them lower than their grade for that train wreck of a battle with Jeff?! I call shenanigans.

    Comment by Tovah Atha (@tovahatha) – December 11, 2013 08:33 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Yeah I don’t get that at all, maybe he wrote down the grades for RR in reverse?
      .
      And how does Demons get tied or lower than two of RR????????

      Comment by HTGR – December 11, 2013 08:48 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Because it was bad. Was not the song to close the show.

        Comment by Mary – December 12, 2013 05:25 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • It was not bad. Did you listen to the judges reactions. It’s just your personal preference, but all the judges liked it alot

          Comment by Jeff Johnson – December 15, 2013 11:41 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I already loved Alex and Sierra, but Gravity was by far my favorite performance. I can’t stop listening to it. They have 4 songs on itunes top 100 right now, with Gravity at number 9. Alex and Sierra for the win!

    Comment by Lori F. – December 11, 2013 08:34 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I don’t have iTunes so can’t see how A&S are doing–they’re up to #9 already? that’s so great!

      Comment by Grumpy Ol' Lady – December 11, 2013 08:57 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • #5 now.

        Comment by S. – December 11, 2013 10:00 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • Wow, I’m considering downloading iTunes just to see how they’re doing!

          Comment by Grumpy Ol' Lady – December 11, 2013 10:17 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • #3 now, and Say Something’s #9. That’s a remarkable feat. And they’re bound to get to number 1 in the morning

      Comment by jeremy – December 12, 2013 02:18 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I haven’t watched a single episode of x factor all the way through, as the judges and the production and the hosts just drive me insane. So I just read these lovely recaps and download certain performances. Alex and Sierra might be my favourite contestants on a singing competition ever- and I’ve never watched them! Haha. I love what they do with each song, they really make it their own. I hope they win, although I’m sure they will be successful regardless.
    *
    Makes me wish Caroline got the chance to do Gravity on the Voice though…

    Comment by AmyP – December 11, 2013 08:37 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Why can’t I buy Falling Slowly on iTunes??? and where did Sierra come from in that?!

    Comment by ali – December 11, 2013 08:43 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I wanted to buy it, too. can’t find it. I see nobody answered you. hmmmm. maybe tweet factor. :)

      Comment by Shaz – December 12, 2013 05:38 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • A&S…TWO EXTREMELY WEAK SINGERS! LIKE TOM HANKS SAID IN THE MOVIE “BIG”, “I DON’T GET IT”! AVERAGE FARE AT BEST!?????????????

    Comment by Jim Welker – December 11, 2013 08:44 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I also wish that Ellona was stlll on the show. This will be one of the few singing finales that doesn’t have much of a female presence. That bothers me. Sierra, until tonight, always took a back seat to Alex in the singing department. She showed a better range tonight, but it comes a little too late for me. A&S have good chemistry and a very good sense of pacing, but I think their real strength is as songwriters. I don’t know how Jeff got a C+ for “Demons.” It was pretty darned good. Michael is a little too euphoric about A&S and wants to throw everyone else under the bus imo. On the positive side, the winner (likely A&S) will be perceived as legitimate talents whereas last year’s winner was a complete dud. It is ridiculous, especially with 20/20 hindsight, that Carly Rose (who is an enormously talented prodigy) did not win the show last season.

      Comment by MC – December 11, 2013 11:16 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • I watched Gravity on Youtube after all the fuss. Alex was ok, but I’m sorry, Sierra just does not have a good enough voice to be on a competition show like this.

        Comment by Timmah – December 11, 2013 11:31 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • WE GET IT YOU DO NOT LIKE THEM!!!!

      Comment by Mary – December 12, 2013 05:28 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • We need some entertainment, not 4 stiffs……WHERE ARE YOU ELLONA??????????????

    Comment by Jim Welker – December 11, 2013 08:46 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I do wish she (and quite a few other too early elims) were here tonight. Jeff was pretty darn good tonight though and A&S really knocked that last one out though.

      Comment by HTGR – December 11, 2013 08:49 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I agree. I don’t get why people think Alex and Sierra are so great. Most of their songs have sounded exactly the same – she stretches the words out and they slow the song down while looking awkwardly at each other. So over them. Not good at all IMO.

      Comment by Brendan – December 11, 2013 10:29 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Lol! I’m not the only one who gets that impression of them. I do think they have a good sense of musicality and are probably very good songwriters. I’m just not feeling them as performers.

        Comment by MC – December 12, 2013 12:15 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Could it be that after 3 seasons, the X-Factor finally found its footing? I thought the 4-Chair challenge was exciting and the contestants this year have been pretty good.

    Comment by Trev – December 11, 2013 09:39 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I honestly have enjoyed the last few shows tremendously. I was totally bored all last season and though I really liked josh Krajcik the first season was a train wreck.

      Comment by MAB – December 11, 2013 09:42 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Sorry if I sound like the grumpy old “get off my lawn” guy but they really need to do something to dampen the volume of the screaming going on during the singing. It’s really annoying and oftentimes it’s difficult to even hear the contestants clearly. This has been a major pet peeve of my with this show every season.

      Comment by The Beach – December 11, 2013 10:52 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • It’s incredibly annoying, and the main reason why I don’t watch the show anymore.

        Comment by Timmah – December 11, 2013 11:33 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • Me too. I can’t stand it. It really is headache-inducing and detracts a lot from the performances.

          Comment by RD – December 12, 2013 11:31 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • How ironic and phony to see Simon dawn over “RecklessReckless Roadkill”. We’re they contestants during his tenure at American Idol he’d be trashing them & telling them to pack theIr bags, something that should have happened week’s ago along with the whiny poor me, Carlito Olivetti, the weakest boy from Paulina’s stable. Where are Josh Levi & Khaya Cohen.

        Comment by Robert Richman – December 12, 2013 09:55 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I so agree with you Trev. I have loved this season and I think the singers have been great. My favorite is Alex and Sierra, but I became impressed with Carlito for the first time and Jeff was great too. I like Restless Road, but they were the weakess act last night which I’m sorry about. I have really not cared for Carlito and he was my least favorite of the guys, but last night he was great and now I would rather have him in the finals over Restless Road. I of course want Alex and Sierra to win but I have really enjoyed all the talent on this season.

      Comment by Lana – December 12, 2013 04:06 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I can’t stand for any of them but if had to with gun at head would be the duet couple. This show needs to die has not worked after this many seasons yet FOX still wants to keep Simon around and make the show one night a week, a FAIL! Bring us some new dramas and comedies and dump reality crap for off season if you must.

    Comment by DavidSask – December 11, 2013 09:44 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • If you don’t watch it, then for you the show is dead and you won’t have to come here and voice so much negativity.

      Maybe you should instead watch some reruns of the Simpsons or the Family Guy, probably more in line with your maturity level.

      Comment by myenise – December 11, 2013 10:25 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • LMFAO, I FF through most of X Factor, and like I am the only one, you probably stan for the most wrecked entertainers. I don’t watch Fox cartoons either so how about that!? Stay more pressed than my original comment ever was!

        Comment by DavidSask – December 11, 2013 10:28 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • Your comments make absolutely no sense!! Please go back to school and reeducate yourself in all aspects of the use of the English language!!

          Comment by Debbie – December 12, 2013 04:26 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I’ve been waiting for Alex and Sierra to do Falling Slowly all season, but then they have to do it with someone else? huh? The song is specifically made for a male/female duet.

    Comment by Dan – December 11, 2013 09:57 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • This was a good season with 1 notable exception… Can we please get an intelligent judge to replace Paulina… I mean really she is just terrible.

    Comment by Alysia Wilkinson – December 11, 2013 09:58 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Slezak, you must agree that Kris Allen’s version of Falling Slowly trumps that of Alex/Sierra/Carlito.

    Comment by Megyn – December 11, 2013 10:11 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Yes!!!!! I have Kris’ version and listen to it all the time!

      Comment by LB – December 11, 2013 11:14 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Lee & Crystal’s version is the best of them all.

      Comment by jeremy – December 12, 2013 02:21 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • ^This! I’ve had it on my playlist for years now, and it’s still the best ever!

        Comment by AshleySC83 – December 12, 2013 07:32 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • THIS!

        Comment by Cali Girl – December 12, 2013 02:31 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • ^^ Kris Allen’s is my fave.

      Comment by S7 Fan – December 12, 2013 09:05 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Jeff Gutt did amazing on Hallelujah, though what I worry about him is consistency. At the worst days, he could sound like a B grade rock singer but sometimes he sings like Bellamy, Muse vocalist, Grammy award winning band. Carlito, has a basic voice that if he sings by himself, it is just ok, sometimes overdone, overrated, over the top. I can see why he was a member of the boyband Menuodo,4 other guys will sing, and it sounds good. Restless Road, members lack personality and seem too serious to me, but good thing is they are very genuine. They were great before all the fuss and the buss about them, I wonder if they could develop more and be more than their first performances, because after that, they seemed getting into the pressure very much, did not give their best or elevate, but the potential is there. Alex and Sierra is fantastic, captivating, different.

    Comment by atv – December 11, 2013 10:47 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • First, I think X Factor USA semifinal is more interesting to watch than Voice semifinal. At least X factor have more than one performance, and Voice only has one single song! What is going on here? I also give X Factor USA some credits for allowing voters to choose the contestants’ first song. Only half of the contestants sang the song I chose, but it is okay. However, the “battles” did not work because they did not sound good at all. The voice coaches kept on asking the contestants to sing louder, and that is not good. Battles are tricky because the contestants need to work together to make the songs sound good. I will rather them singing full versions of their two songs. I am also upset that “Falling” is wasted on this round. I will much rather see Alex and Sierra sing it on the final.

    Second, song choices – I have problems with both Jeff’s selections this week. Both his songs had already been sang this season by contestants at the Voice a couple weeks ago. That is not a good thing to do, as both Matthew and Will from the Voice did a respectable job with both songs. Matthew sang “Hallelujah” so perfectly and this song is stilling lingering at the top 100 after he was eliminated. Americans did not do him a favor. Will also did a good job with “Demons” and you could not help by comparing their vocals. Jeff did a respectable job of Hallelujah but to be honest, Matthew from the Voice is just so good. No one should sing Hallelujah at any reality singing competition anymore.

    Third, Carlito actually surprised me this week and both his songs were very good. At least he stayed on pitch and I did not hear any major mistakes. He did a pretty good job with “Boyfriend.” I think he should stay.

    Restless Road – I don’t even want to talk about it… I agree with Demi for sure during the first round. Colton should be a solo country artist.

    Finally, Alex and Sierra are amazing and I don’t even need to say more. “Gravity” is playing on my iTunes now. There is something magical when they sing. It is hard to surpass “Say Something” last week, but they are just so original and will make any song their own. I really look forward to their finale and hope that X Factor USA does not force them to sing with some crazy artists. Who could forget LeAnn Rimes last season?

    Comment by Adrian – December 11, 2013 11:34 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • The Sing-Offs needed a strong lead-in so The Voice was cut down to one-hour.

      Comment by jeremy – December 12, 2013 02:23 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Jeff Gutt sang Hallelujah last season for X Factor audition and killed it way before anyone heard of Matthew. They are two different versions and I like Jeff’s rock version better than Matthew’s sweet version. If Matthew weren’t hitting flat notes at least once in every song he wouldn’t have been sent home. But he’s young and with more vocal training, he will be really good.

      I agree on the LeAnn Rimes comment. Between her and Britney Spears, Carly Rose was doomed.

      Comment by eyerollz960 – December 12, 2013 10:23 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Not easily impressed, but Alex and Sierra are such a gift to us. Can’t wait to hear what they do next; how often does that happen?

    Comment by Jesse – December 12, 2013 12:12 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Alex & Sierra is LOVE. Both of the songs they sung today hold a deep & special meaning in my life. Words can’t express how much I’m thankful for them for just existing & being in X Factor. It sounds silly and dramatic but it’s the truth. <3 This was by far the best X Factor show Simon has produced in the US. But I don't think there's any saving Carlito even if he sounded great tonight in both Boyfriend & the duet. The other three acts are just way ahead in the votersphere. At least he's leaving on a high note.

    Comment by Bohr – December 12, 2013 12:31 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Sorry, this is the nerdiest comment of the night. Paula commented on Jason Castro’s second performance before it happened on Top 5 week, not Top 4. It was Neil Diamond night, I remember it very fondly.

    Comment by Andie – December 12, 2013 12:43 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Oh, but it DID happen… in dress rehearsal, and that’s what she was reacting to.

      Comment by NJMark – December 12, 2013 10:05 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • For people who keep whining about XFactor since it started, there are currently THREE songs charting in the top 10 itunes. Its still an achievement when they have half the viewers of The Voice. Plus, that achievement itself already trumps whatever The Voice did this whole season.

    Comment by Ken – December 12, 2013 12:55 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • And the funniest thing is that this show doesn’t hold itunes for votes unlike The VOI$E. On top of that, X Factor/Simon actually have a machine and willing to promote artists (unlike The Voice/NBC) so they will do really well post show.

      X Factor potentially having a breakout artist before The Voice <333.

      Comment by Ken – December 12, 2013 01:07 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Excellent points. Amazing that Alex & Sierra hit #1 on iTunes back to back weeks with iTunes not being part of the votes. Agree that it would be funny if Alex & Sierra becoming break out stars before The Voice…. I had a feeling it may happen. They are unique and different from anything else out there.

        Comment by Sum Ting Wong – December 12, 2013 11:08 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I love Jeff and really hope he wins. I also like Alex and Sierra. As long as they are in the final, I will be happy. I would prefer Carlito to get in with them over RR.

    Comment by Amber – December 12, 2013 01:33 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Dear Slezak,

    I agree that Restless Road AND Carlito Olivero are the weakest of the acts remaining in the competition. In fact, I felt Carlito should have gone home weeks ago, when his mentor Paulina announced his name instead of Josh Levi’s name, the night Josh went home.

    What bugs me is that Carlito is the weakest vocalist remaining, but he’s trading on “hot Latin guy sex appeal” very consciously… and all three female judges are shamefully falling for it, even though for my money, I would have preferred to see Rion Page make it this far.

    Sure, Restless Road is just as iffy as Carlito, but at least they have the excuse of being relatively complete strangers before Simon and the other judges threw them together and said, “Be a group.”

    For me, I’d prefer to see Carlito go home tonight, just to put his sham act to rest so he can’t be targeted by VoteForTheWorst.com. Plus I am tired of the three female judges blowing hot air into him someplace unpleasant. But I wouldn’t miss Restless Road, if they go home, either.

    The nightmare scenario for me would be if, simply because he had a mostly off-night, we see Jeff Gutt go home instead. I want a nice, competitive finale and that means having both Alex and Sierra, AND Jeff Gutt, involved. If either of those acts go home tonight, keeping both Olivero AND Restless Road on the show for the finale, it just won’t be that interesting to me.

    Comment by Craig Hansen – December 12, 2013 03:28 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • P.S. Rion Page is the most talented performer already sent him; I’m hoping she gets signed by someone, even at her young age.

    Also, I’m sick and tired of all the praise for The Voice. That show is the worst! They’ve actually come out and admitted they don’t even care about creating stars, or if their winners get record deals at all.

    And the “original concept” is SUCH a joke, because any time they turn around and see a pretty girl or hot guy, they change their tune and say, “Well come back next season and we’ll put you through.”

    Plus none of their judges have the toughness and honesty of Simon or even Demi Lovato. It’s pretty embarrassing to see big names like Blake Shelton, Christina, CeeLo, and Adam “I Hate America” Levine bowing and scraping and doing the “We’re not worthy” bit over some of these people they just cut, but then praise to the heavens. The Voice does NOT deserve any of its ratings success.

    At least American Idol, as terrible as it’s become since Simon left, has a rich history of creating ACTUAL music stars and superstars for fall back on. Underwood and Clarkson are the best of that bunch, but think of all the people who’ve done well after appearing on the Simon Cowell years of AI, even though they didn’t win: Katherine McPhee, Kellie Pickler, Jordin Sparks, Chris Daughtry, Jennifer Hudson, and more… AI hasn’t been the same since Simon left, but at least it has a track record. The Voice has NOTHING.

    Comment by Craig Hansen – December 12, 2013 03:41 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • This. THIS.
      Well said, sir.

      Comment by takatomon – December 12, 2013 06:35 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Rion wasn’t the best singer already sent home.
      .
      Whatever you say about The Voice, at least, unlike A.I., they won’t tarnish and trash down their own contestants for cheap drama for ratings or to insure that the season stays to script.

      Comment by HTGR – December 12, 2013 12:41 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I will say this was a better show than most for the season. A & S for the win. Liked their first song but wasn’t the best. Wish they had sung fallen slowly by themselves for me it just seem off, loved the last song. Jeff over sang the first song. Duet competition wished he had sung it by himself. Hated the last one. I don’t know for me he seems like a wanna be rock star. No solo artist but I think he could front a band. Carlos improved from last week. RR still stinks. If it was my choice it would be A & S, Jeff and Carlos in the finals; however I think RR will be there. Hopefully there is a shock boot this week meaning RR is gone.

    Comment by Mary – December 12, 2013 05:18 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • jeff gutt by far is the best. if i would buy an album it would be his.

    Comment by michelle kaplan – December 12, 2013 06:59 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I give A+ to Jeff Gutt both songs , clean your ears Mr. Slezak !!!!!!!!!

    Comment by Bozena – December 12, 2013 07:42 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I don’t know what all the fuss is about Alex and Sierra. I’m not a fan, although they are better than Restless Road. I suppose the girls vote for Restless Road because they are cute. I thought Jeff gave the best performances this week. He really rocks ! I hope he wins. Carlito did better this week. I hope he makes it to the finals instead of Restless Road.

    Comment by Valerie – December 12, 2013 07:56 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I not a fan of Alex and Sierra either. They are no Sonny and Cher. I also think that Jeff Gutt should win. Carlito is better than Restless Road, who should have been gone a long time ago.

      Comment by Bobby – December 12, 2013 07:59 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • I don’t think they are trying to be Sonny and Cher. Jeff is good but should be a front guy not a solo artist.

        Comment by Mary – December 12, 2013 11:30 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • So you guys go on and on and on about The Voice, yet XFactor get 15 seconds at the very end and you only talk about Alex & Sierra? Lame.

    Comment by Aaron – December 12, 2013 08:58 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Alex & Sierra. Period. End of discussion.
    If they win it’s the best thing that could happen to XFactor.
    It is by far the weakest of the singing competitions.
    The bickering among the judges is horrific. At times it’s ok and a little funny but this show has gotten completely out of control.

    Comment by jaxguy – December 12, 2013 09:13 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • A&S by far are the best act overall. Jeff is probably a better vocalist but has less commercial appeal. Too bad Lille is gone, she was by far the best singer in the competition (although I still liked A&S better even back then).

    Restless Road is horrible! It’s just another prefab boy band. Simon is smart, he has a formula and is just applying it to country music. If he could make a nickel, he’d create a polka boy band. You think there are three members, but there are actually 7! If you look at any of their performances, you’ll see 4 singers off to the side in the dark. Simon knows they can’t sing so he has to have 4 “background” singers on every song to drown out the 3 that can’t sing. It’s like Milli Vanilli all over again!

    A&S will have the most success whether or not they win the competition. My only concern is their act plays well on TV. The whole love story, cutesy, longing looks into each others eyes, works on TV for most people. But will the feelings and sentiment those things bring translate into MP3 format? Their version of Say Something outsold the original for a short time. How many people can say they outsold Christina Aguilera singing the same song! But lets face it, the sales were driven by TV and they fell back behind the original because the original is better and more polished. Neverheless, A&S is definitely the best act, has had the best and most consistent performances throughout the competition as a whole and Simon will sign them whether or not they win.

    Comment by James – December 12, 2013 10:08 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Actually, the only reason I bothered to look up Cristina’s version was as a reference to what A&S sang–in being totally honest, I didn’t like Cristina’s version with Great Big World (or whoever that was). I don’t like the way CA’s version was over produced–I mean, the video with the elderly couple was over the top; what’s worse, I felt it was gratuitous, and my tears refused to be jerked. It wasn’t like the elderly man was telling his obviously dying love to “say something, I’m giving up on you.” Really.
      .
      So, musically, vocally and in spirit, I do believe A&S’s version was superior.
      .
      That said, I’ve listened to them eyes closed, and I feel they’re right on musically. I think they’d be killer in their own TV show, but that has such a short shelf life. Anyway, I honestly think they’ll transcend the TV show.
      .

      Comment by Grumpy Ol' Lady – December 12, 2013 11:00 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • I’m not saying A&S’s version wasn’t great. I was just stating the facts. It was a fantastic rendition on a TV show which drove sales on iTunes for one day. It outsold the original featuring one of the best vocalists now, Christina Aguilera. But once the buzz died down, it fell below the original in sales. Last night’s performances have also now topped the iTunes charts, again….driven by the TV appearance.

        There’s no doubt about A&S’s commercial appeal. They should win, they have the most downloads on iTunes and have the most consistent performances. But even if they don’t, Simon will sign them. The true test is if they can get songs on the charts without the benefit of a weekly nationally televised TV show because part of their appeal is their personality and stage presence. Not many artists get the benefit of an introduction video with staged “pool visits”, picnics, or dinners, before their performances to showcase their story and personalities.

        True story, I work in downtown LA and was driving down the 4th street bridge one morning. I noticed a camera crew and saw Carlito getting make up on! Low and behold, on his intro video, he was on the 4th street bridge last night, overlooking downtown LA. He was definitely not “out for a jog” or “contemplating” the competition on his own.

        Comment by James – December 12, 2013 03:10 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Hey Michael Slezak, Kelly didn’t choose Hallelujah for Jeff Gutt, America did. And we chose it because he sang it as his audition last season and killed it. Way before anyone heard of the kid on The Voice. His audition was a little more gritty than last night’s performance, look it up on You Tube. But both were great. I want Jeff to win, but for some reason America love Alex & Sierra. Sierra is definitely getting better as the show goes on but I don’t understand all “the love” they’re getting. I could see them with a career though.

    Comment by eyerollz960 – December 12, 2013 10:13 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • #1 on iTunes Gravity (The X Factor USA Performance) – Alex & Sierra

    Comment by Sum Ting Wong – December 12, 2013 10:49 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Ok, I couldn’t take it anymore–I’ve downloaded iTunes, created an account there specifically to download Gravity and Say Something. I’m a computer boob and don’t have a mac, so this took real forethought and planning. I’ve never bought anything from XF, AI, or TV, but Alex and Sierra are just that good; it was worth going through the hassle.

    Comment by Grumpy Ol' Lady – December 12, 2013 10:51 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Why do the judges have this idea that the show is about them? It has nothing to do with them. Simon is the only judge capable of making intelligent business decisions, the other judges deliver comments with the only intention of trying to get back even with Simon and not based on the performance of the contestant. All performers should be judged for their talent, and not judged based on who their mentor is. Hopefully, the producers of X-Factor will recognize that Paulina is just a waste of time for the show and will not have her back next season.

    Comment by Jim – December 12, 2013 11:39 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Dude, Restless Road is a bunch of teens. You mention their tight jeans at least once a post! Creepy.

    Comment by Jenna – December 12, 2013 01:24 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Take away the mcrophone from Sierra and I bet she couldn’t be heard in a fairly small room! She is so weak! At least Ellona had some pipes….and was entertaining! Oh well, that shoddy RR is still here….INCREDIBLE!

    Comment by Jim Welker – December 12, 2013 02:06 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • After reading these comments, I would like to postulate following scientific thesis:
    “A random commenter in a comments section of a random TV site having the ‘hots’ for an act on a singing competition show has a direct and measurable negative effect on the singing ability of all other contestants on said show.”

    Comment by Didi – December 12, 2013 02:13 PM PDT  Reply To This Post

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