The X Factor Semifinals Performance Recap: Turn the Beatles Around [Updated]

emblem3Tonight, 911 hotlines across the nation experienced system overloads as L.A. Reid committed first-degree blasphemy on The X Factor, lying to boy band Emblem3 that “you actually are teen heartthrobs like the Beatles.”

At the exact same moment, John Lennon and George Harrison pressed the “auto rotation” buttons in their graves (sponsored by Pepsi, Verizon wireless and Sony X Headphones). Hey, if Britney Spears doesn’t need to write her own critiques, why should two dearly departed members of the planet’s all-time most influential rock band have to spin themselves around when their names get taken in vain on Fox’s second-tier reality singing competition?

To put it another way, my long-suffering hubby, after hearing L.A.’s ridiculous critique, looked up from his Saucer Country comic book and hissed: “This is why the Mayans were right: They just got 12/21/12 confused with 12/12/12.”

Me? I can’t rightly say if Simon Cowell is responsible for the demise of our beautiful planet. (Check back with me next week — if the Internet still exists.) And so I’ll just get on with critiquing tonight’s four remaining acts:

[We interrupt this recap with a message from Mario Lopez, who says you can use a special app to vote for The X Factor using only the contestants’ images. No need for pesky literacy anymore, people! And now back to your regularly scheduled critiquing.]

Tate Stevens: Craig Moran’s “Bonfire” | “I don’t think it was your best,” said Britney, as the X Factor live audience booed their disapproval. But the Lady Spears was completely right, even if it wasn’t entirely clear if her comment was a genuine reaction to Tate’s decent but hardly memorable performance or something she read on one of the magic index cards that sometimes appear before her. [“Wait, Britney! This time you’re not going to say ‘amazing’ or ‘superstar performance!'”] Tate’s vocal seemed to get intermittently swallowed up by the blast of the band, and while I appreciated the simplicity of the everydude-oriented lyrics, the song itself wasn’t particularly memorable, not did it give Tate a lot of opportunities to show off his chops. There certainly were a lot of firepots on the stage, though, and L.A. even showed his “support” (or was that condescension?) by wearing a black cowboy hat. Grade: B

Carly Rose Sonenclar: Elton John’s “Your Song” | After finally surprising us last week with a slick, inventive Justin Bieber cover, Carly Rose retreated this week by presenting a pair of overbaked renditions of classic pop melodies from the early ’70s. As usual, Carly didn’t really miss a single note, so I probably shouldn’t be kvetching. And yet the arrangement featured a bit too much vocal grandstanding and not enough of the quiet introspection needed to breathe life into admittedly gorgeous lyrics we’ve all heard a thousand times before. It didn’t help, either, that almost all of the ancillary details were off-putting: That weird lit-up sci-fi runway; the distressed leather capri pants that looked like they’d been pulled from the set of The Real Housewives of Who Gives a S***; the obviousness of an angelic children’s chorus. Simon suddenly (and very oddly) declared this was the first time Carly Rose had genuinely shown any emotion, even though I’m almost 100 percent certain that his litany of positive critiques over the past few months would prove he felt otherwise. Sometimes I really think the cranky British judge is even less invested in his critiques than Britney. Grade: B

Emblem3: Peter Frampton’s “Baby I Love Your Way” | The opening shot of Emblem3 laying on their backs in extreme closeup — with Blondie feeling his own bicep and sticking out his tongue — was as embarrassingly boy-band cliché as anything Simon’s made them do all season. Perhaps even more egregious, though, was that even here in the contestants’ choice round, they were relegated to a vaguely reggae cover of a mid-70s rock jam. Aren’t these the kids who’ve repeatedly expressed an interest in getting back to performing their own material (which, as most of us still remember, was solid enough to generate some good buzz back in the audition round)? Why wouldn’t Simon have used the penultimate week in the competition to break out another Emblem3 original — especially when there’s no guarantee they’ll still be in this thing after Thursday night? It doesn’t make a lick of sense — in terms of the competition or in positioning themselves for a post-show career — especially considering that the boys are never going to wow us vocally; lead singer Wes’ tone gets wafer-thin whenever he has to hold a note for more than three seconds, and you could barely hear the other two over the din of the six background singers who brought some harmonies to the shindig. But wait, what did judge and cultural critic Mario Lopez thing? “A little rasta feel to it! I was feelin’ it!” You guys missing Steve Jones yet? Grade: C+

Fifth Harmony: Ellie Goulding’s “Anything Can Happen” | Will having the week’s best performance be enough to save the underdog girl group from elimination? I’m really hoping so, but it would’ve helped if “Anything Can Happen” had been their second performance, not their first. Whatever the case, the little known Ellie Goulding track turned out to be a bold, very fresh choice in a sea of ho-hum covers. (Maybe these five girls know themselves better than the mentor who only communicates with them by speakerphone?) The staging — which had the pastel-dressed gals at a giant princess banquet table, being served by butterfly waiters — was sumptuous fun. The vocals were solid (and featured plenty of harmonies). And best of all, the end product felt like something that could exist in the real world — not just a reality singing competition. Grade: B+ A-

Tate Stevens: Clay Walker’s “Fall” | It doesn’t hurt Tate that he gets introduced as “the family man from Belton, MO,” or that when he talks about dedicating a song like “Fall” to his high-school sweetheart wife, he seems as genuine as your grandmother’s apple pie recipe. Even the way he sometimes fails to knowingly play to the camera makes him seem somehow more “real” than the average “reality” singing contestant. True, Tate’s vocal on “Fall” was more solid than spectacular — I can’t honestly say that this time next year, I’m certain I’ll remember it — but there’s something impressive about his assembly-line efficiency: While other acts struggle with vocal consistency and/or artistic identity, he delivers the same straightforward “country everyman” ditty — from factory to store — week after week after week. His leadoff position and Simon’s “you have as much chance of going back to your [day job] as me flying to the moon” comment could cause unexpected complacency in Tate’s voting bloc, but at this point, I’ve got to admit it would be kind of a travesty if dude fell short of next week’s finale. Grade: B+

Carly Rose Sonenclar: John Lennon’s “Imagine” | Has there been a more smarmy intro this season than Mario Lopez teasing Carly Rose’s performance by noting, “The competition is about to get even hotter, because coming up next is the youngest contestant left on this show!” (Side note: Who writes his and Khloe’s teleprompter copy? And is this person consciously trying to make them sound like complete dolts?) Anyhow… Carly Rose began “Imagine” as Young Artist Plinking Away at the Piano then did the “getting up from piano/entering the land of vocal bombast” move we’ve seen 100 times over on these types of shows. And as Simon — paying attention! — pointed out, that approach ended up making a beautiful, simple song seem downright fussy. In other words, instead of pulling back and making us all really consider a world that “can be as one,” Carly Rose went all “One-uh-UH-UHNNNN” with unneccessary riffs and embellishments. It’s as if she had no idea what she was singing about. And at 13, you can’t really hold it against her if that was the case. Grade: B- (Maybe even a C+?)

Emblem3: The Beatles’ “Hey Jude” | I love the way X Factor introduces random “overcoming obstacles” story arcs to help us connect with individual contestants. This week it was all about “Keaton” (aka the little brother) needing to “step up” and deliver the “Jude-y, Jude-y, Jude-y Jude-y Jude-y!” refrain on a song that the band never, ever should’ve even considered singing (like, ever). And while I suppose I should just be glad that no one pushed Blondie to sing — or “upgrade” the original with a customized rap — isn’t it strange that when Keaton finally reached the critical stage of the song that his delivery was at once muted and spastic? The whole performance was nothing more than middling karaoke, rendering Wes’ “INSPIRE” hat patently ridiculous. And note to Simon: You can’t spend the whole season trying to turn these boys into One Direction, then expect us to swallow it when you start drawing comparisons to the fracking Beatles! Also: Please, let’s forget we ever saw the “Hey Jude” dancers at the end of the performance. So much horrible packed into one paragraph. I’m so sorry I wrote all this and made you remember. Grade: D+

Fifth Harmony: Shontelle’s “Impossible” | It was a bit of a cop-out that Simon saddled the girls with the same song they covered at Judges’ Houses — probably because if he can only take on group to the finale, he’d rather it be Emblem3, and he saw what a repeat did for Diamond White last week. Still, I enjoyed both the tone, the delivery, and the emotional intent of this performance as much or more than anything from the second half of the show — even if the Spanish-language verses weren’t as revelatory as the girls had hoped — and combined with their best-of-the-night “Anything Can Happen,” I’m holding onto the hope that Fifth Harmony can beat the odds and live to fight it out in next week’s finale. Grade: B+

Should go home: Emblem3

Will go home: Fifth Harmony (or maybe Tate)

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

Who were your favorites from The X Factor‘s Top 4 performance telecast? Who’s most likely to get booted come Thursday night? Hit the comments with your thoughts! And for all my X Factor news, interviews, recaps, and exclusives, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!

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!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. Eric says:

    Um… I think you meant John Lennon and George Harrison are spinning in their grave (to which I totally agree). Ringo is alive and drumming.

  2. JB says:

    Ummm….George Harrison is dead not Ringo Starr ;)

    • jd says:

      Has anyone checked on him? If they caught this show we may have lost Ringo, Paul, Peter, and Elton. I pictured a stage covered in paper with graphics of dripping cleavers.

  3. Elisa says:

    Love your recaps, but you do know that Ringo Starr is not dead, right? I think you mean John Lennon and George Harrison. Anyway, Emblem 3 have got to go!

  4. Emily says:

    Brilliant! But isn’t Ringo still alive? George Harrison is the other Beatle that is no longer with us.

  5. Aria says:

    Emblem3 wasn’t THAT bad… it’s just their style. They’re not going to be belting out Mariah Carey on their debut record. They’re more style and swagger over vocal ability, and I do enjoy watching them.
    I still think Fifth Harmony will go, even though they’ve been touted as the underdogs and did well tonight. Their first performance felt very much “concert” and less “reality singing competition.” For their second performance, I don’t really understand what the Spanish added- I love them, but I wish they’d chosen a different song.
    Carly and Tate were fine as usual, but it was more of the same from both. Couldn’t stand Carly’s arrangement of “Imagine” – too overembellished, and, as Simon said, complicated.
    I’d love to see Carly or Tate go, just to mix things up, but their fanbases are far too big.
    Good luck in the future, Fifth Harmony.

    • Snow says:

      Obviously Emblem3 isn’t going to sing Mariah Carey that is not even what we are talking about. They should just sing the songs they are given properly. You can barely hear them and when you can I’d rather not. At this point, Fifth Harmony is desperate so I think they sung in Spanish to expand their fanbase as well as just show a different side of them because some of the members do fluently speak spanish so they might as well use it to show where they come from. We are not told a lot about 5H on the show so if you only watch the show some people may not even know their names. I wish they had chose a different song as well, I feel like Simon isn’t putting any effort into them. They had more control over their first performance and it showed.

      • Aria says:

        Actually, it IS what we are talking about – they aren’t singing Mariah because they can’t. They’re not amazing vocalists. Which is why I said they’re more style over vocal ability.
        And as for Fifth Harmony, they really have been getting the shift. The first show they talk about how alike they are, but then the next show it’s all about how unique they each are, with their different “cue word” personalities. While I loved both of their first auditions, I think Ally and Normani are the weak links in that group- Ally does fake flirtations the whole time, despite singing well, while Normani still seems nervous. As a group, though, they’re great.

        • soundscene says:

          It’s not too much to ask that they at least sing okay — they don’t even sing okay. They sound like an SNL version of California surfers high on pot trying to immitate Tom DeLonge from Blink-182. It’s painful. They’re not given these vocally challenging songs. The Beatles themselves weren’t super fantastic Mariah Carey-esque singers–they didn’t write songs that require vocal acrobatics. Hey Jude isn’t that difficult to karaoke, but Emblem3 sounded strained and thin. The youngest couldn’t even pull off what is essentially just yelling into the microphone “Hey Jude!” multiple times.

  6. JP says:

    Correction. George Harrison would be rolling in his grave.

  7. Emery says:

    Ringo is still alive! George Harrison is the one that passed away

  8. Tom says:

    Lol Michael, you meant George and not Ringo. :P

  9. bridget says:

    Fifth Harmony was awesome and the judge’s critiques were so ridiculously biased and truly unbelievable. If Fifth Harmony goes home instead of Emblem3 tomorrow, I give up.

    • Harrison Crupe says:

      Fifth Harmony’s first song was good, but if you watch it again there is a suspicious amount of backup and lead vocal that is not coming from their mouths. That performance had a ton of audio work done to it. You can hear when the girls them selves kick in over the backing track and take notice of the very far away shots used throughout.

      Its the same production team that had Beatrice fake the piano and then zoom in on her fingers when she limply stopped playing mid-note.

      Its the same production team that turns off Wes-of-Emblem’s mic every time he goes to sing a chorus. His voice is nowhere to be found until its time to rap it up.

      • teatime says:

        We have heard every one on Fifth Harmony sing individually. They all can sing.

      • soundscene says:

        They don’t lip sync the lead vocals; if they did, then some of the few vocal issues they’ve had would have been non-existent. But yes, they obviously lip sync the chorus and those often-discussed harmonies. Or rather, they’re sometimes singing but they’re mics are off. When one of them starts a lead vocal right after the chorus, you can sometimes hear that one person’s distinctive voice in the chorus because her mic is the only one turned on.

        So I would say that all of Emblem3’s mics are turned off during the chorus, not just the blond.

    • jaxguy says:

      Carly is my favorite but I think FH was tonight’s best. Emblem 3=Dislike them intensely. Tate Stevens=Sounds like EVERY country singer currently on the radio. Not bad just ordinary.

    • greysfan says:

      Fifth Harmony was the best act on the night behind Carly. They deserve the final. I really really hope America vote the right way. Emblem3 need to go home!!!

  10. wynalazca says:

    B+ on Impossible? Really? Really? Slezak, you’ve got to be joking. Hey Jude wasn’t that great, but if you think back to the days when you were grading on a curve, you gave Paige and Cece more credit than these guys. Also, that was the worst arrangement of Imagine I’ve ever heard.

    • TheBeach says:

      ITA. Fifth Harmony was good on their first song but “Impossible” was certainly no B+…more like a C or C-. And I totally agree with Simon about the horrible “Imagine” arrangement. Actually I would have the same criticism of both of Carly’s songs (and I’m a fan of hers). Both of her songs are quiet, introspective songs and belting them out just for the sake of showing you can belt ruins them for me. Maybe that comes from being a 13 year old with an amazingly mature voice who can’t yet relate to the lyrics she’s singing.

      • kavyn says:

        I disagree, the performance itself was slightly less than when they performed it at Simon’s house. I’d say either B or B- lowest for Impossible.

        Emblem 3 deserve C’s and D’s for both. They were atrocious. There were moments I actually cringed.

        Tonight FH was the best, followed by Tate, then Carly, and then finally way off in the distance, Emblem 3.

  11. kelly says:

    Please people vote 5th harmony. They deserve to stay in this competition. And they need peoples votes. If we are picking between the 2 groups emblem 3 cannot even be compared to them (meaning 5th harmony is better). Vote Votee!!

    • Byrdie says:

      I voted for the first time ever in my life tonight. 30 times. (Embarrassing, but a few weeks ago there was a chick in the audience who claimed she voted for Tate 150 times, so…)

  12. Lindsay says:

    You’ve got the wrong Beatle…Ringo Starr is very much alive.

  13. Mari says:

    OMG everyone should vote for 5H. They were epic in their first song.

  14. Spycigal says:

    Watched this on DVR and concluded that I don’t really think any of the have the X-Factor… I mean the only moment I was like WOW was Britney sang a snippet of Imagine – she has the X-Factor! Other than that Tate was good if too bland for my taste, Carly was ok but hated the arrangement of both songs – less is more for both of those songs, E3 was disappointing, they could’ve given us so much more for their choice, I mean is that really what their first album would sound like?! I don’t think so! I liked 5th Harmony’s first song, from the singing to the staging but the 2nd song was a big miss, bit of a train wreck really.

  15. Adam says:

    Imagine is a simple song and Carly (or her dad at least) should have known that less is more. If she’d stayed behind the piano and limited herself to one or two embellishes, it would have been lovely.

  16. JT says:

    fifth harmony all day… the best by far in my opinion

  17. Brooke says:

    My favorite part was Keaton’s BIG, HUGE, GROUND-BREAKING, GAME-CHANGING MOMENT at the end of “Hey Jude” . . . which was barely audible . . .
    Keaton is the best singer of the three, based on pure vocals. He’s not as outgoing or charismatic as the other two, which is probably why he’s not lead (he’s also the young’un) but he’s the best singer by far. Glad they gave him a verse at least, while blondie mostly kept his trap shut.

  18. Jack Thomas says:

    wow you just lost all credibility. emblem 3 was incredible, just because you do not prefer their style, does not mean you can say they were awful. they were far and away the best of the night

    • JT says:

      see i just have a hard time believing that anyone could actually believe that. i’m all for respecting other opinions and everything but i just don’t get E3 at all, and definitely don’t get them being compared to the Beatles

      • kavyn says:

        Well the explanation is simple, they’re “hot” (at least compared to the rest of the male contestants on the show).

        They had a good audition song, but besides that all of their performances have been garbage. They’re equal to Cece in my eyes, except Cece has fun with it while Emblem 3 act like typical douchebags.

        • Boris says:

          “at least compared to the rest of the male contestants on the show”

          There’s exactly one other male, Tate, and he’s a big, beefy, married, OLD AND DECREPIT (L.A.’s words, not mine) cowboy. I think it’s safe to say that, yes, the California teenagers are the most attractive guys on the show at the moment. And since two girls went home last week, it’s been this way for a few weeks now.

          • seattlejohn449 says:

            I think Tate is incredibly hot and those Emblem 3 boytoys are physically boring…I wonder how much of the cougar and mature gay male vote Tate gets…he is only 37 or so and all that roadwork has helped beef him up in a really good way

    • Harrison Crupe says:

      There was lots of terrible tonight, but that does not make Bro-blem3 “incredible” it made them less offensive to the ear than normal.

      And Slezak has more karaoke show judging credibility in the catch-tray of his flannel shirt de-fuzzer than you’ll ever know.

      So please, try again to “big up” the twee boi band that gets you so hot and bothered you cant think straight.

    • jaxguy says:

      They sucked like they always do. HATE Hey Jude.

    • Mary says:

      It has nothing to do with their style, they can’t sing to save their life. I know this show is not all about the singing, but when they are forced to do it, it shows their limitations. Their personality is a big turn off for me, but I guess some kids would approve. If you are into Auto tune excessively then you would find them entertaining, just not my cup of tea. To be compare to the Beatles, is like comparing a toad to a butterfly – not even close.

  19. I totally disagree with your grades tonight. I thought Fifth Harmony’s second performance was recycled crap. It was stiff, the Spanish added nothing and their voices sounded off with no harmonies whatsoever. Carly was predictable, but still great. Tate was okay but neither performance caught my interest like others have and I enjoyed Hey Jude. We get, by now that Emblem 3 aren’t 100% the best singers, but it was entertaining which is more what XF has become so.

    • TheBeach says:

      Oh there were some harmonies in Fifth Harmony’s second song but they were provided by those six backup singers in the shadows, not by Fifth Harmony:)

      • SSDD says:

        Thank you for this I think they were lip singing at times.

      • Mary says:

        Emblem 3 had the same backup singers and their song sucked so what is your point. Simon picked the song to screw the girl group. It was his pick not theirs. Last week he got on Diamond about recycling a song and then he did it to his own group – talk about throwing them under the bus. He would do anything to make sure E3 is in the final. I hope it back fires and they go because I truly believe you can work on staging but not vocals and E3 do not deserve to be there with the crap they have been performing.

        • HitTheGroundRunningWonderlandHaleyOhMy says:

          Yeah he seems desperate to get E3 there at all costs. Tossing Beatrice and now Carly and to a slight extent 5th (just enough to try to insure E3 makes it over them, but not so much that he still might not be able to somehow sneak a second team of his in). Or so it seems.

  20. Jazzy says:

    I’d like to point out that ALL five girls of Fifth Harmony got bronchitis today, and Ally (the small one) also had sinusitis….and they STILL managed to have the performance of the night with Anything Could Happen, and they STILL sounded better than eternally congested Emblem3. I’m so proud of them, and the judges were RUDE after they sang Impossible.

    • Snow says:

      Thank you! I can’t believe nobody on the show mentioned that fact at all. I was really disappointed about that, but they sounded great so they didn’t need the excuse. It would have been nice to hear it from Simon or the hosts. If one of the boys in Emblem3 had a cough, I’m sure we would hear about it.

  21. dj says:

    Tonight was disappointing. I was shaking my head most of the time while I watched. I have always kind of hated Peter Frampton’s songs, but I kind of liked Emblem3 covering one. I thought everyone did ok, but I didn’t like “Imagine” re-imagined, and I didn’t like “Hey Jude.” I am not voting tonight, because I don’t really care who wins at this point. It’s all gotten kind of tiresome. I enjoy your recaps, Michael, but you really hear about it when you make a mistake, don’t you?

  22. Davey says:

    I watched the last half hour of this show for the first time this season. I can see I wasn’t missing much but I can say that Carly’s Imagine was embarrassing. Think David Archuleta and Kris Allen’s versions and you know what I mean.

    • Harrison Crupe says:

      Embarassing is a good way to put it. She is too young to stand up to anyone so cant be faulted for the many gaffes. Pillhead Britney hasnt had a single valueable thing to say all season, and her her turn as both mentor and judge is shameful.

      We all know she wont be back as she cant generate buzz beyond that of a fruitfly, but i hope Demi is gone next season as well. The show should just be LA, Simon and Steve Jones. Think about it for a second. It would feel so right as the show circles the drain like Melanie Amaro’s future earning potential.

      • Byrdie says:

        I honestly don’t get the Demi hate. I think she’s offered some of the most astute criticism this season. Emblem 3 as a Jonas brothers redux, Carly as predictably singing a showstopping but boring ballad, etc.

        That being said, she definitely needs to step up her mentoring game. Giving everyone terrible haircuts does not a mentor make. Neither Paige nor CeCe we’re as good as advertised and I dont think that was necessarily Demi’s fault. Jenelle was lost way, way, way too early.

        • soundscene says:

          As a mentor, Demi is terrible. As a judge, she’s fine (better than Britney), but her critique of “I was bored” has got to go. If she gets bored during 1.5 minute songs as much as she says she does, then the problem lies with her, not the performance.

  23. Chris says:

    Fifth harmony was awful. Continues to show Simons mistake weekly….should have kept the boy band he threw together, not the girl band. They were 10 times better!

    • kes says:

      Like that boyband would be any better. Playback were average at judges house. Plus 5H first song was awesome.

    • seattlejohn449 says:

      I didn’t like 5th Harmony tonight, either…the first song was awkwardly staged and it only got good once they stood up and stalked the entire stage; the second showcased them standing still and trading leads again and sounded the same as their previous version of it – Emblem 3, who I usually don’t like) however, had some good harmonies on Let It Be (surprisingly) and I was shocked I liked Baby I Love Your Way…Carly Rose sang great but those arrangements were over the top…Tate was at his best for a rowdier 1st song and slowed down on the second…frankly, a lot of country singers aren’t very special but top-40 fodder and Tate seems like he could do better than a bunch of successful country stars…best of the night (though it should have been Carly)

  24. Callum says:

    Fifth Harmony’s first was amazing. I was sad to see CeCe go but Fifth Harmony were great tonight so that’s who I’m voting for!!

  25. Josh says:

    No jack you have no crediblity Emblem3 is* ****** horrible the biggest pieces of crap vocally and they are arrogant douches FH blowas them away but piece of crap.vocalists like Kesha sell big these days so this is likley how

  26. scorpiosue1102 says:

    Fifth Harmony’s first song was the performance of the night. It had the “X” factor. The second song was a snoozefest.

    Emblem3, while not great singers, are really good performers.

    Tate is going to be a country star whether he wins or not.

    I thought both of Carly’s performances were her weakest of the season. Your Song was too much and Imagine was WAY too much. Imagine is a song all about the sentiment. It is NOT a song that you belt. It’s just not.

    • Harrison Crupe says:

      So they aren’t great singers, but their ability to master the nazi salute-crotch pump dance move somehow makes it ok? Aside from their audition they’ve been a joke getting and by on their Whiteness and their Guyness and briefly, Guitarness.

  27. teatime says:

    Fifth Harmony’s first song was excellent and one of the best performances of the season. I had to look it up to find out it is a song from Ellie Goulding. I had never heard it before. It was well sung and interesting and they took a song I had never heard before and made me like it instantly. They should have performed that to end the show. I really enjoyed Impossible but it was a bad strategic move to redo their first song from the judges house. Maybe they have a sentimental attachment to it but I have to believe they could have found something similar and avoided the obvious critique that they redid a song. Don’t they have a mentor who is being paid millions of dollars to advise them on such things?
    Carly’s Your Song had some fantastic moments. It fell apart a little toward the end but I absolutely loved most of it. I have grown to really appreciate her. She is fantastic and will have a notable career despite what happens on this show. The same can not be said for the other two acts I have not bothered to mention in this post.

  28. Nancy says:

    Just a few random comments….
    1. How perfect would it be for the x-factor to swap out Khloe for Cat Deeley as co-host next to Mario Lopez because a) she’d expose him for the lifeless muneca he really is and b) she would make him look so short that the producers would have to surgically remove a box from one of the Fifth Harmony girls and force him to stand on it just so the camera angle would work. Eventually Cat would, of course, win the hearts of a reality-weary America thereby saving the X-Factor but ultimately driving Mario into the eighth circle of hell (a.k.a. the Voice after show hosted by social media correspondent Christina Milian) a midst cries of “hey what’s up Mario?!?”
    2. Speaking of muneca, it would have been pretty freakin’ awesome, though admittedly inappropriate, if Emblem 3 could have met Mario’s request for some Sublime with a little “Caress Me Down.” If they dedicated to the performance to Demi or Khloe, or maybe even Mario because who really knows who the non-brother is flexing for, their performance could have been as lyrically authentic as any of Tate’s.
    3. It struck me after checking the TVLIne homepage that if it turns out the music industry is kinder to humans with robot voices than robots with human voices, Carly could always audition for a role as Vanessa Marano’s little sister, maybe in a spin-off of “Switched at Birth” called like “Lost at Birth” or maybe “Sold to the Disney Channel at Birth….”
    4. Finally, did I hear it wrong or did Britney respond to Simon’s criticism of Carly by basically saying that the 13 year old is already too big of a star for the X Factor stage and that he should choke on whatever it is he noshes on while giving critiques these days? Maybe I made the last bit up but honestly, Brit’s not that bad when she is directly responding to real life situations like being spoken to/about. Maybe we should give her a break, and instead focus our anger on whomever is sitting behind her passing her the cue cards and prodding her with a cattle taser every time she goes off script.

    • Nancy says:

      P.S. “Caress Me Down” would have been a great way for the guys to compliment Fifth Harmony’s Spanish/English approach to “Impossible” while also adding a bit of much needed spice to counteract Carly and Tate’s utilization of the overly saccharine ballad strategy for semi-final success (swaybots and confetti sold seperately.)

    • teatime says:

      Who’s Cat Deely?

      • Nancy says:

        ^ = no bueno. She’s the host of So You Think You Can Dance and, in my imagination, the winner of 2 Emmys stolen from her by Jeff Probst.

        • seattlejohn449 says:

          agreed…Probst has one script-fits-all and Cat is totally amazing as it seems she just makes up her totally engaging, professional talking on the spot…Simon should be forced to watch tapes of Cat on SYTYCD as aversion therapy to hiring such no-talent hosts

    • HitTheGroundRunningWonderlandHaleyOhMy says:

      ” Finally, did I hear it wrong or did Britney respond to Simon’s criticism of Carly by basically saying that the 13 year old is already too big of a star for the X Factor stage and that he should choke on whatever it is he noshes on while giving critiques these days?”

      I think you heard it plenty right. I have a weird feeling she may suddenly be realizing her team has been setup.

    • Mary says:

      The only thing is Nancy, Brittany has heard the critiques and not once did she change Carly song up. Carly has a fantastic voice, she is young, but did she do a uptempo song to show her diversity – no and that I do blame the mentor Brittney for. For 15 Millions dollars I think she could of put a little effort and choose songs that helps show Carly youth. Like Simon said today is the first time she showed emotion, and thank god for clip with Diamond but although I think she is the most talented on the show, I have a hard time imagining where her singing career will go.

      • Mike says:

        But Carley DID do uptempo, and it was fantastic, and the other judges ripped it apart. She sang ‘Good Feeling’ in her first live show. As far as how they take advise, I still just see Fifth Harmony standing around and emblem 3 is still just a glorified boy-band. The producers have as much hand in picking songs as the mentors. Also, Britney is the only mentor who we consistently see working with her charges and the vocal producers each week, and from hearing Carley in interviews, Britney has been incredibly hands-on and helpful. Simon doesn’t meet with the groups & their vocal coach EVER.

        • Nancy says:

          I don’t think any of the mentors are doing their jobs properly on the US X Factor and are primarily responsible for its failure to meet expectations. My friend from London sent me a clip from the UK version and I have to say, despite its falling ratings, it is heads and shoulders above the US in quality. The pre-performance artist packages show the mentors being much more hands on and open to the feelings and instincts of their contestants. The judging portion is so much more organic because the celebs come off as passionate about their contestants and offer criticism for the sake of improving the show as a whole rather than strategically to improve the odds for their own category. I think LA Reid is the worst judge that has ever been introduced to the genre. He always seems like he is serving his own ego first and treats his contestants as investments rather than real people. This may be the way of the industry, but it is also what feeds the critics of this type of show. At its core, the X Factor is supposed to be about nurturing that special quality in someone who has the potential to make a positive impact on popular culture and who might have otherwise gone unnoticed. The goal should be to support the artists while constructively critiquing them so that they have the best possible chance for success. People should check out the UK X Factor and see how positive the vibes are between the contestants and their mentors, and how much better it makes the show. I would love for Michael Slezak to do a comparative piece, especially since Nicole Sherzywhatsit thrived on the show in a weird and endearing, early Paul Abdul, kind of way in stark contrast with her manufactured performance on the US version. Plain and simple, the show is missing heart and sincerity and without it the talent cannot flourish on either side of the table.

          • HitTheGroundRunningWonderlandHaleyOhMy says:

            I’ve never seen the UK version but it sounds like you make a lot of good points.

      • broncfanwa says:

        Back to her career on Broadway, probably.

  29. I think your grades for 5th Harmony were a tad too low. I thought they were the best of the night by far. Regardless of song choice, the girls proved they deserve to be in the finals.

  30. BarbL says:

    It should be a law somewhere that people who attempt to sing “Imagine” have some understanding of what the song is about.
    And if you don’t have the gravitas to nail “Hey Jude,” Just. Don’t. Nothing worse than young guys whose voices have barely adjusted from changing sing that song.
    I’m with Michael on this one.

  31. Phill says:

    5th harmony deserve to be in the final! not e3 they suck!!! 1-855-843-9304 1-855-843-9304 1-855-843-9304 1-855-843-9304 1-855-843-9304

  32. Byrdie says:

    Fifth harmony’s “anything could happen” was in my opinion the best performance of any act this entire season. Great sound, their moves were cute I really bought them as a pop act. I am seriously blown away. Impossible was decent, but not a good way to end the night for them. I seriously hope they make it to the finals.

    The leader board situation has made this season so odd. If Carly Rose and Tate are final 2, what was the point of the show? Did the season even happen?

  33. kcostell says:

    Carly has an amazing set of pipes, but still needs to figure out what to do with them. And so far the people she’s worked with on the X-Factor show no clue they have any idea what to do with her either.

    • dj says:

      I agree. She has a lovely voice, but she treats all songs the same. She needs to learn how to connect more with the feelings of each song.

      • ETG says:

        The very same problem plagued Idol’s Jessica Sanchez earlier this year…….

        • Nedsdag says:

          Yay! Finally, someone mentioned the J word: Jessica Sanchez, because the criticism she got during AI, Carly Rose gets praise for on XF.

          I actually liked Emblem 3’s take on Big Mountain’s version of “Baby, I Love Your Way.” It’s their arthritic version of “Hey, Jude,” that should send them home, but because Tweens have hormones, they are not going anywhere.

  34. Natalia says:

    Fifth Harmony’s “Anything Good Happen” was great but I the backup singers were doing most of the singing. Go back and rewatch some of the closeups, especially towards the end and the girls aren’t even singing.

    • HitTheGroundRunningWonderlandHaleyOhMy says:

      It seemed like the backup singers were 10x louder than E3 on Hey Jude and making the harmony parts sound a million times richer, the one little bit it was just them and then sounded thin, not quite like the Beatles….
      (yes I know it’s common to have all that fill in, but it was stage to make it seem like they were carrying that part and it was a part they could’ve carried a lot more if they could’ve but it seemed like they weren’t, at least on a quick view)

    • SSDD says:

      I noticed this the mic was up on on girls mouth but her lips were not moving.

  35. alt28023 says:

    Since we found out anything could happen…might as well vote for 5th Harmony in hopes that they get through to next week! Amazing performance.

  36. Chris says:

    I preferred Fifth Harmonies first performance to their second. It was creative, fun, and the production (which truly supported the vocal) was very well done. I’m not a “group” fan but I’d rather listen to them perform than Ensemble 3

    I don’t have anything positive to say about Ensemble 3 – I just don’t hear it or get it.

    I thought Tate did a fantastic job opening the show. As I’ve said before he can hold his own with the likes of the top “pop” country artists out there today. That’s exactly what you get when you go to, say one of Kenny Cheney’s shows – or many others who carry semi’s around for big productions. His second song choice was nice. He emotes very well – has since the beginning. He will be successful and I believe should win this season.

    I thought Carley’s first performance was way better than her second. “Imagine” is beautiful because of it’s meaning and simplicity. Way overdone – wa,y way, way overdone. I think she is immensely talented and very well trained. There is just no naturalness about her…. maybe its nerves…

    As far as “backing tracks” nearly every successful performer has been doing that for years – yeeearrrsss. Stand by the sound board sometimes – you’ll see.

  37. Irena says:

    Best lines of the night:
    1. Tate Stevens: “This song is all about what I have to do in this competition: ‘Fall.’
    2. LA Reid: “I loved the staging, but the (butterfly-looking) waiters weren’t to my taste.” Really? Would you have preferred they have sparkly wings? Fifth Harmony should really make sure their fantasy-based extras are more appropriate for LA Reid’s taste. Because he’s surely the expert when it comes to men dressed as insects.

  38. Kevin c says:

    What number do I call to vote for Fifth Harmony’s backup singers?

  39. HitTheGroundRunningWonderlandHaleyOhMy says:

    5th did a really job on the first one, whatever on the second. Tate’s first probably actually wasn’t his best.

    • HitTheGroundRunningWonderlandHaleyOhMy says:

      It was interesting that Britney seemed to be let be a bit freer to speak this week and it was refreshing, a bit more like during auditions.

      • Mike says:

        I think she genuinely just sticks to short critiques. She says what she has to say and moves on, never gets involved in the cattiness of the other judges, because that’s just not her personality. She’s always been humble, goofy, and one to stay away from confrontation (meaning she was never a Nicki Minaj or Christina Aguilera calling out other celebs constantly for press). She says what she thinks and moves on. I think it gets grating when the other judges are CLEARLY biased so that their own get ahead. Britney praises acts when she thinks they deserve it, and tells them they suck when they do. I respect it.

  40. HitTheGroundRunningWonderlandHaleyOhMy says:

    Does anyone else smell a ‘surprise’, ‘shocking’ elimination this week whereby supposed plant winner gets dumped and Simon gets two teams in. First Carly gets a mysteriously busy line and then they say they wanted to show that someone else could be on top again and then miracle Tate is on top again (after a pretty pedestrian week from him to say the least while she had a great week) and then that makes it credible to take her down and out this week and Simon gets his 5th AND E3 in and they keep Tate and keep all the country crowd watching?? It is also a bit odd that at the start everyone said Britney had the strongest group and yet Simon was always kinda harder on them and even when he said one was amazing then he’d stick in some little bit that would ever so subtly undermine it.

    • Alex says:

      They have nothing to gain by fixing the show’s results and a lot to lose.

      • Liliana says:

        Agreed. I think X Factor realizes they are barely hanging on and thus they really embracing taking the voting public seriously. Everyone has busy lines, all the judges are out for themselves, and Simon isn’t stupid. Insufferable at times, but not stupid.

      • HitTheGroundRunningWonderlandHaleyOhMy says:

        Not outright in a way that directly affects who gets sent home or by hiding votes under any circumstance (if they did play with giving Carly less free lines last week it only moved her a spot at most and didn’t materially affect results of actual meaning) but they can try to influence people in certain ways through production and comments, that latter 100% definitely happens on these, and basically all reality shows.

        I still think it was a bit weird what happened with the phone lines last week and then how they made a big deal and said that they had even hoped for a leader board switch to show and then they got one. How do multiple people, most calling from cellphones (not even talking landlines), get non-stop busy signals for one contestant, out of the blue, when none of them have ever heard more than a single busy tone ever before for any contestant on any show ever? (OK, one of them lives quite close to her so maybe the great home town region voted like mad suddenly but other not THAT close). Maybe it was all legit, maybe they run very few voting lines for everyone compared to other shows and she had a sudden burts of popularity in some areas and yet all of Vino’s votes went to Tate and the South voted like nobodies business, whatever the case, at most, it swapped #1 and #2 which didn’t alter who got sent home since six were in the running.

        But I do get the feeling that at the least Simon is simply happy that she has suddenly become farther and farther from a front runner right at the end instead of pulling way into the lead as others left.

    • millie says:

      Since there is a monetary prize involved, there would be extreme financial reprecussions from fixing the show. Besides an instant cancellation and other penalties, every contestant who appeared this year and last would be suing the show for the $5 million.

      • HitTheGroundRunningWonderlandHaleyOhMy says:

        You don’t have to outright fix anything. Just a few busy signals to make someone not seem locked in and more just to give the show drama (and not in a way that alters who gets sent home) and then all of a sudden in the crucial week where she can knock out one of his teams he decides to get on her case for this or that that he never bothered to before, maybe some of his complaints were legit but it just felt like the way he sprung them and the way the whole week went was to try to influence people to make sure that 5th didn’t knock out E3 but that both would have a chance to knock out someone (can’t be Tate since don’t want to lose country crowd ratings plus that is too die-hard a voting block anyway). It may not end up going that way of course.

        Maybe the busy line stuff simply happened on it’s own, I, and some others were just surprised because it was a bit weird to have lines non-stop busy for long periods, even by cellphone, for people who have never encountered more than one or two busy signals for any show ever over an entire season before. Of course there are plenty of 100% legit ways to explain that too.

      • HitTheGroundRunningWonderlandHaleyOhMy says:

        All that said, I think Carly will still very likely make it to the top three, although it’s not a given she will be voted in anymore.

  41. marygrace says:

    Miss Carly Rose will be a fanstatic talent for adult songs ….but not yet. The fact that she is not showing connection with the songs is because she can’t possibly at her young age. Maybe Disney will keep her busy till she gets more life experience.

    Shame, shame, shame on the Beatles’ songs performances. These young people should just not go there…..Shame, shame, shame on LA Ried. He should know better!

  42. Cello says:

    What? Not a single, “I want to go to a bonfire in Belton, MO!” from the public?

    I think they threw 5th Harmony under the bus by using the clip of the shortesr, and most out of tune member, during the final moments of the show.

    I am surprised that Carly didn’t do one upbeat song. I laughed when she and Britney were talking about how much their parents love that song. Really? Is that the demographic you are shooting for? 50-somethings?

    • Snow says:

      I agree that they showed the wrong clip of 5H from Impossible for the flashback. It was not their strongest point in the song and cut off weirdly as well.

    • HitTheGroundRunningWonderlandHaleyOhMy says:

      About the bonfire and introducing it to people in NY and LA the funny thing is that the whole bonfire on the beach thing is almost to the level of cliche for SoCal, not exactly an introduction needed sort of thing. He might have a point for true NYC pure city folk though. That said bonfires are a common enough thing in the surrounding suburbs, so long as you are not in one of the 100% house next house areas and there are some woods and fields around, they are not, by any means, a primarily southern thing. Whatever, he was excited and offered up a friendly invitation.

  43. Joey says:

    Emblem3 should have sang either sublime santoria or an original. both would have given them a better shot at the finals

    • Liliana says:

      I honestly think Simon might have thought all along that he could get Emblem3 to coast to the finals… and once they are there, he plans on bringing out their original sound, material, and possible Sublime song. I really truly believe that’s his strategy for a win… because we know Tate and Carly’s style won’t change, it could be a major coup. I think the writing is on the wall for Fifth Harmony because Simon will take these boys first any day.

  44. Ariel26 says:

    My favorite is Carly by far. Then Emblem 3. Tate seems like a nice guy. But he is just okay for me. I do like 5th Harmony. I think they can all sing. But to me they don’t sing like a group. They each sing one by one. That’s not a group to me. I need much more harmony and even singing in unison.

    • HitTheGroundRunningWonderlandHaleyOhMy says:

      I guess I like 5th second best out of these four, but it is true that they do seem to do rather little harmonizing for a 5 member group, not that they need to take it a cappella group levels but….

      that said though, still like them 2nd best at this point and have they have had some performances that have worked out very well, regardless.

  45. Alex says:

    Carly had the best vocals of the night, followed by Fifth Harmony. Emblem3 was actually better than usual (though I nearly choked with laughter when LA compared them to the Beatles), and Tate stank up the stage as usual.

  46. Stacey says:

    Simon was so transparent. After weeks of loving everything Carly has done. Now wants both his groups in the finals. And if he can push Carly down and out, since he knows no way he can move Tate out of the finals due to the country base. But if he can’t get Carly out of the finals. He can keep Fifth Harmony out by giving them a safe song like a repeat of their audition song (although they probably did it better last night). So that they don’t knock Emblem 3 out. Even though Fifth Harmoney have more potential than the cheesy One Direction knock off that Simon wants them to be, and the group has been very vocal they DON’T want to be. They have in the media criticized every move Simon has made for them. Yet Simon loves them at the expense of the more potential Fifth Harmoney. While Carly was not her best ever. I like the power she brought to Your Song. And liked she moved from the piano. The piano wasn’t her comfort zone. Interacting with the audience is. Selling the song. Sure “Imagine” doesn’t need the vocal runs, but she did something interesting.

    • soundscene says:

      I like Carly a lot, but Imagine was WAY overwrought. She’s obviously the best vocalist in the competition, and I think she’s far less robotic than Slezak seems to think, but there are times you need to pull back, and she (or whoever arranges her songs) hasn’t learned yet exactly when to pull back. Imagine isn’t bombastic. I’m not a purist–I think different arrangements of Imagine are fine–but the arrangements have to match with the message of the song. John Lennon wasn’t yelling at people to imagine people living as one–he was asking them to imagine. Carly’s arrangment was a yell.

      My issue with Your Song is a different. I didn’t mind the arrangement so much (I’ve seen a great rendition before by a different female singer that was similar), but this is the first time I’ve seen Carly’s facial expressions completely obliterate the meaning of a song. Your Song is an ode to love and Carly was grimacing through it in the same way she would a song about sadness.

      • Stacey says:

        She’s 13. She views the song as the first song that her father exposed her to, began her love of singing and music. She probably doesn’t get the full essence of the song. But I felt she delivered it well. She tries to show emotion and meaning. Instead of grinning her way through a love song! Even if she didn’t get it completely. And with Imagine. I don’t mind that she tried to do something different. Give it a different interpretation. She could have done it down to the letter of the song. But then that would have been ordinary. She gave it, her twist. It might have not completely worked. Although I liked it more when she away from the piano. But she’s young… She’s still learning… Even if she is a showbusiness vetern!

        • soundscene says:

          I really think that was all that Simon was saying. Pretty much what you said. The thing is, if she chooses to enter this competition as a 13 year old, she can’t be graded on a curve just because she’s 13. And by all means, there are contestants far older than her that can’t interpret a song. But just because she’s 13 doesn’t mean we shouldn’t expect her to get what the song is about and perform accordingly. She doesn’t have to grin through a love song, but she shouldn’t look like she’s in pain either. She’s heads above her competition vocally, but there’s more to singing than vocal ability. In time she will learn this, but this competition is happening right now. I have the same expectations for her as I do for Tate, and I’m sure Simon does as well.

    • HitTheGroundRunningWonderlandHaleyOhMy says:

      I have to say it sure did seem like that. Which was my point in my other thread about how it seemed he was sure hoping to the ‘shocking elimination’ sort of thing for tonight and stunning rise of E3 to favorites.

  47. Liliana says:

    I’m going to honestly say that I really, really enjoyed “Baby I Love Your Way” by Emblem 3 after the weak beginning! I really want Tate to win this thing because he’s the most commercially viable. I’m not sure if there’s room right now for a Fifth Harmony in the market, though I suspended my disbelief when they sang the first song. Carly is obviously the most talented but watching her feels so uncomfortable. She over-emotes, emotes inappropriately, and always over-sings. The former two issues will be fixed with age-appropriate songs and the latter makes her perfect for Broadway. She will have a career no matter what, I just don’t think it’s her time yet for a competition like this.

    • Liliana says:

      Have to add that I thought the vocals beyond the chorus was sub par, but it was more entertaining than any of the other acts. And no, I’m not a fan girl, muscles seems like a meat head, but Simon is slowly fixing their image. The shirt is staying on!

      • HitTheGroundRunningWonderlandHaleyOhMy says:

        I can see how they would be popular again after last night. (I still say that the backing tracks/singers seemed to carry an awful lot of some it at times though…….)

  48. dj says:

    Is only one act going home? I thought it was two. Either way, I think Simon is the loser tonight, and he didn’t do either of his acts any favors as far as giving them the best chance to get into the finals goes. I think #1 and #2 will be Tate and Carly, in whichever order, as usual.

  49. Rose says:

    Thought the best performance of the night was Anything Can Happen and the most boring (and possibly worst) was Impossible. B+ is really being generous, it was awkward and even weirdly off key at moments. Doesn’t help that James Arthur does it better.

    • Nancy says:

      The cynical side of me wonders if Simon thought that having Fifth Harmony sing Impossible on a live show so that it would recorded for iTunes was a strategic business choice. That way, people searching for it might notice James Arthur’s version and vice versa, thus increasing sales for both artists.