The X Factor Season 3 Semifinal Results Recap: What Doesn't Kill You Makes a Fighter

the-x-factor-semifinal-results-carlito-oliveroCan I get a slow clap for The X Factor ? (No, that’s not a subtle put-down of Paulina Rubio.)

Seriously, while the results shows of most reality singing competitions are built on a flimsy foundation of “60 seconds of news”/”59 minutes of cornmeal filler and deadly group performances,” the House That Simon Cowell Burned to the Ground Built introduced a far more entertaining twist for revealing its semifinal vote tallies: As each of the Top 3 artists advanced into next week’s finale, they immediately began what Mario Lopez called “their campaigns to win” the whole enchilada.

In other words, why put off till next Wednesday what you can do today — having each of the advancing artists tackle brand new numbers in an attempt to generate broader and more enthusiastic fan bases. Added bonus: Actual singing, with actual stakes! Mr. Cowell hasn’t gotten much right since bringing X Factor stateside — now that was a subtle dig at PowPow — but in this particular hour, the nation’s fourth favorite* reality singing competition put its rivals to shame. (*Out of four.)

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With that, let’s skip a discussion of Enrique Iglesias’ “Heart Attack” — I had to look away on account of the aggressive strobe lights, anyhow — and cut to the results.

Wait! What’s that? Paulina wants to make a statement about her last remaining act? “I feel amazing to see you grow. You’re different. You’re such big artists. I love you Carlito. I love you all!”

Alrighty, then!

First Act Sent Through to the Finals
Carlito Olivero: Elvis Crespo’s “Suavamente” — Grade: B+ | I know, I know, a tub of melted Velveeta has less cheese than Carlito. (Ha! Fooled ya! Velveeta isn’t cheese at all!) But Carlito sang with terrific joy and energy — probably because he couldn’t believe he wasn’t going to the guillotine.

Second Act Sent Through to the Finals
Alex & Sierra: Passenger’s “Let Her Go” — Grade: B+ | Superb harmonies, as always, but maybe with 10% less magic than usual.

Third Act Sent Through to the Finals
Jeff Gutt: Journey’s “Open Arms” — Grade: B- | A little shouty for my tastes.

Restless Road

Not to pile on the country man band when they’re down, but America, you got it right. It was Restless Road’s time — no matter how hard Simon Cowell tried to convince us otherwise.

Most Unnerving Quote of the Night
“If someone thinks they’re gonna go out there and take something away from my son, they’ve got another thing coming.” Oh, no, Jeff Gutt — you did not even try to go there, did you? Newsflash: We don’t know what’s in the hearts — or bank accounts — of any of your fellow contestants. And just because you made the choice to bring a child into the world doesn’t make any of them less worthy of winning the record contract dangling in front of all y’all, mmmkay? Next week, cut the talk about how it’s all about your son; just make it about the music. In the end, that’s all the public is gonna pay for, anyhow.

Rant over.

Your turn! What did you think of X Factor Semifinal results? Did you dig Enrique Iglesias? Who’s your early pick to win it all? Sound off down in the comments! And for all my reality TV recaps, news, exclusives and videos, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!