Here’s the holding spot for tonight’s live “X Factor” top 8 performance recap.
Stretching eight performances over two hours? Unfortunately, that’s what viewers watching live had to suffer through. At least the performances were longer, giving us closer to a full song, though it also meant longer intros and longer judges’ comments. (One of the Fifth Harmony’s grandfather died!)
CeCe Frey is a goner, as Simon Cowell said. I think Fifth Harmony is out, too.
Paige Thomas surprised me with a decent performance that may have saved her for a week. But as usual, my favorite by far is Carly Rose Sonenclar. She is a star, pure and simple.
1) Diamond White (”I Wanna Dance With Somebody” Whitney Houston/ Britney’s team) – For some reason, this song exposed Diamond’s vocals as not quite ready for stardom. Somehow, she missed the joyous nature of Whitney’s original rendering while adding nothing terribly interesting to the song despite some efforts to throw in a few vocal tricks. It was merely okay. “I give you an A effort, and B for executive,” L.A. Reid said. “With uptempo songs, I’d like to see more form you,” Demi said. Simon liked her more. Grade: B
2) Vino Alan (”You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling” Righteous Brothers/ L.A.’s team) – He changed songs at the last second. Uh oh. L.A. wants goosebumps. This is not it. Terrible song choice for him. I really want something more more modern for him, something with more edge. He does try to inject a bit of himself, his inflection of white soul, toward the end. The second half was much better than the first. “It’s the same thing each week with you,” Britney says. “You have a lot of soul in your voice but I wasn’t totally entertained,” Demi says. “It just didn’t work,” Simon says. “It was uncomfortable.” Grade: B/B-plus
3) Paige Thomas (”Never Gonna Give You Up” Rick Astley/ Demi’s team) – I have had a hard time liking her, even when Demi tries to make her vulnerable. For the first time, I actually liked her giving this pop nugget a little slinky sultriness. They didn’t dress her up in a ridiculous outfit and add 500 dancers (only a nine for the final 30 seconds). It worked. She’s still not going to win this competition and I doubt we’ll ever hear from her again. “That was by far your best performance yet,” L.A. Reid says. “You found your voice. You felt comfortable. Demi, you got it right.” Simon: “This is the first time you look like a legitimate pop star.” Grade: B-plus/A-minus
4) Fifth Harmony (”Stronger” Kelly Clarkson/ Simon’s team) – This Frankenstein group lacks any real identity. It’s a blur of five good singers with names I still don’t know. The lady with the thick eyebrows started strong and the vocal blending was pleasant but I just don’t know how they are going to be around much longer. “I wanted groundbreaking. It was good,” L.A. Reid says. He felt there weren’t any real harmonies, just everyone singing melodies. Demi: “One of the best performances you’ve given but I have to say the energy was sucked out because you didn’t move.” Grade: B
5) Carly Rose Sonenclar (”Rolling in the Deep” Adele/ Britney’s team) – This song is a bit worn out but she brings a new spin to it, slowing it down, adding even more melancholy to it, a bit less anger. Her phrasing is impeccable, her maturity for her youthful age a revelation. She impresses me week in, week out. She is the runaway talent of this crew. Grade: A
6) Tate Stevens (”Somebody Like You” Keith Urban/ L.A.’s team) – I have found him pretty overrated. I find him okay but nothing special. In this case, he does a very solid cover of a great Keith Urban song but I prefer Urban’s voice. Grade: B plus
7) CeCe Frey (”Lady Marmalade” Labelle/ Demi’s team)- Trying to turn her into a diva does not work. In reality, she really lacks the “X Factor” in terms of personality, dance skills, vocal depth et al. She did stay in pitch this week but really, so what? There is no substance here. “You’re going down but you’re going down fighting,” L.A. Reid says. “I felt like I’ve eaten 62 portions of chocolate cake,” Simon said. “Way too much going on.” Grade: B
Emblem3 (”I’m a Believer” Monkees/ Simon’s team) – Yikes. Simon, really? A Monkees song? Aren’t you trying to make this group feel like it’s 2012? A slightly rap-ish portion kind of works. Still, they do upbeat quite well. Last week was not so good but this week at least is entertaining. Still, I would rather hear them do something with more edge (as I would Vino.) “I don’t understand what Simon is doing to you,” Demi said. Grade: B plus
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