Country singer Tate Stevens took home the second “X Factor” $5 million prize tonight, just edging out Carly Rose Sonenclar by 1/3 of 1 percentage point in the vote.
You have to wonder if that rather awful duet with b really hurt Carly. Then again, Tate has been No. 1 more weeks than Carly Rose so this is not a surprise victory.
Tate, a family man, has a strong, indelibly country voice and look. He brought his all consistently week in and week out. “Best day of my life,” he said, ever understated.
“You represent the X Factor really well,” said his mentor L.A. Reid, who i s leaving the show after two seasons.
Will he be able to parlay this into a genuine country career? Hard to say. He is older than most who break in and lacks the looks of many of the pretty boys rising in the country business.
Carly Rose, a mere 13 years old, sang well beyond her years and gave wonderful interpretations of a variety of ballads. She is so young, it’s hard to say how her career will develop. But she is skilled for sure.
Fifth Harmony could not hold off the inevitable. At 9 p.m., they were told they were third, which is still pretty impressive given that there were other acts people expected would last longer than they did. They were put together by Simon Cowell as five individual singers merged into a group. It didn’t really work for a long time but near the end, they threw together a couple of really good performances and seemed fairly cohesive. That’s to the producers’ credit. And Simon, too.
The show creates a faux “red carpet” event featuring One Direction and the judges before the official time filler two-hour event to name the winner. They do a cool opener using the red carpet and the three acts singing “All You Need is Love.” They have everyone sing Christmas songs and receive videotaped messages from friends and family. There are no celebrity singers filling time the first hour (unlike “The Voice”). They do a massive recap in hour two and take live comments from other contestants. Then Pitbull and One Direction perform.
At 9:42 p.m., Carly Rose and Tate duet a Miley Cyrus song “The Climb.” Carly Rose sounds more delicate than powerful. Tate does his best with a song clearly not made for him. They are not compatible duet partners.