Last night’s episode of The X Factor was a series of slightly underwhelming performances with a couple standout moments. The week before saw the kick off of the live shows that finally let viewers cast those necessary votes for their favorites, and still on an election week high, the judges are counting on fans to keep their ballots coming. Problem was no one’s platform was that especially inspiring or stellar.
Teens (Britney’s Team): In a surprise move, Britney invited eliminated Diamond White back to the stage to compete, a motion a majority of viewers are totally behind (still reeling that Britney kept Diamond, who has way more presence and personality than Arin Ray), though the song choice left something to be desired. Her mentor BritBrit tweeted, “So so happy to have u back, we needed u sweetie. U channeled Whitney! #VoteDiamond,” right after Diamond did her best version of Whitney’s “I Have Nothing,” which was…good. Only it didn’t feel like “Diamond” and somewhat dated. Hopefully it’s enough to get her through so she can really shine. The rest of Britney’s team, Arin and Beatrice Miller found middle ground with “American Boy” and “Iris” respectively, but it was Carly Rose who was the standout on “It Will Rain” by Bruno Mars, a moody turn that require the hopeful to oversing or dramatize it.
Young Adults (Demi’s Team): Paige Thomas sang “Take My Breath Away” and like LA admitted he didn’t feel “completely blown away.” Simon concurred saying “it needed to go somewhere…to be incredible” to the ire of Paige’s mentor Demi. Jennell Garcia gave a pretty karaoke turn to the already overdone “I Love Rock N’ Roll” and CeCe Frey gave a “horrible” rendition of “Eye of the Tiger” at least in Simon’s eyes, which officially had Demi fuming with a defensive guard.
Over 25s (L.A.’s Team): Vino Alan, the gritty singer with the solid voice, sang “When a Man Loves a Woman” and it left Demi “speechless.” She did question his ability to be X Factor pop star material, so of course Simon, ever the contradictory voice had to one over Demi and say he disagreed, calling Vino a “hero.” Jason Brock gave a standard version of “I Believe I Can Fly” and Tate Stevens kept it country with “Dead or Alive,” except both were reductively predictable.
Groups (Simon’s Team): Not a surprise, but 1432, formerly named LYLAS, formerly not even a group (the girls were assembled after their individual auditions), have renamed themselves again, going by (in this episode at least) Fifth Harmony—maybe third time’s a charm? The girls harmonized all over “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri and it was beautiful, though it has you wondering if they can do anything else besides ballads. Emblem3, officially the closest thing this generation will get to the boy band LFO, may not have the tightest harmonies, but what they local in vocal prowess, they make up for in energy.
The beach blond boys gave an energetic mash up of “My Girl,” “California Gurls,” and “What Makes You Beautiful” that showcased their uniqueness on the show and further solidifying their place in the competition. Lyric145, who remind me of parts of MC Hammer, TLC circa the condom wearing days, and Black Eyed Peas run through a Play-Doh machine, are all attitude and theatrics. This was the strongest category overall and proof that Simon is the best judge/mentor on the panel.