'X Factor' Top 4 battle it out in semifinals
Posted December 13, 2012
The Top Four acts tried to showcase their best stuff in Wednesday's X Factor semifinals.
"This is crazy!" said co-host Khloe Kardashian Odom. "I can't believe the finals are next week!"
Only three acts will advance. There will be no sing-off and no judges' decision this week, announced her co-host Mario Lopez. It's all up to viewer voting.
But the judges -- Simon Cowell, Britney Spears, Demi Lovato and L.A. Reid -- still were on hand to give opinions, of course. So, who impressed? And who was lacking?
Each act performed two songs - one contestant choice song and one chosen by the mentor.
Here's how it went:
Tate Stevens: His first song was Craig Morgan's Bonfire. As flames sprouted up behind him amid a set filled with piles of tires, Tate belted it out. The song was high-energy and Stevens sang it like he meant it, jumping and dancing around the stage, and urging the crowd to clap. The audience loved it. Britney, in a vibrant yellow dress, surprised everyone by saying sweetly but firmly, "I have to say at this point in the competition, it has to be your best and I don't think it was your best." L.A., who had put on a black country hat, was shocked. So was Demi. "I have to disagree. I just want to say that was a freaking amazing performance," she said. Simon was happy he didn't choose something really "mushy and treacly," but instead sang the song he "wants to record. ... This is you saying, 'This is who I am. This is the record I want to make.'" Said L.A., "You picked the song and you lit this stage on fire."
Tate's second song was Fall by Clay Walker. "My wife (Ashlie) has been this rock the whole time I've been chasing this dream," Stevens said, so the song was for her. And he sang it with heart. Britney called it a "direct hit." Demi said, "Your wife must feel like the most luckiest girl in the world." Backstage, his wife was seen wiping away tears. Said Simon, "That was a great song." He added, "We are supposed to be a reality show. There is about as much chance of you going back to your old job as there is me flying to the moon tonight. Let's be clear." L.A. said Tate has been "great every time."
Carly Rose Sonenclar: She picked Elton John's Your Song because her dad loves Elton John. "My mom loves Elton John," said Britney. The teen, in sparkly gold pants and a fedora, softly tackled the hit, putting her own twist on the tune at times. A children's choir joined her at the end for a dramatic finish. L.A. said it was a "very, very risky song" because it's difficult to perform. "Having said that, you did things with that song I've never heard before." Demi found the performance "very predictable" at first, but added that it turned out to be her favorite. "The R&B side to your voice is so magical." Simon gave Demi a hard time for not being clear. She called him "really old." He called her a "brat." Then Simon turned to Carly and said it "wasn't her best performance." Britney was proud of Carly.
Britney promised we'd see "a whole new side" of Carly with her second song, John Lennon's Imagine. Carly opened the piece, seated at the piano, playing and singing. She then stood and hit notes that brought out "goosies," as Jennifer Lopez would have said, as violins accompanied her and a choir joined her. She ended it back at the piano. L.A. liked it. Demi said it was "amazing" and "awesome." Simon said he would have kept her at the piano the whole time. He said it "made a beautiful song fussy." He also didn't like the arrangement. Carly looked sad. Britney said, "It is time for you to go beyond this stage and compete with the biggest stars in the world."
Emblem3: The cute boy banders put a reggae and rap spin on Peter Frampton's Baby, I Love Your Way. They roamed around the stage, singing to the girls at their feet and getting the crowd to clap along. L.A. thought it was their "big $5 million moment. That was the first time I really saw you as recording artists." Britney called it "special" and said it would be "unfair to call you a boy band because you're way more than that." Demi said she loved it. Simon said it reminded him of their first audition. "If this doesn't get you into the final, nothing will."
Simon Cowell picked Hey Jude for the guys as their get-into-the-finals song. They sat on a fake brick wall singing until the end, when they jumped down and went closer to the edge of the stage, singing and shaking hands with screaming girls. L.A. said doing a Beatles song is very "presumptuous," but they are "teen heartthrobs like the Beatles." Britney said it was an "A-level performance." Demi said they shouldn't be compared to the Beatles -- yet -- adding, "They're getting there." Simon said, "Guys, I just feel so proud of what you've achieved here tonight." He said they "nailed" both songs.
Fifth Harmony: Wearing matching flirty dresses in slightly different colors, the five teen girls sang Ellie Goulding's Anything Could Happen and hit all the high notes. L.A. said it was "the very best vocal performance you've ever done." Britney said it was "like magic" and liked that they were "inspiring girl power." Demi said "it felt really great." Simon acknowledged it's "going to take a miracle" for them to beat out the other acts and get into the finals, but, he said, it's like their song said, "Anything could happen."
Simon promised that their second song, Impossible, will "surprise a lot of people." They sang it earlier in the competition, soon after they had just been formed as a group. But this time they threw in some Spanish lyrics. Each girl performed well in their solos, but they were less impressive as a group. Said L.A., "I think you did a decent job," but didn't think it would get them to the finals. Britney said, "I would be really surprised if you guys are here next week." Demi was slightly kinder, but wondered if America was "gonna vote or not." Simon defended them, saying, "You've been one of the strongest acts tonight." He said he really thinks they "deserve a place in the final."
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