The only reason I’m sticking around to finish watching X Factor is for Alex and Sierra. And, let me be honest, to get a few laughs from Paulina Rubio’s incomprehensible critiques. And before I get any “English is her second language!” comments, it also is for my mom, but she can form comprehensible sentences in English. But anyway, X Factor had the contestants sing two songs last night: a divas song, as well as an unplugged rendition of whatever they wanted.
Restless Road started off the night with Taylor Swift’s “Red.” Not sure Taylor Swift should be considered a “diva,” but okay. The band actually seemed to have practiced a little bit. They looked so much more comfortable on stage, and their harmonies seemed to be a little tighter, although I can’t help but think they had help from some back up singers. The deep voiced one, Zach, needs to be careful and take more control of his voice. Judge Kelly Rowland said they “found that thread that ties you guys together as a group… but you need more energy.” Paulina Rubio said something about someone named Collin, and Simon Cowell told them they “HAVE to be in the final.”
Rion Paige sang Carrie Underwood’s “See You Again,” which proved that being in the bottom two last week really got to her. She had sharp notes everywhere, and it was a bit painful to listen to. Simon told her it was “not the best song to choose perhaps,” which was the closest any of the judges to giving Rion a real critique.
Jeff Gutt sang Mariah Carey’s “Without You.” Not sure if this should count as a diva song since it was originally done by Badfinger. But the performance began a little sleepy towards the beginning, but got much better towards the end. He hit the notes, and on this show, that’s more than expected. Demi Lovato told him, “You got the X Factor.” Paulina Rubio must be drunk as she again just threw some words together and hoped for the best. Simon told Jeff, “You are quite boring as a person,” which sadly, is true. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Jeff go home tonight.
Ellona Santiago wowed the judges with Lady Gaga’s “Applause.” I just don’t understand the praise thrown at her. Her “fierce” attitude, her outfits, and her dancing, just don’t mesh with her innocent 13- year old like face. She had a ton of pitchy moments, but somehow the Simon still believe she went from “being a mouse to a little tiger.” Demi, taking a cue from Paulina’s language skills, told her, “I couldn’t be more prouder of you.”
Finally Alex and Sierra came on to perform “Say My Name” by Destiny’s Child. I love them. They’re stage presence is improving every week, especially for Sierra. Her vocals were so on point for this. The simple arrangement allowed for their vocals to truly shine, and it was nice to see Alex without a guitar. Amazing. Amazing. These guys don’t need to win this competition for me to buy their first records. Simon told them they could win this show, and gave kudos for taking risks and not using gimmicks to get votes.
Carlito Olivero performed Jennifer Lopez’s “Let’s Get Loud.” I stopped paying attention after a few moments, but could immediately tell that switching songs last minute hurt him. He needs just go home already. I have nothing else to say about him.
Rion Paige did slightly better with her second song, “Glass” by Thompson Square. She still messed up a few notes, but the judges, of courses, failed to mention so. Demi was in tears again, as she told Rion, “Every word of that song is what you’re about… It’s so inspiring and I love you.”
Jeff- performed Elton John’s “Daniel,” for his brother, who was in the audience. He sounded just fine, and it was nice to see him with a guitar. But just like Demi told him, it was a bit “stale.” Two boring performances, and I’m sure Jeff will be going home tonight.
Ellona Santiago tried and failed to deliver on Beyonce’s “If I Were a Boy.” The beginning was problematic, and she failed to hit the final run, causing the begninng and end to be a pitchy mess. There were some nice moments in the middle, but she shouldn’t have picked such an ambitious song. Without the craziness behind her, her vocals are front and center, which unfortunately was not a good thing. The judges seemed to be listening to a different person as Demi told her, “I’m so happy that you know, that Simon gave us that advice because it really did showcase your vocals.” Kelly noted that she enjoyed when Ellona softened her notes, and to explore the softer tone a little more. I think that was the nicest way to tell her that her big notes were awful.
Alex and Sierra, once again, delivered an amazing performance. These two are geniuses when it comes to song choice as they took on A Great Big World’s “Say Something.” Sure, they didn’t stray from the original much, but why should they? Sierra was noticeably shaky on the piano, but didn’t miss a note. The duet was simply beautiful. If these two get sent home tomorrow, I will lose all hope in America’s musical taste. (Or atleast the 14 people who vote for the show.) Demi was moved with the performance, and with the fact that the duo couldn’t take their eyes off each other. Paulina said something about mathematics and babies. Simon said the most obvious statement of the night, “In so many ways, this is my favorite performance of the season.”
Carlito butchered “Stand By Me” by Ben E. King. His flip flop between Spanish and English here didn’t work. There were a few times I couldn’t understand him at all. The arrangement was corny, didn’t feel “stripped down.” GO HOME ALREADY. But, I’m not holding my breath for that. Kelly somehow thought that was his best vocal so far. Paulina, after saying something about “open his nose” which Simon thought was “oily nose,” said “we’re not going to ‘loss’ you.” And that unfortunately, is probably the sad truth.
Prediction: Jeff Gutt and Rion Paige will go home.