With how much I’ve slammed X Factor in my past recaps, I’m glad I decided to stick around. The top four performances showed all the contestants’ growth, some more than others, to make for a solid two hours, of mostly good music. The contestants each sang three songs, one voted on by America, a duet, and a judge’s choice.
Kicking off the night was Carlito Olivero with Justin Bieber’s “Boyfriend.” He played up his sex appeal by singing to girls, bringing them up on stage, etc. On top of that, though, he actually sounded decent. Depsite my incessant need for Carlito to go home the past few weeks, he proved himself with this performance. The judges all agreed. Simon Cowell noted his lack of vocal ability, saying, “You’re not a great singer, but you make up for it by being a great performer.”
Next up was Restless Road with Luke Bryan’s “That’s My Kind of Night.” The vocals were shaky, the performance was dull… My prediction is that by this point, girls have probably chosen Carlito over the country trio, and Restless Road will go home tonight. Demi Lovato, being the most truthful, unbiased judge, said the performance was “awkward.”
Alex and Sierra sang “Little Talks” by Of Monsters and Men, and absolutely blew everyone away. The harmonies were impeccable, and Sierra began to really shine. No longer is she merely hiding behind Alex’s shadow. My only complaint is that they didn’t allow for their artistry to show through, leaving the song pretty much the same as the original. Perhaps that just means this is the sort of record the duo would be making, though. Regardless, the judges loved it, Demi going so far as to say she was looking at the winners.
Jeff Gut was given the most over-sung competition song in the history of reality shows, “Hallelujah.” I don’t think there has been a single season of any singing competition that didn’t have a contestant sing this song. Jeff gave the song a rock twist, and delivered an amazing performance with amazing vocals. Demi told him that he would be joining Alex and Sierra in the final, and Simon commended the sincerity and passion behind the performance.
Next up, the duets. Alex and Sierra were up first, singing “Falling Slowly” with Carlito. Carlito’s voice didn’t seem to go deep enough for the opening line, but continued the performance with good vocals, despite one too many runs. Alex and Sierra stole the show, despite a few flat notes from Alex, and especially Sierra with her big note, you KNOW which one.
This left Restless Road to sing “Every Breath You Take” with Jeff Gutt. To be honest, this performance was neither bad nor good. Both contestants had good moments and bad moments, and the pairing was just strange. The song went from “rock” to country in a split second, leaving a weird hybrid. The judges did agree though, that Jeff delivered the better vocals.
Carlito sang Marc Anthony’s “I Need to Know” in his final performance of the night. The dancers popping out of the speakers were a bit distracting (and annoying) but Carlito actually sounded pretty good. He looked confident on stage, and didn’t seem like he was trying to hard, like in his previous efforts. Kelly Rowland wondered where this Carlito has been hiding.
Restless Road ended their performances with “Wanted” by Hunter Hayes. These guys NEED vocal training. They don’t know how to control their voices. There were some really nice moments, like Andrew and Zach’s harmonies. But there were also some really awful moments, like Zach’s solo. But somehow the boys got a standing ovation from the judges. Despite their best efforts, I still believe they’ll be going home.
Alex and Sierra sang Sara Bareilles’ “Gravity,” which was somehow, better than their performance last week. Alex’s falsetto, Sierra’s high notes, everything was perfection. The simple piano allowed for their voices to completely shine, and they nailed every single note. If somehow these guys don’t win the competition, I really hope someone snatches them up to make a record. I want it already, and it doesn’t even exist yet.
Finishing the show was Jeff Gutt with “Demons” by Imagine Dragons. Jeff picked an awful time to give a weak vocal performance. Jeff never found his place with the song, leaving lots of pitch problems. The judges enjoyed it though, only Demi even kind of mentioning how “peachy” the performance was.
I think it’s still safe to say, Restless Road will go home.