Last night’s X Factor started off with a glimmer of hope for the show after last week‘s questionable eliminations. The show began by announcing that after some evaluation, they would bring back a contestant as a wild card. Would they bring back fan favorite Danie Geimer? Nope, of course not. Why would we possibly think that X Factor would bring back someone with immense talent? Instead, Josh Levi, who gave an awful performance last week, was brought back.
Josh kicked off the Motown themed night with Jackson 5’s “Who’s Lovin’ You?” His performance was a huge improvement from last week’s flop, but that’s not saying much. While the style of music was very suited to his voice, the vocals were at time shaky, and he lacked any passion in the performance. Nevertheless, the judges loved it, Simon Cowell even claiming he went from “zero to hero” from last week to this.
Rachel Potter followed Josh’s performance with a country version of The Isley Brothers’ “This Old Heart of Mine (Is Weak for You).” While Rachel demonstrated flawless vocals, and an energetic performance, the version of the song felt inauthentic. While Demi Lovato enjoyed the performance telling Rachel she brings “so much to the stage,” Simon felt differently saying that she made a beautiful song “insane.” Harsh, but we have to agree.
Carlos Guevara sang Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On.” Carlos was barely audible for the first part of the song, and once you could hear him, it lacked all charm. The performance and arrangement was lazy and dull. If it weren’t for the second chance the contestants have been given for tonight, I would suspect Carlos would be in danger of going home. Also in would-be danger of going home had last night’s votes counted, Tim Olstad. The singer performed last, a great spot, and yet failed to deliver. Tim performed Jackson 5’s “I’ll Be There.” Demi and Kelly Rowland agreed that while Tim has a great voice, he still lacked any sort of performance skill. Kelly said, “It was a watered down version of ‘I’ll Be There.'”
Country trio Restless Road performed “Easy” by The Commodores. The harmonies were much tighter than last week’s performance, but lead singer Colton made a lot of pitch mistakes, which Paulina Rubio called out in one of the rare moments she had something smart to say. Regardless, the audience loved it, with the girls screaming so loud Demi gave up trying to give feedback and left it with a simple, “Well done, boys.” Despite the mistakes, Simon believes these guys will make it to the finals, and let’s be real, they probably will.
Ellona Santiago, who was having SUCH a hard time juggling the competition and taking her SATS, wowed the judges and the audience with The Supremes’ “Baby Love.” This young 17 year old clearly has the superstar dancer/singer image in mind for herself, and she can do it. She impressed with being able to dance and sing, with only a few breath issues. But, perhaps it was the outfit, came off as trying a little too hard. Regardless, the girl can sing. Jeff Gutt also impressed the judges with his take on Lionel Richie’s “Say You, Say Me”.” This performance was easily Jeff’s best, as he not only sounded great, but was passionate. Simon told him, “That was outstanding. Really, by a mile, the best vocal of the night.”
Boyfriend/girlfriend duo, Alex and Sierra gave a sultry rendition of Marvin Gaye’s “I Heard It Through the Grapevine.” The two have an ease at mixing their voices, and clearly know what type of artists they want to be, which in a competition like this, is refreshing. But, as I’ve said before, the way the two perform needs work. Sierra was staring at Alex lovingly, but the song is about cheating? Maybe I’m just being picky, but they need to show some range in performance ability.
Khaya Cohen made The Temptations’ “My Girl” into a current jazz song, which is all due to her Amy Winehouse-esque voice, as Simon commented. She, with Ellona, is a powerhouse young singer in this competition. The difference between the two is what Simon commented on last week: Khaya isn’t likable. She needs to rewatch herself as she’s getting critiqued, and see how she comes across. Not good. Carlito Olivero seems to have the opposite problem (not exactly a good thing?). While his rendition of “Stop! In the Name of Love” showed off a more tender part of his voice, he still had pitch problems. The judges didn’t like the performance with Simon even remarking he took a step back in the competition. But, the girls love him, and he’ll probably be safe.
Lillie McCloud was told she was outdated last week. This week she faces the problem of delivering a Motown song without coming across as old. She took on Stevie Wonder’s “All Is Fair in Love”,” and again proved how talented she is. She wasn’t able to overcome the outdated issue, and the performance was boring. Kelly felt the same sentiment, but Simon believed it was “absolutely fantastic.”
Sweet Suspense, made up of Summer, Celine, and Lilly, sang “You Keep Me Hangin’ On.” The backup singers seemed to have a much bigger presence in their performance than in the others. The girls were impressive, but it’s questionable to who that could be credited to. Demi told them they’re stars. Simon believed there’s something “special” about them. Hopefully tonight they’ll have less help from the production, and rely more on their voices.
Rion Paige was another victim of a boring, sleepy arrangement. She sang a very slowed down version of “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” which gave mixed feedback from the judges. I agree with Kelly’s statement, “I’m not sure that I liked than rendition, but I still love hearing you sing.”
As I have mentioned, the finalists will all sing again tonight. Last night during the east coast telecast, the graphics displayed the wrong numbers for the audiences to vote. Fox explained, “As a result of a graphics error (incorrect voting numbers were displayed on screen) during the performance recap at the end of [Wednesday’s] East Coast broadcast of ‘The X Factor,’ the Top 13 acts will perform their ‘Save Me’ songs for America’s re-vote, in a live, one-hour performance show airing … Thursday, Nov. 7.” Audiences will vote again on Thursday. The results will be revealed next Wednesday, followed by another elimination on Thursday.