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'The X Factor' Recap: Highs And Lows On No. 1's Night

November 29th, 2012 9:35am EST

Emblem3 performs live on THE X FACTOR Tonight, I thought I’d have Khloe introduce the column. Take it away Khloe.

“Hey! I. I just wanted to…Hey!

(Walks to one side of the stage)

Simon!

Hey! I’m still here!

(Laughs for no reason)

(Talks over Mario)

(Laughs Again for no reason)

(Walks back to the other side of the stage)

Hey!”

Thanks, Khloe. Now let’s get to the performances:

Diamond White Sang “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” by Whitney Houston

LA Reid Said: A for effort. B for execution.

Britney Said: I’d dance with you any day.

Demi Said: I really liked it tonight, but I’d like to see you bring more to it.

Simon Said: I think this was a really good and important performance. You are gunning for number one.

The Verdict:

This performance reminded me of that thing on 80s and 90s family sitcoms when one of the kids decides they have vocal talent and make a weird music video in the course of the show.

The singing is never terrible. It’s passable enough to justify the family’s overwhelmed reaction to the mall-produced effort, but it’s certainly never good enough to make it into a recurring plot point. Then the singing is forgotten the next week.

That was about the level there.

Then the second half of the performance reminded me of somebody who loses the ability to sing, remember lyrics, or look comfortable at all on stage once the tempo picked up.

Oh wait. It didn’t remind me of that. It’s just that what it was.

Grade: D+

Prediction: Simon’s praise is probably enough to help her overcome the leadoff spot.

Vino Alan Sang “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” by The Righteous Brothers

LA Reid Said: I don’t expect the other judges to support you because they’re afraid you’re a threat.

Britney Said: I feel like it’s the same thing each week. You need to be freshened up.

Demi Said: You had a lot of soul in your voice, but I wasn’t entertained.

Simon Said: At the half-way point, I thought: “This has got to end”.

The Verdict:

Boring. Completely boring.

This never came close to rising above standard karaoke. Vino did nothing with the song whatsoever, and just sang it in his weird Vino-Everlast voice with as little flair as possible.

When your idea of performing is wearing a suit with a ten-cent necklace and making hand gestures, you’re really not keeping anybody interested enough to not reach for borderline-rancid leftover pumpkin pie.

That’s what I was doing during this performance.

Grade: D

Prediction: Vino has been a stalwart in the top three, but this week he is in deep trouble after a boring performance and a slam from all the judges. Including Britney!

Paige Thomas Sang “Never Gonna Give You Up” by Rick Astley

LA Reid Said: That was by far your very best performance.

Britney Said: This was a risk to take at this point in the competition, but it worked.

Demi Said: I saw more emotion than I have in past performances.

Simon Said: This is the first time you’ve looked and sounded like a legitimate pop star.

The Verdict:

This song was completely unrecognizable . Like a Rickroll of a Rickroll. And it worked so well it was staggering.

Paige Thomas morphed into Alicia Keys with a Rick Astley pop tart of all things. Gone was the window dressing and present was a slowed-down soul performance of a song that’s become a complete joke.

This was so good, it’s a shame that this song is what it is, because this new version should be a hit in its own right. Too bad Astley ruined it before she had a chance to make it great.

None of the pop culture stigma mattered to Paige though. She just came out and went soul diva all over this with a beguilingly smooth vocal and a track that any producer would cut their heart out to add to their next record.

It’s amazing to see something like this on a talent competition show and even more amazing to see it from Paige Thomas.

Grade: A

Prediction: She’s gotta stick around after that bit of brilliance.

Fifth Harmony Sang “Fighter” by Kelly Clarkson

LA Reid Said: I thought it was good, but I wanted groundbreaking.

Britney Said: I thought the song really worked for a group.

Demi Said: This was one of the best performance you’ve given, but the energy was sucked out of it.

Simon Said: What a fantastic performance you just gave!

The Verdict:

I want to get excited about this performance, but I just can’t.

I recognized that this is a solid rendition of the song. I recognize the fact that the girls are finally singing as a group rather than taking turns and occasionally singing simultaneously. I recognize that there were some truly great moments in the arrangement here where the vocals sizzled almost as much as the ridiculous flaming background projected behind the group.

It was all there, but it just felt so pedestrian. Probably because they didn’t do anything at all with the song, just group karaoke. Outstanding group karaoke, but group karaoke nonetheless.

Something. A new spin, and new track, anything to pull it away from just being Kelly Clarkson’s original could have made this great because the group is clearly coming together into a force. It just wasn’t there this time.

Grade: C+

Prediction: This one could go either way. It’s just good enough to either squeak by or be ignored totally.

Carly Rose Sang “Rolling in the Deep” by Adele

LA Reid Said: That wasn’t your very best performance, but even your second-best is better than everybody else’s first best.

Britney Said: You just got to the next level.

Demi Said: I think that you’re doing amazing. You’re so good.

Simon Said: I thought the first half of the song was good. I thought the second half of the song was sensational.

The Verdict:

Damn. There were some brilliant moments in here.

Carly’s voice was on fire tonight. She really did have it all. The low notes. The big notes. The upper register. A sick tone that we hadn’t seen before. This was a total package performance that was only missing bringing something new to the song to really be phenomenal.

But good lord is she creepy. Why in the Hell is a 13-year-old sounding and carrying herself like that with a death stare into the camera and that fedora? I swear she’s a mind control device sent down by aliens. There’s really no other way to explain what exactly is going on.

Grade: B+

Prediction: She looks poised to stay at number one again this week.

Tate Stevens Sang “Somebody Like You” by Keith Urban

LA Reid Said: I’m proud of you. That was great.

Britney Said: I’m sure we’ll be seeing you accept a Country Music Award some day.

Demi Said: I had so much fun. You’re awesome.

Simon Said: The bad news: Don’t Dance. The good news: You’re back.

The Verdict:

Tate has become so good it’s boring. He’s just a bona fide country star. He’s that good already. I don’t understand how he hasn’t been doing this for a dozen years, because nothing about him smacks of “contestant on a reality show” – it all just screams “performing at the CMT Awards”.

At this point, Tate doesn’t need this competition. Hell, the human charisma vacuum Casey James from ‘American Idol’ is making a living touring. Tate will be in Nashville cutting a record right quick after this show is over. He should probably get there right now.

Grade: B+

Prediction: Should be a one-two punch of Tate and Carly Rose once again.

Leopard Face Sang “Lady Marmalade” by Labelle

LA Reid Said: I actually enjoyed that circus.

Britney Said: You’ve definitely stepped it up a notch.

Demi Said: I saw that fire in your eyes. You came out swinging.

Simon Said: I felt like I’d eaten 62 slices of chocolate cake. Way too much going on.

The Verdict:

Wow. A Total flashback performance for ol’ Leopard Face. A flashback to a time when she had the best voice in this competition. A time when her ferocity allowed her to absolutely dominate the screen with a star-level tenacity that made her the ideal heel for this reality show.

I loved everything about this performance. The ridiculous baroque costuming, the overuse of glitter. But mostly the return of Leopard Face as a big-time performer with a big-time singing voice. She nailed every run, hit every big note and just absolutely dominated that song.

I just hope it’s not too late.

Grade: A-

Prediction: Simon gave her the kiss of death. This may have been Leopard Face’s Waterloo.

Emblem3 Sang “I’m a Believer” by The Monkees

LA Reid Said: If I were the chairman of a record label, I would sign you. You have the X Factor.

Britney Said: I’m a believer in you guys, but I didn’t like the song choice.

Demi Said: I don’t understand what Simon is doing with you guys.

Simon Said: You guys have turned into real pop stars.

The Verdict:

Garbage on all levels.

Garbage song choice. Garbage arrangement. Garbage performance.

Emblem3 looked like a boy band in previous weeks. Here, they just looked like boys singing, running around the stage and squeaking like they had no idea where they were. This is the type of performance you give for an audience that’s grown tired of The Wiggles – not on a stage like this.

The amazing thing? This was actually worse than the Smash Mouth version.

Grade: D

Prediction: Emblem3 in the pimp spot is a sure bet to move on no matter what they do.

Final Thoughts:

A crazy bit of contrast tonight. Four great performances and four dismal balls of dreck. Vino was probably the most shocking, but Emblem3 coming off like children was probably the most upsetting moment – my favorite to win just undermined me. Between this and Jason Brock, I don’t know what to think anymore.

Speaking of my favorites, I think this definitely was the final night for Leopard Face. No sing-off. No bottom two. Just gone. Right at the top of the show. She won’t even get to see Josh Krajcik. So maybe it’s not such a bad thing.

The sing-off will be between Fifth Harmony and Paige Thomas.

Yes, I thought Paige killed it tonight, but that doesn’t matter. Her performance is going to get lost and she’s been down far in the rankings pretty often so far. This seems like one of those “Huh?” bottom-threes that come at this point in the show.

So who wins that showdown? I’m going with Fifth Harmony. I think it’s Paige and Leopard Face coming in like they went out – Together.

How sweet.

Related: The X Factor, Starpulse Exclusives, Recaps, Television, Reality, FOX, Reality (Talent)

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Photo Credits: Ray Mickshaw / FOX

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