'The X Factor' Semifinals: The Final Four Underwhelm

December 13th, 2012 11:00am EST

'The X-Factor' Recap: The Final Four Underwhelm As we’ve reached the final four, it’s time to come to a harsh reality: The talent this season is about as bad as we’ve ever seen on a singing show.

Look at what we’ve come down to. A middle-of-the-road country singer, a teeny-bopper girl, a group of three male airheads, and a thrown together girl group who only recently discovered harmony.

That’s it? That’s what we’re supposed to be choosing between? I think the reason ‘The Voice’ took off is because everybody on it is really good. Granted, that’s because everybody on that show is a legitimate recording artist already, just you haven’t heard of them, but that’s beside the point.

Right now, we want real talent and ‘The X-Factor’ really failed to deliver that this year. Well, unless you count the ability of its hosts to walk awkwardly across the stage in every intro a talent. In which case, this is the greatest showcase of them all.

Let’s see which of these frightening four prevailed last night.

Tate Stevens’ First Performance: “Bonfire” by Craig Morgan

LA Reid Said: That was the most fun I’ve had since doing this show.

Britney Said: At this point, I think it has to be your best and I don’t think that was your best.

Demi Said: That was a freaking amazing performance.

Simon Said: This is you being who you are. You’re going to have a brilliant career.

The Verdict:

I just want to say something about this song. I hate this crap. These stupid country songs about how great it is to sit around and have fun with your friends. Of course it is! Everybody knows this! You don’t need to sing 17,000 songs about it. If rappers singing about their high-flying lifestyles is annoying, then singing about the simple life with the same aplomb is certainly at least irritating.

Of course, I had to go off on that tangent because I’ve nothing new to say about Mr. Stevens. He’s just a country star. That’s exactly what he is. He’s ready. He’s gone from this show. He doesn’t need it. He’s so good it’s boring at this point.

Grade: B+

Tate Stevens’ Second Performance: “Fall” by Clay Walker

LA Reid Said: You were great again.

Britney Said: I feel like that was a direct hit.

Demi Said: You are such a good guy and you’re so talented.

Simon Said: That was a great song. There’s about as much a chance of you going back to your old job as there is me flying to the moon tomorrow.

The Verdict:

This is a great contrast performance for Tate. After he showed he can do upbeat and fun country, he comes and just kills a country ballad. And that’s really all there is to country music, right? Just those two moves.

So from what I can tell. Tate can do it all. And do it all very well.

Grade: A-

Carly Rose’s First Performance “Your Song” by Elton John

LA Reid Said: You picked a very risky song, but you did things with it that I’ve never heard done before.

Britney Said: I’m so proud to be your mentor.

Demi Said: It’s still very predictable, but this was still my favorite song you ever performed.

Simon Said: I thought that was a beautiful version of a fantastic song, but I think you can do better.

The Verdict:

This is kiddie karaoke through and through.

This is a prime example of why children should not be in this competition. Carly just seems completely out of place singing an adult love song. She doesn’t have the capability to own it and put her heart into it. So it just comes down to singing it. Like a solo in a show choir.

Yes, her voice is good. Crazily smoky considering her age. But that heart is completely absent from the performance and makes it feel flat and empty.

When you’re singing a love song like this, you need more than just a good voice.

Grade: C+

Carly Rose’s Second Performance: “Imagine” by John Lennon

LA Reid Said: You always know how to bring the house down.

Britney Said: I feel like it is time for you to go beyond this stage.

Demi Said: The only predictable thing about that performance is that it was going to be amazing.

Simon Said: I would have kept you at the piano. It was like five things went on during that song. It made a beautiful song fussy. I’m not sure that song needs those big notes. It was overcomplicated.

The Verdict:

Again. This just feels like kiddie karaoke. It feels like a kid with a good voice singing a song she doesn’t understand and she doesn’t have the experience to interpret properly. I mean, she made this into a torch song from a musical. That’s not what this song is. She may as well have been singing gibberish set to the same tune, she was that out of touch with what she was actually signing.

Yes, she’s got a great voice, but I want more than that. And she doesn’t have anything beyond that.

Grade: C-

Emblem3’s First Performance: “Baby, I Love Your Way” by Peter Frampton

LA Reid Said: I just saw you have your big $5 million moment.

Britney Said: That performance felt really special. You’re way more than a boy band.

Demi Said: That’s what makes me love Emblem3.

Simon Said: If this doesn’t get you into the final, nothing will.

The Verdict:

Yes, this was just the Big Mountain version of this song from ‘Reality Bites’ (jeez, I could write for Buzzfeed with 90s references like that), but it really worked for our favorite mimbos.

This is definitely the type of record I could see them having success with: The reggae-tinged pop. Kind of like a less threatening 311. If that’s even possible.

This was the first time that I wasn’t’ like, “Hey, Simon’s got those kids running around again”. This is where I saw them starting to turn into a legitimate singing group and developing a real sound.

A perfect time to become real stars.

Grade: A-

Emblem3’s Second Performance: “Hey Jude” by The Beatles

LA Reid Said: You actually are teen heartthrobs like The Beatles.

Britney Said: That was an “A” level performance.

Demi Said: I don’t think you can compare it to The Beatles, yet, but they’re getting there. (That might be the most ridiculous thing any judge has ever said on any reality show ever)

Simon Said: You have nailed it on both songs.

The Verdict:

This was like a barbershop quartet from Huntington Beach singing The Beatles for quarters on the Venice boardwalk. That’s really the only way I can describe it.

Except for the end when it turned into a bunch of Z-Boys singing the outro at a skate park in 1999.

Neither one was what I’d call “enjoyable”.

Grade: D

Fifth Harmony’s First Performance: “Anything Can Happen” by Ellie Goulding

LA Reid Said: The very best performance you’ve ever done.

Britney Said: I loved everything about it. It was like magic.

Demi Said: It felt really great.

Simon Said: Anything now can happen.

The Verdict:

If you didn’t see this performance, it’s really worth describing.

The five girls sat at a pink table with Marie Antoinette’s cake orgy around them and dressed like children at an “Alice in Wonderland”-themed birthday party. Once the beat kicked in, a group of waiters dressed like butterflies brought them various desserts which they accepted and rejected, I guess based on how they were feeling.

I mean. Did they even need to sing after that? Shouldn’t that win it for them right there?

Of course, they did sing and this was one of their better performance. A hybrid of the old stuff with the singing in turn and the new stuff with some real harmonies in spots. Some really cool harmonies to be exact.

The song was arranged really well for them too and they filled it out again to make it seem like it was better performed by a group than the girl I saw getting a pie in Los Feliz last night.

Okay, that story wasn’t true, but my friend did have us going with it for a good ten minutes before coming clean.

Wait? What was I talking about again? Oh yeah. Fifth Harmony. Solid Stuff.

Grade: B

Prediction: The judges slammed him, and, even though he took it well, that seemed like his final shot.

Fifth Harmony’s Second Performance “Impossible” by Shontelle

LA Reid Said: Your first performance was finals-worthy. That one wasn’t.

Britney Said: It was pretty good, but I’d be really surprised if you guys were here next week.

Demi Said: I think you did great, but is America going to vote or not?

Simon Said: It was a reminder of why I fell in love with you as a group in the first place.

The Verdict:

Pretty and boring. Kind of like the group.

Grade: C

Final Thoughts:

I wanted to do it. I wanted to say that Carly Rose’s mediocre performances in the middle of the show might see her getting voted off, but it’s not going to happen.

Fifth Harmony is dunzo. Though Ms. Carly could see herself facing off with them in the sing off. Which she will win.

Related: Carly Rose Sonenclar, Emblem 3, Tate Stevens, The X Factor, Starpulse Exclusives, Recaps, Television, Music, Reality, Reality (Talent)

© 2012

Photo Credits: Ray Mickshaw / FOX

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