December 17, 2012 5:08pm PT by Sophie Schillaci
'X Factor' Finale Duet Partners Revealed: Demi Lovato, LeAnn Rimes, Little Big Town
As The X Factor's final three competitors prepare for their final battle, they'll have a little professional help. Following suit with last year's tradition, each contestant will be joined by a celebrity musician for a star-powered duet.
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At a press conference for the finale on Monday, judges Simon Cowell, Britney Spears, Demi Lovato and departing judge L.A. Reid joined their mentees Fifth Harmony, Carly Rose Sonenclar and Tate Stevens, respectively, and answered questions from Hollywood journos.
Among the biggest revelations from the event were Wednesday's duet partners, which include two country stars and (surprise!) a neutral judge.
"Kinda irritating to say, the person we've decided to duet with is Demi Lovato," said Cowell of his all-girl group Fifth Harmony. And though it may pain Cowell to say, the decision is a good one. After constant fireworks between the sparring judges all season, it will be nice to see Lovato supporting one of Cowell's acts -- especially after two of their most memorable performances came during covers of her tracks ("Skyscraper" and "Give Your Heart a Break").
Though Stevens told reporters last week that he had requested Garth Brooks as a duet partner, only to be told that he was "not an option," the country crooner wound up with another Nashville-based superstar: Grammy nominee Little Big Town.
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"It's gonna be awesome," Stevens said of performing with the quartet.
Spears' 13-year-old mentee Sonenclar also landed a country act for her collaboration: LeAnn Rimes. Surprising, considering the teen with the huge voice hasn't once performed a country hit, instead opting for big diva ballads, sweeping serenades and even put her classic spin on a Bruno Mars track. "I think she's amazing," Sonenclar said of the "Blue" singer.
Last season, Avril Lavigne, Alanis Morissette and R. Kelly appeared on the closer, which saw Chris Rene, Josh Krajnik and Melanie Amaro battling for the $5 million recording contract.
Email: Sophie.Schillaci@THR.com; Twitter: @SophieSchillaci