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Simon Cowell may not be the easiest mentor to work with, but the man knows how to make stars.
On the heels of One Direction’s massive worldwide success, Cowell seems to have turned his focus to X Factor USA competitors Emblem3. While Cowell also mentors the all-girl group Fifth Harmony and hip-hop trio Lyric145 on the show, he seems to have taken a particular liking to the three boys from Huntington Beach, Calif.
PHOTOS: An ‘American Idol’ to ‘X Factor’ Timeline
On Wednesday, Drew Chadwick, Wesley Stromberg and Keaton Stromberg performed a mashup of “My Girl” by The Temptations and “California Gurls” by Katy Perry, all set to the backing track for One Direction’s hit single, “What Makes You Beautiful.”
The group nailed it, earning big praise from all four judges, even though they were given just one day to prepare.
“It’s kind of like the big bang theory,” Drew joked. “There was nothing, and then all of the sudden there was this crazy explosion and all of eternity and physical reality came into existence.”
Seriously, though, the boys told THR following their performance that they had initially prepped a “reggae, upbeat version” of Judy Garland‘s “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” in which Drew was going to play the ukelele.
“It was actually pretty badass,” he said.
“Simon thought it was a little too soon to be showing [that],” said Wesley. “We’ll save that for maybe week four or six, depending on how far we get.”
Cowell came up with the mashup idea that ultimately went to air just one day before the performance — but there were no complaints from the boys.
“I was like, ‘F—in’ A,’ let’s do it!” laughed Drew.
“We are trying to get originals and instruments in the next shows,” he added. “Got some tricks up our sleeves.”
One judge who won’t mind: Demi Lovato, who has confessed to crushing on the California boys on multiple occasions. And during Wednesday’s show, Emblem3 confessed to targeting Lovato with their performances.
“I look at her, yes, she just gives me such positive feelings when I’m singing,” confessed Wesley. “With her look and her smile, why wouldn’t I look at that?”
Find out who stays and who goes home during Thursday’s results show, airing at 8 p.m. EST/PST on Fox.
Email: Sophie.Schillaci@thr.com; Twitter: @SophieSchillaci
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