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It was a tense night on Thursday’s X Factor, during which the top 12 were whittled down to 10 in a double-elimination episode that sent home an act nobody expected to go this early in the competition.
With last Thursday’s revelation that the voting results will be ranked in order each week, the stakes are high for each act to significantly step up their game with each performance. After Wednesday’s “Diva Night” theme, it was surprising to see which two divas were on the chopping block — and it wasn’t Jason Brock (oh, what fun he could have brought this week — but alas, not to be).
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The stress seems to be wearing on not only the contestants but the judges as well. Simon Cowell admitted nerves early on in the broadcast, Demi Lovato did everything she could to keep herself together by the end of the show, and Britney Spears is taking on a strange, orange glow. Only L.A Reid is keeping his cool, and that is because for two weeks in a row he is in the driver’s seat with two of his acts in perfect placement.
Unfortunately, the first diva disposed of in rapid succession was Lyric Da Queen and her funky fresh crew, Lyric 145. Admittedly, their mashup of Katy Perry’s “E.T.” and Queen’s “We Will Rock You” didn’t quite gel, but there was a simple explanation: The group had something else planned but was “sandbagged” at the last minute when they were forced to change their song.
“We didn’t get the opportunity to show what we really had,” said the rapper from Flint, Mich. “We had original lyrics, and we had a hip-hop song that got snatched away from us at the last minute.”
Too bad. For some reason, the group didn’t connect this week. Perhaps it was Cowell steering them backwards to the ‘90s in their onstage presentation or whatever, but their energy will be missed.
That brought us to the revelation of the top 10 (in no particular order): Arin Ray, Vino Alan, Carly Rose Sonenclar, Diamond White, Tate Stevens, Emblem 3, Beatrice Miller, Fifth Harmony and (shocker!) CeCe Frey all remained standing.
This left two members of Lovato’s Young Adults team — Paige Thomas and Jennel Garcia — visibly shaken and ready to sing for their lives. Poor Lovato looked sick to her stomach — her eyes said it all as she watched Garcia struggle through Hoobastank’s “The Reason.” She looked even more dour when Thomas took on Coldplay’s “Paradise.”
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Reid and Spears bluntly decided to send Garcia home, but Cowell took on a cruel approach refusing to cast his vote until Lovato chose between her two singers. The normally jovial Mario Lopez tried his best to keep Cowell in line — how cute did he sound calling him “Mr. Cowell”? — but lost the debate, leaving Lovato to sheepishly and quite correctly pick Thomas as the act to go home (Thomas may look like a star, but the market already has Rihanna, and Garcia is a stronger vocalist that could fill a different niche.) Cowell seemed only too happy to pound the nail in Garcia’s coffin, saying his decision was “easy” and Thomas had more star power.
Cowell ‘s stunt, however, was uncalled for, and Lopez quite correctly stepped in to chastise the judges that people’s careers were being held in the balance and they should cut the proverbial crap. Perhaps Cowell should heed the advice of the teen sage, Taylor Swift, who gave words of wisdom to Khloe Kardashian after her performance of her new song, “State of Grace.”
“No matter how tired you or how bad a day you have, be nice to people,” said the pop star.
Garcia was so upset she could barely speak, only mustering a quiet “thank you.” It was easy to feel her pain: The singer had said that she didn’t like the song choice of Tina Turner’s “Proud Mary,” and Lovato, who said Garcia was “unbelievably talented” through her tears, is going to have to think long and hard about how she failed what seemed to be her best bet to win the whole competition.
Lovato should cheer up, however. A miracle happened this week in the form of Frey, who seemed a likely goner two weeks in a row but rallied in a big way with a fifth-place finish in the voter rankings. It seems the public likes power-balladeer CeCe Thunder, and Lovato should take note of that with next week’s Thanksgiving week episodes.
PHOTOS: ‘X Factor’ Season 2: Meet the Contestants
Also of note, Stevens is once again at the top of the board, and is the first country artist to place this strong since the show debuted. Tate Nation is keeping him at the top, but it’s by a slim percentage. Will Sonenclar take it to No. 1 next week?
Here is the top 10:
1. Tate Stevens
2. Carly Rose Sonenclar
3. Vino Alan
4. Emblem 3
6. Fifth Hamony
7. Diamond White
8. Beatrice Miller
9. Arin Ray
10. Paige Thomas
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