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Was it Hollywood Week on X Factor?
The theme of Wednesday’s live broadcast fit right in at the Los Angeles taping, as each contestant was challenged to put their spin on various songs from the movies (although Simon Cowell technically kind of cheated with his pick for Emblem3 — more on that later).
But the show kicked off with a twist this week, as the judges decided to bring Diamond White back into the competition. White was let go from Britney Spears‘ teen team last Thursday when Spears opted to save Arin Ray from elimination. On Monday, during what White thought was her final exit interview, the pint-size powerhouse received a call from the pop icon inviting her back to join the top 13.
“We believe we made a mistake with one act,” Cowell told the audience. During a pretaped segment, viewers then watched Diamond break down in tears upon hearing the news from Spears.
And once the dust settled surrounding White’s return (donning an entirely white pantsuit paired with plenty of sparkly jewels), it was Ray who kicked off the show with a pop-star-worthy performance.
Below, read how the contestants stacked up on movie night.
Song: “American Boy” by Estelle
Set: Wearing a racing jacket, Ray performed against a propped-up motorcycle while plenty of backup dancers pranced around him on stage.
Judges: Demi Lovato said that Ray was “definitely more smooth” and “looked like a star.” Cowell complimented Ray’s coach, telling Spears that she “really did a good job with this one.” LA Reid said that Ray has finally found his identity.
Song: “Take My Breath Away” by Berlin
Set: Thomas began the performance hanging from wires high above the stage. Down below was a piece of a prop airplane, paying homage to Top Gun, and a pretty elaborate desert scene on the monitors. Joining her on stage was one male dancer, who engaged in awkward-looking PDA with the singer.
Judges: Cowell praised Thomas as a “fantastic performer,” but criticized her coach, Lovato. Spears enjoyed the “theatrical” performance. Reid conceded that Thomas did “pretty well” but he wasn’t “completely blown away.”
Song: “When a Man Loves a Woman” by Percy Sledge
Set: Simple. Alan with a microphone, some smoke and onscreen images, reminiscent of a small jazz club.
Judges: Spears was impressed with Alan’s “really stripped” performance, while Lovato described it as “phenomenal.” Cowell raved that Alan had transformed from “zero to hero in one week.”
Song: Mashup of “What Makes You Beautiful” by One Direction, “My Girl” by The Temptations and “California Gurls” by Katy Perry
Set: A platform with beachy background images on the screens. This trio bounces off the walls and certainly doesn’t need the presence of additional dancers to distract from their show.
Judges: Unanimously impressed. Reid went so far as to say, “I really want to be critical, because if I’m not, I don’t think anyone else will be,” but went on to add that the performance was perfect. “I hate perfection. There you go,” he joked. Spears said that the group was able to “make the song yours” while Lovato called them “really great.” She did, however, give Cowell a hard time for plugging another one of his own artists that Emblem3 could easily be compared to (One Direction).
Song: “Iris” by The Goo Goo Dolls
Set: A city backdrop on the screens behind her.
Judges: Reid said Miller’s vocal tone “sounds like a hit record.” Lovato mused that “No matter what song you’re gonna sing, I know I’m gonna connect to you.” Cowell was impressed with Miller’s growth of confidence and said to her that he “could see you working” in the real industry.
Song: “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” by Joan Jett
Set: Garcia sang from atop a platform surrounded by a rockin’ band.
Judges: Reid slammed the performance as a “Joan Jett parody,” while Cowell took a dig at Garcia’s mentor, Lovato. “I don’t like what Demi has done to the way you look,” he said, though acknowledging that he does “really like” her. Spears said she had one (or three) words for Garcia’s show: “Hot, hot, hot!”
Song: “Wanted Dead or Alive” by Bon Jovi
Set: Stevens was backed by a small band while his name was illuminated in red, country-style lettering on the screens behind him. Oh, and there was fire, too.
Judges: “You nailed it,” praised Spears, who referred to Stevens as a “true cowboy” and a “slice of America.” As for Cowell, he gushed that “Tonight, it actually feels like you’ve arrived in this competition.”
Song: “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” by Julie Andrews
Set: A bizarre combination of Alice in Wonderland and psychedelics. On the screens swirled many different colors, while the colorful trio performed in front of a lengthy dinner table and backup dancers.
Judges: “I hated it,” said Reid, “but you shouldn’t be bothered by that … because I think it was perfect.” Spears dubbed the performance “intriguing and interesting to watch,” while Lovato said that they “nailed it.” The song idea, Cowell revealed, was Lyric’s idea.
Song: “I Have Nothing” by Whitney Houston
Set: White stood with a red, gem-covered microphone while images of diamonds swirled behind her onscreen.
Judges: “You know you brought it home, girl,” cooed Reid. Lovato, a huge Houston fan, said that the performance “tugged at my heartstrings.” Cowell said that White’s return “proves dreams can come true.” Spears, White’s mentor, said that she “definitely channeled Whitney … she’d be proud.”
Song: “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor
Set: Frey performed in baggy pants and combat boots with military-inspired props and dancers.
Judges: Reid said the rendition “didn’t blow me away,” while Cowell zinged that the “song choice was horrible.” Cowell also used the opportunity to criticize Lovato again, telling Frey that she is “being taken in a direction you shouldn’t be going.” Spears, as usual, served up a brief but flattering comment: “You looked like a little rebel out there. … You brought it.”
Carly Rose Sonenclare:
Song: “It Will Rain” by Bruno Mars
Set: She stood atop a platform in a flowing dress while a whimsical scene rained in the background.
Judges: Reid honestly “loved it” and “loves” Sonenclare. Lovato said that she was in her element. Cowell praised her improvement from last week as “huge.”
Song: “I Believe I Can Fly” by R. Kelly
Set: Wearing a red suit jacket, Brock performed while hundreds of simulated candles flickered behind him.
Judges: Spears said the showing was a “definite improvement from last time,” though she would have chosen a more urban song for him (“Scream” by Usher, she suggested). Lovato criticized the performance as “cabaret” and said that “LA hasn’t guided you in the right direction.” Cowell said that he “likes” Brock, but “I don’t believe you could fly.” In fact, “You look like a singer in an Italian restaurant,” he quipped.
Fifth Harmony (formerly known as LYLAs and 1432):
Song: “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri
Set: The group of five sat in simple chairs, side-by-side.
Judges: Reid was “impressed with your singing,” while Lovato softened up her stance from last week by proclaiming that they were “all powerful vocalists.” Spears said the group “shined the whole way.”
Who will stay and who will go home? America will decide this time around, so tune in on Thursday at 8 p.m. to find out who they have chosen. Plus, X Factor U.K. alum One Direction will be on for a two-song performance.
Email: Sophie.Schillaci@thr.com; Twitter: @SophieSchillaci
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