Watching the Thrones: ‘The X Factor’ Four-Chair Challenge Continues
When we last left "The X Factor," on Wednesday, four of Demi Lovato's Girls semifinalists — Bree Randall, Khaya Cohen, Jamie Pineda, and Ashly Williams — were sitting pretty, having secured seats as part of the show's controversial and sometimes borderline-unwatchable new "Four-Chair Challenge." But considering that frontrunners like Simone Torres, Rion Paige, and Ellona Santiago hadn't yet performed, it was beyond obvious that some of these poor contestants were serving as mere seat-fillers/warmers. Well, it was obvious to me, at least, and to the vociferously booing audience, and to millions of spectators at home. But maybe it wasn't so evident to deluded young contestants like Bree — the semantically challenged girl who was "literally born to do this," remember? — who took Demi's words "You're in my final four!" way too (wait for it) literally.
Sigh. Seriously, there hasn't been as cruel a use of chairs on a TV competition show since, well, "The Chair." Remember that game show? With John McEnroe, the Simon Cowell of tennis? It wasn't very good, or very nice. It lasted one season. But I digress. Let's get down to the business of recapping Thursday's musical-chair madness…
So the night started off with likable Long Island everygirl Simone Torres. As I mentioned just one and a half paragraphs ago, I'd been certain that Simone would end up in Demi's final four. But all certainty was tossed aside like one of Simon Cowell's old black T-shirts (or old girlfriends) when Simone performed this Thursday. Her bizarrely sped-up cover of "A Change is Gonna Come" was such a mistake — I think she was going for a Mark Ronson-esque, Amy-Winehouse-does-"Valerie" sort of vibe, but the performance came across as manic, herky-jerky, and just awkward. The song was also in such a Satchmo-low key, it sounded like a colony of Long Island frogs had taken up residence in Simone's throat. What happened to the awesome chick who'd wowed with her "Mustang Sally" audition not long ago? Simone ended up a getting a chair anyway, but really, this was only because Bree was such an easy (and inevitable) switch. It was likely that another change was gonna come soon, when Simone would predictably forfeit her seat for someone else.
Next was my favorite girl of Season 3, Danielle "Danie" Geimer. I gritted my teeth, gripped the sides of my own chair, and hoped that Danie would not disappoint me as well. Thankfully, she did not. She was still the nerdy quirkster I loved and remembered, but with a newfound confidence and fire. Her "Georgia on My Mind" was as hot as Atlanta asphalt. Even Khaya, arguably the strongest girl currently seated, looked threatened. "This girl deserves a seat; somebody's gotta get up!" shouted Kelly Rowland. But Khaya needn't have worried. Instead, Simone was dethroned. Simone had barely been in that chair long enough to cross her legs…and already, to quote ousted "X Factor" host Steve Jones, the dream was over.