‘X Factor’ Top 8 Recap: Rickrolling, Rolling In The Deep, And Losing That Loving Feeling
Last week's pre-Thanksgiving "X Factor" episode was a heavy and heartfelt affair, packed with sob stories and dedications to dead relatives. But with this week's "Number One Hits" episode, it was back to "The X Factor's" regularly scheduled programming: i.e., troupes of hoochie dancers, banks of fog machines, countless uncomfortable minutes of Simon Cowell/Demi Lovato bickering, a couple of weird '80s references, and at least one contestant (read: Vino Alan) getting thrown under the proverbial bus. There was also a premiere of a will.i.am/Britney Spears music video that was so utterly underwhelming, if Demi had been allowed to critique it, she surely would have said, "I was bored."
But there was still some reason to give thanks, because there were a few great performances along the way. Here's how everyone did...
Diamond White - After Britney screwed over her promising teen contestants Arin Ray and Beatrice Miller by giving them age-inappropriate, dreary ballads week after week (and then Arin and Beatrice were double-eliminated last week, sadly), she wised up and decided to give Diamond something fun and uptempo this Wednesday. Whitney Houston's "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" was a great song pick for Diamond, since I've always gotten a mini-Whitney vibe from this girl, and I loved seeing her get her spunk back. (I was a big fan of Diamond's upbeat "Hey Soul Sister" performance from the top 16 week.) "You always seem to start slow, and then you get there. I give you an A for effort, a B for execution," said L.A. Reid, clearly not giving Diamond proper credit. Demi also had an oddly mixed reaction, saying, "This is something I've been waiting the entire competition to hear from you...but I'd like to see you work more on your performance." To that, an incredulous Simon retorted, "I don't know what else this girl could have just brought! This was a really, really important, good performance from you. You are gunning for number one, not just trying to stay in the competition." I agreed with Simon, and I think wherever Diamond places this week, she's definitely staying.
Vino Alan - One contestant who may not be staying this week is Vino, however. Last week he was one of the shining stars of the "What I'm Thankful For" holiday episode, with many people predicting that his patriotic "God Bless The USA" performance would put him atop the leaderboard. And while that didn't happen, he did hold onto his third-place spot for the third week in a row, his momentum not slowed one bit. But now the conspiracy theorist in me wonders if the show's powers-that-be just want him to drop right off the leaderboard entirely. First of all, he got the Lyric 145 snowjob, with the song he was supposed to do ("If You Don't Know Me By Now") getting changed at the last minute (and we all know what happened to Lyric 145 when they got an 11th-hour song switch). Then his request to sing Alex Clare's "Too Close" was totally shut down by his bossy mentor, L.A., who instead ordered him to do "You've Lost That Loving Feeling." Vino was shown reacting to this news by tossing a tantrum and cussing up a storm. I couldn't really blame him for being so upset, but with his scary, face-tattooed image, this was not a good look for him; this edit job sort of undid all of the show's previous efforts to make him seem like a cuddly military hero. Vino's performance wasn't so great, either; it was manic, messy, and by end of it, I seriously wanted to grab his right arm and duct-tape it to his side. He was waving that hand around like he was going to punch someone! (And maybe he was!) None of the judges were impressed. "It's the same each week with you. There's something that needs to be freshened up," said Britney. "I wasn't totally entertained," shrugged Demi. "There are many songs you can sing, and this isn't one of them. Halfway through this song, I wanted it to end--and then you went into this weird reggae version. L.A., you took a risk, and it didn't work. That was not a $5 million performance," ranted Simon. Vino, perhaps trying to control the damage caused by his earlier expletive-riddled video package, smiled meekly and asserted, "I trust my mentor with all my heart." But really, he shouldn't have. L.A. simply does not know what to do with Vino. Vino should NOT be singing old soul songs. He should be doing songs like "Too Close." L.A. should have trusted Vino, not the other way around.