Over the course of this "X Factor" season, token villainess/whipping girl/underdog CeCe Frey has had to sing for survival on three elimination shows. But she didn't have to sing for survival this week--not because she was the lowest vote-getter, as many had predicted, but because she actually racked up enough votes to come in fifth place this Thursday. Obviously L.A. Reid and Simon Cowell's nasty threats that she was "going down" and that she better "pack a suitcase" this Wednesday backfired, and only galvanized her fanbase to rock the vote.
Apparently the "X Factor" powers-that-be decided to pick a new scapegoat this week: Vino Alan. Up until very recently, Vino had been one of the show's favorites, consistently placing in the top three. But that all changed this week, when his mentor L.A. inexplicably switched his song at the last minute; gave him a song that absolutely did not suit him, despite Vino's very angry, expletive-riddled protests; and then sat by while Vino floundered onstage and the other judges tore him to shreds.
Vino subsequently plummeted from third to sixth/seventh place this Thursday, and after a sing-off with impossible-to-beat tween wondergirl Diamond White (who totally didn't deserve to be up for elimination), he was cut from the show.
Why would "The X Factor" suddenly do this to Vino, after pimping him so aggressively for weeks? Well, many conspiracy theories apply here. First of all, Simon obviously wants his golden boys Emblem3--who placed fourth last week, only a few tiny percentage points behind Vino--to make it to the finale. Additionally, Simon, who still is deluded and thinks "The X Factor" is some sort of young, hip, edgy show, probably doesn't want two older contestants in that finale...and L.A.'s other Over-25's team member, 37-year-old country singer Tate Stevens, is a finale shoo-in. So, there's that.
But what would be in it for L.A. to sabotage his own contestant? Well, L.A. has already made it clear that he wants to sign Emblem3, so he therefore also has a vested interest in helping them succeed. Furthermore, he probably assumes that many of Vino's votes would go to Tate, ensuring that Tate would ultimately win over this season's other shoo-in, 13-year-old Carly Rose Sonenclar. Both good reasons to get Vino out of the way.
Or, maybe Vino was just too difficult. He's tough, and he's 40, not 14...so he was always less likely to just do whatever he's told without a fight. The way Vino acted when L.A. changed his song this week proved that.
Seriously, Vino was so thrown under the bus this week, he may as well go ahead and get some tire marks tattooed on his face. No, he was not my favorite on this show, and no, I did not want him to win...but I didn't want to see him go out like this. It just wasn't right.
Oh well. At least Vino got to do Ray LaMontagne's "Trouble" as his "save me" song this Thursday, so he went out singing material that better represented what he is all about. "America didn't even get to hear what I had...but I can't stop making music, I'm gonna keep making music," he offered as his parting words. Then L.A. said some cockamamie stuff about Vino being "family" to him. Yeah, right.
The other contestant to get cut, with the fewest votes overall--and, since this was another double-elimination week, to go home automatically--was Paige Thomas. In any other point of the season this wouldn't have been a shock, since she was arguably the weakest singer in the entire top 12 and had delivered some very iffy, pitchy performances. But it was a slight surprise in this particular week. Paige's cover of Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up" this Wednesday had been her best performance yet--she seemed comfortable, she didn't come across as contrived or trying too hard, her vocals were improved, and the judges unanimously praised her. But I guess Paige got Rickrolled this week.
However, Paige took the news well--and, unlike Vino, with a smile. She must have realized by now that she had almost zero chance of winning the competition, and that she was lucky to even get to eighth place, so she just grinned and graciously vowed that she'd soon be moving on to bigger and better things. We shall see about that.
Anyway, if my conspiracy theories above are correct, then Simon clearly got what he wanted this week: Emblem3 moved up into Vino's vacated spot and made the top three for the first time this season. The rest of the leaderboard remained basically the same:
1st - Carly Rose Sonenclar
2nd - Tate Stevens
3rd - Emblem3
4th - Fifth Harmony
5th - CeCe Frey
6th - Diamond White
Will there be any backlash next week after all this? Will Vino's votes go to Tate and push Tate back to number one? Will CeCe buck the odds yet again and stick around? Come back next week to find out.
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