‘The X Factor’ Top 6 Night: Divas Unplugged
photo: Michael Becker/Fox
On Wednesday, the six remaining "X Factor" contestants sang two songs each: one unplugged performance with "no gimmicks, no silly costumes," and one "diva" performance with, of course, gimmicks and costumes galore. This allowed the contestants to showcase very different aspects of their talents, but not all of them were equally versatile…and a couple of them probably should've had the plug pulled on them entirely.
Here's how everyone did Wednesday:
Restless Road attempted to "take a diva song and put a man-band twist on it," which basically meant changing all of the pronouns in Taylor Swift's "Red." (Whether or not sweet Taylor actually qualifies as a "diva" is still up for debate.) Their harmonies sounded better than usual this week…although their backing track was cranked up so high, it was hard to tell where their vocals ended and the canned vocals began, what was live and what was Memorex. This was a pleasant performance, but I still would have liked a little more energy from them, not to mention a bit more pathos and connection to the wistful, lovelorn lyrics. This was a pale, pinkish shade of "Red," not a full-on, passionate crimson. Kelly Rowland enjoyed this, however, saying, "You worked it out like divas. Your vocals are so tight. I think you have finally found that thread that ties you together as a group." Demi Lovato told them they'd "come a long way." Paulina Rubio called middle singer Colton Pack a "little Elvis Presley" (not really, but OK). And their mentor Simon Cowell said, "You guys have to be in the final. You deserve to be in the final. No one has worked harder than you." But do other contestants sing better than them? That is the real issue…
For their acoustic song, the boys did "Wake Me Up" by Avicii, (or, more specifically, the Aloe Blacc version). This was one of my favorite Restless Road performances to date. This just worked. They sounded good together, they sounded good apart (even that one dude with the freakishly low voice), and the performance felt emotional yet unforced. "Each one of you left your heart on that stage. You meant every word," gushed Kelly. Colton was weepy at this point, which got Demi all verklempt as well. "You're making me cry right now. That was beautiful. You just earned your spot in the finals," Demi said. Added Simon, proudly: "This is what I always hoped you'd become." Simon was on to something here. Restless Road should go unplugged more often.