'X Factor' Recap: Top 6 Go Unplugged
'X Factor' Recap: Top 6 Go Unplugged
It’s hard to believe that the finale of The X Factor is only two weeks away. Perhaps this is the reason the judges are getting so testy with one another.
Or maybe they are just tired, as Demi Lovato admitted to nearly falling asleep during Tate Stevens’ earnest rendition of “If Tomorrow Never Comes” by Garth Brooks.
Still, there is plenty of bite left in this show, as Lovato and Simon Cowell continued their weekly snipes at the judges table, and L.A. Reid got off some of his best soundbites yet of the whole season, mostly directed at Fifth Harmony, who at one point was renamed #FifthUnison on Twitter.
The judges did get a slight break this week, as the American public was handed over complete control of mentoring duties via the Pepsi Challenge voting. For at least one song, the contestants were instructed on everything from staging, to hair, to wardrobe and song choice.
“This is the week that the viewers take control,” said Reid. “So now we’re going to find out about America’s tastes.”
While some choices worked well for some contestants -- Stevens was told to just wear his hat, stand in a spotlight and sing -- others were pieced together as if they were styled through the Nintendo DS game Fashion Designer (we’re looking at you, CeCe Frey).
But first, the top six got to show off their vocals with performances of unplugged versions of hit songs, selected by the mentors.
This part of the show was the riskier proposition, or, as Frey put it, “if you have a vocal mistake people are going to hear it.”
So who fared best?
CeCe Frey (ranked fifth last week):
Song: "Edge of Glory" by Lady Gaga
CeCe was concerned about the stripped-down portion of the show, mainly because she admitted that her vocal flaws were masked by big flashing lights and other diversions. Of course, it doesn’t help that in the pre-taped video package, Reid just about nails the Decatur, Ill., native to the cross with the statement, "I think Cece should have gone home a long time ago. And by the way, I know I'm not the only one who thinks that." She decides to deliver Gaga’s anthem in a simple way, sitting on the edge of a grand piano in a conservative black dress.
Reid changed his tune immediately, saying: “Sometimes we get it wrong. I’m starting to become a fan.” Britney Spears disagreed with a pointed critique, “I think at this point in the competition it should be great, and it was just good for me." Cowell didn’t think Frey is "worth the $5 million recording contract” and went with his tried-and-true line that the song was a "little too cabaret” for him. Of course, this ticked off Lovato, who felt it was one of Frey’s best performances and went off on a vendetta on Cowell as he began to introduce Emblem3.
Pepsi Challenge Song: "Part of Me" by Katy Perry
Where Frey’s Gaga was understated, this performance was a schizophrenic pop-culture abomination dreamed up by the American public, but you got to hand it to the girl -- she said she was going to do exactly what her supporters wanted, and she went all out. Leopard spots on the face? Check. Color streaks in her hair? Check. Daisy Duke shorts with Gaga-esque platform shoes? Yep. Her name in lights? Of course. Crazy dancers, glowing lights and just about anything else you can dream up was thrown on that stage, and you know what? It’s no different than some of the weird staging showcased at the MTV Video Music Awards. Reid, however, took back all of his praise like the windshield wiper he said he was and slagged the performance as “karaoke.” Spears, however, loved it and called it “very entertaining.” Cowell had a smile on his face the entire performance, and told Frey that he loved her defiance, and that if she goes, “I am going to miss you” because she is a “tryer.” Lovato, ever supporting her girl crush, said “You made me proud. And if the Princess of Pop is sitting right here saying you did a good job.”