The X Factor: Simon and Demi Get Snippy
Jennel Garcia | Photo Credits: Ray Mickshaw/FOX
America is finally getting the chance to vote — again! The X Factor is turning the competition over to viewer votes to determine who will stay and who will go, beginning Wednesday with live performances by the Top 12 on the theme "Songs from the Movies."
But wait, not so fast. The Top 12 turned into 13, as hosts Khloe Kardashian and Mario Lopez revealed a twist at the start of the show — that one of the contestants who was cut from the Top 16 last week would be returning. "The final 12 we're very happy with, but we believe we made a mistake," Simon Cowell explained. Which singer was stellar enough to return? Diamond White of course! The 13-year-old had sung for her life last week, but was let go, much to the disappointment of rather vocal fans.
Now that the contestants must connect with at-home viewers to advance in the competition, the show also started to get heavily into each of their backstories — revealing, for instance, that Vino Alan often performs for the troops, that Jennel Garcia would probably be enrolled in bartending school if she wasn't doing the show, and that Beatrice Miller has two moms.
Things got a little testy between Cowell and Demi Lovato early on, when Cowell cautioned Lovato and Britney Spears (the two new judges on the panel) against turning the show into a "karaoke competition." From that point, it seemed that Cowell and Lovato were just trying to one-up the other, each sniping about the other's mentoring style and not having a positive thing to say about any of their protégés (at least until Lyric 145 took the stage).
Read on to find out how each contestant did, and which performance(s) the judges thought were "perfect."
The Teens, mentored by Britney Spears
Arin Ray: Ray opened the show with Kanye West's "American Boy," giving a lively performance that prompted Simon to tell him that he was "turning into a little pop star." Lovato and L.A. Reid also heaped on the praise, and Ray showed that he knows how to work the crowd as well — bending down during the song to shake hands with the (mostly female) audience members in the front row, and telling Kardashian and Lopez afterwards that he was there for the fans.
Beatrice Miller: Miller chose the Goo Goo Dolls' "Iris" for her song, and while the recorded version sounded like her 13-year-old voice wasn't mature enough for the vocals, apparently something was lost in translation from the live versionbecause all the judges had great things to say. Reid even told Miller her vocal tone "sounds like a hit record." And her mentor, Spears, said her musical talents weren't the only thing that would win her admirers. "You have the best personality out of anybody in this whole competition," Spears told her.
Diamond White: Suffice to say, all the judges welcomed White back into the competition with open arms. For her comeback song, the teen offered a rendition of Whitney Houston's "I Have Nothing" that far surpassed her 13 years. Reid called the song choice "ambitious" but said White rose to the occasion, and Lovato said the performance nearly moved her to tears.
Carly Rose Sonenclar: Sonenclar redeemed herself from last week's choreographed dance extravaganza with Bruno Mars' "It Will Rain," which was much more her speed. "This week compared to last week, it's night and day. This is you in your element," Lovato told her. Cowell agreed that it was "a huge improvement" and said he felt like they were "watching a star in the making." As for her mentor? Spears told Sonenclar she should have been the final performer of the night "because nobody can follow that."