The X Factor Top 6 Performance Recap: I Stand Here Waiting for You to Bang the Gong [Updated]
It’s easy to make fun of The X Factor, what with Demi Lovato’s crocodile tears (and atrocious, “more prouder” grammar), Simon Cowell’s bloated sense of self-importance and especially future Emmy nominee for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series Paulina Rubio’s patented brand of “does this chica have a concussion?” English. (Tonight’s “oily nose”/”you are you!” critique of Carlito Olivero was beautifully absurd, but still couldn’t top last week’s inability to tell her hot Latino contestant apart from wide-eyed 15-year-old Josh Levi.)
But then, an act like Alex & Sierra comes along, with a brand of vocal aptitude and brazen creativity that makes you think: “Hey, I might actually buy this duo’s music in the real world!” And just like that, the whole notion of watching La Cowell’s sputtering import for the sole purpose of aggressively snarky Tweeting feels a little bit hollow.
Where there’s true talent, after all, there’s a show. And if I’m being honest — something the X Factor judges have forgotten how to do, at least based on their feedback for the sweet-but-sinking Rion Paige — I’m still invested in who wins this thing, whether they turn out to be the next One Direction or the successor to that nice road-construction dude in the cowboy hat who took home the Season 2 crown.
With that in mind, let’s get to letter grades for tonight’s performances:
Restless Road: Taylor Swift’s “Red” — Grade: C- | No, no, no. You’re not supposed to let the one with the deep voice (AKA the one who can’t stay on pitch) have a solo verse — no matter much Simon tries to convince us it’s a formula that should help you sail to the finals.
Rion Paige: Carrie Underwood’s “See You Again” — Grade: D+ | Oh, Rion, it breaks my heart a little hearing you say you fought back tears during last week’s results show because “I didn’t know if I’d stop [crying].” But maybe that just means you need to step away from the world of nationally televised singing competitions, take a little more time to grow up (you’re only 13, kiddo!) and learn to control that big instrument of yours. This performance, alas, had more sharps than a big-city needle-exchange program. (Yes, I know, I already regret that metaphor.)