And then there were 12.
Following The X Factor Season 2′s first live, super-stacked performance show — showcasing the rise of Emblem3 as a serious threat and the obvious fact that Britney Spears‘ favorite adjective is “amazing” — on Thursday it was time to face the music in a whole different way, and for Brit and her fellow judges Demi Lovato, L.A. Reid and Simon Cowell to play heartbreaker and send one of their own home. Slowly but surely, we got the acts down to an even dozen.
Demi Lovato’s Under 25s
Sent safely into the Top 12: Jenell Garcia, Paige Thomas
Singing for Survival: Willie Jones, Cece Frey
Eliminated: Willie Jones (whose sendoff included this heartfelt piece of advice from Demi: “Go back and figure out what you need to do, to make sure it’s your time.”)
L.A. Reid’s Over 25s
Sent safely into the Top 12: Vino Alan, Tate Stevens
Singing for Survival: David Correy, Jason Brock
Surrounded by a backdrop of wheat fields and hazy clouds, Correy’s “Since U Been Gone” was a definite mixed bag for the judges (from Britney’s “You blew us away” to Demi’s “It felt like you were screaming the whole time”), while Jason’s “One Moment in Time” turned Britney into a fan and made Demi a believer. That said, Simon summed it up like this: “You’re asking me to judge two horses who are coming last in a race…I can’t believe either of these guys based on these performances can win.” Ouch!
Eliminated: David Correy. “I’ve been through a lot in my life like we all have,” said the incredibly gracious, composed contender, “but it’s never stopped me, and I promise you this is not going to be the last time you ever see my face. I promise you.”
Britney Spears’ Teens
Sent safely into the Top 12: Beatrice Miller, Carly Rose
Singing for Survival: Arin Ray, Diamond White
Watching a shifty-eyed Britney milk the moment before saving Beatrice and Carly was good fun, but it soon time for Spears to unceremoniously bring the hammer down. Arin’s wobbly “I Look to You” left Brit looking bemused, but left L.A. (“It would be a shame if you were to go home”) impressed, and his wary comments anticipating an Arin departure were echoed by Simon and Demi. Diamond’s sparkling rendition of “Sorry Seems to Be Hardest Word” gave L.A. chills and really put Brit on the hot seat (“I wouldn’t want to be in Britney’s position right now,” said Simon, who added, “I don’t think either of these two should leave the competition”).
Eliminated: Diamond White. “I’m happy I made it this far, and I’m still gonna keep smiling and I still love you Britney!” said the (of course) smiling White before leaving the stage.
Simon Cowell’s Groups
Sent safely into the Top 12: Lyric145, Emblem3
Singing for Survival: SisterC, 1432
“I genuinely loved all four,” says Simon of the remaining groups, before adding, “Even up until five minutes ago, I hadn’t made up my mind” who’s going home. But SisterC’s performance (what Miley Cyrus song was that?) seemed to leave Simon stoned-faced and applauding politely, while L.A. (“There’s a gap in the marketplace for what you do”) liked what he heard. Even Brit got creative, saying the trio had the “eye of the tiger.” Amazing! A tearful (post-song) 1432 made Britney a believer and impressed Demi (“I don’t know who that song is by…but regardless, you did better than the original singer”) with their gutsy cover of Ms. Lovato’s “Skyscraper.”
Eliminated: SisterC. Simon could barely get himself to say the name of the act going home, but he somehow pulled himself together just fine. “I think I saw it coming, it’s a no-brainer, they’re amazing,” said SisterC, before Simon dropped a bomb by insisted on renaming 1432 next week!
And now it’s your turn. Did the right four acts go home? Whose departure was the most heartbreaking? Should 1432 really be getting renamed next week? Can Britney come up with another adjective? Sound off in the comments!
Due to Hurricane Sandy, Michael Slezak is still living by candlelight (and without TV!). He will return next week. — Mitch Rustad