Season 2 Live Shows, The X Factor

Song by song grades for the Top 4 on The X Factor

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We’ll hear two songs each from the final four acts on The X Factor tonight.

One song will be of their own choosing; one will have been selected by their mentor.

And it appears three acts will advance to next week’s finals.

So the big question tonight: Will Fifth Harmony be able to do something dramatic enough to shake up the voting results?

Because Carly Rose Sonenclar, Tate Stevens and Emblem 3 have been locked in those spots since Vino Alan was eliminated.

And the suspicions about three acts making the finals were just confirmed by the co-hosts. Three hours of The X Factor this week, but only one act goes home.

Oh, no, we’re going to have a leader board blackout between now and the finals. Say it isn’t so! How in the world will I stand it?

The better question: Why does everything on this show have to be so over the top?

Here’s what the acts told The X Factor we can expect this week.

Tate Stevens:

Song 1: Ah, look at that. L.A. is sporting a cowboy hat in honor of Tate. This is his song pick: “Bonfire.” He explains that he’s dedicating it to his friends and wants people to realize what it’s like back in his home state of Missouri. I already like this better than either of Tate’s songs from last week. Nice pick, Tate. He’s having fun and he’s in his zone. And, as usual, he’s delivering a fine vocal. And look at this, now he’s taking a ride on a riser. And lets out one of those big notes fans of these shows love near the end. Nice way to start the night. Grade: B+

Song 2: Tate is singing “Fall” for his second song and dedicating it to his wife. It’s back to love songs for Tate. Well, give the guy two songs and one is bound to be a ballad. I think it was wise to stick to country songs this week. Is it my imagination, or is he skipping over the high note every time the chorus comes around. Anyway, he’s turning in another finals-worthy victory given tonight’s competition, though I liked his first performance better. Grade: B

Carly Rose Sonenclar:

Song 1: She’s going to sing Elton John’s “Your Song,” a tune her dad used to play all the time when she was growing up. Those who want to see Carly go young and fun will be disappointed. Here’s betting Carly is great. Yep, great opening. Couple of nice vocal twists. More than anything, uncanny control and restraint for a 13-year-old. As soon as I typed that, the arrangement went a little over the top. But, my word, Carly is just vocally incredible. I have no idea why a chorus had to join in for a couple of lines of the song. That was just idiotic. But, again, Carly’s vocal stood out above all else. Grade: A-

Song 2: Britney has selected John Lennon’s “Imagine” for Carly Rose’s second song. And she’s going to play the piano while she performs it. And this concerns her because she can’t stand the thought of going home right before the finals. Her dad tells her what we’re all thinking: No way that’s going to happen. Well, she didn’t stay behind the piano for long. Actually, the start of that song was pretty flat by Carly Rose standards. And that big note sounded sharp. And here comes the choir. For goodness sake. The arrangement in the middle of that song did not work for me at all. And the token return to the piano at the end didn’t impress me. In fact, it seemed a little awkward. That was my least favorite Carly Rose performance in a long time. Simon nailed that critique. They took a simple and beautiful song and made it way too complicated. Still, she belongs in the finals. Because a Carly Rose mess is better than Emblem 3 at their best. Grade: C

Emblem 3:

Song 1: They’re going to sing “Baby, I Love Your Way.” Yep, the Peter Frampton song. Because one of their moms loved it. The string of strong performances on this show just came to a screeching halt. Or was that screeching I heard their vocals? Hey, they’re bobbing around, showing us how they can command the stage right? They must have learned their lesson from last week. In deuce, because they didn’t let vocally-challenged blond kid sing. All he got to do was rap. Oh, and walk down to the judges’ stand to acknowledge them while his friends sang. This was a horrid song choice, a hokey performance and yet another bit of proof as to why these guys don’t deserve to be this deep into the competition. Of course, the judges loved it. Grade: D

Song 2: Oh, gee, another Beatles song. This time: “Hey Jude.” Did we need another unplugged performance to show only one of these guys can sing decently. Notice blondie doesn’t get to sing at all. Oh, now they’ve jumped off their platform and they’re bopping around like idiots. That was just ridiculous. Absolutely horrid. Another abysmal performance by Emblem 3. By the end of the song, they were singing “Hey, Judie.” For crying out loud. They so deserve to go home. That was an absolute joke. They nailed it all right, Simon. They nailed and killed and buried both songs they performed tonight. Grade: F

Fifth Harmony: 

Song 1: They’re singing “Anything Can Happen.” Sitting at a table, wearing their party dresses. Hey, folks, these girls came to play. Once again, they sound great individually. And they’re making a point to work in more harmony. And sound very good during those portions of the song, too. They’re the logical choice to go home this week. But if they go, they’re certainly going to go out on a high note. That was a fun performance, very well done. They are the group that’s coming on strong on this show, not Emblem 3. Grade: A

Song 2: They’re going to perform “Impossible” for the second time. They did this song at the judges’ mansion and sounded sensational. And they’re going to do part of the song in Spanish. OK, the bouncing back from one language to another isn’t really working for me. But their vocals sound pretty solid, especially compared to the Emblem 3 train wreck that proceeded them to the stage. But, in all honesty, that might not have been the moment they needed to salvage their X Factor fate. I didn’t like that nearly as much as their first performance tonight. Grade: C+

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