XFactor Season 2 Finale Performances

20 12 2012

With the judges and the audience feeling like Emblem 3 would be the group to go through to the finale, they were stunned at the results.  A strong performance by Fifth Harmony guaranteed them a spot in the finale.

I am tired of filler stuff in these singing competitions. Doesn’t matter to me what it is or what network it is on, I don’t see the point of singing a song again that was already done. The exception for me for this would be if they were completely rearranging the music so it felt like a song with a very different vibe from the last time they sang it. Or it was something very, very early in the competition. With Fifth Harmony, it was a song that was just done last week. Granted it was their best performance ever, but I want something new. I want to be blown away–something that makes me want to pick up the phone and WANT to vote for somebody. Keep it to two songs and cut a half-hour off your show.

The evening did start with a lovely tribute to the Sandy Hook Elementary victims and their survivors with a modification of a lyric for “You Are Not Alone” by Michael Jackson.

They introduced the judges and the remaining contestants. I could not help but remember what I said last week to someone on Twitter: Demi would still have someone in the competition if she had not sent Jillian Jensen home.

ROUND 1: RESING A SONG YOU’VE ALREADY DONE AND MOST OF US TUNE OUT OR GO EAT DINNER OR GO TO THE BATHROOM

Since I have no comments about any of these because they were no different for me than the originals, I will just list the judges’ comments.

Carly Rose Sonenclar chose “Feelin’ Good” by Nina Simone. Since I have no further comments about their performance because it was exactly like the last time, I’ll just mention what the judges said. LA Reid said she had topped everything she had done. Demi said she was going to inspire so many young girls to follow their dreams. Simon said she sang it better tonight than the first time and he likes her competitive spirit. Britney said it was shocking how bright her star was.

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Carly Rose Sonenclar

Tate Stevens chose the song from the audition, “Anything Goes” by Randy Houser. Britney said when he does country down the middle he is right on. Demi said that the audience still loves him. This was the first time he turned it into a stadium performance. Simon said he agreed with Demi tonight. LA Reid said he was still lovable tonight.

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Tate Stevens

Fifth Harmony performed, “Anything Could Happen” by Elie Goulding. LA Reid said it was magical, that magic happens when they perform it. Demi said they were underdogs but they pulled through. Simon said they made him so proud. He likes sometimes being the underdog.

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Fifth Harmony

MY RANKINGS: Fifth Harmony, Carly Rose Sonenclar, Tate Stevens

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ROUND 2: SING A DUET WITH SOMEONE FAMOUS WHO WAS AVAILABLE THIS CLOSE TO CHRISTMAS

Apparently they were short on time for anyone but the mentor to give comments which, of course, will be glowing. If they cut out that third song, they would have had time for the full panel to give critiques. I won’t list in this section what the judges said because of that reason.

Carly Rose said with Lee Ann Rimes (odd pairing since she is a country music star). They sang Lee Ann Rimes’ famous, “How Do I Live Without You.” Every time I hear this song I think of the ending of the movie, “Con Air.” It is a beautiful song, but this was not the right song for Carly. I think it was her weakest song ever. It showed all her vulnerable vocal areas that need developing.

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Carly Rose and Lee Ann Rimes

Tate sang “Pontoon” with Little Big Town. I had fun watching him with these ladies. He was eating it up. Watch out wife! God, I dislike country music but his song was better than Carly’s.

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Tate Steven and Little Big Town

The next one I could just SCREAM about. Fifth Harmony sang ANOTHER SONG THEY SANG IN THE PAST, “Give Your Heart a Break”, but this time with Demi Lovato. It was as pitchy as it was the first time they sang it. Demi sounded like she had run from her seat backstage because she was very out of breath, but the true performer she is, she pulled it off.

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Fifth Harmony and Demi Lovato

MY RANKING FOR THIS ROUND: Tate Stevens, Carly Rose Sonenclar, Fifth Harmony (mostly because they sang two full songs tonight they sang in the past).

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ROUND 3: THE FIVE-MILLION-DOLLAR SONG (OR NOT)

Carly chose the very overdone “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen. In fact, I heard it just yesterday on The Voice. Simon looked all teary-eyed and given the tragedy in Sandy Hook, people’s emotions for songs like this are high. I do know it is one of his favorite songs from what he said on American Idol. It started off very, very rough. She needs to work on the lower end of her vocal range. But the second verse got better. It does not hurt having a choir behind you either. It was her best performance for me tonight. Was it her best performance of the series? No. LA Reid said it was an angelic performance and she did not oversing it. Demi said she sang like a ridiculously talented angel. Simon said she looked great and it was a beautiful version of the song. Britney said that song was worth $5 million so Simon should get out his checkbook.

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Carly Rose Sonenclar

Tate chose “Tomorrow” by Chris Young. It was a lovely song. It did not blow me away. No one is giving me chills. My goosebumps are my indicator that I’ve been wowed. Britney said it was great and she always enjoys what he does. Demi said she was almost crying because it is the last time she will see him perform on that stage. (Well, not really, he’ll sing in the results show). Simon said it was a fantastic night for talent; that it was a really, really good night. LA Reid said he consistently comes out and delivers.

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Tate Stevens

Fifth Harmony sang “Let It Be” by The Beatles. This song has special meaning to me because it was friend Diane’s favorite song. She has been gone for almost a year now from this earth. It was played at her funeral. This is the first time I wanted to turn off the TV (at least when it first started). Normani did a lousy job. The others did better, but their $5 million song was “Anything Could Happen.” Again, this is another one of those emotional songs given the grief the nation is feeling. LA Reid said they’ve come so far and it was beautiful. Britney said they have blossomed as a group. Demi said they have evolved and grown. Simon said he could not be more proud. Although biased, they deserved to win.

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Fifth Harmony

MY RANKING: Carly Rose, Tate, Fifth Harmony

So where does that leave us? Fifth Harmony was my first round pick as favorite, Tate was my second round pick as favorite and Carly was my third round pick as favorite. I guess any one of them could win. But all in all when I turned off the television, I left not being blown away enough to buy any of those last songs. What I would have liked to see is an original song that no one has done ever before and hearing what THAT would have sounded like as a $5 million song. Perhaps they can think about doing that next year.





The XFactor Season 2 Semifinals

13 12 2012

Last week, CeCe Frey was finally sent packing along with Diamond White, with her own mentor agreeing that she should go home. The rankings were: Tate Stevens, Carly Rose Sonenclar, Emblem3, and Fifth Harmony. Tonight, one song was the contestant’s choice and one song was the mentor’s choice. After seeing the Pepsi Challenge choices the public made and hearing the contestant’s choices tonight, I think the mentors need to rethink their choices; the contestants and the public are picking better songs.

CONTESTANT’S CHOICE

Contestant: Carly Rose Sonenclar
Twitter: @CarlyRoseMusic
Song: “Your Song” by Elton John

My thoughts: Her very low range needs some work when she is singing quietly and not belting out a note. I was surprised. It is a very difficult song to sing. It was not her best but it was enjoyable. I think this is a good thing because the constructive criticism from Simon should be taken to heart. She is not perfect. But she is still going to win.

The judges: LA Reid said it was a risky song but she did things with the song he had never heard before. At first, Demi thought it was going to be very predictable, but it became her favorite song she has ever performed. Simon said it was a beautiful version of a fantastic song. However, it was not her best performance. He thought she was very nervous and he thinks she can do better. Britney said she has blossomed into a superstar and she is so proud.

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Carly Rose Sonenclar

Contestant: Tate Stevens
Twitter: @TateStevensCtry
Song: “Bonfire” by Craig Morgan

My thoughts: I thought there was a disconnection between the song and his performance. He talked about bonfires being about guitars being key at these events, but he was not playing one. It was a good song choice and it was entertaining even though I hate country music.

The judges: Britney said she did not think it was his best. Demi disagreed and said it was a “freakin’ amazing performance.” Simon said he bought into the song being the type of music he wants to record. It was one of his favorite performances. He looked like a man who believes he can win. LA Reid said he lit this stage on fire and it was the most fun he has had doing the show.

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Tate Stevens

Contestant: Formerly LYLAS, then 1432, which meant “I Love You Too” , and now “Fifth Harmony”
Twitter: @FifthHarmony
Song: “Anything Could Happen” by Elie Goulding

My thoughts: I don’t know why I didn’t see this until now–maybe it was the way she put her hair in the ponytail to the side, but Camila Cabello looks like what Carly Rose Sonenclar might look like when she gets older (or they are sisters or cousins). I liked this song a LOT. This was definitely their very best performance. To coin a phrase from Randy Jackson, “They are in it to win it.”

The judges: LA Reid said it was the very best vocal performance they had ever done. Britney loved everything about it; it was inspiring girl power. Demi said they pulled out the sparkle that they needed and it felt great. Simon said they were the underdogs but “anything now can happen.”

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Fifth Harmony

Contestant: Emblem3
Twitter: @EmblemThree
Song: “Baby I Love Your Way” by Peter Frampton

My thoughts: There was a Jamaican reggae feel to it. Drew sticking his tongue out was very odd. It was pretty good but their individual vocals, when they are not rapping, are not quite polished.

The judges: LA Reid said they are charismatic and so charming. They just had their 5-million dollar moment. Britney said their performance was special and they were way more than just a boy band. Demi said for the first time since the auditions that reminded her of what made them special to begin with. Simon said if this did not get them through to the final, nothing will.

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Mentor’s Choice

Emblem 3: “Hey Jude” by The Beatles

My thoughts: It was good. I noticed Drew was not singing that much. It was a modern version of the song, but nothing can beat The Beatles.

The judges: LA Reid said they are teen heart throbs just like The Beatles. Britney said it was an “A”-level performance. Demi thought they weren’t yet The Beatles but they were getting there. Simon felt so proud. He said they had steel in their eyes and nailed both songs tonight.

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Emblem 3

Carly Rose Sonenclar: “Imagine” by John Lennon

My thoughts: David Archuleta’s performance was pretty good so I was not sure about someone else doing this song. Carly was worried about playing the piano. Seriously? A 15-second stint? That first big note was sharp. She looked angry singing the words, I believe trying to convey emphasis and conviction, but it was the wrong feeling for the lyric. It was lovely. Not great, but lovely. I lean more towards Simon’s criticism here.

The judges: LA Reid said she always knew how to go in and find that note. Demi thought it was amazing and loved that she took a risk. Simon said he would have kept her at the piano. It made a beautiful performance fussy. He did not like the arrangement and said it was overcomplicated. Britney said it was time for her to go beyond the stage (and into the real world).

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Carly Rose Sonenclar

Fifth Harmony: “Impossible” by Shontelle

My thoughts: What is Simon thinking? Did he just throw them under the bus? He criticizes others when they repeat songs. Just last week, he complained Diamond White did the same song again. The song, unfortunately, was just as pitchy as the first time they sang it. They’ll be the ones going home Thursday night.

The judges: LA Reid thought the song choice was lazy, but they did a decent job. Britney said it was pretty good and would be surprised if they did not make it through. Simon said it was a reminder of why he fell in love with them as a group in the first place.

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Fifth Harmony

Tate Stevens: “Fall” by Clay Walker

My thoughts: It was good. This genre seldom moves me so it’s not his fault. I don’t like the overaffect of his face when he tries to emphasize a feeling/meaning in the song lyric. His eyes almost go crossed. I’m certain he’ll be through in the finals, though.

The judges: Britney thought it was a direct hit. Demi said he deserved this. He did amazing and he was so talented. Simon said it was a great song, that he had made his mark here and he did enough to get himself into the finals. LA Reid said he was great every time.

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Tate Stevens