In the second live results show of the season, “The X Factor” made the bold move of unveiling exactly how every single one of the Top 13 acts placed in audience voting. And there were definitely some surprises in the mix.
L.A. Reid’s “over 25″ group scored two of the top three spots thanks to darkhorse-turned-frontrunners country dad Tate Stevens and soulful Vino Alan. And teen sensation Carly Rose Sonenclar, mentored by Britney Spears, cemented her early favorite status by coming in second.
But Simon Cowell’s boy band and heartthrob hopefuls Emblem3 placed a middling sixth. Demi Lovato’s three acts in the “young adults” category managed seventh (Jennel Garcia), eighth (Paige Thomas) and twelfth (CeCe Frey). (Check out the full list and results recap here.)
“You’re never gonna be able to predict what America’s gonna vote for,” Lovato said in the press room after the show. “The best thing you can do is just hope that you’ve done your job and what you’re doing is gonna make a difference in [the contestants’] performances and hopefully improve what they’re doing. I think we’ve got some work to do. [The rankings are] definitely a wake-up call.”
“I think it was a wake-up call for everybody,” Lovato continues. “L.A. was shocked. Maybe Britney was shocked. Simon was definitely shocked, but I was glad to see that some of his people didn’t do as well as I thought they would!”
“It’s something I’ve wanted to try,” Cowell says about the behind-the-scenes decision to reveal the public vote rankings. “This was always information no one knew but it’s changed the whole dynamic of the show now. I think it’s made it more interesting.”
“If I had done this when One Direction was on the show [in the U.K.] a similar thing would’ve happened. I thought they were winning every week, but what we found out afterwards was they didn’t win any week! If the public had known that, I think the course of the competition would’ve changed. I think if you’re an Emblem3 fan or Fifth Harmony fan or Lyric 145 fan, you’re gonna now go ‘I’ve gotta really pick up the phone to vote and I’ve gotta work harder.'”
Cowell is already thinking about what changes he can make to get more votes next week, saying he wants a better wardrobe for Fifth Harmony and a stronger song choice for Emblem3. “Their confidence is going to be dented, no question about it,” he says about Emblem3. “But it’s like when you put a record out and it comes in at #8 when you wanted it to be #1. You’ve got to put a better record out. That’s the way it goes.”
But Lyric 145 is a special case, Cowell believes drastic changes could damage the fun-loving hip-hop trio: “If we tried to compromise it would be wrong for their future career. Sometimes you’re in a difficult position, do you ruin their outside chances by turning them into something that’s gonna get votes or do you stay true to them as the kind of artist they want to be. I don’t want to change that.”
Lovato says she plans to make sure her artists “stay true” to themselves, but she admits that’s a challenge with Frey, who hasn’t quite found her identity yet: “I think it’s hard to know who CeCe is because I’m not sure that CeCe knows who CeCe is. She has the drive, she has the determination, but I don’t think she knows exactly what direction she wants to go with it.”
One judge who may not have to change a thing is Reid, and Cowell isn’t happy about that. Before the live shows began, Cowell predicted that Reid had no shot at winning the competition. “Can we rewind the tape and change that?” Cowell joked tonight. “Let me tell you, L.A. was as surprised as I was. He was very sulky when he got that team and now he’s got his confidence back, it’s disgusting!”