“The X Factor” got down to business on Season 2’s first live elimination show.
Each mentor was forced to pit two of their acts in a “sing-off” and then pick which one would get the boot. It was a swift and efficient way to send four acts home and reduce the Top 16 to a more manageable Top 12.
And the eliminations weren’t entirely predictable…
Demi Lovato and the Young Adults
Lovato went first and sent Jennel Garcia and Paige Thomas directly to the top 12, which left country crooner Willie Jones and pop wannabe CeCe Frey in the sing-off. Frey took on Irene Cara’s “Out Here On My Own” (from “Fame”) and knocked it out of the park. We know she can sing, but the Ke$ha-esque routine she did during the Top 16 performances didn’t really show that. Tonight was a totally different story. There wasn’t much Jones could do to compete, but he tried Ray Charles’ “You Don’t Know Me” and it once again fell somewhere between country and RnB without being very convincing as either.
The choice was clear and Lovato eliminated: Willie Jones.
L.A. Reid and the Over 25s
Reid opted to send country daddy Tate Stevens and soulful Vin Diesel impersonator Vino Alan directly to the top 12, so the sing-off came down to Jason Brock and David Correy. Correy did a solid job on a bare bones rendition of Kelly Clarkson’s “Since U Been Gone” (which admittedly robbed the song of much of its kick), while Brock was simultaneously more over the top yet more boring on Whitney Houston’s “One Moment in Time.” But L.A. must have been feeling guilty after disastrously saddling Brock with Jennifer Lopez’s “Dance Again” during the Top 16 performances…
Reid eliminated: David Correy. (Which really doesn’t make any sense, but if Brock doesn’t seriously step up his song choices he’s not going to last very long anyway.)
Britney Spears and the Teens
Spears sent Beatrice Miller and Carly Rose Sonenclar directly to the top 12, leaving blandly likable Arin Ray against perky chatterbox Diamond White in the sing-off. Surprisingly, Ray came to life on Whitney Houston’s “I Look to You,” demonstrating the most emotional connection to a song he’s shown so far. Then, White did the exact same thing on Elton John’s “Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word.” After both tried and failed to establish themselves as uptempo pop stars during the Top 16 performances, they bounced back to successfully remind the judges and viewers that they do have raw talent to spare.
Spears had a tough choice but eliminated: Diamond White.
Simon Cowell and the Groups
Cowell had the easiest decision of the night: sending Emblem3 and Lyric 145 directly to the Top 12 and pitting manufactured girl group 1432 against country Barbies Sister C in the sing-off. Considering all the challenges Sister C had faced on the show so far and their lackluster Top 16 performance, they had a lot to prove, and couldn’t quite do it with Miley Cyrus’ “When I Look at You.” 1432 made a much more dramatic choice with Demi Lovato’s “Skyscraper,” and earned the highest praise from Lovato herself: “You did better than the original singer,” she told them before Cowell made his choice.
We all knew it was coming, and Cowell eliminated: Sister C.
But he also announced that 1432 will get another name change, this time urging viewers to offer their suggestions on the official “X Factor” website.
What do you think, did the judges make the right calls tonight? Who’s your favorite in the Top 12?