Since Tate Stevens jumped back to the top of the rankings last week on “The X Factor,” he seems in prime position to make it to next week’s finals. But as we’ve seen throughout the season, it’s not always easy to predict which acts will survive the weekly results shows.
Stevens wowed all four judges with his performance of Clay Walker’s love song “Fall” — which he dedicated to his wife less than one week after celebrating their 15th anniversary together — but Britney Spears felt like Stevens’ freewheeling first song, Craig Morgan’s “Bonfire,” wasn’t his best.
“That’s fine, let her do it,” Stevens says in a post-show interview about Spears’ comments. “Drink a little haterade every once in awhile, that’s fine. I don’t think [what Spears said] was really that bad. She didn’t think it was my best performance, so it’s fine. I take ’em, and I use what I can out of each criticism. If I can’t use anything, I don’t pay it any mind.”
Stevens has his eyes firmly on the prize at this point. He’s hoping to make it to the finals, and ultimately go all the way. “I have to have a career when this is over, at whatever point that is,” Stevens muses. “That’s my goal now. Hopefully y’all fall in love with me and what I do enough so that when I leave this show I can go do this forever.”
When he’s asked to size up the competition, Stevens reveals he believes one act really rose to the top in the semi-finals: “You know what, Emblem3 did great,” he says. “Carly [Rose Sonenclar]’s great, but I don’t think that [tonight] was some of her best work. She’s amazing, but I really believe Emblem3 tonight really stepped it up. On both songs it was really them, even though it wasn’t their material. I think it was really Emblem3’s night. I’m not bashing anyone. But the feeling backstage was Emblem3 really stepped up tonight, they really showed up.”
Looking ahead to the finale, Stevens is excited about the possibility of performing with a superstar act. He can’t comment on who made the shortlist of contenders, but did rule out one name. Stevens asked if one of his personal idols — Garth Brooks — might be available, but that wasn’t to be.
First, he’ll have to survive one final elimination. And while Stevens remains grateful for how far he’s come, he feels like he also has the most to lose.
“The kids — I call them kids because they’re all younger than me — the rest of the competition, they have mom and dad,” Stevens notes. “They can go home and regroup. I am mom and dad. There’s none of that for me. It’s all or nothing, really. Hopefully America sees that. Hopefully America is like, ‘This guy, we want him to go through, we want him to win.’ I didn’t come here to lose. I didn’t come here to take second.”
Watch Stevens’ “X Factor” semi-final performances below: