'X Factor' feud: Simon Cowell rips Demi Lovato's choices for Jennel Garcia, Paige Thomas and CeCe Frey
After the show, Lovato's top three contestants -- Jennel Garcia, Paige Thomas and CeCe Frey -- were united in support of their mentor.
"It's a competition for everybody, the contestants and the judges," Thomas tells Zap2it. "All of us put hard work and effort into what we do, this is something we believe in. People like to say Demi attacked back, but I don't think she attacked back, she just believes in what she's doing, she's passionate about it and she's standing firm in it."
Cowell's remarks became increasingly more cutting throughout the night. He started relatively soft after Thomas' performance of Berlin's "Take My Breath Away," noting: "I think Madame Lovato could've used a little more imagination in the production of the song."
After Garcia's performance of Joan Jett's "I Love Rock and Roll," Cowell ramped up his attack. "I don't like what Demi has done to the way you look," Cowell told Garcia. "I really mean that. You are unrecognizable from the person we first saw." Lovato was fuming. "Obviously you're trying to ruin what I've done," she complained before pointing out how enthusiastic the studio audience was during the performance.
Garcia tells us she appreciates Cowell's perspective but she doesn't take the judges' banter too seriously: "It's fun, it's part of the entertainment of the show." And she has no plans to revert back to the way she looked before her "X Factor" makeover. "At first, I wasn't sure," she allows. "But I love the way I look now. This is me!"
Cowell reserved his harshest criticism for Frey's performance of Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger": "I think anything recognizable about you from the beginning has been thrown away," he told Frey. "And this song choice was just horrible. Absolutely horrible. Once again, no imagination. CeCe, you are being taken into a direction you shouldn't be going in to. I think you should be making your own song choices."
"The judges have very valid points in the critiques that they make," Frey notes. "But I also think it's important that they stay unbiased. I know each judge is trying to win, but they need to give honest advice whether they're competing or not. Sometimes the competitiveness between them is so intense."
However, Lovato wasn't holding grudges when it came to evaluating the groups Cowell is mentoring. "You guys got me so hyped!" she exclaimed after hip-hop trio Lyric 145's nutty and completely unexpected performance of "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious."
And then she snuck in a little dig at their mentor, Cowell: "Who knew that in that rusty old brain there were some fresh, cool, hip thoughts?"