After a season filled with Simon's eye rolls, Britney's stankfaces, L.A. Reid's staggering indifference, and Demi Lovato -- all so compelling! -- it's sometimes hard to remember what this show's supposed to be about: the contestants! And money. Mostly money. Three acts competed for the unbelievable $5 million recording contract in tonight's finals. Fifth Harmony = five uniquely talented singers picked to live in a girl group and have their lives sequined. Carly Rose Sonenclar is a pitch-perfect 13-year-old seemingly on her ninth life of superstardom. And then there's country crooner Tate Stevens, a "family man" (reinforced out loud four times this episode) who years ago gave up a chance at surefire fame and fortune to raise some kids.
I could go on and on about how annoying I find the show's ever-growing disdain of Tate's decent, modest, public works job back home as a depressing alternative to the glamorous life of an X Factor winner. But what's the point? It's almost over. You can check out my wordy assessment of this disappointing season here. For now, let's get to the performances....
The judges engaged in delightfully stilted chats with their charges before the "Song of the Season" round. Britney Spears hilariously pretended she remembered the first time she saw Carly: "You were really shy and you had flip flops on, and it was so adorable." I think we can all remember where we were the night Carly Rose Sonenclar wore flip flops.
Of course we'd already heard Carly earn an A+ on"Feeling Good" during the Knockout Round, so I took this time to become really distracted by her kid-playing-dress-up-in-a-grownup's-closet costume. One thing Carly did tonight that she had not done before was a questionable tongue wag during the extreme close-up at the end of the song. I can't tell if the suggestive lick-lipping was "trying to be sexy" or "hungry for the win." Let's just go with the latter!
Two noteworthy tidbits from Carly's Westchester, NY hometown celebration: That effusive mayor or some other sort of official went wayyyyy overboard with a sonnet about how Carly's "great talent is truly a gift from the gods," and the woman next to the mayor was about to collapse under the weight of at least six dozen tiny cupcakes. Why did they need to be displayed like that? And why all of them? I was really, really entertained and I thought it was amazing. OMG, Britney's boilerplate 'X Factor' critique, get out of my head!
NEXT: More hometown heroes; L.A.'s pants blatantly catch fire