More family bonding time! Someone flew Vino Alan's mom and son Sky out to Hollywood (too bad they couldn't spring for CeCe Frey, huh? not really) and it was really cute seeing Sky tell his dad, "I always trusted you, believed in you." It's clear they're on good terms and Vino simply can't provide for someone he loves right now. Reconnecting with family allowed him to "sing through love, not pain" (L.A. Reid's MVP moment of the episode for sure, not that there was any competition) on his Diva Week rendition of Tina Turner's "Let's Stay Together." The whole segment was sappy, but whatever, I was buyin' what they were sellin'. It's hard not to root for someone on this show who has a really strong voice. It just is. I also liked the choice to have Vino sing the first third or so of the song all by himself with just a light synth behind him. And his zest for the act of touching front-row-cheerers' hands -- usually so awkward to watch! -- is oddly convincing. I've started to see Vino Alan as a slightly less cheesy, shorter version of Joey Fatone. It's not the worst way to be.
Simon wanted Vino to only sing "bigger kinds of songs" because Vino has "a voice designed for what I call a 'moment'" -- but L.A. disagreed, calling "Let's Stay Together" a great platform for a classic voice. "Like, what is pop?" Vino wondered aloud to close out the segment. There's something to ponder. (THE ANSWER IS PEPSI.)
"I JUST STUMBLED," slurred Khloe. We knew that!
Learning more about the contestants' past/real lives can really only be a good thing in terms of how well we can tolerate them today. Emblem3's pre-performance package spotlighted Drew, the member of the trio who's not related to the two brothers (and that dad who's always around). Drew struggled with "finding his identity" and dropped out of high school and basically got a new lease on life when they started this band. "Finishing life -- that's what you can do," suggested this random beach bum in his early 20s with frosted tips, directly toward the camera. AND I BOUGHT IT! For a few seconds, anyway. I don't know, that whole package was just endearing. The mind control is working!!! I didn't notice any glaring problems with their cover of Alicia Keys' "No One" (save for the eye-rolly close-up of the "heart hand" at the beginning, but that's not their fault) and the judges were all on board. I could have done without all those "popular kids" from central casting "woh-woh"-ing in the background, but hey, popular kids like Emblem3! You gotta give the popular kids what they want.
"I genuinely believe that I saved the best for last," began Demi, and I can genuinely say that CeCe Frey's blisteringly foul cover of "All By Myself" was the worst performance of the night. She hit that one note -- the strongest in the song, the one where it's legit to just shout -- and it all looked very pretty for a few seconds, wind machine on full blast, CeCe's fried locks fluttering from the shock. But the rest was just a disaster. "Oh my God," said L.A., so right away you knew he was lying. "I'm just at a loss for words. You sang the song really well. But you always sing really well, so I don't know what to say." Well at least that last sentence was true. "Sorry, I just don't get it," monotoned Britney, and hilariously no one asked her to please expand on that. Simon said she'd have been better off singing that song all by herself in an empty room.
Womp-womp. No California trip for CeCe's loved ones after all. The post office needs her. It's the holidays, don'tcha know?
Will anyone vote for CeCe or will she land at the bottom again? What's more boring -- The X Factor performances or Demi Lovato's commentary? Who'd you like the best tonight? Discuss. I'll see you back here tonight after the results. And remember -- the hero lies in you.
Ask Annie anything about 'The X Factor' -- or whatever -- below.