The X Factor recap: Bonfire of the Vanities

Two of the top 4 acts take on the Beatles. Are these judges/mentors for real?!
Ep. 24 | Aired Dec 12, 2012

FLAMES ON THE SIDE OF MY FACE Tate Stevens clued into what his fans really wanted to hear: songs about fire.


Okay. Carly Rose Sonenclar. She's flawless and talented beyond her years and I get it. I actually liked the vocal and the visual on "Your Song" better than anything else from her in recent memory -- I though the shiny gold pants, edgy lace top and bowler hat made juuuust enough of a kicky/cabaret statement without going over the top, and the outfit matched the intrigue of her slyly lilting vocal if that makes sense. As I've said before, just seeing where she'll take each note is a delight. I did agree with Simon that too much was happening throughout the performance (hello children's choir!) and that Carly seemed hesitant out on that thin elevated runway all by herself. But this is the vocal performance I'd want to hear most on an actual album once this is all over, hands down. Along with Tate's two numbers, this was the best of the night. She's like a musical scientist, this one! And of course, an alien.

I gotta say I lost a whole lotta love for Carly after the second round, though! I cringed twice during this segment -- once when she pretended she was nervous about the playing the piano on John Lennon's "Imagine," and then again during the performance when she threw in a ridiculous high note where one should really not exist in this song -- not ever, not even on Simon Cowell's reality show. I really wish she'd done the whole thing at the piano, with those loving zoom-ins of her hands and delicate charm bracelets, instead of winding up for an unnecessary "And the world will be as" [deep breath] "WAHHHHHHHHN!" Ack! No. Not a fan. We already know she can do that! It made the whole thing seem precocious (despite the "aging diva" general presentation and outfit) and a bit sterile.

Emblem3 decided on "Baby I Love Your Way" for their contestants' choice round, because Wes and Keaton's mom used to have it on in the car while she ran errands. I can respect that. I have a profound love of Motown for the same reason. Good ol' L.A. was thrilled because the Peter Frampton classic is one of the songs he knows! So it all worked out.

In a totally orchestrated conversation backstage, the guys decided to follow Demi's advice about using the stage and touching the writhing humans who have made it their lives' work to see Emblem3 in the flesh. And they sure did! Drew (frosted tips, constantly squinting, not related to Wes and Keaton) traveled the deepest into the humanity quicksand, then emerged triumphant back onstage to titillate just the front row. Vocally this was on par with some of their best performances, which is to say it was pretty decent. I had trouble avoiding full-on hypnotism from the huge, spinning graphics of their three faces on TVs -- on my TV! Twice removed from "reality"! I'm telling you it was a trip. L.A. recited his carefully scripted line about this finally being the time he could consider them as viable recording artists, Britney called them "way more than a boy band" (no), and that was that. Well. Not yet.

"That had a little RASTA feel to it! I was feeling it!" oozed Mario Lopez. Are you so turned on right now?

NEXT: Hey, maybe Simon deserves $5 million every time he keeps his eyes open

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