The X Factor recap: On the Edge

The top six acts compete for four spots in next week's semifinals
Ep. 22 | Aired Dec 5, 2012

EDGE OF THE SAME OLD STORY Right on the limb is where CeCe knows she'll be tonight.


The viewers had spoken and they wanted "Forever Young" from Emblem3, caught in a digital blue sandstorm with the middle one wearing a baseball cap that said "hi." Oh hello, Wes. I know your name too. All three of these guys looooooove to find the camera and make sure they're gazing straight into it dreamily, but especially Wes. This song was such a snoozer, honestly. I got so bored. I'M TURNING INTO DEMI LOVATO. "You've been really, really good tonight," said Simon. "Emblem3 have landed." Whoa, s---, are they aliens like Carly?

Hell to the no they aren't! Once again Carly Rose Sonenclar proved herself to exist in an otherworldly class set apart from the rest of the contestants/humans. She has taken on Beatrice Miller's former role as "angsty adolescent from the 1990s" and sang flawlessly on a stripped-down rendition of Justin Bieber's very upbeat "As Long As You Love Me." I can't find anything to criticize so I will be shallow and say I preferred Carly's rehearsal outfit with the patterned fishnets and jaunty hat to her mopey performance outfit and old lady earrings.

Uh oh. Billowing purple smoke. Is magic coming, a la Once Upon a Time? Yes! Beyonce's "If I Were a Boy" is extremely difficult to sing, not that I've tried it (ahem) but I've certainly watched a bunch of caterwauling on reality TV that barely resembled B's winding original tune. There was one time when Carly had been copping her typical Serious Carly Struggle face for 20 or so seconds and all the angst was about to explode, and then I could have sworn she sang "I'll be your goat." I'm sure she didn't. The judges have nothing to say to her anymore really, but Demi did manage to sneak in an "I do wanna hear something uptempo." Simon quickly countered: "Don't listen to a single word of advice this one has said." Nice. Isn't he the one who hired her in the first place?

I was cringing heavily throughout Fifth Harmony's rehearsal package as villainous vocal coach Autumn, and then Simon himself, made a point to single out Normani for a lack of confidence. Girl does seem terrified, but maybe it's because they're creating plots for her and she has to follow them. Lauren stood and sang front and center on the group's "Set Fire to the Rain" cover, and I'm really loving her but I think Camila and even Dinah Jane were able to take on Adele a bit better. The group continued to receive criticism for not harmonizing very much at all, and Demi even said "there's a couple of you that should just be solo artists." Well duh, weirdo -- that's what they were trying to be from the start. Stop doing what we told you to do! Take it back! Reverse the passing of time!

"They should have called you Fifth Unison," quipped L.A. Reid, and I feel like the show should have taken an extra commercial break at this point just so he could have been booed anew for that "joke."

The girls performed what Simon called "annoyingly, a song by Demi Lovato" -- "Give Your Heart a Break," which lent itself well to Lauren's sparkly pop diva sensibilities as well as the general vibe I think this group should probably be aiming for in the real world. Demi graciously lied that she thought they'd sung it better than her. Simon nonchalanted "Thank you, Cruella" and went on to spin-doctor his group by rambling about girl power and how the show wouldn't be the same without them next week. It's like he really cares! You go, girls. (Not home.)

NEXT: Diamond, you're in a diamond, Diamond!

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