The X Factor recap: Run Around and Desert You

One of the Top 8 acts leaves her mentor's wishes in the dust; Britney Spears and Rickroll us in their own way
Ep. 20 | Aired Nov 28, 2012

PAIGE KNOWS THE GAME And she's gonna play it.


Paige Thomas took a big risk by defying the wishes of her coach Demi Lovato, who wanted her to lose the crazy dresses and all the dancers and deliver a stripped-down, vulnerable performance. She wanted her to be nude! But they ended up compromising and Paige wore a white tank top, black leather jacket, and roughly 60 percent of a pair of light jeans to drawl a slow rendition of "Never Gonna Give You Up." Paige's version of Rickrolling us involved her seducing a smoke-surrounded ladder, grinding up against a pole on a stark metal platform, then finally joining Her People (a whole slew of backup dancers) for the last third of the song.

Dare I say this was her best performance yet? Obviously hers isn't the greatest voice in the competition, but she's a good little actress and I like that Paige has a vision for herself as a "total package artist" -- don't hate the player, right? -- and isn't afraid to just blatantly go the sex route. The way Paige slipped one hand into her pocket while sauntering over to the next stop on her obstacle course was almost as sensual as L.A.'s "I just sniffed something" reaction to her glory note re: not doing it for any other guy.

Simon kept interrupting Demi re: her failure to coach, and I don't feel it's worth transcribing, but just know that they're "fighting" this week.

The death of little Ally's grandpa took over Fifth Harmony's segment to the point where I'm not sure it mattered what they sang. I was in tears throughout their rehearsal package from the footage of Ally telling her grandparents about The X Factor, then receiving the doom call and being consoled by her four new soul sisters. God, they are good together. I'm talking about just as people -- you couldn't cast a better group of girls to interact with each other not in song. I dig all the shoulder squeezes and hand-holding and love bugging that's going on.

I don't know if I'm quite as convinced about them as a girl group onstage, but maybe that's because "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)" suffered from too little movement by the humans and WAY too much movement by the giant animations of the girls posing sexily in front of threatening flames. I agreed with L.A. (the horror!) that it made no sense to have the girls sing in unison. But I do have to hand it to Lauren for soloing most of the song, front and center. She sounded, and they all looked, amazing.

NEXT: A beautiful L.A. Reid/Tate Stevens hand-eye coordination snafu

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