Teens Falter Under Coach Britney Spears on First ‘X Factor’ Live Show

Carly Rose Sonenclar performs live on "The X Factor" (CR: Ray Mickshaw / FOX)

Till now, Carly Rose Sonenclar was one of the shining lights on “The X Factor,” a young prodigy who broke through into public consciousness during her first audition and has since impressed the judges with her otherworldly vocal maturity. In Britney Spears‘ hands, however, all that talent was for naught.

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Carly’s coach on the Teens team, Britney rightly pointed out that Carly needed to lighten up a bit and act her age. Ever since her audition of Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good,” Carly seemed a million years older than her tender 13. Her brilliant idea? Put Carly in a schoolgirl uniform a la Brit’s video for “Baby One More Time.”

There’s nothing worse for someone who seems too old to be forced to dress up like a young kid and look totally out of place, and that’s what happened.

Not only did Carly look pale and disconnected from her uniform, but she was surrounded by other kids who actually DO look and act their age–her age. It just made Carly look even more out of place. Plus, she sang another age-old standard, Etta James’ “Good Feeling.” Though she sounded great on her runs, the performance was the most disjointed of the night.

So Britney’s plan backfired with Carly, as it did with all of her other contestants. Some of the commentary from other judges about her team: “Stiff.” “Reserved.” “Mechanical.” “Tuning issues.” “Not your time.”

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The above criticism was for Arin Ray, Diamond White, Beatrice Miller and Carly. Arin Ray did a boring dance update of the Supremes’ “Keep Me Hanging On.” Diamond was cute on “Hey Soul Sister” but didn’t do any of the vocal acrobatics we’re used to from her. Beatrice gave a very strange performance of “Won’t Give Up on Us,” partly because of her crimped hair and outfit that was sort of Linda Perry circa 1992, all layered plaid and purple tie.

Britney insisted she was proud of her singers, and in a sparkly version of a matronly Amish costume, she came across as the caring mother hen of her brood. But overall, the team that was strongest going into the show had a very weak night.

Tonight, we’ll find out which of Britney’s students are at risk of going home. Her spot on the judges’ panel, however, is not up for re-election.

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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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