How did Simon Cowell manage to finagle things so that we’d end up with two of his godawful groups in the Top 4 on “The X Factor”? Leave it to the producer/mastermind of the music industry to trick us into keeping this irrelevant teen fodder in our lives for another week, while other barely talented young adults and teens and old people (by “X Factor” standards) are roaming free trying to make it on their own, without so much as an arch of Demi Lovato’s eyebrow for support.
As we go into the penultimate week of the show, we’ll take a look at the remaining contestants to determine who might win $5 million and who might be all but forgotten in a few weeks’ time. The teen prodigy? The country oldster? The Californians who hate to wear sleeves? Or a group whose name is false advertising?
As of now, Tate stands at the top of the leaderboard, and he also started there when we first became aware that there even was a leaderboard. Could this country guy bookend the show with the number-one ranking? His best performance was the week he did Keith Urban’s “Somebody Like You,” because, if you’re like the many non-country-fans watching the show, you’ve probably never heard this song before. It sounded like something brand new; something Tate might record one day. He was more fully formed here than any other week, even if he did come in second that week.
Tate’s worst performance came the next week, when he sang “Livin’ On a Prayer” (and subsequently came in first). Not that he shouldn’t do Bon Jovi; I mean, everyone should do Bon Jovi. But if you’re gonna sing that song, you gotta hit the high notes, and Tate didn’t even try.
Conclusion: Even when he’s at his most mediocre, Tate still places high on this show. He has a pretty commanding chance at the win.
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Carly Rose Sonenclar
The Broadway baby might only be 13, but came to the show with more maturity as a performer than all of the Young Adults combined. Always in either first or second place, she’s looked like a sure winner from the start. But can she steal Tate Stevens’ country thunder? Carly’s best is pretty much any and every performance, but if we had to pick, we’d go with “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” for doing a syncopated jazz version that you don’t normally get to hear on these kinds of shows. A vocal exercise that was equal parts technique and unbridled emotion.
Her worst was her first live show, when Britney Spears’ misguidance led her to a mashup of “Good Feeling” and “Something’s Got a Hold on Me” replete with backup dancers and schoolgirl uniforms. It was like something particularly rancid from the cutting room floor of the “Glee” offices.
Conclusion: Carly’s seemed to have it in the bag since her very first audition, and it would be a pity not to give this girl $5 million for single-handedly keeping this show from being completely and utterly craptastic. On the other hand, she’s giving this show a good name just by being on it; she deserves more, and could probably do a lot better without having to be in the same sentence as “craptastic.”
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This California trio was a breath of fresh air during boy band auditions, because they didn’t sing Backstreet Boys. But they’ve never been able to live up to their initial hype, instead falling into a One Directional mold courtesy of their coach Simon Cowell. Their best performance, by far, was their audition, in which they sang original music and seemed like something totally new. On the live shows, they probably did their best the first week, with Matisyahu’s “One Day.”
In subsequent weeks, they’re edge has become dulled with boring song choices and an utter lack of movement. As Demi Lovato put it after their abominable “Just the Way Your Are,” they’re like “a downgraded version of the Jonas Brothers five years ago.”
Conclusion: Despite the bells and whistles of three cute guys following in the forced footsteps of One Direction, these guys have displayed so little substance, it’s hard to believe they’d remain in anyone’s memory after the show is over.
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Formerly known as LYLAS, then formerly known as 1432, this group named by popular vote is once again misnamed. Though they displayed some fine harmonies at the judges’ “houses” performance of “Impossible,” they have since failed on the harmony front. Plus, their backstory as brand-new besties is contrived and silly. It’s hard to believe that five former solo artists are all so willing to give up their individual identities for a packaged group that so dissolves them of personality, it’s impossible to remember their individual names.
Their worst week was “I’ll Stand By You.” It was cheap. Ally (okay, I do know one of their names’) had just lost her grandfather, and the whole performance consisted of the five girls singing separate parts, not harmonizing, not interacting, and lots of close-ups on Ally, the cameras hoping she was maybe crying.
Conclusion: Sure, they showed some promise after they were first formed, at the judges’ house performance, but have since managed to be just underwhelming enough to stay under the radar and coast through to the Top 4. This has got to be their last week.
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Our Prediction: The leaderboard has told us many things over these last few weeks. In particular, it’s shown that anyone not in the Top 2 doesn’t stand a chance to win this thing. Our guess, if other shows like this have any precedence, is the male country singer wins, with the young girl with unsurpassed talent coming in second. Though we wish it would be the other way around.