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November 26, 2012 - 9:01pm

'The X Factor' RECAP: Diva time

BY GIBSON JOHNS

FOX

Daily Arts Blogger Gibson Johns recaps the latest episode of “The X Factor.”

Last week’s “X Factor” results show saw the over-the-top Jason Brock unsurprisingly go home after Khloe and Mario revealed the contestant rankings following America’s vote. This is the first time a reality singing competition has done this and it provided a few surprises: Tate Stevens was the week’s top contestant and Vino Alan was the third — they’re both outstanding singers who I had thought would end up in the middle of the pack. Emblem3 was sixth and Beatrice was ninth, which are both lower positions than expected.

With two contestants going home tonight, last night’s diva-themed episode was a crucial one.

Jennel Garcia was criticized for not being herself — Demi had morphed her into her own mini-me and her performance bordered on karaoke. Although Jennel’s performance of “Proud Mary” was a step in the right direction, it still felt a little too much like an impersonation of Tina Turner. Regardless, she definitely improved over last week.

The show’s newly minted frontrunner Tate Stevens told us in his video introduction that he and his wife are high school sweethearts, which instantly made him even more likeable. His performance of “From This Moment On” was a bit shrieky, but the emotion he showed during the song overshadowed those imperfections. As much as I love Tate’s voice and relatable persona, I’m not convinced that he has the “X-Factor” and is worth a five million dollar recording contract.

Diamond White went from being eliminated one week to being the fourth-highest vote getter in the competition the next. Her version of Beyonce’s “Halo” had a few off-key parts but was overall impressive and she brought it all together towards the end. Her stage presence continues to amaze me and, unlike Tate, she is a total star.

Neither of Beatrice’s moms has a job, which puts even more pressure on her to do well on the show and is perhaps where all of her on-stage emotion stems from. Despite the unfortunate YOLO beanie she was sporting, Beatrice sounded phenomenal during her rendition of “Time After Time.” The arrangement bordered on boring, though, and Simon noticed. In response to Simon, Britney snapped, “Simon, she has more talent in her pinky that you do in your entire body.” BritBrit came to play tonight, y’all!

Simon has yet to get it right with Lyric145. They are so entertaining and have the potential to be a great hip-hop group, but they will never fulfill that potential if Simon keeps giving them songs like the mash-up of “E.T.” and “We Will Rock You” that they sang this week. They should be singing hip-hop songs, not weird mash-ups that force them to give chaotic performances on a cluttered stage. They’re definitely in danger of being eliminated.

Another person in danger of leaving is Arin Ray, who was ranked eleventh last week. We learned that he has a little crush on his duet partner from Bootcamp, Normani (who’s in Fifth Harmony). The segment was cute, but that doesn’t mean his performance was enjoyable. He sang Madonna’s “Crazy For You,” and although it was a good idea by Britney to strip it down this week, it was not the right song to do that with.

Demi wanted to get Paige Thomas away from karaoke this week so, naturally, she had her sing Donna Summer’s disco classic “Last Dance.” Talk about worst mentor ever. Jeez. Although Paige sounded the best she’s sounded in weeks during the first thirty seconds of the song, once it picked up her vocals turned to crap. She really sounded terrible. She ended the song well and had cool rhinestones on her lips, but it was another all-around mediocre performance from Paige.

Fifth Harmony does everything together, you guys. They even bake together. Go figure! No but really, these girls really seem to mesh well and it shows in their performances. They’re fun to watch even when they’re singing a ballad. Their performance of “Hero” had a few minor pitch issues, but they have developed incredible chemistry and near-perfect harmonies. As LA said, they’re totally loveable.

Perhaps the show’s true frontrunner Carly Rose Sonenclar sang “My Heart Will Go On” and she delivered another unbelievable vocal performance. The fact that this girl is thirteen years old is ridiculous. Demi’s critique was some stupid comment that was trying to be funny, but clearly it didn’t work. If Carly continues this streak of crazy vocals, it’s hard to see her leaving before the top three.

Vino Alan has undoubtedly become more likeable as the show has progressed and that showed during “Let’s Stay Together.” Demi said she was bored during his performance, but she doesn’t know what she’s talking about, so we’ll just ignore her. It’ll be interesting to see if Vino stays in the top three after America’s vote – the ranking was the one that surprised me the most.

Alicia Keys’ “No One” was a great song choice for Emblem3. Last week’s performance was fun, but it was far from perfect vocally. This week, though, they sounded on-point and were less manic on stage. It was hard to find anything wrong with what they delivered this week, but their sixth place ranking from last week is a bit concerning.

Although Demi thinks she saved the best for last, she actually arguably saved the worst for last. The idea of CeCe Frey performing “All By Myself” is disconcerting … and the performance was even more so. I think the only note that was on pitch was the one big note, which, as impressive as it was, put more emphasis on how horrible the rest of the performance was. On top of that, Demi acted like a five year-old during the judges’ comments.

Who Should Go: CeCe Frey and Arin Ray
Who Will Go: CeCe Frey and Lyric145