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The X Factor recap: On the Edge

The top six acts compete for four spots in next week’s semifinals

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X Factor

The X Factor

TV Show
Current Status:
Reality TV

I love how after they run all the little clips at the end of The X Factor‘s performance show, there’s this really gross “I give up” sound explosion — super off-key and dramatic, as if the viewership itself has just gurgled out its commentary on what it has recently digested. It’s just so appropriate on so many levels!

This week we get to enjoy another DOUBLE ELIMINATION, because the show started with too many turkeys and now nothing can slow down the breakneck speed of televised dream-crushing — not even Turkey Day itself. Each of the Top 6 Acts performed twice — one “Unplugged” number and then something about Pepsi — I think; they barely mentioned it! — wherein the Actual Fans voted online to make song choice, costuming, staging, etc. decisions for the contestants.

“America can’t be wrong!” twinkled Mario Lopez, and sometimes I have to wonder if he has any idea what words mean, and any idea as to why those words, in that order, are 100% Pure Absurdity.

But let’s get to the sing-ging” (–L.A. Reid)!

CeCe Frey is “the last of the young adults,” which is just one of the fun ways The X Factor manages to often present itself in the style of a post-apocalyptic horror film. After going on a headphones date on a footbridge with Wes from Emblem3, CeCe had all the confidence she needed to take on Lady Gaga’s “Edge of Glory” for her “unplugged” round. I’ll admit CeCe very prettily hit some of the crucial high notes on this one, but she also wavered on so many others, and that’s just not something you wanna hear. I find myself rooting for her mid-song, only to regret it moments later. Was anyone else really annoyed by the way she sang the word “truth” as if it was “troath”?

CeCe’s cover of Katy Perry’s “Part of Me” was not as ludicrously staged as her Lady Marmalade sparklebarf, but the intention was there. I enjoyed the giant circle of “CECE” lights to suggest a HUGE VANITY MIRROR. But basically Leopard Face (you wanted those atrocious spots back, bitches!) was screeching the whole time and it was awful — like, SNL parody awful. Worse. But CeCe does have a certain je ne sais kitchy kitchy ya ya da da when she’s onstage. I’d almost call it compelling, if the vocals weren’t such a mess. Britney picked up on that. “You always do look like you’re having fun onstage.”

I have pretty much had it with skate bros Emblem3, who sat on stools all pensive and One Direction-style for “Just the Way You Are” after this incredibly long-winded segment about how they didn’t need to bounce around the stage to get votes…but then they were practicing with choreographer Brian Friedman anyway (for the second song, I guess), and does anyone really care? Big news that may have been obvious to you before: The tall blonde one who prefers bare arms and no shirts cannot really sing. Who knew? Nobody. His name is Drew. At least I know that. From Google. Oh, and he played guitar here, but to zero effect. I guess he’s not a multitasker. Demi’s critique was priceless here. First she claimed “You guys did great,” followed by “It wasn’t the best.” Wait, but how not-best was it exactly? “It’s like a downgraded version of the Jonas Brothers five years ago.” YES. YES. YES. I don’t care that someone probably wrote that for her (maybe even Simon). That’s funny and true. Next.

NEXT: Ugh, wait, still Emblem3