The sound of the Top 12 acts is something not quite atrocious. Only you can save them from eternal hunger and despair!

By Annie Barrett
November 08, 2012 at 08:23 AM EST
FOX
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“As soon as you vote us off, we’ll die.” –everyone on The X Factor

Right? The sob stories are really intensifying this season and the battle for ultimate destitution is SO ON! This week Demi Lovato and L.A. Reid in particular engaged in scripted sit-downs with their team members so they could learn about these ragamuffins’ low-interest occupations and general poverty-stricken ways. This is their one and only shot at success in life, so you cretins better vote! Show me an X Factor act that isn’t homeless and I will show you an X Factor act that is going home.

Tonight’s theme — not that it matters in the slightest — was “Songs from Famous Movies,” which was basically an excuse for Diamond White to sing “I Have Nothing” (but I feel like that would have happened anyway). Let’s do it!

But first, a special thanks to reader Paul Bianco for submitting irrefutable proof that Demi Lovato was trying to channel Shannen Doherty in Heathers.

What’s your damage, Demi?

TEENS

Arin Ray asserted his potential as a viable solo artist with an all-leather getup (save for one random knee band) and five sexy backup mamas in race car bodysuits on “American Boy.” He sounded good! No real issues and Mario Lopez — apparently a judge now — enjoyed the section where Arin rapped. In the first of many “night and day” allusions to the profound differences between this week’s and last week’s performances, Simon thought Arin had regained his confidence after winning the sing-off against Diamond White. (She’s baaaaaaack!) “You’re turning into a little pop star,” Mr. Cowell nonchalanted before yawning and taking a nap.

Beatrice Miller continues to dress like something The X Factor pulled out of a dumpster in the early 1990s. I’m so glad they did because what a voice! She’d been suffering from messed-up vocal chords throughout the week so I think “Iris” could have been much stronger, but her ease onstage is really genuine and I actually think she, along with Jennel Garcia, might be the most marketable acts in the bunch. L.A. Reid couldn’t quite award Beatrice with his coveted “chill bumps” (“OH NO!” –nobody) but he did tell Beatrice “The tone of your voice sounds like a hit record.” Absolutely agree. But does she have to wear 67 scarves? A mere 21 — one for every remaining hobo — would have been fine.

NEXT: Can Demi do anything right? Diamond White has returned and there she glimmered in DIAMONDS and an all-WHITE suit. I know it’s subtle, but do you get it? Are you smarter than a toddler? You will vote for Diamond White because she sparkles and is pure and has nothing! I appreciated her androgynous look on “I Have Nothing” and there’s no denying this girl is a true talent. It wasn’t a perfect performance. But she’s 13! When I was 13 I could barely speak. Damn braces.

“Diamond is ROCKING the white tonight,” botted Mario Lopez. Do you get it now? It’s her name.

Carly Rose Sonenclar has a big house in Westchester and a brother in college. Burn her at the stake! She was a total powerhouse (though delicate where she needed to be) on “It Will Rain,” and displayed some acting chops as she cried at the end. “I’ve got a feeling we’re watching a star in the making,” Simon said for seemingly the two billionth time in his long and storied reality TV career. “You should have closed the show because nobody can follow that,” reasoned Britney. Aw, poor Jason Brock.

Maybe Carly should go home, though — she also own a laptop.

YOUNG ADULTS

No one is prettier than Paige Thomas. How can someone look soooo beautiful in an extreme close-up on dueling six-story-high GIANT SCREENS? Unfortunately, despite an impressive turn as a flying gladiator/goddess at the top of “Take My Breath Away,” her overall performance didn’t blow L.A. Reid away. “I really want great from you, because I know you’re capable,” he said. (He has no idea who she is.) Simon and Demi then engaged in a little tiff about the production of Paige’s segment. Demi was all “Look! Flames!” and Simon was all “No, change the song.” It’s so hard to know what exactly should be overblown week to week. The truth is Paige’s vocals were not up to snuff. But who’s listening to vocals?

Simon continued his Demi-bashing after Jennel Garcia‘s “I Love Rock and Roll,” warning Jennel’s coach that the song was a mere carbon copy of Joan Jett and — as he’d said with Paige — we don’t want this to turn into a karaoke competition. Wait. Then what is it? At some point can everyone just get over themselves and admit that The X Factor, The Voice, and yes, even American Idol are karaoke competitions? They are [Chris Traeger voice] *lit-ruh-lly* the definition of karaoke. It’s kids singing famous songs, and they can improvise if they’re up for it/drunk enough. Deal with it. Anyway, I thought Jennel looked and sounded fantastic. I can’t quite come to terms with Simon’s harping on her supposed “makeover.” This week Jennel’s hair had been straightened. Next week she can go back to her original waves. What the heck is the problem?

Rising up, back on her paws, was good old Leopard Face CeCe Frey (like French fries, thanks Mario) on “Eye of the Tiger.” It was just a real s—show, basically. No deliberately humanizing backstory package for CeCe this week — she just sourpussed about growing up on a farm for awhile — so her severe ‘tude during the judges’ thanks-but-no-thanks comments probably won’t go over very well with voters. She may have killed it vocally during last week’s sing-off, but this fire-based performance — complete with male backup dancers struggling to break free from a rope wall (awesome) — was the opposite of that. She just seemed out of breath and defeated. It’s hard to root for someone so sullen.

NEXT: Who can touch the most teen hands? The answer may surprise you THE OLDS

I’m really beginning to appreciate Vino Alan, and it’s not just because his name means “wine.” I think he knows the typical flame-throwing circus that goes on up on that stage would look bad on him, so he may have insisted on a stripped-down setting for “When a Man Loves a Woman.” Whatever — it worked. He did enough with the song to “make it his own,” practically sobbing on the last “you’re my woman” and kneeling down to deliver an impromptu “Love conquers hate. East coast!” shoutout. I found it amusing when Vino ran over to TOUCH MORE HANDS in the front row (somewhere Phillip Phillips is cringing, but probably not because he’s not watching), but Simon definitely did not. Simon had been arguing once again with Demi over whether Vino could be a “pop star.” Had Demi ever heard of Susan Boyle? So that’s that: Vino Alan is Susan Boyle. Remember to vote. “He goes home to nothing — not even home,” L.A. lifelessly pleaded with us.

Tate Stevens! Here is a solid country artist who hates his icky job back home, so please keep him in (even though he has a job and a home — that jerk). Flanked by eight explosive canisters of fiery goodness on “Wanted Dead or Alive,” Tate looked and sounded every bit the part of a successful reality competition star. I’m sure if he recorded some original tunes and put something out, it’d sound great. But is he compelling as a character? I’m not quite seeing the star quality in person yet. “I think he looks like a pop star,” claimed Demi — a ringing endorsement for a guy trying to be a country artist.

“There’s something about Mr. Entertainment that’s really entertaining.” Good God, L.A. Reid, can you even TRY to pretend to care? Jason Brock resembled what Simon called “a singer in an Italian restaurant” on a gilded cabaret rendition of “I Believe I Can Fly.” Britney recited the one line she’d had to memorize for Jason really well here: “I just felt like it was a Vegas lounge act.” Simon continued his rant against solid food and carbs with a seriously unfunny knock on Jason’s weight, suggesting he could barely jump up a few inches let alone fly. Totally unnecessary.

NEXT: Supercalifragilisticexpi-L.A.-doesn’t-like-it GROUPS

Is Emblem3 the type of thing that kids are into these days? To me it seems like they’re just running around and shouting over each other, but I’m also hyper-aware that this is a huge blind spot for me. It’s like the frequency Emblem 3 is operating on just doesn’t even register to my ears. They did a mashup of “My Girl” and “California Gurls” with a bit of One Direction mixed in there. L.A. called it “perfect,” Britney was “really blown away,” Simon called them “Everything a band like you should be,” and the Khlomeister (sixth judge) thought they could go on tour right now. At one point in the middle of the song, Drew — the non-blood-relation — did this bizarre running start for what I thought would be a cool floor-slide but ended up just being more running but with a slight curve to it, and I was like, “Huh.” Cool story.

Okay, this is just funny, and a good example of The X Factor being as X Factor-y as possible in the best possible way: Lyric 145 recreated “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” from Mary Poppins — as a rap song! This performance had everything: weird contacts, sparkly Hammer pants, a Cheshire Cat even though that’s from a different movie, and crazy black-and-white-patterned figures writhing around in front of a backdrop of their native print. Lyric Da Queen even got all up in L.A. Reid’s business to say the imaginary word backwards, which is maybe the hardest thing anyone’s done on TV, ever. Pouting that they’d broken his mic, L.A. said he “completely hated it” but admitted it was “really good.” Oh come on, L.A. Just admit this colorful mess was practically perfect in every way, and let’s move on. It’s almost time for tea.

The public has spoken and it said “Demi, why so serious?” and then it named the five-person girl group on The X Factor Fifth Harmony. Sure, that works. The ladies — who seem to be getting along famously, no gimmicks — sat with crossed legs on stools for a heartfelt cover of that Twilight song, “A Thousand Years.” Camila, the one in the middle who began and ended the performance, is such a clear standout — not in terms of showmanship but just purely based on her voice. It’s so distinct — even though they’re all good! I wonder if she could give Carly and Beatrice a run for their money over in the solo cat-uh-gry. But I like her better in this group anyway. No way are they going home. Lauren and Dinah had some quality runs in there, too, and what’s really nice is that there doesn’t seem to be a diva in the bunch.

“I can genuinely feel something special,” said Simon, the master orchestrator of the series. Hey, when he knows, he knows! But at least in this case, we know, too. Go girls!

Who did you like this week? Who’s going home….to nowhere?

Follow @EWAnnieBarrett

Read more:

10 Ways to Improve ‘The X Factor’

The X-Factor: Meet the Top 16

Ask Annie anything about ‘The X Factor’ — or whatever — below.

Episode Recaps

Simon Cowell, Demi Lovato, Kelly Rowland, and Paulina Rubio judge Season 3.
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