Settle in, folks!
It’s time for two hours of “The X Factor,” in which the judges will stall and twiddle their fingers for many, many minutes before getting around to eliminating one act per category.
Click through for all of the live-blogging excitement [because live-blogging a full day of “Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2” press conferences obviously wasn’t enough fast-typing from me for one day].
8:01 p.m. ET. Hyperbolic Announcer Man says that tonight is going to be a BLOODBATH. Can’t wait.
8:02 p.m. After going see-thru last night, Khloe Kardashian Odom is wearing a vintage blue leather couch.
8:02 p.m. Here come The Judges. Demi Lovato looks like she’s going streaking. Britney Spears looks like her dress and her collar don’t match. And I look like a blogger who knows nothing about fashion.
8:03 p.m. Tonight is going to be tough for L.A. Reid, still whining about his category, or at least still celebrating the temper tantrum he threw over his category. Britney feels like her Teens are her children and tonight’s gonna be like “Britney’s Choice.” Demi says something about her contestants’ eyes. And Simon hasn’t made up his mind.
8:05 p.m. We’re starting with a recap of last night’s performances by the Young Adults, who were last night’s weakest group, in my opinion. Paige Thomas danced with a silver porcupine on her head, but didn’t sing. She calls this persona “Momma Madness,” apparently. Jennel Garcia was given a Demi Lovato “Single White Female” makeover and a strange song and wind show. Cece Frey was unremarkable and danced her way out of breath, forcing viewers to ponder the world’s need for a second Ke$ha. And Willie Jones was surrounded by distractingly hot dancers. But no matter what Mario Lopez says, there were no “great performances.”
8:10 p.m. The four Young Adults take the stage, each with a signature “wave.” Demi was very proud overall. The first act in the Top 12 is… Jennel Garcia. I can live with that. The second act in her Top 12 is… Paige Thomas. Given what we saw last night, that’s fair. So it’s Cece Frey versus Willie Jones for elimination.
8:12 p.m. “What are these tears for?” Khloe Kardashian Odom asks. I believe her confusion is a Terminator sort of emotional disconnect. “I know now why you cry, but it is something I can never do.” Khloe dodging Paige’s wide-brimmed hat is a bit awesome. But only a bit.
8:13 p.m. Well, we’re just rushing along, aren’t we.
8:13 p.m. Cece Frey marches out on the stage like she’s got something to prove. For no good reason, she’s warbling “Out Here On My Own” and wearing what I’m guessing is supposed to be her version of the Katniss Everdeen “Girl on Fire” dress. Without the dancing and the crawling on the stage, Cece is very good. This is vastly better than last night, because she’s able to control her voice and actually hit some notes. It’s a pageant performance, but it’s a solid pageant performance and Demi looks moved. Cece also looks moved. L.A. Reid thinks Cece just saved herself, even though he somehow doesn’t know the song. Britney, struggling to pronounce “Ke$ha,” thinks Cece pulled through with a powerful performance. Simon doesn’t understand why that wasn’t what Cece did last night. “This is why we liked you in the first place,” Simon says. Demi doesn’t get to comment.
8:21 p.m. It’s Willie Jones time, y’all! He’s doing “You Don’t Know Me,” because he really wants to prove that he’s as confused about his identity as Demi Lovato is. This is a second straight confirmation that these kids sing much better without all the madness around them. It’s not a great performance — Cece showed much more range and emotion — but it’s much better than last night, even without the sexy dancers. L.A. Reid calls Willie “good” and “unique.” Britney Spears isn’t sure where Willie fits in. Simon wishes he could mentor Willie Jones, because he needs somebody who understands what to do with his voice.
8:25 p.m. For vocal reasons, Willie should be going home. But for demo and marketability reasons, I can understand why Demi would keep Willie. People will like Willie and vote for him. People will hate Cece and they won’t vote for her. So… I’d understand either choice for Demi. In the end, Demi decides to send WILLIE JONES home. It appears that the advancing Cece Frey repeats “I’m sorry” over and over into Willie’s ear as she cries. “Life’s too short to just be plain and simple,” Willie says. “Go back to figure out what you need to do to make sure it’s your time,” Demi tells Willie cryptically.
8:30 p.m. Next on the hot seat? L.A. Reid’s Geriatrics. I vaguely remember last night’s performances. David Correy sang reasonably well, though he didn’t perform as well as he sang. Vino Alan was awful, but it was 100% L.A. Reid’s fault for choosing a stupid song and giving him a stupid stage show around him. Tate Stevens was sturdy and he’s a lock to advance. And Jason Brock was goofy and camptastic. I suspect L.A. Reid is going to give Vino and Jason the chance to redeem themselves for the choices their mentor made.
8:37 p.m. The Geriatrics return to the stage. Who will L.A. Reid put through? L.A. Reid thought all of his singers were really good, but he tells Jason that he failed him. Wait. You failed Vino, too! The first singer in the Top 12 is… Vino Alan. Holy cow. That’s bizarre. I’m not saying I wouldn’t have eventually put him through, but not without making Vino sweat a little. The second singer advancing is… Tate Stevens. Whew. Sanity restored. That means David Correy and Jason Brock are going to sing for their lives.
8:44 p.m. “This is the ultimate,” Vino says of advancing. Tate Stevens’ kids were “super excited.”
8:45 p.m. Who left Khloe Kardashian Odom alone on the stage?
8:45 p.m. David Correy’s up first to sing for his life. He’s doing an interestingly rearranged version of “Since U Been Gone.” I don’t like the arrangement, which has been doctored to give into all of his worst tendencies, over-extending notes for no reason and introducing pointless runs at the expense of melody. He’s better than this, but he needs mentoring and that mentoring has to include teaching him what to do with his arms. The thing where it looks like he’s pounding the stage from a standing position is really awkward after the fifth or sixth time in every performance. “Tonight I feel like you blew us away,” Britney says. Demi disliked the arrangement, calling it “way too forced.” Point to Demi! “It was a little bit melodramatic, a bit theatrical, but I can see how much this means to you,” Simon says.
8:49 p.m. On to Jason Brock… After the break.
8:53 p.m. Now Jason Brock? Whew. Ack. What’s with the horrible reverb? Stop! Jason is going smartly with a stripped down version of “One Moment in Time.” And, yes, it’s much better than last night. But is it true to what Jason is as a performer? Because if L.A. Reid is going to do to Jason what he did last night, what’s the point? On the other hand, if that’s who Jason Brock is, the show might as well give in and let him be that and see if people want to vote for him. Britney felt like Jason turned her into a fan. “There’s something really genuine about you, behind your eyes,” says Demi Lovato, who likes to look behind peoples’ eyes. Simon says he’s judging two horses who are coming in last in a race. “Having said that, compared to what you did yesterday, that was a million times better,” says backhanded compliment master Simon.
8:57 p.m. L.A. Reid tells Simon he’s being mean. He’s sending DAVID CORREY home, so Jason Brock is advancing. I think Simon is right, but I think L.A. Reid made what is pragmatically the correct choice. There’s a strong chance Jason Brock could be voted out next week, but there’s a slight chance that he could find a voting bloc and make a run of some sort. David Correy, in contrast, may have been better, but I can’t figure how he’d have made it into the Top 10, no matter how good he was.
9:04 p.m. Let’s spend a little time with Britney Spears’ Teens. Honestly, I thought all four members of this category were given mediocre mentoring that didn’t let them shine in the way they’re capable of shining. Arin Ray and Diamond White were given over-produced tracks meant to make them seem young, but not to let them sing. Carly Rose Sonenclar got a similarly odd production, but she showed she could sing anyway. And Beatrice Miller got the night’s second worst song choice (after Vino Alan), but still left no doubt that she’ll be better if she gets better material.
9:09 p.m. The Teens arrive to face judgement. I don’t understand Beatrice Miller’s personal style, but I know it’s unique. Perhaps that’s why Britney’s so confused about what to give Beatrice to sing. Britney’s proud of all of them and the way they’ve grown. The first act advancing to the Top 12 is… Beatrice Miller. It’s not based on last night’s performance, but I’m OK with that. The second act through is… Carly Rose Sonenclare. Yup. That makes sense, too.
9:11 p.m. Mario Lopez is backstage with an amusingly excited Beatrice, who’s exactly insecure enough to have noticed that the crowd was cheering more loudly for Carly.
9:12 p.m. Khloe was good last night off-the-cuff. She’s embarrassing when she’s asked to read prepared text. She makes simple sentences sound like they’re in a foreign language.
9:13 p.m. Another guy singing Whitney Houston as Arin Ray does “I Look To You.” And… AGAIN… this is better than last night, albeit with a couple bum notes. He gets an open-mouthed smile from a pleased Britney and he looks much less lost on stage than he did last night. L.A. Reid doesn’t understand why Arin had to sing to stay and that it would be a shame if he went home. “I think the girls in this audience are screaming for a reason,” Demi says. “That was a different league to last night,” Simon says, calling it “great.” “I think for you to leave the competition now would be a huge mistake,” Simon says, forcing Britney’s hand a little. I hope Diamond wasn’t backstage listening to those comments.
9:20 p.m. Oh. Right. We didn’t see Diamond White’s solo. I just assumed she did based on how the other three judges sent Arin Ray through. She sings “Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word.” This is tough for Britney. I think both Arin and Diamond are good enough to have long runs on the show. The other three judges should come together and pick a second act from another category to go home instead. Send both Sister C and The Formerly Lylas home instead. “You give me chillbumps and you’re really a sensational vocalist,” L.A. Reid says. Demi saw “the soul and the fire behind her eyes.” “I wouldn’t want to be in Britney’s position right now,” Simon says, backtracking on his insistence that Arin should stay. “I don’t think it’s right that one of you should go,” Simon says. I smell a Melanie Amaro-style twist.
9:24 p.m. Britney Spears has no idea what to do. First Simon told her one thing. And then another. “This is gonna be like the hardest decision ever,” Britney says. This is a situation that would make Paula Abdul cry, so good that Britney is vaguely keeping her composure as she announces that DIAMOND WHITE is going home and Arin Ray is advancing. Diamond incredulous. I hope Simon puts his foot down and brings Diamond back. Just for drama.
9:28 p.m. Yeah, given the voting demos on these shows, it would have been ridiculous for all for eliminated solo artists to be men this week. You can’t take away teen girl kibble, especially when your ratings are dropping.
9:30 p.m. Three eliminations in 90 minutes. This show is running like clockwork, isn’t it?
9:30 p.m. Time for Simon’s Groups. Guess what? Emblem 3 and Lyric 145 aren’t going anywhere. I can’t believe for a second that they’re not going to be the two groups Simon sends to safety and I don’t need this recap to remind me of why.
9:33 p.m. Ack. Simon asking Demi apologize to The Artists Formerly Known as The Lylas backstage? Awkward.
9:35 p.m. All segments featuring Emblem 3 should be sponsored by Axe Body Spray.
9:35 p.m. Decision time for Mr. Cowell, who loved all four performances on Wednesday. He swears that as of five minutes ago, he hadn’t made up his mind. The first act advancing is… Emblem 3. Duh. And the second act advancing is… Lyric 145. Duh-doy. The ladies of Formerly Lylas are nervous. And the ladies of Sister C are feeling less confident than they were five minutes ago.
9:44 p.m. I really, really, really don’t care about this sing-off. Neither of these groups has a chance and they could both be eliminated for Diamond White.
9:44 p.m. I get that we don’t like Sister C because they *seem* mean. We’ve seen no actual mean behavior from them, but we make random assumptions based only and entirely on how they look and their posture and stuff. But they’re polished and acceptable and in every way more gifted and commercial than The Formerly Lylas. They’re also a bit boring and they don’t look happy to be here at all. L.A. Reid thought they got the song choice right and says there’s a gap in the marketplace for what they do. “I was pleasantly surprised,” Britney says. Demi thinks it would be a mistake to send them home.
9:48 p.m. We’re short on time, so it’s straight to The Formerly Lylas, who take the stage holding hands. This performance is doing nothing to sway me from my “Five decent solo singers not even remotely a group” evaluation of The Formerly Lylas. I get that they didn’t have time to arrange too many performances as a group, but some harmonies and chemistry would go a long way. L.A. Reid is proud of them. Britney’s a believer. Demi likes that they sang her song.
9:52 p.m. Nobody has a clue what’s happening.
9:56 p.m. Come on! I need results. Cut somebody, Simon! The crowd is strongly in favor of The Formerly Lylas. What of Simon’s choice, though? Simon makes the decision based on his head and he picks…. Wait. Simon and Mario Lopez have a fight over whether Simon is going to say the name of the act he’s sending home or keeping. He’s sending SISTER C home. That means The Formerly Lylas are advancing. That was *not* a head-over-heart decision. “We’re just going to keep going in the country world and let the pop do the pop thing,” snarks one of the Sisters.
9:58 p.m. Simon’s changing The Formerly Lylas’ name again! And it’s going to be a contest on the website. Might I suggest 5o-5o? Because there are five of them and it looks like “So-So,” which is what they are?
Which of tonight’s choices were correct? Which were wrong?