In case you’ve forgotten, Wednesday night’s “X Factor” featured the debut of the Four-Chair Challenge and saw Kelly Rowland narrow her team of Geriatrics down to Jeff Gutt, James Kenney, Rachel Potter and Lillie McCloud.
Then Demi Lovato listened to the first four Girls and assigned chairs to Bree Randall, Khaya Cohen, Jamie Pineda and Ashly Williams. However, with six Girls still to perform, I’m assuming that Bree and Jamie are almost certain to be displaced.
Click through and follow along for my recap of Thursday (October 3) night’s “The X Factor”…
8:01 p.m. ET. We’re back and Mario Lopez has changed his shirt again. Simon Cowell is loving Demi Lovato’s discomfort.
8:03 p.m. Our first Girl is Simone Torres, who describes herself as nerdy and awkward. In my mind, I confuse Simone’s big-voiced, affected audition with Khaya Cohen’s, so I’m skeptical that there’s any room in this competition for both of them. Simone does a dreadful up-tempo version of “Change Is Gonna Come.” I’ve never heard a worse arrangement of this song, which is probably my favorite of all time. Simone has zero clue what she’s singing. This is not a song where you goad the audience to clap along with you. Sweet merciful heavens. That was disgraceful. I can’t even hear Simone’s voice over her clueless disconnect from a song about the civil rights struggle. Paulina relates to her. Simon would have liked to tell her not to do that song. “The arrangement of the song was a joke,” Simon says. The crowd boos. They’re idiots. Genuine idiots. Kelly says that Simone still sung it well. Demi isn’t sure if she’s seeing a star.
8:06 p.m. Demi’s decision… She gives Simone a seat. Ridiculous, except that there are two easily replaceable singers.
8:08 p.m. SWITCH! Simone gets Bree Randall’s seat. There’s no big loss there.
8:12 p.m. Ick. I’m still reeling from what Simone Torres just did. But now it’s time for Danielle Geimer, the 11th grader who dreams of becoming a neurosurgeon and introduced herself to people before auditions by announcing that she reads books. She wants people who tripped over her in high school to be like, “Oh. I tripped over a star.” Guess who’s about to take a seat? That’s right. Danie Geimer. I liked her audition and now she does a rather beautiful version of “Georgia on My Mind.” Nerd Power! This is how you take a classic song and honor it. Take notes, whoever picked Simone’s arrangement. Mad respect. She’s got a huge voice and ample nuance. “You just sang yo face off, mama,” Kelly says. “She need a seat. Somebody gotta get up, honey,” Kelly says. Simon says that Danie flies in the face of this time of over-confident pop stars. “I am absolutely blown away. I think you’re so talented,” Demi says.
8:16 p.m. Demi’s decision… Danielle gets a seat, duh.
8:17 p.m. SWITCH! Will it be Simone or Jamie leaving? It was a short stay for Simone. I really don’t blame her, per se, for the performance. She’s not a bad singer. It was whoever let that song choice go who blew it for her. But even with a better song, I’m not sure if would have earned a chair.
8:22 p.m. Up next is Rylie Brown, a pageant girl who ends our streak of nerds and wounded birds. Rylie’s just a pretty girl with encouraging parents and a good voice. She does an OK version of “Angels.” Rylie’s not nearly as good as Danielle, but she’s much more instantly commercial and there’s value to that, I suppose. She’s easily markable and somewhat gifted on a song that we’ve often hear butchered on “Idol.” She definitely should get Jamie’s seat on potential, if not execution. “I feel like that was not the right song choice,” Kelly says. “It feels like everything you did tonight was chosen by your mother,” Simon says. “I think you look beautiful,” Demi tells Rylie, before calling it “very pageant-y.”
8:26 p.m. Demi’s decision… No chair for Rylie. I don’t necessarily agree with that, since Jamie Pineda is an easily replaceable chair. However, if I’m Demi, I probably don’t want hurt too many feelings, so sure she could give Rylie the seat that Jamie is in, but if she’s certain that somebody else is going to claim that same seat in 15 minutes, she might as well leave it effectively empty.
8:30 p.m. The excellently named Primrose Martin is up next. We only saw a couple seconds from her audition in Denver, but with her bright red hair and bangs, she’s hard to forget. Wait. Her dad is Skip Martin from Kool and the Gang? Holy cow! That nearly distracted me from Primrose’s school girl tartan and knee-socks. Almost. I don’t buy “Blame It On The Boogie” as a song choice here at all. I get that she’s trying to be a showman, but what starts off pleasant (aesthetically) becomes increasingly desperate (performatively). The boos start in the background as the audience refuses to sing along with her. Primrose dances. She shrieks. And… it’s bad. Poor Primrose. That was very attractive, but really strange. “I didn’t want to see that, I wanted to see you come out here and give your absolute best,” Kelly says. Paulina doesn’t know what Demi should do. “That was actually beyond awful,” Simon says, calling it “the longest minute-and-a-half of my life.” Primrose senses what’s coming and starts filibustering by singing over the judges. “I feel like you danced more than you sang,” Demi says, adding that Primrose rubbed her the wrong way. Even Primrose’s parents know this was ugly. “Music is not just in me. It’s in every part of my essence,” Primrose pleads.
8:35 p.m. Demi’s decision… Primrose won’t shut up and the crowd claps for Demi’s decision to send her home. Bye, Primrose.
8:38 p.m. It’s impressive that we’re milking six performances across this hour tonight after doing 14 over two hours last night. Yes, I understand the math is only SLIGHTLY different here.
8:40 p.m. Only two singers left and they both received a lot of exposure in auditions.
8:41 p.m. Rion Paige is up first. You remember her medical condition, but hopefully you also remember that she sang very well and her personality was utterly infection. “Having a difference makes me more determined to conquer something,” Rion says. I want Rion to be good. “What you look like doesn’t define who you are,” she says. And who’s gonna argue? Rion sings “I Won’t Let Go” and the emotion is right on the surface and I’m pretty sniffly almost immediately. Oh and, again, she’s very good. Khaya is crying again, but this is what Khaya does. Demi, however, is also on the verge of tears, as are several audience members. “I love your voice. I love how happy and excited you are when you sing. I just love watching you,” Kelly says. “When you’ve got it, you’ve got it, right?” Simon says. “You’re only 13 and you have such a mature voice coming out of you. And when I look at you, I don’t see anything different,” Demi says. That’s what I’m saying. Yes, Rion is crazy inspirational, but if you just heard her voice coming from a 13-year-old, that would be impressive enough.
8:44 p.m. Demi’s decision… Demi tells Rion that she’s “an incredibly special girl” and gives her a seat.
8:45 p.m. SWITCH! This is easy. The next one will be harder. Wow. Demi chooses to send Ashly Williams home. I’m shocked by that. Ashly would have been my next pick to go, but I can’t imagine sending Ashly over Jamie Pineda, though I also can’t imagine Ellona Santiago not taking Jamie’s seat in five minutes.
8:50 p.m. That means that it’s all about Ellona Santiago. This is her American Dream. Ellona is fierce. She earns that last place in the Top 4 with a strong version of “Clarity.” “Little momma, you are a beast,” Kelly says. “I don’t know what you’re gonna do,” Paulina tells Demi. “I can’t imagine you actually not being in this competition,” Simon says. “I believe that you have such an incredible voice,” Demi says, but she worries that something is missing and that the start quality isn’t there yet. Simon is confused and the audience boos. Simon is incredulous as Demi says she can’t see giving up somebody from the chairs.
8:55 p.m. Demi’s decision… “I don’t know what to do,” Demi says, as Ellona vows not to let Demi down, claiming that in addition to singing, she also performs. I really don’t see why this is so hard. The crowd wants Ellona and Demi caves to that pressure and tells Ellona that she’s in the Final Four.
8:57 p.m. SWITCH! I just don’t get this. The crowd, however, doesn’t seem to want anybody to go home. In the end, Demi Lovato makes the correct choice. Jamie Pineda is done.
8:58 p.m. Demi’s four Girls are: Danielle Geimer, Khaya Cohen, Ellona Santiago and Rion Paige. And guess that? That’s very close to the right Top 4 in that category. If you want to quibble and put Ashly Williams in there instead, I guess we can have a discussion. But I’m fine with that group.
What did you think of Demi’s choices? And what the heck do you think Simone thought “Change Is Gonna Come” was about?