On Wednesday, “X Factor” fans got to watch the Young Adults perform for Demi Lovato and the Groups perform for Simon Cowell.
Now, it’s time for Britney Spears mentoring the Teens and the awkward spectacle of L.A. Reid grumbling that he was forced to mentor the Geriatric contestants and punishing them by making them learn from Justin Bieber.
Click through for the pre-debate fun…
8:03 p.m. ET. We’re starting at Whiney L.A. Reid’s house in Beverly Hills. Before we hear any performance, we need to hear L.A. Reid complain one more time about getting stuck with this category. I didn’t use to hate L.A. Reid, but I confess that this performance he’s doing has soured me on him completely.
8:04 p.m. We appear to be starting with Jason Brock, who was a misfit as a kid, but has begun to find his voice. He has a lot to give to the world, but he fears this may be his last chance, because he’s 35. We see no mentoring for Jason Brock before he tears into a fine version of Fergie’s “Big Girls Don’t Cry.” The other contenders press their faces against the sliding glass doors and nod admiringly. Jason is talented. He doesn’t have a chance of winning “The X Factor.” Justin Bieber thinks Jason didn’t hold back and he gave it all vocally. But Bieber asks if giving your all vocally is enough. Why, Justin Bieber, are you trying to be mysterious like the Sphinx?
8:07 p.m. Time now for our favorite adoptee David Correy. He’s been waiting for this moment for his whole life. Relative to previous Correy performances we’ve seen, this is a very controlled and restrained version of David. His version of “Domino” has some big moments, but it doesn’t feel self-indulgent to me. Justin thought he was great. “Talent isn’t the question. Viability in the marketplace is the question,” says L.A. Reid, who got goosies.
8:13 p.m. Blech. I hate it when “X Factor” interrupts performances with mid-song talking heads. In this case, it’s Daryl Black who deserves better. Daryl is soulful and smooth, but be he lacks David and Jason’s pyrotechnics. The mentors have absolutely nothing to add.
8:15 p.m. It’s all about family for Tate Stevens, who becomes the forth straight Geriatric performer not to get any on-air mentoring from L.A. Reid and Justin Bieber. Tate starts off really good, but when he gets to the chorus, isn’t there a key change that he inserts for no reason? Or is he just less certain on the melody? He started off so well, but I didn’t love the second half. Scooter says there’s something about Tate that he wants to root for. Justin Bieber thinks he’s charismatic, but he isn’t sure he’d write him a $5 million check.
8:17 p.m. Poor Vino Alan has had a TOUGH life. He’s a father and a provider and he’d like to offer his son a future and life he didn’t happen. When Vino’s in his gravelly sweet spot, I think he’s spectacular. Like most of the Geriatrics, he brings a full life of experience into every word he sings, even if his hands shake nervously as he does it. If L.A. Reid weren’t a dolt, he’d realize that with strong choices, the Geriatrics will make the audience feel in a way nobody else can. Does he think audiences liked Chris Rene last season just because he was younger than 26? Come on… “That was a great performance,” Justin says. L.A. Reid likes his voice and soul, but doesn’t like his soul.
8:24 p.m. Lots of the Geriatrics are nervous and lack confidence, but that can’t be said for Tara Simon, who figures she’s always been a star and we’re only catching on now. “I want to be America’s Darling,” says the CLEARLY delusional Simon. Tara makes funny faces, growls, does pointless runs and oversings her solo in the same way she’s oversung everything we’ve heard her do. “Thank you, Jesus,” she says as she ends. She walks inside and does an obnoxious happy dance and calls it near-perfect. The mentors say nothing of substance.
8:27 p.m. SHUT UP, L.A REID. I don’t care about your uncertainties initially. Actually I don’t care about your change of emotions. Tara is convinced that she isn’t going home and that David and Daryl are also safe. I think that Tara, David and Daryl are definitely the most commercial along with Tate. That would mean that Vino and Jason would be going home. I’d keep Jason and Vino and ditch Tara and, after some difficulty, Daryl. But that’s just me. “It would be shock-and-awe if I don’t make it,” Tara says modestly.
8:32 p.m. Bring on Team Britney. These teens are surprisingly cocky, suddenly. And battle-hardened. It’s weird. They were so friendly yesterday.
8:34 p.m. We’re starting the Teens with Diamond White, who’s an absolute lock to make the Top 12. I can foresee no situation in which this emotional and technically gifted 13-year-old doesn’t make it out of this group with ease. Will.i.Am worries that as well as Diamond sings, she worries too much about her moves. Britney agrees that her stage performance needs work. “How do you compete against that?” asks Reed Deming.
8:37 p.m. “I think my entire life has been in preparation for this moment,” says the 13-year-old Deming. I’ve said it before: There’s only room for one between Reed Deming and James Tanner. Reed continues to channel Justin Bieber much too aggressively for me to take him seriously. It all feels like affectation, which doesn’t mean he can’t sing and doesn’t mean he couldn’t appear on a Disney Channel show. Britney says Reed was nervous and could have done better. Will.i.Am says Reed needs to sing with the confidence that he speaks.
8:43 p.m. It’s James Tanner‘s moment to shin and… I think I’d forgotten that he’s a “rapper.” What the heck was that? He sang “Party like a rock star” a half-dozen times and left the stage. Was there any rapping? At all? Come on, James. I know Astro. You’re no Astro. Heck, you’re no Nick Youngerman and I’m sure as heck hoping that Nick Youngerman is going home. Farewell, James. That was comical.
8:45 p.m. After being forced into a group last year, it’s Arin Ray Time. I think Arin probably could have chosen a more challenging showcase song than “Starships,” but his confidence and composure make him in all ways more assertive and ready-for-the-spotlight than the Teen males who came before him. Will.i.Am thinks Arin has potential.
8:47 p.m. Guess who else has been working for this moment her whole life? That’d be 13-year-old Beatrice Miller, who’d come across as far wiser than her age if she hadn’t been freaking out during the past four performers. Beatrice is wiping away tears before going to meet the mentors. “This is my one chance,” says the 13-year-old girl. Yeah, if you closed your eyes, you’d never think this was a wee teenager. She’s got emotion and texture to her voice. She’s probably got too much emotion going on at certain points, but you could put her on the radio now. Britney thinks she needs a bit more control. Beatrice, thankfully, is satisfied.
8:54 p.m. And yes, Carly Rose Sonenclar has been working toward this moment for her whole life. Somewhat perplexingly, Carly is the first person all night whose mentoring we’ve seen. That’s some dreadful editing, “X Factor,” because I don’t imagine Carly’s the only singer to get mentorship. So why bother showing hers? It’s not like Britney came across as wise and nurturing or anything. I wouldn’t want to have to choose between Carly, Beatrice and Diamond. For me, they should all advance along with Arin. Carly’s performance was probably the best of the night. She was a good way to close and her rivals are all darned impressed. Britney and Will.i.Am both think Carly is possessed, though Britney randomly tosses in concerns that Carly might not be able to cope with the pressure.
Who did you like? Who did you hate? Who should advance from each group?