Recap: ‘The X Factor’ Top 12 – Two eliminations and Taylor Swift performs

After a weak Performance Wednesday on “The X Factor,” I’m not sure if two eliminations on Thursday (November 15) night will be enough. We’re just killing time on four or five acts at this point and any reprieve tonight may just mean that those survivors will have their Thanksgiving spoiled next week. Better to send them all home tonight and let those performers enjoy turkey.

I’m not sure which two will be tapped for elimination, but I’m pretty sure neither of them will be Carly Rose Sonenclar, so she’s this week’s recap cover-girl.

On to the full recap of eliminations and Taylor Swift after the break…

8:01 p.m. ET. Khloe Kardashian Odom is wearing a pant-suit. It’s very strange. And I think Mario Lopez’s suit is charcoal. I’m less confused by his choice than hers.

8:02 p.m. We’re doing the rankings for the second straight week. This is a smart move by “The X Factor,” which needed something — ANYTHING! — to differentiate itself from the pack. On one hand, I dislike it, because it’s giving some of the kids a complex, but it actually adds some drama and a sense of week-to-week momentum. In the balance, it’s good for the show.

8:04 p.m. Yup. Last night happened. And yes, Beatrice Miller’s insecurity is only being amplified by knowing the votes, so that’s a concern… She’s fragile and worries me. I’m not worried about Cece Frey.

8:07 p.m. Did L.A. Reid just happen to walk by every act backstage after their performances last night? Love the camera much, L.A.?

8:09 p.m. Tate Stevens’ wife needs to keep Cece Frey away from her hubby. 

8:09 p.m. We’re sending somebody home immediately and it is… Going to be revealed after the break.

8:13 p.m. The first act going home tonight is… LYRIC 145. Sadly, that was very predictable. I think they’re awesome, but groups always have a struggle on this show and after a performance like last night’s, this was bound to happen. If they’d ranked higher after last week, I’d have assumed they had wide-sweeping support, but they were already in jeopardy after a great performance, so there was no room for mediocrity. I’m gonna miss Lyric Da Queen. I will not especially miss those other two guys with her. 

8:15 p.m. And did you see how terrified Beatrice Miller was before that announcement? Being eliminated early may be the best thing to happen to her. This is a lot to ask of a 13-year-old girl, even one with a heap of talent, and if she’s not ready for this, she’s not ready and that’s OK.

8:20 p.m. Now… Taylor Swift time. She’s doing her new single, “State of Grace.” I like her semi-Annie Hall fashion statement tonight. It says, “I’m a serious artist, because I’m wearing a hat.” I can’t say for sure if Taylor’s singing live, but I can definitely say that she’s opening her mouth really really wide to convince us she’s singing live. Your results may vary. I haven’t heard all of “Red,” but is Swift even pretending to be a country artist anymore? It’s fine if she’s not. This is a pleasantly poppy concoction. 

8:25 p.m. Taylor Swift’s advice to young stars is “be nice to people.” Khloe and Mario agree that this is good advice. I can’t disagree.

8:29 p.m. Back to business on “The X Factor,” where Mario Lopez has to explain to us what a “double elimination means.”

8:29 p.m. Khloe Kardashian Odom can’t read. You’d think this would have come up in her auditions for this gig.

8:30 p.m. I like Jennel Garcia more when she doesn’t feel the need to straighten her hair. Demi Lovato just hasn’t been a good influence on that girl.

8:30 p.m. Everybody takes the stage. Let’s send some people to safety, eh? First through to the Top 10 (in no particular order) is… ARIN RAY. He’s surprised. Or pleased. Or something. Next through? VINO ALAN. Joining them is… CARLY ROSE SONENCLAR, followed by fellow Teen DIAMOND WHITE. [Poor Beatrice Miller, y’all.] TATE STEVENS is safe. EMBLEM 3 earns squeals and a Top 10 place, along with BEATRICE MILLER. Whew. Next through? CECE FREY. What a crock, but she cries like a beauty queen. That leaves Fifth Harmony, Paige Thomas and Jennel Garcia sweating it out during the next commercial break.

8:38 p.m. The penultimate act in our Top 10 is… FIFTH HARMONY. Mario Lopez and Khloe Kardashian Odom talk over each other, while trying to explain the show’s procedure to everybody. Simon says he’s wiping the slate clean. “I just feel really bad for Demi having two in the bottom,” Simon says.

8:38 p.m. Ha. Demi Lovato doesn’t have a clue who’s going next, so Mario has to tell her and then Demi reintroduces Jennel for her performance. Putting aside the fake rocker affectations that Demi has saddled her with, Jennel does a decent, but nerve-filled version of “The Reason.” She’s overcome by emotion at several points. To me, Jennel deserves a break because Demi has been hosing her with bad fashion choices and bad song choices and bad everything. 

8:42 p.m. But let’s see what Paige Thomas, looking like a rock gladiator, can do… Paige does an attitude-filled version of Coldplay’s “Paradise.” What Paige Thomas has that Jennel doesn’t is that Paige knows who she is and she absolutely looks the part every time she performs. She may not sound the part always, but she could be Rihanna 2.0 tomorrow with almost no tinkering. Jennel? I don’t have a clue what she’d be. For that reason, I’d send Jennel home, but it’s completely Demi’s fault.

8:45 p.m. Judging time and we actually have three impartial judges. L.A. Reid is shocked that either of these two is in jeopardy, but he decides to send Jennel Garcia home. Britney also sends Jennel Garcia home. Simon tries to get Demi to vote first to see if he can send this to a deadlock. Mario Lopez is having none of that. Simon petulantly refuses. “You’re the boss… We’ll go to Demi,” says the spineless Mario Lopez. And Demi throws it back to Simon. “These are people’s lives and careers we’re dealing with here,” Mario says. Demi smartly votes to send Paige Thomas home, leaving Simon with the chance to surrender to the viewers. Instead, Simon says this was an easy choice. He’s sending Jennel home, so he put Demi on the spot and threw Demi under the bus with one of her remaining contestants for absolutely nothing other than diabolical cruelty and drama. That’s it for JENNEL GARCIA.

8:50 p.m. Demi and Jennel are both crying. Demi reassures Jennel that she does, indeed, have a future. Can anybody read lips? I wanna know what Jennel and Demi are talking about…

8:54 p.m. Let’s get some order in this business!

8:55 p.m. Our Top 10… 10th – Paige Thomas. 9th – Arin Ray. 8th – Beatrice Miller. 7th – Diamond White. [Britney’s proud of her low-ranking contestants.] 6th – Fifth Harmony. 5th – Cece Frey. [Demi’s pleased. Cece’s emotional. I’m incredulous.] 4th – Emblem 3. [Simon still wants them higher.] 3rd – Vino Alan. And that means that our Top 2 is unchanged. But will they have swapped spots? 

8:58 p.m. Less than 1/3rd of one percent separates them. In 2nd – Carly Rose Sonenclar. And that means that Tate Stevens remains in first place. He thanks country fans and Tate Nation.

8:59 p.m. Last week, the Top 10 was fascinating. This week, it was pretty boring. Maybe this should be an every-other-week thing?

8:59 p.m. As a warning: I’m going to be absent next week, but I’ll be back for more “X Factor” live-blogging after Thanksgiving.

9:00 p.m. Farewell to Lyric 145 and Jennel Garcia…

What’d you think of the results?