Recap: ‘The X Factor’ Top 8 – Two eliminations and Alicia Keys performs

It’s nearly time for Burrito Josh!

That’s why we’re all watching Thursday (November 29) night’s “The X Factor,” right? Burrito Josh!

He was like Vino Alan, only instead of tattoos everywhere, he had a huge beard! And instead of entertaining the troops for a living, he MADE BURRITOS!

Oh right. Alicia Keys is gonna perform also.

Oh right. We’re sending home two musical acts.

OK, fine. Let’s get down to business…

8:00 p.m. ET. I’m rolling the dice on this week’s recap image. I don’t think Diamond White is going home, but I also won’t be shocked out of my gourd if she somehow does. But she’s my pick for safety (and for image variety with my recaps)!

8:01 p.m. Mario Lopez likes Britney Spears’ hat.

8:02 p.m. Has “X Factor” realized that it lacks the technical capacity to get the judges on and off the stage and that it’s safer to just start the show with them already seated? That’d be a smart move, but the judges and their teams will actually probably be paraded on and off the stage two or three times tonight with various levels of ineptitude.

8:06 p.m. I’m just saying… Surely this show would move with more fluidity if it didn’t take five minutes to say what happened last night. Then again, I guess this is positively efficient compared to how “Dancing with the Stars” recaps.

8:07 p.m. We’re gonna boot somebody immediately. I hope that act is allowed to still watch Burrito Josh. Simon Cowell has a bad feeling about the pending elimination.

8:08 p.m. The act with the lowest number of votes is… PAIGE THOMAS. The audience is shocked, as if that was shocking. Paige was dreadful last night, regardless of what the coddling judges tried to say. She neither sang, nor danced. One or the other ought to be required for success on a show like this. That doesn’t mean that she doesn’t have potential. She’s plenty attractive and she can sing in the right moments. She could be packaged as a pop star with relative ease.

8:14 p.m. Shut up, Mario. Paige going home wasn’t “a bit of a shocker.”

8:14 p.m. BURRITO JOSH!

8:15 p.m. You know, I got kinda bored with Burrito Josh last season, but having not seen or heard him for nearly a year, I’m reminded of what a flawless adult contemporary voice he’s got. And I even kinda dig this song.

8:22 p.m. Not sure what the point of the rest of this episode is.

8:22 p.m. Oh gosh. The Pepsi Challenge. It’s back. And Mario Lopez is so excited for it.

8:23 p.m. Parade. They’ll never get the timing right on this, but they keep trying it. We may eliminate Demi Lovato from the competition tonight. Cece Frey deserves to be going home, but I somehow suspect we’re about to lose Fifth Harmony instead. Not that I have any inside info.

8:24 p.m. The first act in the Top 6 is… Fifth Harmony. [See? I know nothing.] They’re joined by Cece Frey. Oh, holy crud, America. Emblem 3 advances. Carly Rose Sonenclar advances, as I realize that I absolutely jinxed Diamond White by putting her picture with my recap.

8:26 p.m. The last act safe is… Tate Stevens. So it’s down to Diamond White and Vino Alan. 

8:26 p.m. Simon says he isn’t surprised that Vino’s in the Bottom Two, but he’s surprised about Diamond.

8:32 p.m. Khloe Kardashian-Odom is backstage with Diamond and Vino, treating this like a funeral. Diamond vows to keep her smile. Vino’s going to pour his heart out and he loves Diamond.

8:33 p.m. But first… Alicia Keys. Not only is this girl on fire, but she’s performing with a drum troop of some sort. This could be a good chance for a little John Calipari schadenfreude, as I check in on Notre Dame beating down Kentucky. 

8:36 p.m. Is it acceptable to note that this is one of the worst songs Alicia Keys has ever written? I like Alicia Keys. She’s REALLY talented. This song is weak. It’s all hook, no substance at all.

8:42 p.m. Stop sounding so stern every time you say Paige’s name, Mario.

8:42 p.m. Diamond White sings for her life first. It’s another Beyonce song for Diamond, this time “I Was Here.” It’s a smart choice in the sense that she has to make the case to the judges that if they’re choosing somebody with a chance of being worth a $5 million contract, it should probably be the young woman capable of doing contemporary songs, rather than the middle-aged guy better suited for tribute albums. As for the performance? There are some sharp notes here and there, but she sings her heart out. “You were there alright,” Mario Lopez says stupidly.

8:45 p.m. Vino Alan time. He growls his way through “Trouble” and it’s a smart choice in the sense that he makes the convincing case that Wheelhouse versus Wheelhouse, he’s actually a much better singer than Diamond White is. And it’s not like this Ray LaMontagne song is an oldie.

8:48 p.m. This isn’t easy for the judges. These shouldn’t be the singers in the Bottom Two, at least not this week. L.A. Reid naturally votes to send Diamond home. Britney naturally votes to send Vino home. Demi’s our first impartial judge and she votes to send Vino home. “Oh crap,” Simon says. He drums the table and votes to send Vino home. Farewell, then, to VINO ALAN.

8:51 p.m. Vino tells Simon he was right yesterday and tells America to stay inspired and keep in touch. L.A. Reid is really proud of Vino and calls him family.

8:56 p.m. Let’s get the voting order, shall we? 6th – Diamond White. 5th – Cece Frey. 4th – Fifth Harmony. 3rd – Emblem 3. 

8:58 p.m. Only 1/10th of 1 percent separates first and second. 2nd – Tate Stevens. So Carly Rose Sonenclar is, deservedly, in first for the second straight week. Britney Spears and Carly appear almost equally happy.

How’d you feel about tonight’s results?