The X Factor got right down to the business of introducing us to its final 24 contestants Wednesday night.
Well, not quite 24. When the eliminations ended, the groups’ group was three groups shy of a full judges’ mansion.
So in a twist any regular X Factor viewer could see coming from many episodes away, Simon and company took soloists they just hated to part with and formed new groups.
Given the quality of the groups already on hand, it’s tough to argue with their decision.
Then, after we got to watch L.A. Reid throw a temper tantrum because he was assigned the category he least wanted (The Over 25s), X Factor spent the rest of the night showing up the one-and-done performances by the young adults (mentored by Demi Lovato) and the groups (mentored by Simon Cowell).
So who should stay? Who should go?
Here’s my take.
Best of the night: CeCe Frey, the gal who likes to paint animal prints on her face and legs, gets told her confidence and sass on stage sometimes comes off as a little unlikeable. This occurs just before she’s scheduled to sing “I’m Sexy and I Know It” in front of Demi and helper Nick Jonas. Well, CeCe doesn’t come off as unlikeable. She simply unleashes a dynamic vocal that makes me forget the five I heard before she grabbed the mic.
Worst of the night: Jillian Jensen performed “Gravity” with tons of passion, but her vocal seemed to waver all over the place. It was nowhere near as bad as the worst of the groups, but it shouldn’t be good enough to make the final four among this talented bunch.
Who should advance: CeCe plus Jennel Garcia, who was fun on “I Kissed a Girl;” Willie Jones, who bounced back performing “Nobody Knows” for a second time; and Paige Thomas, who did a sexy take on “Turn Up the Music.”
Who’s likely to advance: CeCe, Willie, Nick “I Killed It” Youngerman and Jillian. I can’t see The X Factor dumping Jillian after giving her backstory about being bullied so much play. And I can’t see Demi taking three girls and one guy into the next round when everyone knows guys attract more votes than girls on singing shows like these.
Best of the night: Simon put female rapper Lyric Da Queen with a two-guy group know as One4Five to form Lyric 145. The name’s not great, but their performance of “Party in the USA” might have been the night’s musical highlight. Folks, that’s a pretty remarkable comment typed by these fingers, because I pretty much hate every song that has ever left the lips of Miley Cyrus.
Runner-up: Very close behind was Simon’s manufactured girl group called the Lylas and made up of Dinah Jane, Ally Brooke, Lauren Jauregui, Camila Cabello and Normani Kordei. These gals proved they can flat-out sing with a very nice rendition of “Impossible.”
Worst of the night: And I mean worst of the whole evening. Worst as in it wasn’t even close to being as good as any of the other performances. Introduce yourself to the vastly over-rated boy group Emblem 3. They tried a take on “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic.” They failed. Actually, I thought their initial audition was pretty wretched, too.
Who should advance: Lyric 145, Lylas plus Sister C (just OK on Wednesday with “I’m Leaving”) and Playback (a very fun performance of “Rich Girl”). The latter is a manufactured boy group consisting of former soloists Austin Corini, Brandan Hassan, Johnny Maxwell, Josh Metzler and Owen Stuart.
Who will advance: Don’t be surprised if Emblem 3 slips in past Sister C because guys do better than girls once the voting begins. Simon’s been around these shows long enough to know that. Oh, well, if so that will give me someone to root against. Seeing as how their judges’ mansion performance was trimmed to virtually nothing, I can’t think Dope Crisis will survive, which means Lyric 145, Lylas and Playback would also advance.