Even when The X Factor tries, it fails.
After last week's questionable eliminations, the judges apparently sensed something was wrong and wanted to fix it. So they decided to bring back a "wild card" contestant – someone the judges think deserves a second chance after getting kicked off.
For a second, there was a glimmer of hope that they'd pick fan favorite Danie Geimer, the Girls team member who so clearly didn't deserve to go home. But nope. Why do something that actually makes sense? Instead, they brought back 15-year-old Josh Levi in the Boys category.
Is Josh good? Sure, he's like a mini Will Smith. But Danie is better – and deserves to be there more, since her online support was through the roof last week. But the powers that be have had their say and Josh is getting a second chance in the competition. What doesn't make sense is, after going through the trouble of bringing him back, they then gave him the dreaded death slot – the very first performance on a two-hour show.
With that, Josh kicked off the first time the top 12 (now 13) busked for viewer votes this season. Unfortunately, he sounded shaky when he stepped onstage to sing the Jackson 5 version of "Who's Lovin' You." But obviously the judges can't back down now, so Demi Lovato applauded Boys coach Paulina Rubio: "The smartest thing you did was bring him back." Of course, that remains to be seen.
Despite the coup, the Boys category is still in the most trouble because no one seems strong enough to win.
Tourette's syndrome sufferer Carlos Guevara may have run his course with what Simon Cowell called a "lazy" take on Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On." Latin lover Carlito Olivero fretted his way through the Supremes' "Stop! In the Name of Love" because it wasn't an upbeat party song – "you were thinking about what you were doing rather than singing," Simon said. And then there was poor Tim Olstad, who Paulina inexplicably called "the people's choice."
Tim desperately tried to shake being labeled a "funeral director" by Simon last week by dressing in brighter clothes and smiling through the Jackson 5's "I'll Be There." Although Tim has a good voice, he's just not charismatic. So, in an effort to make him seem more interesting and exciting, Paulina threw everything but the kitchen sink into his performance – a piano, a gospel choir and hundreds of hand-held lights swaying in the audience – but he still didn't do it for the judges. "That sounded like a really, really incredible karaoke song," Demi said before adding, "I don't see you moving on." On the bright side (we think), Simon said, "I really liked it, you're like Donny Osmond." (When the votes are counted, we think Demi will be surprised that Tim sticks around – because he was given the coveted pimp spot, the very last performance of the night that virtually guarantees votes.)
Tim's performance basically summed up the night – a largely forgettable mixed bag of vocal abilities masked by dazzling stage production. Case in point: 17-year-old Season One retread Ellona Santiago, who danced around in a bedazzled cheerleader outfit to the Supremes' "Baby Love." The problem is, she's just not that great of a singer. Try as she might, she's no Beyoncé – no matter what the judges say. "You turned it out!" coach Demi said while giving her Girls contestant two snaps up.
But the real winners of the night were consistent vocal standouts Khaya Cohen (also from the Girls category), who did a schoolgirl-themed rendition of the Temptations' "My Girl," and Over 25er Lillie McCloud, with a classic but more-to-be-desired take on Stevie Wonder's "All in Love Is Fair."
Also making an impression was Simon's manufactured girl group Sweet Suspense, who proved they're ones to watch with their sparkly, contemporary take on the Supremes' "You Keep Me Hangin' On" that saw them harmonizing while strutting around in glittery silver getups after being freed from a birdcage.
Middling out were Over 25ers Rachel Potter and Jeff Gutt; Groups Restless Road and Alex & Sierra; and physically challenged 13-year-old Rion Paige from the Girls category.
Now the question is: Who will be the first to go? (Unfortunately, we'll have to wait until next week to find out – due to a technical glitch, the wrong phone and text numbers were given out, which means a last-minute do-over round of mediocre performances tonight instead of an elimination. Joy.)
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