L.A. Reid Declares Possible 'X Factor' Winner - Rolling Stone
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L.A. Reid Declares Possible ‘X Factor’ Winner

Carly Rose Sonenclar soars, Arin Ray sinks ahead of tonight’s double elimination

They kept calling it Diva Night on The X Factor, but it was more like Battle of the Sob Stories. Financial hardship, superstorm Sandy, a heroic kitten rescue and a mother who tragically died in a car crash on Christmas Eve were all contenders. Yup, a week after Jason Brock was sent back into oblivion and the surprising leaderboard rankings were revealed, the top 12 busted out the tissues before doing their best diva impressions to avoid falling victim to tonight’s double elimination.

Piggybacking on reports that one of the guys from Emblem3 and one of the girls from Fifth Harmony are dating, last week’s 11th-place finisher Arin Ray dedicated his rendition of Madonna’s “Crazy for You” to Fifth Harmony’s Normani. Too bad it was a total disaster. After a false start, where the opening beats of Queen’s “We Will Rock You” accidentally played, Arin performed a stilted version of the classic Madge tune. Said Simon Cowell, “You taking on that song is like asking a cat to eat a tiger. It’s just not right for you. It looked like you hated it, as well.” That’ll surely help Arin sweep his lady off her feet.

Also in trouble could be fellow bottom dweller CeCe Frey, who put on a pitchy, melodramatic performance of “All by Myself.” After coming in dead last on the leaderboard, it seems highly unlikely she’ll squeak through yet again. However, her saving grace could be that producers stacked the deck in her favor by giving her the coveted “pimp spot,” the last performance of the night right before voting opens. “I just don’t get it,” said perpetually doe-eyed and duckfaced Britney Spears.

Meanwhile, the judges unfairly ripped apart Lyric 145 for its mash-up of the aforementioned “We Will Rock You” and Katy Perry’s “E.T.” Simon even admitted the members didn’t have much time to rehearse after some last-minute changes were made. It wasn’t the group’s best performance, but at least it was upbeat and entertaining. And there’s no denying that Lyric Da Queen is a potential star. Yet again, though, the show missed a perfect opportunity to explain why she always wears a bedazzled eye-patch, which apparently hides complications from a double corneal transplant after she almost went blind. “I think you guys have lost your way,” said L.A. Reid. “This could be the last time we see you.” Harsh words for a trio that actually keeps the show fresh, current and on its toes.

But enough about the bad performances, let’s get to the good ones. Leaderboard topper Tate Stevens will probably have another solid showing after singing Shania Twain’s “From This Moment On,” which he dedicated to his wife. But it was second-placer Carly Rose Sonenclar who stole the spotlight with her powerhouse rendition of Celine Dion’s iconic “My Heart Will Go On.” To quote what Adam Levine said recently when someone performed the same song on The Voice, “That’s not even a song. It’s, like, Leo and the boat sinking. It’s a moment in history.” And, really, who’s not going to love a flawless rendition of one of the most memorable songs from one of the biggest movies of all time? Well played, intense little girl. Well played. “We could be looking at the winner,” L.A. pointed out.

Despite getting mixed reviews from the judges’ panel, we actually thought Vino Alan’s take on Tina Turner’s version of the Al Green song “Let’s Stay Together” was one of the best of the night. Looking like Justin Timberlake after a 10-year stint at San Quentin State Prison, Vino had a diamond-in-the-rough charm as he and his gravelly voice crept around the stage. Brit Brit summed it up well, saying, “Your voice is so soulful, it doesn’t make sense that it comes out of your body.” 

Also getting a free pass from us – and probably the rest of America – this week are smart-asses-turned-do-gooders Emblem3. ‘Cause, honestly, who can say anything bad about three guys who “risked their lives” to save some cute ‘n cuddly kittens from “drowning in a lake?” So, enjoy sailing on through to the Top 10, dudes. You have our blessing. 

Previously: X Factor Welcomes One Direction, Ousts Jason Brock


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