Paige Thomas Rickrolls America on 'X Factor' - Rolling Stone
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Paige Thomas Rickrolls America on ‘X Factor’

Top eight contestants prepare for double-elimination tonight

Can someone please, please explain to us what the X Factor judges see in Paige Thomas? Aside from the fact that she’s a dead ringer for Rihanna, of course. Seriously, though, did no one else find her performance laughable? 

After arguing with mentor Demi Lovato during rehearsals, Paige got her way – dismissing Demi’s advice in favor of having a one-woman dance party to Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up.” Wait, we get it now, we just got Rickrolled, right?

‘X Factor’: Rolling Stone’s Complete Coverage

But instead of laughing her off stage, the judges ate it up. While it may have included her strongest vocals yet, which isn’t saying much, the overall performance was just plain awkward. Paige’s jagged hip swivels and random pole humping were cringe-worthy, especially since she was alone onstage most of the time. (Eventually some pro dancers saved the poor girl from looking totally ridiculous.) And she proved borderline delusional with her misplaced whoops and requests for the audience to sing along to her disjointed R&B version of the song. As it dragged on, we thought, “Clearly they’re going to rip this apart.” But we were way off. “That was, by far, your very best performance yet. By a long shot,” raved L.A. Reid. Uh, OK. 

On the flipside, the judges’ panel pretty much trashed CeCe Frey’s frilly, over-the-top production of “Lady Marmalade,” which was at least interesting to watch. (Was it just us who thought her “female” dancers were men dressed in drag?) “My advice to you is: Pack a suitcase,” said Simon Cowell. Jabbing back, mentor Demi replied, “Anyone who says it’s too much is obviously too old.” We’ll find out soon enough who was right, as CeCe and the rest of the contestants face yet another double elimination tonight.

Also taking a few hits was Vino Alan, who could very well find himself slipping from third place. Hopefully, though, he won’t fall victim to the curse of the last-minute song change – an unfortunate move that took out Lyric 145 a couple weeks ago. 

During rehearsal, mentor L.A. hated Vino’s rendition of “If You Don’t Know Me by Now” so much that he forced Vino to switch to “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’.” A strange move, considering they sound somewhat similar, but L.A. tried to justify it by saying he’d take the blame if Vino didn’t pull it off. Easy for him to say since he’s not the one who’ll be out of a job if America hated it. Noted Simon, “Literally at the halfway point I thought, ‘This has got to end.’ And then you go into some weird kinda reggae version of the song, and you’re hunched over the whole time. It was uncomfortable.” 

Breaking up the performances was the world premiere of a new video for “Scream and Shout” by and Britney Spears, who strangely contorted her face as co-host Khloe Kardashian rattled off a list of the pop princess’ achievements. Sometimes we wonder what’s going on in that girl’s head. 

But soon Brit Brit was all smiles again as her Teens protégé Carly Rose Sonenclar took the stage with Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep.” While there’s no doubt the kid has the vocal prowess to go the distance, let us play devil’s advocate for a second and ask why no one busts her chops for not having more “fun” and taking on more age-appropriate fare. She may sound spectacular while singing Adele, but she is only 13. Does she really feel a connection or get what it means? Cracking a smile once in a while wouldn’t hurt either. She almost always looks constipated or something. That said, we agree with L.A.: “Even your second best is better than everybody else’s first best.” We’re sure Vino and rhythmically challenged Tate Stevens really appreciated that comment. 

But we’re losing focus here, which is to beg America to stop voting for Paige. If she doesn’t go home this week, we’re not sure how much longer we can take this show seriously.

Previously: ‘X Factor’ Pares Down to Top Eight in Thanksgiving Massacre


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