Simon Cowell Picks Final Four Groups on 'The X Factor' - Rolling Stone
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‘X Factor’ Recap: Simon Cowell Picks Final Four Groups

Team standouts Alex and Sierra do cutesy version of ‘Grease’ song

Simon Cowell giveth and then he cruelly taketh away on The X Factor.

For the first time all season, we actually got excited about an act: the LMFAO-like group Wild Thingz. The spastic duo nabbed a coveted seat on Wednesday night during the Groups’ Four Chair Challenge, offeringa glimmer of hope that this season wouldn’t be predictably dull and boring.

Rolling Stone’s Complete Coverage of ‘The X Factor’

But alas, they were the first to go on last night’s show, when Simon “sobered up.” Thanks for nothing, buddy. 

With four seats taken and six groups still in line to perform on the last episode of the Four Chair Challenge, it wasn’t a shocking turn of events, but it was definitely disappointing – especially considering how bad most of the contestants are this season. Are the producers purposely arranging terrible performances so that the chosen finalists can blow viewers away with their improvement when the live shows begin on October 29th? One can only hope. Otherwise, better stock up on earplugs now.

There doesn’t seem to be much rhyme or reason for how or why the judges are picking their teams. They may as well have put everyone’s name in a hat and spared us the last two weeks of aural torture. 

Take Sweet Suspense, the generic trio of teen girls who robbed Wild Thingz of their place in the finals. The manufactured girl group sang an out-of-tune version of “Wishing on a Star” that was less than impressive. Yet the judges inexplicably gushed about the performance. “You sounded amazing,” said tone-deaf Demi Lovato.

Meanwhile, Yellow House Canyon was no better or worse – in fact, they might have actually been better. But the two best female friends – who buck the stick-figure look with their average-size frames – were inexplicably sent home after singing a spunky rendition of Pistol Annies’ “Hell on Heels.” 

Good News met the same fate, being raked over the coals for no apparent reason. While singing Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide,” which has been performed, like, a million times on this show, the camera cut to people looking bored, including Simon. “This didn’t work in the slightest – it was boring, it was dreary and your voices didn’t sound good together,” he said before unceremoniously telling them to scram without even offering them a handshake.

Also getting the boot were manufactured boy band Forever in Your Mind, who were terrible but Simon still seemed to like, and all-girl trio Glamour (who won a seat Wednesday night).

Winning kudos and a spot in the finals was all-girl group Roxxy Montana, who are reportedly the granddaughters of legendary singer Marvin Gaye (although that hasn’t been addressed on the show). Their performance of Michael Jackson‘s “Man in the Mirror” bordered on unlistenable – it was too low and out of sync – yet the judges acted like it was the second coming of MJ. Paulina, who clearly wasn’t paying attention or was fearing the wrath of Simon, said, “It was so tight and so good.” Um, not.

The lone standout of the night – and the team – was cutesy couple Alex and Sierra, who purred their way through a unique, folk-y rendition of “You’re the One That I Want” from Grease. At the end of the song, Alex planted a kiss on his girlfriend’s cheek, which cause the female judges to swoon. But Demi Downer quickly killed that vibe, asking, “What happens if you guys ever break up?” The usually curmudgeonly Simon stood up for the duo: “That’s a stupid question, because I can’t ever see these two splitting up.” But that statement probably had more to do with self-preservation than anything else – he doesn’t want viewers to hesitate when they’re placing their votes.

With that, Alex and Sierra, Roxxy Montana, Sweet Suspense and lone Wednesday night holdovers Restless Road moved on to the next round. 

Now, the top 16 acts get the next two-and-a-half weeks to rehearse before re-emerging on October 29th to begin the live rounds. Each team – except the Boys, who are all mediocre – seemingly has at least one star act to keep an eye on: Alex & Sierra in the Groups, Lillie McCloud in the Over 25s and Danie Geimer in the Girls. But only one can be victorious.

Who do you think has what it takes to go all the way?

Previous recap: Paulina Rubio Gets Booed Over ‘Mistake’


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