'X Factor' Recap: Voting Glitch Gives Acts Second Chance - Rolling Stone
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‘X Factor’ Recap: Voting Glitch Gives Acts Second Chance

Contestants had 24 hours to prepare for a do-over round

Oh, X Factor, you’re just the gift that keeps on giving, aren’t you? But not in the winning scratch-ticket kind of way. It’s more like getting a pink bunny suit and fruitcake. And we’re almost waiting for Simon Cowell to pop out of the cake and tell us it’s all one big elaborate joke.

Instead, we got the news that all of Wednesday night’s votes – every single one – were thrown out due to a technical glitch that happened because incorrect phone numbers were given out. So, there was no elimination as expected and instead we were treated to a fast-paced one-hour do-over.

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

That meant the top 13 acts supposedly had 24 hours to prepare to sing again, performing their “save me” songs they were keeping in case they faced elimination. So, wouldn’t that mean they had prepared these songs in advance of this voting glitch? Just sayin’.

While the order didn’t change (presumably for fairness), some acts who bombed the first night found redemption this second time around. Others who did great before seemingly blew their second chance. And some stayed level – for better or worse.

Proving that they’re easily the strongest voices in competition, Girls team member Khaya Cohen and Over 25er Lillie McCloud were once again the cream of the crop vocally. Khaya did such a solid rendition of Duffy’s “Distant Dreamer” that coach Demi Lovato called her “a little Aretha” Franklin. Meanwhile, Lillie blew everybody out of the water with Queen‘s “Who Wants to Live Forever.” She looked spectacular, she sounded great – hands down, she deserves to win. That doesn’t mean she will though. But still, she elicited this excited comment from coach Kelly Rowland: “That’s what you’re supposed to do when you perform, you’re supposed to shut it down like that!”

But the singer who really stole the show was 13-year-old physically challenged Rion Paige, representing the Girls. If she was in danger at all of leaving the competition, her revamped version of Lady Gaga‘s “Born This Way” ensured that she’s sticking around. You’d have to be totally heartless to not feel for her when she spit out the lyric: “I’m beautiful in my way / ‘Cause God makes no mistakes / I’m on the right track / Baby I was born this way.”

Also saving themselves from their previous performances were the Boys’ Carlos Guevara, who took Simon’s constructive criticism to heart and made sure he worked the stage and gave it his all during Damien Rice’s “Cannonball”; and wild card returnee Josh Levi, who did a thousand times better while singing Rihanna’s “Stay.”

Staying the course were Over 25er Jeff Gutt, who stuck to his rocker roots on Phil Collins‘ “In the Air Tonight” (which Simon called “corny”), and the Groups’ Alex and Sierra, who lit up the stage with chemistry on Ed Sheeran’s “Gimme Love.” “It was immaculate,” said the duo’s coach, Simon. “I loved the song choice, loved chemistry, it was kind of ragged-raw but that’s what you do best. You’re choosing every one of your songs going forward.” 

Amid the success stories, several acts crashed and burned. Staying consistently bad was the Boys’ Carlito Olivero, who was once again saddled with a slow song he struggled with in Daniel Bedingfield’s “If You’re Not the One.” His voice cracked, he hit loads of bum notes and even dropped out at one point (yet there still seemed to be someone singing. Hmm.). When coach Paulina Rubio struggled to find words, Simon piped in with “Is he sick?” as if giving her an out. “Yes,” she replied hesitantly. “I think he’s sick.” Nice try, but someone’s still got to be the first to go, and it just might be Carlito.

Also having issues were the remaining two groups coached by Simon, Restless Road and Sweet Suspense. Restless Road has always been kind of middling anyway, but Sweet Suspense must be pretty bummed by their performance after they did such a bang-up job the night before. All Simon could say about their pitchy, out-of-sync rendition of Justin Bieber‘s “That Should Be Me” was: “That’s a very difficult song to sing, so I want people to remember all of your performances over the last few weeks.” 

Then there was poor Tim Olstad bringing up the rear, looking very frumpy and funeral-like – again, even down to the way he held his hands during R. Kelly‘s “I Believe I Can Fly.” He just doesn’t have star quality.

Acts that fared a little better but are still way overrated were Over 25er Rachel Potter, who Simon joked had a twin sister because her performances are so wildly inconsistent, and the Girls’ Ellona Santiago, who threw her arms out and stomped and warbled her way through David Guetta’s “Titanium.” (Seriously, if you thought those performances were good, replay them with your eyes closed and just listen – you’ll want to turn your TV off.)

With that, viewers once again had to cast their votes. The elimination will take place next Wednesday. What are you going to throw at us next X Factor

Previous recap: Paulina Rubio Brings Back Josh Levi in Surprise Move


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