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Hit show The X Factor returned Wednesday for an intense battle between the finalists. This week marks the start of the official competition, where America finally gets to vote. This week's theme was songs from the movies. We knew we were going to be in for some amazing talent, but we weren’t prepared for all of the finalists to blow us away.
The evening started off with hosts Khloe Kardashian and Mario Lopez asking the judges to reveal an important announcement that was going to change the competition. Judges L.A. Reid (mentor of the over 25s), Demi Lovato (mentor of the young adults), Britney Spears (mentor of the teens) and Simon Cowell (mentor of the groups) announced that they had made a mistake in last week's elimination.
Spears had originally sent teen Diamond White home, but the judges felt that she deserved to still be in the competition. They felt so strongly about this, that they decided to bring her back. So instead of the usual 12 finalists, 13 finalists will now be competing for America’s votes.
Teen Arin Ray took the stage first this week, doing his own rendition of Estelle’s “American Boy.” He started off the night in a solid way, with perfected dance moves, singing and rapping. All four judges, who thought he did an amazing job, praised him.
“I am a little speechless,” said Lovato. “You look like a star up there.”
Next up was Paige Thomas from the young adult group. She performed the popular song “Take My Breath Away” by Berlin. What caught everyone’s attention most in this performance was the production. She started off in the air and was harnessed down. While Lovato and Spears thought she did a great job, Reid and Cowell weren’t as blown away.
Thomas’s performance is actually what sparked the rivalry and bickering between Lovato and Cowell that would continue all night. Cowell didn’t agree with Lovato’s choices, which is something he made very clear.
Vino Alan from the over 25 group was up next doing a stripped version of “When A Man Loves A Woman” by Percy Sledge. His performance was simple with just a mic-stand and a piano on stage, but it worked. The passion behind him clearly came through in his performance. All four judges agreed that he did a phenomenal job, although Lovato added that she didn’t feel he was a “pop star.” Cowell was quick to defend Alan though, greatly disagreeing with her.
The first group to perform of the night was the popular trio, Emblem3. These three boys from Cali mixed up their song choices a bit. They made a medley of “My Girl” by the Temptations and “California Girls” by Katy Perry, mixed with the backing of “What Makes You Beautiful” by One Direction. It’s clear that this group is both a crowd favorite and a judge favorite.
“You guys are actually perfect,” said Reid, “and I don’t like that.”
The other judges had to agree with Reid, but Lovato thought that it wasn’t a bold move of Cowell to incorporate a One Direction song into their song. The fighting between the two judges continued.
Next on the stage was 13-year-old Beatrice Miller who sang “Iris” by the Goo Goo Dolls. Right before her performance we learned that she was having trouble with her vocal cords, but that didn’t stop her. She pushed through it and still gave a strong, solid performance. She received compliments from all four judges, who agreed that she was a star.
Jennel Garcia was up next, representing the young adults and she performed the famous “I Love Rock and Roll” by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. Spears said she was “hot, hot, hot” and Lovato immediately gave her two thumbs up after she completed her performance. Reid and Cowell, on the other hand, believed that it wasn’t very original. To them it seemed like more of a “Joan Jett parody.” This once again caused Lovato and Cowell to argue with each other.
37-year-old Tate Stevens took the stage next performing “Wanted Dead or Alive” by Jon Bon Jovi. His take on the song was rock ‘n’ roll and country mixed into one. All four judges were impressed by his performance and felt that he truly has what it takes to make it in this competition.
The next group to take the stage was Lyric 145. They decided to perform “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” from Mary Poppins, but with their own original hip-hop twist. They sported unique costumes and had a crazy, fun production. Every judge had something nice to say and Cowell even went as far to say that they were “bloody fantastic.” There was no arguing from Lovato on that one!
13-year-old Diamond White was up next and she performed “I Have Nothing” by Whitney Houston. She knew she had to have a strong performance tonight, for she was brought back, and boy did she nail it! Reid and Cowell had nothing but nice things to say, while Lovato said she was trying hard not to cry because the performance “tugged at [her] heart.” Spears even said that she could tell White was channeling Houston through her performance and that Houston would be proud.
CeCe Frey from the young adult group was next on stage and she sang “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor. Spears and Lovato thought she had a solid performance, but the men were not blown away. Cowell thought the song choice was horrible, there was no imagination and that there was nothing different about it. He also added that Frey had become unrecognizable and even blamed her mentor, Lovato, for this. It seemed as if Cowell and Lovato were very quick to critique not only the contestants, but also each other.
Carly Rose Sonenclar followed that performance with a stripped down version of “It Will Rain” by Bruno Mars. The teen got so into her performance, that at the very end we even saw her shed a tear. The judges were blown away by her heartfelt performance and truly felt that she gave it her all.
“We’re watching a star in the making,” said Cowell.
From the over 25s group, Jason Brock was up next. He performed R.Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly,” and Spears, Lovato and Cowell were not impressed. They thought his performance was very cabaret-like and that a lot of work needed to be done. Mentor Reid, though, thought Brock did an excellent job.
Last up was the final group, Fifth Harmony. After going through multiple name changes, America got to decide on this new name for them. Although Reid still didn’t like the new name, the girls seemed to think it fit them.
They performed a beautiful rendition of “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri that blew the judges away. Cowell said that he “couldn’t be more proud.”
It was an exciting night with a ton of amazing performances. It’s now in America’s hands to vote and decide who will be going home on Thursday's result show that will air at 8/7c on FOX. Viewers will also be in for a treat when popular boy band One Direction takes the stage to perform!
Who do you think performed best? Who do you think is going to be sent home? Let us know!