Kwaku Alston / FOX
The live shows are finally here!
After weeks of auditions, X Factor fans got to witness the first night of the top 16 taking the stage live. Tonight was full of new looks (including judge Demi Lovato), the debut of Khloé Kardashian Odom and Mario Lopez's hosting gigs and powerful performances with the theme of "Made in America."
Oh, and a lot of bickering between judges, who will have the power of eliminating someone from their team tomorrow night.
So how did everyone do?
First up from Demi's team was Paige Thomas, who shaved her head and strutted onto the stage in an awesome futuristic costume. She was definitely a great show opener with her rendition of Haddaway's "What Is Love?" Simon Cowell said, "I've gotta tell you, you've just come out here tonight and nailed it."
Jennel Garcia shocked everyone with her version of Mötley Crüe's "Home Sweet Home." L.A. Reid told her, "I am completely surprised. I did not expect that," and Cowell added, "With that song, you just defined the theme 'Made in America.'" Demi was more than impressed with Jennel's first live show and told her, "I'm so unbelievably proud of you, I feel like crying."
A newly blond CeCe Frey took the stage and sang Patti Smith's "Because the Night." The crazy hair and makeup and dancing on the ground were all entertaining, but the judges felt she needed more work on her vocals.
Willie Jones gave a little show to Gretchen Wilson's "Here for the Party," which left Cowell feeling as though it was a bit "silly" and "cheap." Ouch! But Demi responded with, "Well, his mentor happens to be someone that's 20 years old and happens to know what people like, and right now people are liking unique, fresh things. This may not have worked 100 years ago when you were good at this, but I think it could work now." Bam!
Arin Ray was first for Britney Spears' group, and between the stage presence and those dimples, he killed it when he performed Diana Ross "You Keep Me Hangin' On." Simon was overall impressed and said the boy had swag.
Powerhouse singer Diamond White gave a youthful performance to "Soul Sister" by Train. "You have one of the most powerful voices in this competition," Demi told her.
Hello, Beatrice Miller! The little rocker with her crimped hair gave an amazing rendition of Jason Mraz's "I Won't Give Up." Demi felt there was "so much feeling behind your eyes," while her mentor Britney said it was "amazing."
Top contender Carly Rose Sonenclair had an interesting song choice with "I Get a Good Feeling," which didn't exactly sit well with Lovato, who told her that she is one of "the best voices in this competition," but needed to have more fun. Simon agreed about the song choice but added, "It would be criminal if you were to leave the competition tomorrow."
There were no theatrics for David Correy when he got on that stage and sang Whitney Houston's "My Love Is Your Love." The emotional singer seemed extremely connected to the song, but Simon felt it was "desperate." All L.A. had to say was that at least the audience could actually hear him sing and "it felt right."
Vino Alan took the stage and performed "Gotta Be Somebody" by Nickelback. Unfortunately, Spears said she felt bored and Demi found it hard to picture him as a pop star (is it the tattoos on his face?). Simon reassured Vino that his voice is great, which we all know, but felt the song choice screwed him up.
Country singer Tate Stevens gave a beautiful rendition of Craig Morgan's "Tough." Demi told him, "We need you in this competition," while Simon said, "You're just a good, honest man who needs a break and I think this show could give you a break."
Last from Reid's group was Jason Brock aka Mr. Entertainment, but his performance of Jennifer Lopez's "Dance Again" didn't go over too well. Simon thought it was "utterly horrendous—what you're wearing, the song, the dances, the choreography, the way you walked on, the song choice. Everything about it was all wrong." Please don't hold back, Cowell.
First to face the live shows from Cowell's team was Sister C. The sweet Southern girls with catchy twang in their voice sang Miranda Lambert's "Hell on Heels." Britney thought it was "amazing," but Demi expected a better performance.
Rap group Lyric 145 brought out the shiny MC Hammer pants and the funk. They did some quick rap that was mixed in with "Gangnam Style" and we might have not known what they were saying but their energy was attention-grabbing. Simon felt they were "absolutely sensational," but L.A. said, "That's not hip-hop."
The all-girl group LYLAS had to have a name change due to some legal reasons (no deets were offered), so they're not called 1432. The girls took on Taylor Swift 's "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together." Reid thought it was "very talent show, very karaoke." But Britney said, "Your energy drew us in."
Ladies, don't get overwhelmed, but it's Emblem 3. These three California boys made all the girls get gaga over their performance of Matisyahu's "One Day," and even Simon gave them a standing ovation. L.A. told Cowell, "You got it right this time." Britney said that the boys are "absolutely adorable," and Demi told them, "You boys make me swoon. I can't look you in the eye when you sing to me, because I'm supposed to be a judge and not flirting with you when you sing."
Who do you think is going home tomorrow night?! Sound off in the comments!
Always an OMG moment on X Factor