Demi Lovato wasn't the only one who decided to be "straight-up honest" about The X Factor's top four performances on Wednesday night.
Backstage after the show, Tate Stevens proved refreshingly candid when offering up critiques of the other contestants, who'd taken to the stage for two songs each in an effort to make it into next week's finale. "I really believe Emblem3 stepped it up tonight," the country crooner said of the laid-back Cali band, who earned raves from the judges for both "Baby, I Love Your Way" and "Hey Jude." "It was Emblem3's night. Fifth Harmony, as good as they are, they sang a song they'd already sung [Shontelle's "Impossible"]."
And what did he make of how the night went for fellow frontrunner Carly Rose Sonenclar? "Carly's great, but I don't think that was some of her best work," Tate stated. He wasn't alone in that opinion: Simon Cowell gave the 13-year-old powerhouse singer a rare less-than-glowing review for her take on John Lennon's "Imagine." (Maybe Britney Spears' sole remaining contestant wasn't feeling her best Wednesday night? After talking to a few camera crews after the show, Carly Rose began rubbing her throat and quickly scooted on out of the VIP tent without giving interviews to any print outlets.)
Tate, on the other hand, was feelin' good, given that the judges had lavished praise on his two performances. Well, except Britney, who'd quibbled that his take on Craig Morgan's "Bonfire" was lacking. "It's fine," he insisted of the pop princess' critique. "You gotta drink a little haterade every once in awhile! I use what I can out of each criticism. And if I can't use anything, then I don't pay it any mind."
Besides, how could he possibly be in a bad mood after the sight of L.A. Reid rockin' a cowboy hat? "That's love right there, man!" he said of his mentor's onscreen show of support. "Very cool. I call him 'my boss,' and for my boss to do that was great."
Overall, the devoted family man feels confident you'll see him in the season-two finals. "I think I did enough," said Tate, who marked his 15th wedding anniversary Friday. "I gotta tell you, I really do."
He was quick to remind reporters that, of all the competitors left, he has the most at stake. "The kids—I call them 'kids' because they're all younger than me—they have mom and dad. They can go home and regroup [if they don't make it]. But I am dad, so there's really none of that for me. It's all or nothing.
"Hopefully, America sees that, like, 'We want this guy to win the whole thing,'" he continued. "Because I didn't come here to lose. And I didn't come here to take second."
Got that, Carly Rose?
Who do you think is in danger of going home Thursday night? Could The X Factor be in for a shocking results show?