Demi Lovato, Simon Cowell, X Factor

Ray Mickshaw / FOX

The focus of tonight's show was purportedly to determine which four contestants deserve coveted slots in The X Factor's semifinals, though at times it seemed as though some of the mentors were more concerned with slinging arrows at each other. Yes, we're talking 'bout you, Demi Lovato and Simon Cowell!

Backstage after the show, Carly Rose Sonenclar exhibited the same preternatural maturity she brings to her knockout performances when considering the judges' feistiness. "I think they have a love-hate relationship," she said with a shrug. "And I think it's just part of the show, and that people expect that from them now. To be honest with you, I had no idea what they were talking about most of the time."

Tate Stevens admitted to getting a kick out of the latest Demi-Simon showdown. "I love it!" he said with a laugh. "It's like, punch her! Kick him! That'd be great TV, wouldn't it? Get mad at each other all you want--just don't take it out on me!"

With the semifinals within reach, the blue-collar cowboy was feeling optimistic about his chances of making music a full-time career. "I don't think I'm gonna go back to paving roads," he said. "God, I hope not! It's a great job—it's helped support my family for the last going-on 10 years, so I can't complain about it. But it's definitely not me. It's not what I wanna do. I'm gonna run with this music thing. I have a fall-forward mentality right now. I'm gonna fall forward, not go back."

A large part of his motivation, of course, is his close-knit family, led by his devoted wife. Tate revealed the pair will celebrate their 15th wedding anniversary this Friday. Perhaps he'll whip up a special dinner to celebrate: When Tate's not wowing X Factor crowds, it seems he's in the kitchen, polishing up his culinary skills. "I just [learned] how to make marsala wine sauces," he revealed. "I make a pretty mean chicken marsala with mushrooms." 

The country crooner's not not the only one marking a special occasion this week: Emblem3's Wesley Stromberg will celebrate a birthday on Thursday. During the commercial break before the trio took the stage to perform "Forever Young," the entire studio audience even sang "Happy Birthday" to the burgeoning teen idol. "That was awesome!" he told us, clearly touched. 

How will he and his bandmates celebrate? "We're gonna take shots of Pedialyte!" cracked Drew Chadwick. "We're such rebels." 

The group turned serious, though, when talking about how close they're getting to potentially walking away with the show's $5-million grand prize. "Personally, I just wanna make sure we don't spend too much after we get it," said the group's youngest member, Keaton Stromberg. "It sounds like a lot of money, and it is, but it could be spent very quickly and easily, so you have to be cautious. I think honestly, we'd just put it towards our careers and pushing ourselves even more." Smart boy!

So, folks, who deserves to make the semi-finals? Do you think CeCe Frey will eek through yet again?

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