'X Factor' S2, Ep18 Top Ten Performances Recap: A Night of Thanks and Dedications

Carly Rose Sonenclar brought the house down on X Factor's Top 10 episode

On The X Factor USA, singers compete for a 5 million dollar recording contract. This week on season 2, episode 18, the Top Ten contestants will be giving thanks and dedicating songs to people who are special to them.

The hosts arrive on stage: Khloe Kardashian is dressed in white (after Labor Day – take that fashion conformists!), and Mario Lopez is - unless my eyes and/or TV deceive me - wearing burgundy. Are you reading my recaps Mario? How about a sharp electric blue suit next time?

The judges and their teams are introduced: Demo Lovato and her Young Adults (CeCe Frey and Paige Thomas), L.A. Reid and his Over 25s (Tate Stevens and Vino Alan), Simon Cowell and his Groups (Emblem3 and Fifth Harmony) and Britney Spears and her Teens (Diamond White, Arin Ray, Beatrice Miller, Carly Rose Sonenclar).

First up is country crooner Tate Stevens. He dedicates Lonestar's "I'm Already There" to his father. Britney says his performances are always special and touching, and that L.A. is doing a great job with Tate. Demi agrees with Britney, and says it wasn’t Tate’s best, but he was still incredible. Simon loved the song and tells Tate that though he noticed his voice breaking, but “there’s not a cat’s chance in hell you’re going home.” L.A. thinks Tate sang with confidence and that America loves him. It was good, but we want him to sing something big and anthemic like Bon Jovi’s “Dead or Alive” again.

The second singer was Diamond White; she does Celine Dion's "Because You Loved Me" and dedicates it to her Mother. L.A. says Diamond “is the truth.” An emotional, teary Demi says the song reminds her of her family. Simon calls Diamond fearless and incredible and thought it was amazing. Britney thought it was beautiful, and said Diamond’s story broke her heart. Ours too; Diamond’s story of growing up missing her absentee father was heartbreaking.

Next we hear Emblem3. They dedicate OneRepublic's "Secrets" to their Youth Leaders. L.A.’s critique is that the performance lacked emotion. Britney on the other hand, thinks it was a nice change of pace and Demi agrees. Simon calls L.A. a “Grinch”, and says the performance showed a different side of Emblem3. We like hearing them do something more melodic, and were impressed to learn that Drew traveled to Haiti to build houses after the devastating earthquake in 2010.

Then it’s Arin Ray’s turn; he dedicates Enrique Iglesias’ “Hero” to his big brother Aris. L.A. says it was too big of a song for Arin, and that he didn’t give a 5 million dollar performance. Demi says if she was a record exec she wouldn’t sign him, she was bored. Simon asks him how he feel, and Arin answers that he wants to get back to where he was in week two, singing more upbeat songs and dancing. Simon understands, and says he’s not hearing who Arin should be in the real world, but doesn’t blame that on Arin. Britney thinks he nailed it. We agree with Simon.

CeCe Frey is next with an emotional performance Bette Midler's "Wind Beneath My Wings". She dedicates it to her big sister Kelsey, who passed away at age 7 due to complications from cerebral palsy. L.A. tells her he felt every word of the song. Britney says it’s hard to critique someone when they’re pouring their heart out. Simon doesn’t know how she managed to sing the song (because of the intense emotion), and says he really likes her. Demi is proud of CeCe because she knows how hard it was for her to get through this song. We’ve complained about CeCe’s styling over the past few recaps, but she was absolutely stunning on this episode – she looked like a 1940s screen goddess.

Fifth Harmony is the sixth act to perform – they dedicate The Pretenders' "I'll Stand By You" to God and their families. L.A. says it was great, Britney says it was a beautiful rendition, Demi loves watching them because they’re genuine, but doesn’t really like their song choice. Simon, on the other hand, was “crazy” about the song choice, and the way the singers worked individually, and as a group on the harmonies. He says they clicked as a group. We liked the song, but we’d like to see Fifth Harmony cut loose with a fierce tune like En Vogue’s “Free Your Mind”.

Beatrice Miller sings Snow Patrol's "Chasing Cars" and dedicates it to her little twin sisters, Georgia and Esther. L.A. calls Beatrice an inspiration to little girls, and says Britney has good taste. Demi doesn’t think Beatrice is progressing, and she wants to hear her do something different and fun (so do we, please, let this child rock out like she wants to), but Simon disagrees and says he can tell the song meant something to her. Britney thinks it was her vocal performance so far. While the judges a talking we see Khloe wipe away Beatrice’s tears. Khloe is the coolest Kardashian.

The eighth act of the evening is Vino Alan. He dedicates Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA" to the U.S. military and gets a standing ovation from the judges. Britney thinks it is the first performance for him that has been spot-on, Demi admits that she has been hard on Vino over the past few weeks, but says she must be wrong because he’s placed third three weeks in a row. She tells him there’s something special in him; it’s a nice moment. Simon tells Vino he could be at number one after the public votes, L.A. says, “You stand for the troops and I stand for you.” We like everything Vino does, but hope he gets back to singing more soulful songs next week.

Then Paige Thomas gets her turn. She dedicates Britney Spears' "Everytime" to Colleen, the woman who took her in and has been like a Mother to her – Paige’s Mom died in a car accident on Christmas Eve when Paige was 6. L.A. says it was really good, but not enough to get her out of the bottom spot. Britney thinks she performed it beautifully. Simon says there were moments where she sang it well, but she may be in for a tough night during the elimination show. Demi concedes that Paige did better in rehearsal, and that it was pitchy. We think she may have to sing for her life on the elimination show, but even if she gets cut she’ll do well in the public eye - Paige is a star.

For the final and by far the best performance of the night, Carly Rose Sonenclar dedicates “Over the Rainbow” from The Wizard of Oz to her older brother. It starts out a cappella, then the band joins in and Carly Rose builds the song to a duo of end notes that brings the crowd and judges to their feet. L.A. calls Carly Rose “an absolute force of nature”. Demi wants to see her ID because she can’t believe she’s 13, and adds, “You’re going to be around the music industry for the rest of your life.” Simon says he’s heard that song a lot of times, but Carly Rose did one of the best versions, and he thinks maybe it will be Carly Rose and not Vino who takes the top spot in the public vote. Britney call her voice “unreal”

On Thanksgiving night (Thursday, November 22) two contestants will be eliminated, and there will be a performance by Cher Lloyd.

The X Factor airs Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8/7c on FOX.

To read more of our X Factor coverage click here.

Photos ©Talkback Thames, FremantleMedia, SYCOtv

Posted on Thursday, November 22, 2012 9:45 AM