'X Factor' Season 2, Episode 24 Semifinals Recap: Top 4 Contestants Perform

Emblem3 during rehearsal for The X Factor semifinals

On The X Factor USA aspiring singers compete for a five million dollar recording contract. On season 2, episode 24, the Top 4 contestants – pretty prodigy Carly Rose Sonenclar, country crooner Tate Stevens, talented trio Emblem3 and girl group Fifth Harmony – compete in the semifinals. At the end of this show the public will vote, and then on the next episode (December 13) one of the acts will be eliminated.

Presenters Khloe Kardashian and Mario Lopez take center stage; Khloe is wearing a black mini dress with cut-outs on the neckline, Mario is in an ensemble from his closetful of charcoal grey host suits. They remind us that this week there is no sing-off and no judge’s decision, just the public vote. Then they bring out the judges: L.A. Reid, Demi Lovato, Simon Cowell and Britney Spears.

Mario and Khloe go over the contestant rankings, and tell us that this is the last leaderboard we will see until the winner is announced. Then the Final 4 are introduced: Tate Stevens from the L.A.’s Over 25s, Carly Rose Sonenclar from Britney’s Teens, and Emblem3 and Fifth Harmony from Simon's Groups.

Each act will sing two songs: first they will do a "contestant’s choice" number, then when they come back for their second turn they’ll do a song chosen jointly by them and their mentors.

Tate Stevens
First up is Tate Stevens. He says, “I’m only three people away from a five million dollar deal…this is what I worked for my whole life.” Tate sings Craig Morgan’s “Bonfire” on a stage filled with piles of spare tires, and there are pyrotechnics. At the end of his number the platform he is standing on raises him above the stage. Britney doesn’t think it was his best performance, but Demi disagrees and says it was a “freakin’ amazing." Simon's critique is, “This is you saying this is who I am, this is the record I want to make. You look like a man who believes he could win this competition.” L.A., who is wearing a cowboy hat in support of Tate, tells the singer he picked the right song and lit the stage on fire.

Carly Rose Sonenclar has had a tough week: she slipped from first to second place, and watched her best friend Diamond White get eliminated. She says, “I promised Diamond that I would try my hardest to win this, not just for myself, but for her as well.” Carly does Elton John’s “Your Song”. She walks on an illuminated runway while she sings, and a children’s choir joins her at the end. L.A. tells her she did things with the song that he’s never heard before, and that he can feel her wanting to win this competition. Demi says it was predictable, but also that it was her favorite Carly Rose performance. Simon says it was a beautiful version of a fantastic song, but adds that he thinks she can do better. Britney tells her, “You’ve blossomed into a huge superstar… I’m so proud to be your mentor.”

In the clip that plays before Emblem3 performs, member Wes says, “We’re deep in the game now, you’ve got to make moves now, smart moves.” To that end, they do a reggae and rap version of Peter Frampton’s “Baby I Love Your Way”. L.A. thinks it was a five million dollar moment, and the first time he saw them as recording artists. Britney says the performance felt really special, and that they’ve grown so much during the course of the competition that it would be unfair to call them a “boy band”. Demi thinks they are back to being the Emblem3 they were in their initial audition. Simon agrees with Demi, and says that if this song doesn’t get them into the Final, nothing will.

Fifth Harmony
Fifth Harmony has a strategy: “We want to make it as fun as we possibly can because this is our last chance.” Member Lauren Jauregui says, “Us being here proves anything can happen”, and that is the song they choose, Ellie Goulding's “Anything Could Happen.” Their number starts with them singing at a table filled with cakes, while boys dressed as butterflies carry trays and offer them hors d'oeuvres. They all wear full, pretty dresses that look like fairy princess outfits. L.A. says it was the best vocal performance they have ever done. Britney loves everything about the performance and says it was like magic. Demi thinks the dresses were cute and it felt really great. Simon tells them they are underdogs, but that like the song says, "anything could happen."

Then it’s time for the songs chosen by the contestants and their mentors.

Tate Stevens performs Clay Walker’s “Fall”, but first we see his video, in which he and his wife discuss his concern that he won’t have a job to go back to. His wife tells him, “America sees what I see, and they’re all falling in love with you.” After he sings Britney says, “We’ve seen you hit and miss a lot on this competition, and I feel like this was a direct hit.” Demi says his wife must feel like the “most luckiest” girl in the world. Simon tells him it was a great song, and that “there is about as much chance as you going back to your old job as there is me flying to the moon.” He also thinks Tate has done enough to get into the finals. L.A. disagrees with Britney, and tells Tate he’s been good every time.

Carly Rose Sonenclar
Carly Rose Sonenclar sings John Lennon’s “Imagine”, and mentor Britney suggests that she plays the piano for part of the song. It’s been a while since she’s played, and she tells her Dad she is nervous about it, but he assures her she can do it. After her performance L.A. says he loves that she took her artistic credibility up a notch by playing piano. Demi says the only thing that was predictable about the performance was that it was going to be amazing, and she loves that Carly Rose took a risk. Simon would have preferred to have her stay at the piano during the song instead of getting up to sing. He says all the different things going on made the song "fussy" and he didn’t like the arrangement. Britney disagrees and says it’s time for Carly Rose to go beyond this stage and compete with the biggest stars in the world.

Emblem3 does The Beatles’ “Hey Jude”. Keaton is going to take on some of the lead vocals, and is nervous about stepping into Paul McCartney’s shoes. Drew plays guitar, and the three of them sing gorgeous harmonies in what turns out to be the best performance of the evening. L.A. says he was prepared to rip them to shreds because doing a Beatles song is presumptuous, but that they ARE teen heartthrobs like the Beatles. Britney says, “That was an A-level performance, you guys should take a bow." Demi remarks, “I don’t know if you can compare it to the Beatles (and Emblem3 interject to agree), but you guys have the potential seeing the fan base you have.” Simon tells them, “I just feel so proud of what you’ve achieved tonight… you nailed it on both songs.”

The final act is Fifth Harmony. They do Shontelle's “Impossible”, a song they first sang at Simon’s home after they made it through the main auditions. To make it different this time around, they sing some parts in Spanish. L.A. tells them the song choice was a little bit lazy because you’ve done it before. Britney says it was pretty good, but she’d be surprised if Fifth Harmony was back next week. Demi says it’s going to come down to their fan base and how much they support Fifth Harmony by voting. Simon thinks it was right to do that song because it’s a reminder of why he fell in love with them in the first place. He says Fifth Harmony was one of the strongest acts of the night.

During the show The X Factor announced its 2013 call for singers. If you are over 12 years old, and a solo singer or in a group, you can audition online at TheXFactorUSA.com, or live at one of the following locations: Los Angeles CA, Charleston SC, New Orleans LA, Long Island NY, or Denver CO.

The X Factor airs Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8/7c on FOX. On the next episode (Thursday, Dec 13), one contestant will be eliminated, and the Top 3 who will sing in the X Factor finals will be revealed. The special guest performer will be Bruno Mars.

To read more of our X Factor coverage click here.

Photos ©Talkback Thames, FremantleMedia, SYCOtv

Posted on Thursday, December 13, 2012 9:20 AM