The Top 3 finalists on The X Factor returned to Fox on Wednesday night to perform three songs each before a second season winner is named on Thursday.
After weeks of preparation for The X Factor finale, it all came down to three song choices for Fifth Harmony, Tate Stevens, and Carly Rose Sonenclar. With a $5 million contract on the line, each worked tirelessly with their mentors for the most important night of competition. The performance choices consisted of a favorite song from the season, a special duet with surprise guests, and a brand new tune.
However, The X Factor added a few surprises in the two-hour performance finale. The show kicked off with a moving tribute to the victims of the Sandy Hook tragedy as all of the finalists returned to sing Michael Jackson’s “You Are Not Alone.”
In between songs, each act checked in with their home towns. Carly Rose was given her a special honor when Westchester County Mayor declared that December 19 would forever be known as Carly Rose Sonenclar Day. Tate Stevens got a standing ovation from his co-workers and a squad of cheerleaders before Tate’s name was revealed on the town’s signature water tower. The girls of Fifth Harmony each connected with supporters in their respective hometowns, from church groups to friends and family. The tears were definitely streaming in full force!
When the The X Factor got back to the live matters at hand, Carly Rose Sonenclar performed Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good” for the first time since her audition. It was the breakout song that made Carly an early front-runner. “You are here to try and win this tonight.,” admitted Simon Cowell after Carly’s first song.
For her second performance, Carly Rose joined Leann Rimes on “How Do I Live” to prove that she has what it takes to be a star. Although Rimes didn’t quite bring her A-game to The X Factor on Wednesday, Carly held her own against the country star.
Carly’s third and final song choice was an angelic version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” The fact that she was able to make the most over-sung tune in reality television her own is a miracle. Dressed in white and flanked by a choir, Carly nailed the longest note of the evening to finish her set. “I feel like that song alone is worth $5 million,” said Britney to Simon, “so you should get out your checkbook, Simon.”
Tate Stevens started strong with a redo of Randy Houser’s “Anything Goes” from his first audition. Although Tate’s country twang was spot on, Stevens failed to stand out from his previous country classic song choices.
For the duet portion of the show, Tate joined Little Big Town on their country hit “Pontoon.” The liveliest of Tate’s three performances, singer Kimberly Schlapman admitted that Stevens “makes country music proud.”
With one last shot to grab America’s vote, Tate went back to his country roots on Chris Young’s “Tomorrow.” It was a brilliant choice by Stevens who nailed the song. Even Simon acknowledged Tate’s potential as a future country star. “You’ve had a really, really, really good night,” said Cowell about Tate’s chances on The X Factor
For their first song, Fifth Harmony hit the stage with Ellie Goulding’s “Anything Could Happen,” the group’s favorite performance of the season. The vocals were better, and we’re pretty sure that Camila’s bow got bigger as well. It was all worth it.
Fifth Harmony was then joined by Demi Lovato on the The X Factor judge’s current hit, “Give Your Heart a Break,” which made for a stellar performance. The girls nailed their harmonies at the right time. The duet even had Simon on his feet for what he dubbed “pop perfection.”
Saving the best for last, 5H rounded out the night with a funky gospel take on The Beatles hit “Let It Be.” L.A. Reid, who was hesitant about Fifth Harmony’s marketability all season, gave the best compliment. “You guys are really like magic happening before our eyes,” admitted Reid who will soon depart the show. With three amazing performances, the girls of Fifth Harmony emphatically proved they were more than just underdogs.
Who do you think should win The X Factor on Thursday?