Ending a touching song with a single tear? Good. Choking back sobs during what’s supposed to be a soaring ballad? Last night’s “X Factor” on Fox.
On a Thanksgiving-themed episode of the singing show Wednesday night, contestants were encouraged to be as emotional as one can humanly be when an army of cameras is trained on them at all times. Each intro video focused on a touching story from the contestants’ lives and a person they are thankful for: Paige Thomas losing her mom at 6 and finding a mother figure in a friend; Emblem3 being troubled teens that found their way with the help of “spiritual advisors”; Fifth Harmony being big, big fans of God.
The videos were pretty effective at humanizing some of the contestants, like CeCe Frey, who went into the competition being called “unlikable” even by her own mentor, Demi Lovato.
Tonight, Frey sang “Wind Beneath My Wings” in honor of her sister, who died at the age of 7. The lead-up was totally heart-string tugging, but unfortunately, CeCe couldn’t sing and cry at the same time — similar to previous weeks, when she showed us that she couldn’t sing and dance at the same time, or sing and walk, or sing and breathe.
In fact, she can only sing when she’s been tied to a chair in a straitjacket and been heavily sedated. So this wasn’t her best night, vocally, but she definitely scored points on the likability front, as in: Hi CeCe, I don’t want to punch you in the leopard face anymore, but I still don’t like you.
Also, CeCe’s turn brought out an unfortunate side-effect of Khloe Kardashian’s host-dom: grammar. “You sang phenomenal,” Khloe told CeCe. Khloe had a pretty good night despite her adverb problem, looking like a curvaceous snowman in a tight white dress. She certainly upped the excitability over previous weeks. “Aren’t you guys excited about Thanksgiving?” she asked at the top of the show. Why, because we’ll be watching the results of “The X Factor” Thanksgiving Night while waiting on line to get a heavily discounted PlayStation at Best Buy? Sure, I’m excited for that fine use of my day off.
Two people will go home Thursday, but one of them will not be Vino Alan. He sang the most bulletproof song available to music competition singers — “Proud to Be an American.” Score 1. And he dedicated it to the troops. Score a million.
Carly Rose Sonenclar is also impenetrable to low voter turnout. She dedicated to her brother a jazzy mixed tempo take on “Over the Rainbow” that somehow managed to sound totally new. Demi called her an alien. “But it’s OK, ’cause I love aliens,” Demi said.
Arin Ray, not emotional enough, and Paige Thomas, way too emotional, both bombed their performances, and should be sent home. So should Beatrice Miller, who sang another slow, monotone song, and was again layered in denim and flannel like it was 1993. I mean, I think it’s cool that she is presenting herself like a little bad-ass from my high school era, but it would be nice to see her be pretty and sing something with a climax for once. For that, I’d be thankful.