The X Factor
We have established that Simon Cowell is a monster who cares nothing for family or tradition. This week, when we should be catching up with our hometown friends, arguing politics with our parents, and murdering each other over doorbuster deals, The X Factor has gone ahead with two whole new episodes, including this one, which is a seasonally-inappropriate double elimination. Full disclosure: I am watching this on Friday, with a red-wine hangover and an elephant-tranquilizer level of tryptophan still coursing through my stiffened arteries. Let’s. Do. This.
Did you see last night? Last night was all about Giving Thanks, or as Khloe struggles to say: “the contestants sang songsta the spesha people that are impornit to their lifes.” I am so grateful for Khloe Kardashian, you guys. Because now I have something I can show my agent and be like: “Are you sure? Are you absolutely sure you don’t want to submit me for this job? Because this is happening.”
There’s a whole long thing about a struggling inner-city Los Angeles school, and The X Factor teams up with Best Buy’s most attractive young employees to spruce up its crumbling music room. It’s all very sweet, and some of the young schoolgirls come away from the experience with CeCe cheetah spots, like some kind of head herpes. And then the school’s choir comes out to sing Coldplay’s “Fix You” with the top 10, which is nice, but this really should have been Beatrice’s song last night, instead of that Snow Patrol snoozeburger they stuck her with. Anyway. Happy Thanksgiving from Best Buy: Where A Human Being Is Almost Certainly Being Trampled To Death As You Read This.
As is customary on double-elimination nights, the lowest vote-getter goes home right away with minimal fanfare (and maximal stalling). And that lowest vote-getter is…Arin, which is not much of a surprise. He puts on the world’s most mirthless smile and takes it like a trouper. You know what? He’s a talented kid, and I bet he’ll be a monster entertainer in a couple of years. Go get ‘em, Arin Ray. Sorry you went out on a song that implied that you want to make out with your brother.
What does Khloe think of the goings-on so far? “Whoo. Emotional,” she says, utterly without affect.
And then we’re on to a performance by Cher Lloyd featuring Becky G! I knew Cher was coming, but Becky G? It’s almost too much. Cher is an engaging performer, her song “Oath” is catchy and sweet and has a line in the chorus about “birds of a feather,” during which she shakes her ass and shoulders like…a bird of some kind? She also has that Amy Winehouse thing of having a million tattoos that don’t really go together, which kind of makes you appreciate Vino’s body art. He’s telling you a story with his regrettable tattoos, give him that.
Becky G is of course wonderful. You would expect nothing less.
You know, it’s a little difficult to build suspense over who’s going to win this show, when only the losers go on to sell records.
But! This brings us to the reveal of our bottom two, who will have to spend America’s favorite holiday singing for their very lives. Making it through to the top 8 are…
Diamond White! Vino Alan! Carly Rose! Fifth Harmony! Tate Stevens! Paige Thomas, which is kind of a surprise, even to her! And when Emblem3 gets sent through, our bottom two becomes Beatrice Miller and CeCe Frey. Beatrice does not take the news well at all, which reminds you, oh — she is a child.
CeCe is up first, introduced by Demi as “my sweet angel who I love so much, CeCe FRAY,” even though we have established that her name is FRY LIKE FRENCH FRY. You guys, I think the relationships between the mentors and the contestants might be less close than we are led to believe. CeCe does a messy, pitchy take on Kelly Clarkson’s “Because Of You,” and cries the ostentatious tears that have become her trademark. I think she’s a little out of her depth, I think the pressure is starting to get to her, and I think the producers are keeping her around just to torture her. She is our generation’s Nikki McKibbin.
Beatrice is seriously not taking this well at all. She is wracked with tears as she struggles through Dido’s “White Flag,” and as sad as it is, it’s absolutely magnetic. While not a virtuoso singer like Carly or Diamond, she does something neither of them — and none of the other contestants — can do, which is emotionally convey a song’s meaning. This show needs her. I bet they’re going to fuck it up. Oh, and the audience claps along, and the audience has terrible rhythm.
Time for the judges to vote, but first, Mario reminds us that “Beatrice had a little bit of a cold and a bad voice this week.” Hey, thanks, Mario. Demi votes to send Beatrice home, and Britney opts for CeCe, as they must. LA stuns America by voting against Beatrice, and Simon hems and haws forever before deciding that “the pressure is starting to get too much for you, Beatrice. This just isn’t your time.” So that’s it for my Beatrice. She falls apart into tears that are not quite Rachel Crow-level, but are devastating all the same.
Khloe asks her if she’s okay, which she is clearly not, and she responds with a decisive NO. Britney encourages her and tells her that she’s got a long career ahead, and that “your save-me song was an excruciating hard.” On her third attempt at delivering this question, Khloe says: “I can tell you’re very emotional,” — what gave it away, Khloe? Was it the desperate, choking sobs convulsing her tiny body? — “is there anything you’d like to say?” Beatrice says, “I just want to thank my sisters and tell them I’m sorry.” And the three soulless grownups who surround Beatrice on stage respond with a collective “Oh.”
I am essentially watching a snuff film.
And then it’s back to the rankings, which are not dissimilar to last week’s. Here’s the top eight:
8. CeCe Frey
7. Fifth Harmony
6. Paige Thomas
5. Diamond White
And the top three is essentially unchanged, with Vino at #3, but one tiny shakeup at the top: Tate is now #2, just behind Carly Rose Sonenclar, who Mario literally calls “Carly Rose Sonenblerg,” because even he is finished with this shit and just wants to go home and sit around a table with his family and eat a protein bar in the shape of a turkey.
I have said this before, and I will say it again: Ryan Murphy, if Beatrice Miller isn’t a freshman at Glee High next year, you are an idiot. And if you’re reading this, Beatrice: you’re my favorite singing-show contestant in years, you are going to be a huge star, and I believe a second Obama administration is going to turn the economy around slowly but surely, so you need not sweat providing for your adorable family. I’m very sorry about Snow Patrol. Also, why are your parents letting you read this?
I’m going to put my face onto a giant plate of reheated yams. See you next week.