Yes, the performances rocked. But there's soooo much to say about everyone's looks tonight! Demi Lovato appeared with a startling flat-ironed new brunette hairdo. Britney Spears rocked some blunt new bangs. CeCe Frey went blonde, Paige Thomas got shaved, Jennel Garcia went straight and near black, and everyone brought mega-new style, attitude, and, yes, some serious singing chops.
New hosts Khloe Kardashian Odom and Mario Lopez lived up to their hype. They were funny, stylish, and full of chemistry. Loved it! "I can't believe we're here," Khloe said, and they wished everyone a Happy Halloween. And, we got a look inside the Hollywood mansion the Top 16 moved into...s-w-a-n-k-y!
Favorite Khloe moment: She called Mr. Nasty "Mr. Sexy Simon Cowell" and forced Demi and Simon to answer her questions, putting them totally on the spot. That's the Khloe we love.
Favorite Mario moment: When Jason Brock pinched his butt and he said, "Let's keep it PG-13 up here buddy. Live Show!"
Favorite judge moment: Simon joking about Khloe's, um, thin shirt, saying, "I think the air conditioning is on high tonight." Yes, he went THERE.
Second favorite judge moment: Demi can't even look at Emblem3; they're just too darn cute to her! Yes. Holy TMI!
Making fun of her reality show pedigree, Khloe set out some "ground rules," saying "I want no punching, no fighting, no screaming, alright, I do like a little bit of screaming. I love screaming." Well, there was lots of screaming by the audience for our talented 16 for sure!
On a more somber note, Simon Cowell gave a loving shout out to the East Coast after all the Hurricane Sandy damage. On, and the theme of the night? Made in America.
So, okay, America, here's a look at the Halloween treats the Top 16 had for us all tonight...
Paige Thomas: Haddaway's "What is Love": It was all about Paige's look tonight. Demi suggested she shave her head, and guess what? She did! Demi said her protege wasn't the best vocalist, but had the best look. Paige was wearing an amazing spiked headpiece and futuristic silver bodysuit for her song. Backed by a slew of dancers, she writhed beautifully around the stage with as much charisma as Rihanna. L.A. Reid said she "looked like a star." But he wasn't sure about the song choice. Britney felt she was outrageous and thought Paige was a "true star." Simon said the whole point of the show was to find somebody different and outrageous and Paige "nailed it." L.A. pointed out "What is Love" was a big U.K. hit, but not in America. "I'm shaking, I'm so excited," said Demi.
Arin Ray: The Supremes' "You Keep Me Hanging On": Arin said being in the Top 16 was awesome and Britney gushed, "You're going to make the girls swoon." And, swoon, they did! Accompanied by THE X FACTOR fog machine at his feet, Arin looked sexy in a silver jacket as the dancers circled him as he delivered a very modern version of the '60s Motown classic. Yes, Britney was right. He totally played to young girls. L.A. Reid said it was creative and inventive, but his vocal wasn't on par. But he still was a supporter. Demi said she couldn't hear his vocals from the screams of the girls, but told him gently it was a little stiff. Simon said maybe he was distracted by the dancers around him and chided Britney for making Arin do that. The judge was impressed overall by his maturity, however. Britney said "you were a little genius out there. I loved it."
David Correy: Whitney Houston's "My Love is Your Love": In rehearsal, L.A. told David his voice needed attention and the tattooed singer admitted to being very nervous. As he took the stage, he was wearing a heart patch on his jacket and the adorable Mohawk the fans love was still prominent! Backed by a band, David did Whitney proud and he led the crowd in the clapping segment that really got the audience on its feet. He was rewarded by rapturous applause. He said the song was a tribute to his mom and dad. Britney said he completely surprised her while Demi wasn't sure if the song was a good choice but said it was "pretty good" because he got the crowd involved. Downer alert! Simon said it was "manic" and "desperate" and needed to be toned down a bit. He told L.A. it felt like a random song choice. But L.A. defended his artist, saying he sounded good and it felt right. Right on!
Sister C: Pistol Annies' "Hell on Heels": The gals interacted so comfortably together and it was truly a rootin', tootin', good time that had everyone on the audience dancing to the up-tempo number. And yes, they looked great in their high heels! L.A. said it was really good, but qualified it. Britney said it was very interesting and they really delivered and were stunning. Demi said they had a great sound but they seemed really stiff. Simon stressed they were singers, not dancers and told them, "That was a fantastic performance. I was very proud of you girls." The crowd really got into it, chanting, "Simon! Simon!"
Jennel Garcia: Motley Crue's "Home Sweet Home": New haircut alert! Jennel rocked a straight, layered, nearly black new 'do to make her more of the rock star she already is. Standing on a round platform at the center of the stage, Jennel began singing, dressed all in black with a dramatic backdrop of dark trees behind her. Loving the staging! She climbed down from the platform and began really selling the Crue song as the wind machine blew her hair back. She did her trademark hair flips and seemed very confident when the song was done. L.A. said he didn't expect that "10" performance and she convinced him she could win! Britney felt she completely rocked it out and loved the hair. Simon said with that song, she defined the theme Made in America. His only criticism was Demi had tried to make her a clone, in reference to the straight hair. Demi interjected that Jennel looked like a rock star. "I feel like crying," Demi said. "You killed it. I see you in an arena."
Diamond White: Train's "Hey Soul Sister": Bringing back '90s hip-hop, Diamond, sporting a bright red jacket accessorized with a USA hat and crucifix earrings, sang directly to one of the cutie male backup dancers at one point, which showed her warmth and accessibility. L.A. said it was really strong and she owned the song later. Demi thought the song choice was really great and she had one of the most powerful voices in the competition, but Diamond should have more fun and look less reserved. Simon said the talent tonight had blown him away and Brit had done a great job with her. "You came over as a relevant pop star," said the judge. Then Britney gushed, "You're amazing." Diamond said that wasn't her boyfriend on the stage she was singing to because "my mom would kill me." L.A. said the contestants were on fire tonight!
Vino Alan: Nickelback's "Gotta Be Somebody": During the mentoring session, L.A. had a change of heart about initially not wanting to run the Over 25s. Finally! He thought Vino looked like a champ. Vino was accompanied by a band behind him and three backup singers and it was like an old school rock concert with his lips right up against the mic and he was wearing his trademark beanie and a purple shirt. He took his hat off, revealing his bald head with tattoos all over it. Vino looked happily exhausted when it ended. "I feel your effort," Demi said. "I see that passion behind your eyes." She found the beginning shaky and found a hard time seeing him as a pop star. But Simon said he really liked Vino and it was the arrangement, which was completely wrong for him making him sound like a terrible cover singer. "You completed and utterly cocked this up," said Simon to L.A. of the song choice. L.A. said Vino would be just fine and he wanted to come back and show everyone what he was made of. Good boy! That was the hard-edged yet determined Vino we loved.
Lyric 145: DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince's "Boom Shake the Room" and Psy's "Gangnam Style": With the word "BOOM" projected behind the three band mates as they jumped up and down and dancers did cartwheels behind them, the trio brought the house down. Lyric145 started rapping and pushing each other and were groovin' on high! Lyric Da Queen was wearing what looked like a clear raincoat and, of course, she was working the fierce eye patch as usual. L.A. gave them good news, they were a great group but the bad news was, they sounded like a washer. "There's no way that is hip-hop," he said. When L.A. asked Lyric if she really liked the song, she turned it to the audience and said, "I made you like it!" We liked it! Britney was "genuinely entertained" and had so much fun watching them. Demi said they were amazing and mentor Simon said rappers had to be commercial and he thought they were absolutely sensational.
CeCe Frey: Patti Smith's "Because the Night": A new CeCe Frey emerged tonight with a super-blond look for her performance of Patti Smith's "Because the Night," which ended with her crawling and thrusting onstage. With her trademark leopard spots now on her outfit, CeCe bumped and grinded her way through the high energy and pretty damn sexy performance. L.A. Reid and Britney Spears felt her vocals were a little weak. Simon Cowell liked that she's "fearless and interesting." Demi Lovato felt the same, but knows she could do so much better. "You are a pop star," said Demi. But the judge also said that "you can do so much better vocally."
Tate Stevens: Craig Morgan's "Tough": Tate kept his classic country cool vibe going with this touching take on "Tough." L.A. was swaying along looking like a proud pop. He bowed his head at the end. Britney said she got chills with no backup people behind him being necessary. Simon said he was a good man who needed a break although the song wasn't one of his favorites. "You're a keeper," he said. L.A. said Simon wasn't a country expert but Tate was classic and absolutely a keeper. When questioned by Khloe and Mario about his family, Tate blew a kiss to them, said "I love you," and got all choked up. What a sweetheart!
Beatrice Miller: Jason Mraz's "I Won't Give Up": With a starry sky set behind her, Beatrice clasped the mic for dear life as laser lights glared around her. L.A. said he believed her and loved her. Demi was really impressed to see the feeling behind her eyes and she had a "rock star moment." Simon said Britney made a good song choice but it had "tuning issues" maybe because of Beatrice's nerves. Britney gave her stamp of approval, saying she was a true star.
Jason Brock: Jennifer Lopez' "Dance Again": Jason Brock finally got his glitter explosion as purple glitter rained down on him during JLo's "Dance Again" tonight. Best moment? In the heat of the moment, he stroked the bare chest of a hot dancer! "Entertainment!" he proclaimed when he finished singing. "Jason, I like you, but that was utterly horrendous," said Simon Cowell to a booing audience. Wow. "He's a hater, don't worry about it. Congratulations, we enjoyed it," said L.A. Reid. Second best moment? He asked if he could pinch Mario Lopez's butt, then did it! Awesome!
1432 (formerly LYLAS): Taylor Swift's "We are Never Ever Getting Back Together": Breaking news! LYLAS has changed their name to 1432, which means "I Love You Too." The Group brought girl power with Taylor Swift's "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together." Cute moment of the night? Confetti rained around them towards the end of their song and they giggled and hugged. L.A. Reid called their performance "talent show" and "karaoke." Britney Spears was pleasantly surprised. Simon Cowell said, "You are fantastic." Khloe got assertive with Demi after the judge said that only one of the five girls stood out. Which one, she asked? Demi didn't answer. Khloe asked again, finally forcing Demi to answer: Camila Cabello.
Willie Jones: Gretchen Wilson's "Here for the Party": With a big "Willie Jones" emblazoned behind him, the singer interacted well with the dancers and he had all the moves and attitude. He ended on a cool deep note with the saloon girls fanning themselves behind him. Pure country fun! L.A. told him congratulations, but gave him faint praise. "It was adequate," he said. Britney thought he had what it took while Simon dissed the number as silly. "I didn't get that," Simon said. "It didn't show off your vocal ability. The dancers were inappropriate on that song. It felt a bit cheap." Demi picked a fight with Simon and took a potshot at his age, saying "this may not have worked a hundred years ago." But it did now, she said! Simon told Khloe he would have chosen a better song. Mario had the final word with this: "I think if you can sing country with a high top fade, you're all right with me." Ditto that.
Carly Rose Sonenclar: Flo Rida's "Good Feeling": Yes! Britney put Carly Rose in a schoolgirl outfit! It was more PG than the judge's "...Baby One More Time" sexy schoolgirl outfit, but impressive nonetheless. L.A. said she had a really beautiful voice but had to be critical. "It didn't feel like you were having fun," he said. Demi said she had one of the best voices in the competition, but it could be a blessing or a curse. "I'm worried it's not your time right now," Demi said. Simon's issue was she felt uncomfortable with the song: "It would be criminal if you were to leave the competition." Still, Britney said she did a great job.
Emblem3: Matisyahu's "One Day": No huge makeover for these SoCal dudes. They were 100% Emblem3 and they did not disappoint. They really took advantage of the whole stage and Simon was even seen singing, "One Day," himself! L.A. said it was difficult to admit, but said he was witnessing "America's next pop sensation." Brit called them adorable while Demi said they made her swoon. "You boys make me swoon," said Demi Lovato. "I can't look you in the eye when you sing to me because I'm supposed to be a judge and not, um, flirting with you while you sing. But I love you boys. You're so talented and I'm not gonna look at you." Simon said what really impressed him was they were working so hard. "Remember this night. You are seeing a future superstar," Simon declared.
It was also announced that in addition to the whopping $5 million prize, the winner will also become the next Pepsi artist. Pepsi will produce the winner's first music video, which debuts as a pop star commercial during the Grammys next year.
Up tomorrow night: For the final week, the judges decide who goes home and who makes our Top 12!
Tune in tomorrow night, THU NOV 1, at 8/7 on FOX to find out who becomes our Top 12.