Each contestant will sing, and their mentor judges will decide who gets a seat and who goes home. A great performance will get them a chair but, their mentors can change their minds and replace them if someone else in their group trumps their performance. No one is safe until the end and, as subtle Simon noted, X Factor fame depends upon bringing “the performance of your life.”
Kelly's OVER 25's were up first and the first chair-coveting contestant was 41 year-old, mother of eight, Victoria Carriger. Scrambling for chairs is probably nothing new to the Carriger household, but tonight this super mom from Missouri needs to secure a seat and her dream. She gave a heartfelt rendition of “To Make You Feel My Love” by Garth Brooks. Demi loved the “fire” and “passion,” but Simon said he'd pass. Luckily for Victoria, Kelly sassed Simon, served up kudos, and offered her a seat!
Next up, was LA's Kristine Mirelle, who hopes to go from grocery store salsa slinger to superstar singer. She sang “Oops, I Did It Again,” by Britney Spears. While Demi and Paulina weren't too pleased with the pitchy performance Simon saw potential and soon Kristine was sitting pretty in chair number two. Will she and Victoria keep their seats?
After the break, returning contestant and single dad, Jeff Gutt, took the stage, singing “Amazing Grace.” His passionate vocals captivated Paulina and Demi, and Simon said it was “the best performance of the night so far.” Kelly concurred and Gutty put his booty in one of the two remaining open chairs. Nashville bartender, Rachel Potter, with “Irreplaceable” by Beyonće, followed Jeff. She was fighting a cold and it wasn't her best, but Kelly noted that she knew Rachel had the “pipes” and gave her the final seat. Four filled chairs, six more contestants. I smell a sadistic switch approaching.
Can retired football player, Lorie Moore, knock someone out of a chair? Lorie tackled (yes, that was cheap, but YOU try writing this stuff!) “I'll Make Love To You” by Boyz II Men. Demi and Paulina didn't see a “superstar,” but Simon thought she “could really sing.” Kelly had her doubts, but that was until Lorie launched into a locker room, one-person pep-rally that brought Simon and the crowd to their feet. In the end, Kelly made the first switch, Lorie was launched into the live shows and Kristine was kicked out both her chair and the competition.
Valley girl Allison Davis serves celebs cocktails for a living, but hopes to trade that in for setting herself on the road to stardom. Her version of Ke$ha's “TiK ToK, despite her looks, left everyone less than lukewarm about the performance. Simon clearly couldn't take the understatement and said it was “lazy and annoying” and said all he could think was “wannabe.” See, THIS is why he chose a career in music rather than psychiatric counseling. Allison's pleas fell on deaf ears, Kelly sent her home and the four in the chairs could relax…for now. Daddy dog-walker, Jeff Brinkman was next trying to grab a seat for the live shows. Jeff chose “Without You” by David Guetta. Demi thought it was the wrong choice and boring while Simon was perplexed by the “monstrous” performance the quality of Jeff's voice. Keeping with the beggar's banquet of performer pleas, Jeff promised to give it his all, which got him was a seat! But who got the boot?
After the break, Victoria was sent back to her brood, as Jeff grabbed her seat. Next up, straight from the North Pole was 68 year-old soul singer Denny “Santa” Smith who ho-ho-hopes to make it to the live shows. He's been singing for over 50 years, but will his version of “In The Midnight Hour” by Wilson Pickett bring him a little pre-Xmas magic? The crowd loved it, but then again, they know a less than enthusiastic response could mean a lump of coal at Xmas. Paulina believes in Santa, Simon said he “rocked the house,” but Kelly killed the Xmas spirit and sent him home. Cold, Kelly! Two more singers and the potential for more switcheroo after the break…
Portland native, James Kenney, is an apartment manager by day, but can he manage to steal a seat? The family man's dreams were on the line as he sang “Lean On Me” by Bill Withers. Paulina called it “solid,” he “killed it” for Demi, and earned Simon's “total respect.” Kelly faced a tough decision and a compassionate James said he “wouldn't want to be in her shoes.” Personally, I'd have a hard time seeing him in those pumps but hey, it's 2013! Kelly felt his performance represented a “leap” that made him “truly special.” A teary-eyed James promised to leap farther and Kelly told him to jump into a chair. Unfortunately for Jeff Brinkman, that chair was his.
Finally, we saw 54 year-old singing Grandmother, Lillie McCloud. Her version of Dionne Warwick's “A House Is Not A Home” brought tears to the eyes of many in the crowd and all four judges to their feet. She left Paulina “speechless,” Demi was “honored” to be judging her and Simon loved her, telling her she “has the X Factor.” She got a seat and footballer Lorie Moore was taken out of the game. Really? I get nothing for using only one football metaphor? Sheesh.
Kelly's final four! Rachel Potter, Jeff Gutt, James Kenney, and Lillie McCloud! Next up, Demi's girls are on the line as the Four Chair Challenge continues.
Now it was Demi's turn to make the tough calls with her girls and her four chairs. First to hit the stage was California girl, Bree Randall. Will her “vision book” predict a chair or despair? Bree sang “Glad You Came” by The Wanted. Simon thought it was forgettable but told Demi she could work with Bree, and that was enough to buy her a chair.
Sixteen year-old New Yorker, Khaya Cohen wants a chair and is bringing her “small white girl” soul to the stage. She brought the house down with Bruno Mars' “Locked Out of Heaven” with what Kelly called “instinct” and “presence.” She was soon sitting pretty in seat number two. Hoping to grab number three was Jamie Pineda and her bilingual version of NoDoubt's “Don't Speak.” Kelly loved it, Simon especially loved the Spanish, and Demi noted that Jamie “looks like a star.” Pineda! Put yourself in a chair!
With one seat open and seven singers to go, next up was Compton, CA native, Ashly Williams, who would love nothing more than trading in selling clothing, for a life on the stage. She wowed the crowd with her version of Aerosmith's “I Don't Wanna Miss A Thing.” Kelly noted her fortitude and strength and Paulina used the word “courage.” Simon, however, didn't agree. And then he was booed. No boo-hoo from Ashly, as Demi gave her a chair!
Four chairs are filled, but six singers remain. Tune in tomorrow night to see if seats are stolen, dreams are dashed and who will be Demi's final four on THE X FACTOR.