Popularity and originality will probably take this season's title
Fox's “X Factor” went into its season (some may argue series) finale on Wednesday with the three finalists singing three songs in order to convince America to hand them Season 3's championship.
The first song of the night was referred to as “the song they hope will get you to vote for them.” Isn't that every song? Producers, this was a lazy idea for a category, but OK. Then, there was a duet with a professional singer and then the finalists reprised their favorite performances of the season.
The show opened with the finalists doing Queen's “We Will Rock You.” It felt a bit pedestrian for this stage of the competition and only really worked in Jeff Gutt's favor. We also got a taste of what brought Paulina Rubio to fame. She performed a provocative performance of an older single, “Boys Will Be Boys.” I suspect that for many viewers this is the first time they've seen the judge perform.
Here's the breakdown of the finale performances:
Carlito Olivero: Rubio's finalist started out the competition with a bilingual rendition of Shontelle's “Impossible.” He's not the best singer, though he has shown more range than expected recently. No one can blame him for singing in Spanish – it has been a constant request from the judges and that special thing only he can do at this point in the competition. I don't think this was the song to clench the win. But, he has two more chances.
In Round 2, Olivero performed a duet with Latin pop star Prince Royce – again a bilingual take on modern standard, “Stand By Me.” This wasn't exactly a challenging performance for Olivero. Isn't this the time to push harder? Nevertheless, Royce has a solid fan base, which can only help garner Olivero some votes.
His final performance was a redux of Santana's “Maria, Maria.” This hearkens back to the moment he really looked like a star this season. So, this was an excellent choice that showed off all his best talents.
Alex and Sierra: The dating duo (and favorite to win) started out with Ed Sheeran's “Give Me Love.” They have to basically forget the lyrics to deliver a bad performance at this point. The couple really knows their sound.
For their star collaboration, Alex and Sierra had the great luck to sing with Leona Lewis, a winner of Cowell's “The X Factor” UK. I'm not quite sure whether Alex and Sierra were able to differentiate themselves enough in this song. Next to Lewis, Sierra's voice (and possibly her star quality) dimmed in comparison to Lewis. It's a killer when Sierra's confidence isn't 100 percent.
For song No. 3, the duo brought back their take on A Great Big World and Christina Aguilera's “Say Something.” This killed for them on iTunes after their first performance and no doubt mentor Simon Cowell was happy to let them do it again. What's perfect about it is that it proves that they can be current in today's music scene.
Watch it again below.
Jeff Gutt: The rocker goes with a classic, Aerosmith's “Dream On.” It's right in his wheelhouse and it played to all his strengths. ‘Nuff said.
For his duet, Gutt once again did it up right. He performed with Johnny Rzeznik of the Goo Goo Dolls on the band's hit, “Iris.” He more than hung in there with Rzeznik and definitely didn't let himself get drowned out by the professional.
Watch the performance above.
For Round 3, the rockin’ dad brought back Radiohead's “Creep.” Again, it's a great choice for him, though it can feel karaoke at times.
Verdict: I would award the first two rounds to Kelly Rowland's guy, Gutt. And the third round to Alex and Sierra. Though regardless of how they did on Wednesday, a large part of me believes Alex and Sierra will take this season in the end regardless.
What say you, America? Who will win Season 3?