After what feels like a year of preliminary rounds, "X Factor" finally put the voting in the hands of the audience on Wednesday night. Well, almost.
Though most of the contestants did a fine job on the Motown-themed night, according to the Fox Network, due to a graphics error that had the wrong voting numbers displayed on screen on the East Coast broadcast, the top 13 will have to perform their "save me" songs for a re-vote during a one-hour live show Thursday (November 7) night, with the results revealed on next Wednesday's show.
In another surprise, the judges used their wild card (who knew they even had a wild card?) to bring back a teen they all agreed should not have been booted last week, Josh Levi. So, how did the singer's vying to be the next contemporary pop idol do covering songs from 50 years ago?
Here's our breakdown:
Demi Lovato's Girls
High school senior Ellona Santiago took time out from studying for her SATs for a hip-shaking run through the Supremes' "Baby Love" that featured strong vocals but felt like a spangly beauty pageant talent segment. Kelly Rowland called her a "powerhouse" and Simon Cowell said she killed it.
One of the night's biggest vocals came from 11th grader Khaya Cohen, 16, who brought smoky Amy Winehouse flavor to the Temptations' "My Girl." It was so good Kelly Rowland said she almost threw her pen at Cohen, while Cowell called it "cool" and her vocals "absolutely fantastic." Rion Page brought her country style to the Diana Ross #1 hit "Ain't No Mountain High Enough," turning it into a swaying AM-radio weeper ballad. Rowland didn't love the arrangement, while Cowell liked her return to Page's roots.
Paulina Rubio's Boys
Youngest contestant Levi, 15, got his redemption right away, crooning Smokey Robinson and the Miracles' "Who's Loving You," which showcased his strong tenor and charisma. After the screams died down, Rubio seemed confident in her choice, saying, "I want you to know that you deserve this ... You were born to be a star" and Cowell told Levi he went from "zero to hero."
Carlos Guevara, 16, limped through a tepid take on Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On" that lacked energy or any star quality. Rowland said she loves the song, but not the performance, while Cowell called the arrangement lazy and told Guevara he needs to stop staring at the floor and bring the incredible. Carlito Olivero busted the Supremes' "Stop! In the Name of Love" into a Spanish guitar-tinged ballad with a spare arrangement that highlighted his supple tone. Cowell thought it was "girly" and overly theatrical and Rubio couldn't totally disagree, but encouraged America to focus on Carlito's inherent talent.
The night's final performer, Tim Olstad tried to come back from Cowell's "funeral director" slam last week with the bouncy Jackson 5 hit "I'll Be There." But Cowell seems to have gotten into his head, as the performance was, well, stiff and lifeless. To Lovato it sounded like a "really, really incredible karaoke song," and though she loves his voice, she can't see him as a pop star.
Simon Cowell's Groups
At this point, the audience excitement for Restless Road seem 80 percent looks-based, but you have to give them props for putting a soulful, tooth-gleaming twangy shine on the Commodores' "Easy." Lovato gave Cowell credit for picking the perfect song and Rubio praised the boys for their "special magic."
Real-life couple Alex and Sierra are too cute for words and their unplugged coffeehouse version of "I Heard It Through The Grapevine" was another winner. In a word (or two), Lovato said the pair were "sexy" and "hot" and Rubio said she just wants them to see them kiss on stage. Girl group Sweet Suspense did a disco take on the Supremes' "You Keep Me Hanging On" (from inside a giant birdcage, no less) that was solid, drawing across-the-board praise from Lovato, Rowland and Rubio for their look, sound and vibe.
Kelly Rowland's Over 25s
Nashville waitress Rachel Potter took on the Isley Brothers' "This Old Heart Of Mine," giving it a countrified reboot that caught Cowell staring off camera with a "really?" look on his face. Lovato thought it was so good she was worried for her contestants, but Cowell called it "horrible" and "insane." Rowland brushed off Simon's comments as just silly competitive trash talk.
Resident rocker Jeff Gutt gave Lionel Richie's "Say You, Say Me" a Skid Row-like feathered hair rocker makeover that Cowell deemed "outstanding," calling it the best vocal of the night. Old enough to remember Motown, powerhouse granny Lillie McCloud nailed Stevie Wonder's "All in Love is Fair" thanks to soaring vocals, and while Lovato praised her "incredible" voice and stage presence, she agreed with Cowell's previous remarks that McCloud feels outdated. Rowland got heated, standing up in Cowell's face and challenging him to "say something," which, in this case was "fantastic."
Who will make the most of their do-over Thursday night? Tune in to find out.