First and foremost, the twist that America’s vote order would be revealed each week has kind of thrown a wrench in our plans with this list. While this list was never really meant to act as predictions for where each contestant would land, it’s simply a list of our own objective analysis on who ranks where, based on a set of different criteria such as performance, onstage presence, likeability, growth from one week to the next, etc. Some weeks, our list will match up with the show’s (like last week, in which our bottom 2 was the show’s bottom 2), but more often than not, it probably won’t. We encourage you to sound off in the comments with your own power rankings. The more discussion, the better. I just wanted to reiterate that this list is NOT our attempt at predicting tonight’s ranking order. It’s simply a list of our own objective rankings, to serve as a point of discussion. We’re not trying to be “right”, we’re just trying to give our own analysis.
1) Carly Rose Sonenclar – At this point, this competition may actually be Carly’s to lose. Of course, she could ultimately end up going the route of Rachel Crowe and Drew Ryniewicz by peaking too soon in the competition. It’s easy to imagine that, with each week, it’s going to get harder and harder to top herself, to the point where she essentially has nowhere left to go but down. But if she’s this popular this early on in the competition, she may have a few weeks before she has to start worrying about concretely defining herself as an artist. As it stands right now, we aren’t sure how she’d sell in the current market, but she has the voice to make that career happen, in a big way.
2) Vino Alan - He gets more and more likable each week, and I think Demi’s strange vendetta against him, and his stoicism in the face of that weird grudge, makes him all the more likable. He also delivered a solid vocal. Not as great as last week, but one of the best of the night, for sure. There’s just something about Vino that feels realer than most of the other contestants. He’s been doing this for years, but he still has that grit and rawness about him that makes him an interesting force in the competition.
3) Tate Stevens - Like Vino, he gets more likable each week. Just when I thought they were out of back story for Tate, they keep finding new things to bring up (this week, it’s the fairy tale story of his romance with his wife). Now, it would be one thing if this had been all he’d brought to the table, but Tate actually brought the vocals, serving up his best, most heartfelt performance in the competition so far.
4) Emblem 3 -Simpler is better for this group, as the relatively straightforward, stripped-back performance paid dividends for their viability in the market, and in the competition, as this showcased the trio’s fairly underrated harmonies. And the troubled backstory only makes them appear all the more resilient, an admirable quality in a group that had gotten a pretty negative edit in the early stages of the season. The more they come off as regular guys, the less they’ll have to worry about from people making assumptions about their personalities. Their solo parts are still rough. In a while we guess we’ll see if they are still doucheband or reformed.
5) Jennel Garcia – We don’t care what the judges say, Jennel hasn’t returned to her form from earlier in the competition and the makeover still isn’t cutting it. We can’t front on the vocals, or her personality, which continues to be a constant bright spot on the show from week-to-week. She’s definitely a dark horse in the competition. Hopefully at some point Demi will chill with forcing this rockstar persona on her, and allow her vocals to shine.
6) Diamond White – Diamond ranked high on the leaderboard last week, and if things go the same this week, as she shall again as she delivered a performance way better than last week. Her vocals still could be improved around the edges as she tends to venture off key a lot. But we still have to agree with Simon, Diamond comes across as a star in the making.
7) Fifth Harmony – I actually had Fifth Harmony ranked near the top, while Nick had them near the bottom, which resulted in their placing.Their performance last night was not their best, a lot of technical stuff and timing was going on, (e.x. Dinah Jane’s mic flub). They also had a bad song choice which has been done on these shows time and time again. The harmonies didn’t hit this week, but they did have solid solos. They were in the middle of the leaderboard last week, and the judges have them great reviews. This week we’ll see if their fanbase is loud.
8) Beatrice Miller – Britney still doesn’t know what to do with Beatrice. It is a shame that she isn’t competing with Carly Rose the way she had earlier in the competition, when she was arguably delivering the best vocals out of anyone in the competition. That said, Beatrice benefits from refusing to be forgettable, even when her performances are underwhelming, thanks in large part to her bubbly personality, and a back story that leaves you wanting to root for her. And she does have a great voice. It’s just all in the song choice. They need to get the arrangements right for her voice.
9) Lyric 145 – Britney made one of the smartest comments of the night when she said that Lyric 145 is a rap group and should be singing songs as such. The inventiveness is only going to go so far at this point. They just need to spit rhymes at this point. The group continues to make the best of the iffy material they’re given by Simon, and their work ethic contributes to the good impression many people have of them as artists, even if they’ve still yet to realize their full potential.
10) Paige Thomas - The performance was certainly the most bombastic of the night, and it provided a sense of fun that’s sorely lacking from many of the acts on this show, particularly from Paige herself. Showing this lighter side could be to her benefit in terms of making her relatable to a larger audience (not everyone can identify with being a mother, for instance, and it was starting to get tedious that all her video packages seemed to focus on little else). The vocal, however, was a bit underwhelming due to all the motion onstage, and Simon was right that all the dancers and accompanying glitz proved to be a bit distracting. With that said, Paige has made huge improvements in terms of stage presence.
11) Arin Ray – Kudos go to Arin for his professionalism in working through the technical gaffe at the start of his performance without missing a beat. With that said — the song wasn’t bad, he just didn’t do as good as he could have. He should be in that Marcus Canty lane, with the dancers, the bright lights, and the R&B swagger. He could have done wonders with a more uptempo song like Mariah Carey’s “Honey” or “Heartbreaker,” or even one of Britney’s own songs, with an R&B twist. Luckily, his pre-performance video highlighting his budding romance with Normani gave him a narrative, which he didn’t have before (other than the same narrative everyone else has, which is “I want to win.”). So that’s certainly added to how the public might perceive him, going forward.
12) CeCe Frey – Poor CeCe. Poor, poor CeCe. Whatever likability she picked up from her pre-performance video (in which we learn that her family doesn’t have the money to fly out to see her) was undermined by her performance and Demi. Demi truly did not even help by getting into it with L.A. by calling out Vino, and this could hurt her acts in the long run. She’s already given them all makeovers (both onstage and off) that have obfuscated much of what people liked about them going in, and with CeCe, it’s particularly troublesome since she can sing. This week was a combination of song choice, and the song being in a disastrously wrong key. She is likable in her own way, and more relatable than the show has really shown from week-to-week. But performances like that do her no favors, and she’s already spent much of the season fighting against the bitchy edit she received in the early going of the competition. And given those reviews, I don’t know that the judges would save her (she was lucky it got sent to deadlock last week).
There you have it folks. We’ll see what happens tonight, which in a perfect world – a combination of the last four would be send home.
The X Factor airs on FOX tonight at 8.