Welcome to "The X Factor," the show that likes to torture contestants by having them squirm in chairs on stage, give panicked death stares to other contestants who might replace them, and pathetically beg not to be eliminated — all as part of the Four-Chair Challenge.
"The X Factor" U.S. episode that Fox televised on Oct. 3, 2013, featured more of the Four-Chair Challenge, a new format in which 16 contestant acts (four contestant acts in each category) are chosen to perform in the live episodes.
"The X Factor" U.S. four contestant categories in 2013 are:
- Girls (female solo singers ages 12 to 24), mentored by Demi Lovato
- Boys (male solo singers ages 12 to 24), mentored by Paulina Rubio
- Over 25s (solo singers ages 25 and over), mentored by Kelly Rowland
- Groups, mentored by Simon Cowell
As previously reported, "The X Factor" U.S. eliminated the "boot camp" and "judges' houses" phases of the competition in 2013. The "boot camp" and "judges' houses" phases of the competition were replaced by a Four-Chair Challenge that was first used in the Dutch version of "The X Factor."
As previously reported, those "Four-Chair Challenge" episodes were recorded on Sept. 8 and Sept. 9, 2013 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. Admission was free and open to the public. Fox is televising these episodes on Oct. 2, Oct. 3, Oct. 9 and Oct. 10, 2013.
In the "Four-Chair Challenge" episodes, 40 contestant acts (10 from each category) perform for the judges. The judge who is mentoring the category chooses which contestants will be the final four in that category.
The Four-Chair Challenge has four contestants from each category being put in chairs if the judges decided they were worthy enough to possibly be the final four in that category. However, judges were allowed to change their minds and switch out or switch in contestants from their mentor categories. After all of the 10 contestant acts in each category perform, the four contestants remaining in the chairs are the ones who will go on to the next round: performing in the live episodes.
The 16 contestant acts (four from each category) who make it to the live episodes are then voted on by the public. This year's "X Factor" U.S. live episodes begin on Oct. 29, 2013.
This year's final four of the Over 25s category were already chosen in the previous episode: Jeff Gutt, James Kenney, Lillie McCloud and Rachel Potter.
Also in the previous episode, the first four contestants in the Girls category (Khaya Cohen, Jamie Pineda, Bree Randall and Ashly Williams) performed and got to occupy the chairs:
Here are the contestants who performed in the episode that was televised on Oct. 3, 2013:
Simone Torres, 19, did an uneven performance of Sam Cooke's "A Change is Gonna Come." Torres is one of the better singers in this category, but she seemed very nervous, and those nerves affected her vocal tempo and the way she moved on stage. Rubio was impressed; she said that she admired Torres for her "passion" and told Torres, "I relate to you." Cowell didn't mince words when he said he disliked the performance: "The arrangement of the song was a joke." Lovato added, "I agree the song choice wasn't great. I don't know if I'm seeing a star."
Result: Lovato decided to eliminate Randall and replaced her with Torres.
(Click here to watch Simone Torres' performance.)
Danielle "Danie" Geimer, 15, the token quirky/nerdy girl, belted out a pop version of Ray Charles' "Georgia on My Mind." Rowland gushed, "You just sang your face off!" Cowell added, "You're very humble, you're very shy, and I hope you never change. I don't think you will." Lovato raved to Geimer: "I'm blown away.You're so talented and so beautiful." And because Lovato probably thought the Girls category had room for only one singer who likes classic R&B ...
Result: Lovato decided to eliminate Torres and replaced her with Geimer.
Rylie Brown, 15, a veteran of beauty pageants, shouted Robbie Williams' "Angels" in the desperate way of someone who thinks that the louder you sing, the better it's supposed to sound. It was uncomfortable to watch. Rowland grimaced, "I feel that was not the right song choice. I'm not sure if you're ready for this competition." Cowell delivered this harsh feedback to Brown: "It feels like everything you did tonight was chosen by your mother: what you're wearing, what you sang, I don't know what you were trying to do. I didn't buy it." Lovato added, "It was very pageanty. And I'm a pageant girl, so I totally love it. But I don't know if, vocally, you're ready for this competition."
Result: Lovato eliminated Brown.
Primrose Martin, 20, did an atrocious version of the Jacksons' "Blame It on the Boogie" with flat, off-key vocals and terrible dancing (including a lame attempt at moonwalking) that would make Michael Jackson retch from his grave. Martin's father is former Kool & the Gang singer Sonnie "Skip" Martin, so you'd think that Primrose would be at least getting some good advice at home about her vocals and stage presence. But apparently, that's not the case. Rowland said, "While you look lovely and I enjoyed your first audition, I felt this was completely different." Rubio added, "You didn't deliver as much as you did the first time, Primrose." Cowell ripped into Primrose by saying, "That was beyond awful. It was seriously, seriously dreadful. You sang out of tune. It was the longest minute-and-a-half of my life." Lovato commented to Primrose, "You danced more than you sang. You come across as too confident. It just rubs me the wrong way." Martin then continued to embarrass herself by breaking into another song, while her mortified father in the audience held his head in shame and covered his eyes. Primrose then groveled and begged not to be eliminated, as the audience's booing got louder.
Result: Lovato eliminated Primrose Martin, in what was Lovato's easiest decision of the night.
Rion Paige, 13, did a pretty good version of Rascal Flatts' "I Won't Let Go," but she needed improvement in enunciating the words when she sang. Rowland gave this praise: "I love your voice! I love how happy and excited you are when you sing." Cowell happily told Paige: "I really like your voice. I think we're scratching the surface here." Lovato raved, "You have such a mature voice coming out of you." Since Lovato probably wanted to have at least one country singer in her final four ...
Result: Lovato decided to eliminate Williams and replaced her with Paige.
Ellona Santiago, 17, was a contestant on "The X Factor" U.S. in 2011, when she was rejected as a solo singer and then "The X Factor" put her into a 10-member group of other underage, rejected contestants called InTENsity, which came in 12th place that year. Now, Santiago is back to being a solo singer, and she is clearly a favorite of Cowell's, who fought to keep her in the competition this year. After Santiago did a passionate version Zedd's "Clarity," Rowland exclaimed, "You are a beast! I mean that in the nicest way possible. You sound like a beast!" Rubio added, "Ellona, That was amazing. Cowell stated, "It was one of the best vocals we've heard in this category. I can't imagine you not being in this competition." Lovato said, "I agree with my judges. You have such an incredible voice, but I do feel something is missing. I feel like that star quality isn't there yet." Cowell replied, "I disagree. I think she's one of the better singers." The crowd loudly sided with Cowell (a lot of people were chanting "Keep her!"), and it seemed all that support for Santiago persuaded Lovato to make her final decision.
Result: Lovato decided to eliminate Pineda and replaced her with Santiago.
The Top 4 in the Girls category in 2013:
- Khaya Cohen
- Danielle "Danie" Geimer
- Rion Paige
- Ellona Santiago
The Four-Chair Challenge episodes continue on Oct. 9 and Oct. 10, 2013, as the final four in the Boys and Groups categories are revealed.
Oct. 4, 2013 update: Ratings for "The X Factor" on Thursdays are typically lower than the show's ratings on Wednesdays. This week was no exception. According to the Nielsen Company, "The X Factor" ratings for the episode that aired on Oct. 3, 2013, had 7.1 million U.S. viewers (down from 7.8 million viewers in the previous episode). "The X Factor" finished third in its time slot (8 p.m. to 9 p.m. ET/PT) and in eighth place overall for the night among U.S. prime-time network shows.
Here are the rankings of the U.S. prime-time network shows on Oct. 3, 2013:
- "The Big Bang Theory" (CBS) — 18.2 million U.S. viewers
- "The Millers" (CBS) — 13 million U.S. viewers
- "The Crazy Ones" (CBS) — 11.7 million U.S. viewers
- "Scandal" (ABC) — 10.5 million U.S. viewers
- "Grey's Anatomy" (ABC) — 9.6 million U.S. viewers
- "Elementary" (CBS) — 9.4 million U.S. viewers
- "Two and a Half Men" (CBS) — 9.3 million U.S. viewers
- "The X Factor" (Fox) — 7.1 million U.S. viewers
- "Scandal" - clip show (ABC) — 5.75 million U.S. viewers
- "The Michael J. Fox Show" (NBC) — 5.3 million U.S. viewers
- "Sean Saves the World" (NBC) — 4.43 million U.S. viewers
- "Glee" (Fox) — 4.42 million U.S. viewers
- "Parenthood" (NBC) — 4.2 million U.S. viewers
- "Parks & Recreation" (NBC) — 3.1 million U.S. viewers
- "Welcome to the Family" (NBC) — 3 million U.S. viewers
- "The Vampire Diaries" (CW) — 2.6 million U.S. viewers
- "The Originals" (CW) — 2.2 million U.S. viewers