"The X Factor" USA 2013 saw its field of hopefuls reduced from four to just three during the Dec. 12 semifinal results show on FOX. The sad elimination set the stage for the Dec. 18 season three performance finale, which will lead to the Dec. 19 crowning of the winning act.
The results show opened as the top four, a group which included Carlito Olivero, Jeff Gutt, Alex & Sierra and Restless Road, hit the stage to sing Kelly Clarkson's "Stronger."
Host Mario Lopez then turned to the mentors to ask for their thoughts on the approaching elimination. Kelly Rowland said she felt "confident" about what was to come for Gutt, the last member of her over 25s squad, while impartial judge Demi Lovato opined that "anybody could win" and Paulina Rubio said she loved them all. Simon Cowell reiterated that the Dec. 11 show was "The X Factor" USA's best to date, and said he was pleased with the iTunes chart result that saw Alex & Sierra snag their second number one ranking with Sara Bareilles' "Gravity."
Lopez then introduced a recap of the top four performance show, which saw all of the talented aspiring singers bringing their respective A games to the stage.
With all of that and a very unpopular commercial break out of the way, a big surprise was in store as Olivero became the first act to advance to the finals. The Latin heartthrob in training had the weakest showing on the iTunes chart by far, and his passage to the final round sealed the fate of a better-selling act. Nonetheless, he celebrated his accomplishment by singing before the live audience.
Up next to perform was guest Enrique Iglesias, who sang his recent release "Heart Attack."
Lopez then turned to the three acts still awaiting their fates, and revealed that Alex & Sierra had advanced to the finals, leaving just single dad and long-time musician Gutt and the manufactured boy band Restless Road facing potential elimination. The boyfriend/girlfriend duo sang Passenger's "Let Her Go" to celebrate their finale berth.
With just minutes remaining in the live broadcast, Gutt was awarded the final spot, which officially eliminated Restless Road from contention. Gutt, like his fellow finalists, sang in observance of his big accomplishment.
"The X Factor" USA 2013 comes to a dramatic crescendo Dec. 18 as the top three compete one last time for a million dollar Sony recording contract and the season three title.