"The X Factor" USA 2013 resumed Dec. 4 on FOX as the top six acts each performed twice for America's votes and a shot at making the semifinals. Although each act turned in at least one solid offering, the boyfriend/girlfriend duo of Alex & Sierra cemented their position as competition front runners with two top notch remixes of popular tunes.
Although they felt the pressure of singing the Destiny's Child hit "Say My Name" as their diva round selection, they did so with incredible sass, panache and polish, with a newly flirtatious Sierra working it on one side of the stage and Alex more than doing his part on the other.
The song was so masterfully reworked that original artist Kelly Rowland admitted that she wasn't even sure it was hers at times, but she praised them for "actually pulling it off." Demi Lovato praised Sierra for emerging from "her shell" and said she really wanted them to make the finals. Paulina Rubio said she thought there was a place for them in the music industry, and implied that they could be the new Sonny and Cher. Finally, groups mentor Simon Cowell said he felt like he was "looking at winners here" and admired their willingness to take risks.
With one excellent offering already in the books, Alex & Sierra hit the stage a second time during the unplugged round, this time with A Great Big World's "Say Something" on the menu. After vowing to "go big or go home," Sierra made a statement by playing the piano in public for the first time and Alex strummed his guitar as they sang, eyes locked. It was stunningly beautiful, elegant and rife with passion.
All four mentors responded with a standing ovation. Rowland said it felt like an awards show performance, while Lovato said it was so beautiful that it brought tears to her eyes. She repeated her desire that they advance further in the competition. Rubio called them "different" and "edgy." Cowell called it not only the best performance of the night, but the best of the entire season, and promised to download it from iTunes.
Judging by the iTunes top 400 chart as of 10:30 PM Pacific on Dec. 4, viewers shared Cowell's sentiments. The duo's version of "Say Anything" ranked an impressive number five, while "Say My Name" sat in the 32 spot. If downloads are any indicator of how phone, text and online votes progress, Alex & Sierra should easily claim a berth in the top four.
To see how the nationwide vote pans out and to catch performances by Little Mix and Emblem3, watch "The X Factor" USA 2013 top six results show Dec. 5 on FOX.