Everyone is familiar with the W. W. Jacobs classic story, "The Monkey's Paw," or at least its storyline and moral. It's a be-careful-what-you-wish-for cautionary tale. Well, on Wednesday evening's "X Factor" performance show, Judge/mentor Simon Cowell (Groups) told his protege group, Fifth Harmony, that he prayed America got behind them and voted them into the finale. But as the classic story insists, fervently hoping/wishing/praying for something might result in what was desired, but perhaps not actualized in the desired manner. And on Thursday evening's results show, Simon got what he prayed for but with the unintended consequence of losing something else.
The Semi-Finals results show began with the knowledge (presented the evening before) that there would be no leaderboard going into the finale, so there would be only knowing who placed last in the voting. And that act would not be going into next weeks Finals.
After showing a recap of the performances of the Top 4 acts -- Tate Stevens, Carly Rose Sonenclar, Emblem3, and Fifth Harmony -- hosts Mario Lopez and Khloe Kardashian got right down to business.
The first act making it through to the Finals was... Fifth Harmony. The utter disbelief that the five-girl ensemble made it through was most evident on the face of Judge/mentor Britney Spears (Teens), whose visage went through a paroxysm of dismay, shock, surprise, and then horror as she realized that her protege might not make it into the Finals. Fifth Harmony was ecstatic, all the girls screaming and jumping up and down. Their mentor had just said prior to the reveal that he thought it would take a miracle to see them get through and there was a genuine look of surprise on the Englishman's face when Fifth Harmony's name was announced. Judge/mentor L. A. Reid looked bemused.
Since the show has to fill up an hour, they feature guests to kill a few minutes. Killing time on Thursday evening's results show was Bridgit Mendler, another young Disney actor/singer ("Good Luck Charlie") trying to parlay her acting success (like "X Factor" judges Demi Lovato and Britney Spears) into a successful music career, performed her first hit single, "Ready Or Not," from her first album, Hello, My Name Is....
Then it was back to the three remaining acts. Country singer Tate Stevens got the good news next. It's his and his wife's anniversary and he said getting into the Finals would be his anniversary gift to her. When Khloe asked him if he had anything to say to his wife now that he was in the finale, he simply smiled and said, "We're here."
More time to kill, but this time with an established star: Bruno Mars. His latest hit, "Locked Out Of Heaven," hit the top of the Billboard Hot 100 earlier in the day (Billboard posts its official charts each Thursday). His third No. 1 song, "Locked Out Of Heaven," is the first single from Mars' second album, Unorthodox Jukebox, which hit the stores and was available for download on Monday, Dec. 10.
Back to the results. Carly Rose looked tense. Both mentors, Simon and Britney appeared concerned. The three guys in Emblem3 didn't seem to be sweating the ordeal all that much. When asked earlier how they felt, that they just might be the act going home, their oldest member, Drew, said that if that happened, the experience of being on "X Factor" and working with the judges, staff, and getting to meet so many people was worth just being there and getting the opportunity. It was worth $5 million, he said.
It is unknown if he still felt that way minutes later when Mario Lopez announced that Carly Rose Sonenclar was the third and last act headed to the "X Factor" Finals next week. But the three guys took the news, it seemed, better than their mentor. Simon sounded disappointed (most likely because of his obvious support for the trio throughout the season) that Emblem3 hadn't made it in but promised that the world had not heard the last of them. (That statement only makes one think of One Direction, the band that signed to Simon's record label, Syco Records, hot off of a third-place finish on "X Factor" UK in 2010. They've had two No. 1 albums and seven international hit songs since 2011.)
And so the "X Factor" Season 2 finale was set: Tate Stevens, Carly Rose Sonenclar, will compete in the sing-off.
The "X Factor" 2012 finale will air live on Fox Television on Dec. 19 at 8 p.m. The results show revealing the Season 2 winner of the $5 million contract will begin at 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 20.
Take Home Message: When one wishes or prays fervently to gain something, they often do not consider the opportunity cost involved. But Simon's entreaty on the performance show that America get behind Fifth Harmony to put them into the Finals just might have been the deciding factor in pushing Emblem3, his protege act that he was confident would make the Top 3 and compete for the Season 2 title, to the bottom of the voting pile. And, again, it comes back to the old maxim: Be careful what you wish for; you just might get it. So Simon got what he asked for -- and was disappointed that his "sure thing" wasn't such a sure thing. At the same time, Cowell made it clear that as one door was closing for Emblem3, another was opening. Because in the end, it isn't that there will be unexpected failures and disappoints to face, it is how we accept them and use them to our advantage to allow for further opportunities and potential successes that matters most.
(photo credit: Alison Martin, Creative Commons)