Ever chased a dream so long you lost something important to you? Like a house, a job? Well, as "X Factor" viewers learned this week, several of those vying for the $5 million prize don't have a lot to go back to if they get booted from the show. The problem is: All but one of them will get booted from the show. And so the Top 13 lined the "X Factor" stage on Thursday evening in California and waited to be told their fate.
Slowly but surely, one by one, hosts Khloe Kardashian and Mario Lopez named act after act. The viewers were assured they were in no particular order. And they were correct, given the order where their names were called and where they placed later in the evening. But more on that later...
When it was all said and done, only two acts remained on the stage. CeCe Frey, representing the Team Demi (Lovato) and the Young Adults, and Jason Brock, representing Team L. A. (Reid) and the Over 25s.
The two had to sing for their lives. CeCe, whose rendition of Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger" during the previous night's performance round was a near catastrophic vocal and performance failure, chose her life-saver song well: Cher's "You Haven't Seen the Last of Me" from the "Burlesque" soundtrack. She sung it with emotion, but some of her notes seemed a bit flat. But overall, not a bad performance.
Jason Brock had performed well the night before, singing R. Kelly's "I Believe I Can Fly." The problem was: This song has been performed to death on singing competition shows. (Hint to all judges and mentors and producers: Find some new material for contestants and finalists to sing. Millions of songs and we're hearing the same ones again and again? How can that be?) Still, Jason did a good job with it. Yet, Judge Demi praised her singer's awful vocals on "Eye of the Tiger" and told Jason that his singing was "less cabaret" than the week before.
Jason performed Bonnie Tyler's classic "Total Eclipse of the Heart." Again, well performed. But would it be enough?
The judges had the final say on who would be eliminated and who would remain. Demi, CeCe's mentor, voted for Jason to leave. L. A., Jason's mentor, then voted for CeCe to leave. Then in a surprise move, Britney Spears, the Teens mentor and the only judge with four finalists in the competition, voted for CeCe to be eliminated. But instead of Simon delivering the termination line for CeCe, he voted to for Jason to go home, forcing a deadlock.
According to "X Factor" rules, a judges deadlocked vote is decided by a tie-breaker. That tie-breaker is the actual votes accumulated by each of the bottom two contestants. Whichever finalists received the least from the previous night's vote would be sent home.
That person was... Jason Brock.
(The oddsmakers had picked Jason as having the longest shot at winning when there was still 16 finalists, so his elimination wasn't much of a shocker.)
This now leaves L. A. Reid with only two acts left in the competition. But he's actually situated a little better in the competition than the other judges, as he would soon learn...
When asked for a few last words, Jason stayed upbeat, saying, "I did it for the gays... and Japan." When asked what he would do, he said that he didn't know, since he didn't have a job any longer. Jason lost his job as a tech support assistant when he found out he was going to the Judges Homes round. He then added that he might get a job on television.
But the show wasn't over. In a move never before seen on a singing competition show, the "X Factor" revealed to the audience where each of the finalists had placed in the voting. Of course, CeCe Frey placed twelfth.
The remaining Top 12 finalists, from least votes to most, were:
11. Arin Ray
10. Beatrice Miller
9. Lyric 145
8. Paige Thomas
7. Jennel Garcia
5. Fifth Harmony
4. Diamond White
3. Vino Alan
2. Carly Rose Sonenclar
1. Tate Stevens
Naming the country singer in the top vote-receiving position was a bit of a surprise -- and probably just as much to him as to anyone, given the bemused look on his face. Host Mario Lopez asked Simon Cowell when he saw the surprised look on his face at Emblem3's placement at No. 6. He admitted he was surprised and said he thought they would be No. 1. He said that the information meant that he had work to do.
Pop sensation One Direction also performed during the Top 13 results show, promoting their new album, Take Me Home, which will be released in the United States on Nov. 13. The vocal group, which was one of Simon Cowell's cobbled-together vocal groups during the seventh season of "The X Factor" UK, opened the show with their hit "Live While We're Young." About midway through the results show, they performed "Little Things," the second song from the album, which was released worldwide on Oct. 29.
The "X Factor" Top 12 return next week on Wednesday and Thursday evenings at 8 p.m. (EST) on Fox Television.
(photo credit: Freemantle North America, SycoTV, Fox Television, Wikimedia Commons)