Ann Oldenburg, USA TODAY
"Aren't you guys excited about Thanksgiving!" said Khloe Kardashian Odom, opening Wednesday's X Factor.
Cheering her on in the audience: Kim Kardashian and sweetie, Kanye West, along with family members Bruce Jenner and Kylie and Kendall Jenner.
Each of the Top 10 contestants gave thanks for people who are special to them. Their dedications ranged from Vino Alan thanking the "U.S. military," to Paige thanking "the lady who took me into her home when I had no home" to Carly Rose Sonenclar, 13, thanking her brother.
It's another double elimination week, announced Mario Lopez. On Thursday's show, two hopefuls will not be thankful to be going home.
Here's how the emotional show played out:
Tate Stevens dedicated his song - Lonestar's I'm Already There - to his dad. "Sometimes dads aren't thanked enough for what they do," Tate told his mentor L.A. Reid. He belted out the words, building up to the moving chorus about a daddy talking to his little girl. "Your performances are always so special and touching," said Britney Spears, who wore a skirt and top that left her midriff bare. Demi Lovato, in a silver skater dress, felt it "wasn't his best performance." Simon Cowell loved the song, but said Tate's "voice was breaking" in parts of the song. But he said there isn't a "cat in hell's chance" he's going home. L.A. said, "America loves you."
Diamond White sang Celine Dion's Because You Love Me for her single mom, Deborah. "She's the reason why I sing. She's my everything." And, as usual, Diamond sang it with a whole lot of heart, captivating the usually-raucous crowd and hitting all the high notes. She got a standing ovation from L.A., Britney and Demi. L.A. said, "Unless I'm dead wrong, we're going to be hearing your name for many, many years." Demi was choked up. "I'm blown away." Simon said, "I've got to tell you Diamond, you are both fearless and incredible." Britney said it was "really beautiful."
Emblem3, the three dudes from Huntington Beach, Calif., thanked "youth leaders" who have inspired them. They sang One Republic's Secrets, and had the crowd up and waving their arms in unison. L.A. said the performance "lacked emotion." Britney said it was "well done." Demi thought it was "a great change of pace" and thought she saw more emotion. Simon said not to listen to the "grinch" (L.A.). Simon thanked them for being "an absolute pleasure to work with." Khloe and Mario had to jump in and defend the guys against L.A.
Arin Ray sang Enrique Iglesias' Hero, and dedicated to his brother, Aris, who became the "man of the house" after their parents split and their dad left. Staying put behind his microphone, Arin seemed antsy and his delivery was lackluster. L.A. Reid said it was a "great song choice," but it was "a tough one."He said it wasn't a "gut-wrenching performance." Demi said Arin needs to "really step it up," because she was "so bored." Arin replied tersely, "Thank you." Simon called him out on it, saying, "You didn't mean that, did you?" Arin opened up and said, "If I make it to next week, I just really want to be me on stage." So what does being "me" mean, asked Khloe. "I want to be upbeat," said Arin, "... and I want to dance for you guys."
Cece Frey gave thanks for her older sister who was born with cerebral palsy and died at home in 1991 at age 7. Cece got off to a slightly rocky start on Wind Beneath My Wings, but then settled in, until she couldn't quite finish because she was weeping. L.A. praised her "genuine emotion," which made Cece cry more. "I thought you were amazing," said Britney. Simon said he "really" likes her. Demi said, she was "so proud" of her. Said Cece, through her tears, "I definitely felt her up on stage with me."
To introduce the next act, Khloe sat on Simon's lap - prompting him to blush "This is quite difficult, but I'm enjoying it," he said.
Fifth Harmony, the group of five teen girls, gave thanks for their families and faith. Dressed simply, they sang I'll Stand By You, each girl getting a chance to showcase a powerful voice. L.A. said, "That was great." Britney said it was "touching and beautiful - bravo." Demi said it was "genuine," even though she wasn't "too crazy about the song choice." Simon said, "I was crazy about the song choice" and the performance. He praised their hard work.
Beatrice Miller gave thanks for her little sisters, adopted Vietnamese twins Esther and Georgia. She sang a beautiful, trademark-raspy rendition of Snow Patrol's Chasing Cars. As leaves fell around her, one stuck in her hair. L.A. said, "Beatrice, you are so cute. I think you're an inspiration to every little girl in this country." Demi said she was "so adorable" but quibbled that she "wasn't progressing" enough. Simon said he disagreed because he could tell that the song "meant something." He thought she "came over as younger, cooler. ... I really like you." Britney said, "I think it was your best vocal performance so far. It was very, very good, sweetie." A tear fell down Beatrice's cheek as she saw her sisters in the audience.
Vino Alan thanked the military "for their sacrifice in protecting and defending our country," he said. His grandfather served and after 9/11 he said he tried to sign up but wasn't allowed because of his many tattoos, so he wound up entertaining the troops. He sang a fairly straightforward version of God Bless The U.S.A. as a choir backed him up and scenes of the country flashed behind him. All four judges were on their feet for it. "I love this country," said Vino. Britney called it "spot on." Demi said she had been "really hard" on him and "obviously there's something I haven't gotten... I think that I've been wrong." Simon said, "Who knew on that kind of hard surface is this really soft interior." He praised his "sincerity" and predicted Vino would move to the top of the leaderboard tomorrow. L.A. said, "You are the truth, my friend."
Paige Thomas explained that when she was six, her mom, Lisa, died on Christmas Eve in a car accident. Colleen, a friend's mom, adopted her and helped when Paige had her baby, Jade. Paige called Colleen her a "guardian angel" and thanked her for being in her life. Shimmering in a long silver gown, Paige sang an emotional Everytime, a Britney Spears song. It didn't seem to complete connect with the audience. Britney said it was "really beautiful." L.A. said he thought it was "really good," but not good enough to get out of the last spot on the leaderboard. Simon said "emotion" got the best of her and "muffled" her voice in parts. Demi said, "I love you so much," but she thought it was "pitchy" and emotions "took over."
Britney flubbed her final intro, saying it was "Arin Ray! No, it's not Arin Ray. It's Carly Rose singing Somewhere Over the Rainbow." Britney cringed at her own mistake. But it was all soon forgotten.
Carly Rose Sonenclar dedicated her song to her brother. The young singer's mother recounted how she had a stroke while alone with Carly traveling once, leaving Carly to call 911 and cope with the situation. Carly's brother, who is in college, became her emotional rock. Looking like a sweet Dorothy from Oz, Carly Rose delivered an achingly powerful and beautiful performance. "You're an absolute force of nature," said L.A. Demi said she needed to see a "school I.D. because I really don't honestly believe you when you say you're 13." Simon said, "I'm going to tell you: I've heard that song a lot of times. That was one of the best versions of it I've ever heard. Amazing." He added that he had to change his mind about Vino being No. 1, saying Carly will be in the top spot tomorrow night.