‘The X Factor’ USA: Khaya Cohen, Lillie McCloud, and ‘Santa Claus’ Denny Smith face the chairs

The latest -The X Factor’s” dreaded “four-chair challenge” is here, and it is just as intense / awful as you would imagine it to be. It is much more dramatic than ever before, but can’t this show have at least an iota of a sense of humor about itself? It is basically like that guy who shows up to work and is constantly so intense that it makes you uncomfortable to be around after a while. This is clearly the show best in need of a chill pill. There were good performances, but there’s still no joy that is really there in seeing a contestant “advance,” but only because someone else has to take the walk of shame.

We’re going to try and give every single artists who performed tonight their due, so just look at the end of our description of them to see whether or not they made it into the next round. Part of this is going to have to be a continuation into what the show is giving us tomorrow night.

The Overs (Kelly Rowland)

Victoria Carriger – Wait, this woman has eight kids? Was the show saving this story until now? Singing Kate Gosselin was pretty good, but Kelly Rowland was right in the negative part of her critique when she said she was boring. she’s a nice enough lady, but there is zero star power here. She’s around for now. Seated, but lost spot to Jeff Brinkman.

Kristine Mirelle – One heck of a mess. There is a star quality there in that she at least looks like someone who could be a star, but it was in here that we figured out that Kelly Rowland’s strategy was apparently going to be to just put through every one of her singers, and then replace them later. Seated, but lost spot to Lorie Moore.

Jeff Gutt – Where the heck has this Jeff Gutt been the past two seasons? The backing track was a little weird, but the power in his voice was just strictly awesome. It was such a simple song in “Amazing Grace,” but it was so effective and moving to hear it. This is the first person tonight that we felt legitimately was going to stay in their chair. Seated, and in the top 4.

Rachel Potter – Why does the show continue to not mention that she’s been at least relatively-famous on Broadway? She may be the most commercial member of the Overs category, and could get really far, but she needs to learn that there is a difference between hitting some big notes and shouting. The audience was a little tough on her given that Kristine was just as bad. Seated, and in the top 4 despite getting a beatdown from the crowd.

Lorie Moore – There is a valid question that Demi and Paulina each asked here, and that was whether or not Lorie was someone who was going to actually fit in the modern-day music market. She was a fighter for sure and a good singer, but it’s not a great time to be a soul singer. We loved her little “save me” sermon, which almost single-handedly validates the round. Replaced Kristine Mirelle, but was replaced by Lillie McCloud.

Allison Davis – For about two seconds we thought she was trying to be Kitty Brucknell from the UK show or Cece Frey from last season here, but they were better singers than she was here. We like that she really tried with the performance like both of those ladies did, but this was just bad and awkward to watch her do “Tik Tok” with $100 bills all over her top. No seat for you!

Jeff Brinkman – Such a unique voice that this guy has. When you think about how many people sound the same, this alone was a cause to put him through. We would actually remember what he sounded like enough to turn on the radio and know it was him. We didn’t hate this nearly as much as some of the judges did. Seated, but replaced by James Kenney.

Denny Smith – Singing Santa is on his way to give Kelly Rowland a lump of coal in her stocking. Seriously, you didn’t really think that he would get through, right? As fun as it was to have a 70-year old make it this far, that is about as far from current as current can be. Forced to fly home on his sleigh.

James Kenney – A great performance of “Lean On Me.” Also, one that you knew was going to get a chair from the very beginning. James, like Jeff, is probably going to get lost in the generic shuffle after the show ends, but what a way to come out and represent here to get into the next round. Replaced Jeff Brinkman, and in top 4.

Lillie McCloud – At least the producers put Lillie admitting to “doing some things” in her past in the package here. Problem solved? Still find it weird, though, that she did a theme song for a “Got Talent” show overseas. She is clearly the best in this round, and one with a huge chance of making it to around the top 5 (we don’t see any of these people winning). Replaced Lorie Moore, and in top 4.

The Girls (Demi Lovato)

Bree Randall – Very good performance, and what was interesting about it was that we felt that there was some ambition put in there. It’s appreciated to see someone come out and do something a little different with a song like “Glad You Came,” and we get a sense that she is going to work really hard.

Khaya Cohen – Great name for a possible star, and a great performance here to go along with it. She made “Locked Out of Heaven” into more of a vocal showcase. Other good things about here? She is only 16 years old, and she has a great command already about who she is. She is going be around a while.

Jamie Pineda – There is always one of these contestants every season who sings better in Spanish than English, but you don’t really hear any pop singers that do this on a regular basis in real life with every song. She’s a good singer (one with a little bit of experience), but just not a great one.

Ashly Williams – The story here is a huge, but what about the singing? There was a deep emotional connection to her cover of “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing,” and the vocals were pretty great … just not amazing. She has a spot for now (like the other ladies do), but that will change very soon.

The reason that we didn’t put a fate for these four is that it isn’t decided yet. They’re all in chairs, it will be next week when we actually find out more about them.

Who did you like the most on “The X Factor” USA tonight, and did you feel like this “four-chair challenge” was entertaining, or just downright horrifying? To see some more scoop related to the show, just be sure to click here.

Photo: Fox

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