‘The X Factor’ USA review: Restless Road, Josh Levi, and Carlito Olivero all winners here

The latest -“The X Factor” USA clearly had some of its better categories last week, or at least that’s what we were thinking through tonight’s episode. Most of the boys were subpar (to say the least), and the groups that actually performed today did not exactly do the best job in the world.

We’re going to do something a little bit different with our review tonight to avoid confusion. We’re going to make it super-clear at the end of each category as to who is advancing, just so you know for sure who is staying, and who is saying goodbye to the competition.

The boys – Paulina Rubio

Al Calderon, “Call Me Maybe” – Who came up with the backing track for this version of the song? The vocals on it were not that bad, but we really don’t need to hear anything at all that sounds like Carly Ray Jepsen was splashed with a heavy coating of dubstep. Since we’re just talking about getting put into a chair for now and not necessarily keeping it, there is no reason to send him packing since the vocals were good. He advanced, but was later replaced by Tim Olstad in a shocking decision.

Isaiah Alston, “The Greatest Love Of All” – Hey, at least Paulina is changing it up somewhat from her fellow judges on the show. Rather than just making the decision to send every single person to a chair, she is actually opting to send some people home. Isaiah is the first person to have this happen, which is about right since he wasn’t good at all. Too many blown notes. Sent straight home.

Isaac Tauefa, “Bubbly” – Who is this guy? We’ve probably seen him before, but the thing about this competition is that they decide to speed through so many contestants that it’s we don’t get to know most people. We actually liked most of this performance, but there was one note in here that was like a rogue dinosaur’s mating call. That was enough to have him go the way of Isaiah. Sent straight home.

Carlos Guevara, “Ain’t No Sunshine” – The best performance of the group this far by a mile. There is quite a bit that Carlos did here that was beyond right, and there’s also a natural confidence. That’s not something that we got from any of the earlier singers, who all act like they are still shell-shocked that someone even wanted them on this stage to perform. He got a seat, and nothing for him changed after that.

Stone Martin, “Torn” – The idea of a 14-year old singing this is just awkward and beyond unappealing. This kid makes it even worse when he talks about how he wants to be like One Direction and have the ladies all over him; to us, that should be secondary to being a good performer … which he’s only okay at. This was back in last week’s four-chair mode, which was basically the equivalent of “here’s a chair, but don’t get used to it.” He was only seated for a matter of minutes.

Chase Goehring, “Airplanes” – The best part of this audition was when he was featured at the start of it eating what appeared to be a Sonic foot-long coney… and now we want a Sonic burger. The rest of this just felt weird and awkward, and if we have to see one more of these heart hand-signals, we will probably need to go get a barf bucket. Apparently, Paulina felt the same in sending him home later.

Tim Olstad, “The Climb” – Seriously? This is the song that you are going to choose to perform at this point? This Miley Cyrus ballad is beyond hokey and not even remotely interesting; remember, this is the same artist that twerked with a teddy bear. Tim’s voice is great, but there is no charisma here to speak of at all. The odds of him being a pop star? Slim to none. Still, a good voice is enough in this weak crop of guys. He was seated, then replaced … and then seated again later.

Carlito Olivero, “Dreaming of You Tonight” – There was no doubt at all in our mind that Carlito deserved to go on to the next stage in the competition. Brilliant vocals, a great personality, and the sort of guy that can really fill a spot where there isn’t one in the market. Not only that, but he spun Mario Lopez around in the air, doing what we hope was something to shake up him up and make him exciting. Carlito stayed put all night.

Timmy Thames, “New Girl in Town” – Here’s the thing with Timmy: We have a good feeling about his voice, but there’s not much else there. There is a reason why we haven’t seen that much of him over the course of the competition. He did at least get through for a few minutes … but that did not last for very long.

Josh Levi, “I Can’t Make You Love Me” – The second-best performer of the guys tonight save for Carlito. He probably has the best potential out of anyone, given that he is super-young and already this driven. Plus, he already has the stage presence of someone a good four years older than him. He took the final spot, and sent Timmy packing.

The four guys moving on are Carlos, Carlito, Josh, and Tim. It’s a pretty good lineup, but one that is a little bit unbalanced. Carlito and Josh are the real contenders here.

The groups (Simon Cowell)

Note: For now, all of these groups have a seat. That won’t last come tomorrow night.

Girls United, “Tonight is the Night” – Stupid, predictable name. A pretty imperfect band, as well. They are clearly working to make themselves better, but they seem to be more substance than talent right now. They’re going to need to go to vocal lessons more than just their rehearsal space.

Wild Thingz, “Part Rock Anthem” – It’s a good sign of disaster if you can’t even get your friends to sit in the audience. These guys are like a wedding band that got really drunk, and suddenly stopped caring what they sounded like or if they made the clients happy. These guys need to do more than go home; they need to move into a different career.

Glamour, “When I’m Gone” – Slightly ambiguous name, but a not-terrible performance. The biggest issue was the harmonies, which were all over the place. They have a shot of keeping their chair, but it’s a stretch.

Restless Road, “Love Somebody” – Simon has got himself something here that is going to do very well in the competition. Three guys that have a great chemistry together, great voices, and natural stage presence. This is the most promising band in the competition right now, and we say that as someone who doesn’t even love country music and gets annoyed by it constantly taking over singing competitions. Brilliant. They will keep their chairs.

Who was your favorite tonight? Share your thoughts below, and click here if you want to read some other highlights related to “The X Factor” this season.

Photo: Fox

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