What you need to know ahead of 'The X Factor' semi-final

What you need to know ahead of 'The X Factor' semi-final
Photo courtesy of FOX
by: Vince Mirenzi
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This Wednesday on "X Factor," the four remaining acts will face off in the semi-final, with three making it through to the season finale next week. With a 13-year-old prodigy, 37-year-old asphalt layer, beach-bred boy band and five divas all vying for a $5-million dollar recording contract, things are getting extremely heated in "X Factor" land.
 
Britney Spears and L.A. Reid are mentoring the frontrunners (Carly Rose Sonenclar and Tate Stevens), while Simon Cowell is at the helm of the groups (Emblem3 and Fifth Harmony). Demi Lovato has become a bystander now that all of her acts have been sent home. CTV.ca offers a rundown on each of the four remaining acts in this season's competition.

Carly Rose Sonenclar

Her story

The 13-year-old sensation with a heaven-sent voice is no stranger to stages, in fact, she’s quite the veteran. Prior to making the cut on "X Factor," Carly Rose landed multiple gigs on Broadway and sang the national anthem at a number of high-profile sporting events, including the famed U.S. Open in New York.

Her best performance

While anyone could argue that every one of Carly Rose's performances is her best one (Yes, she's that good!), her take on the classic "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" in Top-10 week was nothing short of incredible, landing her the top spot in voting for the first time in the competition.

What the judges have said

Demi: "You're an alien or something, but that’s okay because I love aliens."
Simon: "You are the best alien I’ve ever heard sing in my life."

How the voters have reacted

Since the beginning of the live shows, Carly Rose has finished first or second in voting each week.

Fun fact

With over 410,000 followers on Twitter, Carly Rose is the most desired semi-finalist in social media circles.

Tate Stevens

His story

Like Carly Rose, Tate has never been one to shy away from the spotlight. Upon leaving high school, his band at the time, the Dixie Cadillacs, opened for a multitude of high-profile country stars. A 37-year-old family man, Tate’s love for his wife has been at the forefront of many of his performances this season, with him often dedicating songs to her as she stands backstage.

His best performance

Like Carly Rose, one could argue that all of his moments are his best. But in Top-6 week, the "Pepsi Challenge" allowed viewers at home to choose the contestant’s song, with America voting for Tate to perform the Garth Brooks classic, "If Tomorrow Never Comes." The country crooner nailed it, recapturing first-place in voting in the process.

What the judges have said

Simon: "You do remind me a lot of Garth Brooks."
Britney: "I think you’re the definition of The X Factor."

How the voters have reacted

Since the opening week of the live shows, it’s been a fight at the top with Carly Rose, with both contestants placing in either first or second each week.

Fun fact

His real name is Stephen Eatinger. That’s right; Tate Stevens is just a really good stage name.

Emblem3

Their story


These surfer boys from Huntington Beach, Calif., have been together for years, with the youngest members, Wesley and Keaton, being brothers. From the moment they performed "Sunset Boulevard," a song written by friend and group member Drew Chadwick, in their San Francisco audition, this group has been on a road to mainstream success. Girls love them, guys want to be them and (according to multiple reports) Simon Cowell will probably sign them!

Their best performance

Once again, it wasn’t a mentor choosing their best song, but the voters at home. In Top-6 week, they performed "Forever Young" by Alphaville (made famous by rapper Jay-Z) to a rousing ovation, even managing to impress the always-critical Demi.

What the judges have said

L.A.: "I’m a believer."
Britney: "I thought it was a superstar performance."

How the voters have reacted

One thing that should make Carly Rose and Tate nervous is knowing that Emblem3 has been steadily riding a wave up the leaderboard, finishing in third place last week.

Fun fact

The boys list SpongeBob Squarepants as one of their guilty pleasures.

Fifth Harmony

Their story

What makes Fifth Harmony’s "X Factor" success remarkable is not that the five girls in the group found it, but that they have found it together. Since starting the competition apart as solo artists (put together during "boot camp" when the judges wanted to find a way to keep them in the competition), Simon’s favourite girls have become closer with each flawless vocal run.

Their best performance

There’s a reason why Simon recently said "X Factor" would be turning to America more often. After struggling to find their harmonies, Fifth Harmony hit a home run with their rendition of mentor Demi Lovato's hit song, "Give Your Heart a Break," the song America voted for them to sing.

What the judges have said

L.A.: "Unbelievable! I actually heard harmonies and it was really good. For me, that was your very best performance."
Demi: "I think this song should be your song. You killed it."

How the voters have reacted

What separates Fifth Harmony from the remaining three acts is that their run has been tumultuous. They’ve had sixth and seventh-place finishes in voting, with them being forced to sing for survival in Week 6 in order to make the semi-final. The good news is that they appear to be hitting their stride at the right time, even turning L.A. into a fan in the process.

Fun fact

In a span of three weeks, the newly-formed group’s name changed from Lylas to 1432 to Fifth Harmony.

All four acts are deserving of "The X Factor" crown, and three will make it through to the season finale for a chance to win it all. With two of his groups still remaining, can Simon beat the odds and send Emblem3 or Fifth Harmony to the finale? Or will Carly Rose and Tate prove too powerful to topple? We’ll find out on Wednesday when "X Factor" returns at 8 p.m. ET on CTV.

Full episodes of “X Factor” are available online at CTV.ca.

 

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