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Absolutely Fantastic! THE X FACTOR USA Top 8 – Live Shows Week 5 Recap

Posted on November 28 2013 by Editor

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Absolutely Fantastic! THE X FACTOR USA Top 8 – Live Shows Week 5 Recap

This week’s live performances on The X Factor USA had the artists performing modern songs in a Big Band Style. The theme was Big Band, however there were maybe one or two songs that were actually from that era. The country artists in competition – Rion Paige and Restless Road stuck to their country roots while tackling the Big Band vibe.

Hosted by Mario Lopez, with mentors Simon Cowell (Groups), Demi Lovato (Girls), Paulina Rubio (Boys), and Kelly Rowland (Over 25s) that never forgot each othes harsh criticisms from last week’s live shows and boy did they remind each other of it this week!

Because Wednesday’s live performances are one day before Thanksgiving – in which, ironically, the day that two artists will end up going home on, each mentors’ artists expressed whom they were thankful for. Everyone, except Alex & Sierra who chose themselves, chose a family member.

The Top 8 ended the night with a performance in which they were critiqued on. The stand-out artist of the night as labeled by Simon was Ellona Santiago. But, there were many break-throughs that viewers experienced first-hand Wednesday night from Lillie McCloud who finally showed her vocal range; Jeff Gutt, who gave a stellar performance; Josh Levi who was finally able to just have fun; Restless Road who harmonized better than ever; and Carlito Olivero who showed what kind of artist he really is. Of course Rion Paige delivered another knock-out performance as well!

X Factor USA Big Band Week

Big Band Week


JEFF GUTT (Over 25s – Kelly) – TOP 6
Deserving a Break!

X Factor USA Jeff Gutt

Jeff Gutt – X FACTOR Big Band Week

Simon asked Jeff last week why he thought he it had not worked-out for him yet in music. Though at the time, Jeff was not allowed to answer due to his mentor’s reaction, Jeff addressed Simon’s question this week, but still didn’t give his answer.

Jeff said he’s still not in the place where he thought he’d be in music when he was younger. He put a lot of pressure on himself because he wants all of his sacrifices with being a single father to mean something. Jeff said his Dad is the person that taught him hard work and how to be a Father. He dedicated his performance to his Dad. His Dad visited him and said he was most proud of Jeff when he hears Jeff say that he was doing the competition for his son.

Jeff performed “Feeling Good” by Muse. The crowd roared at the end of his performance. Demi said “I never thought I’d hear you doing this song. But you killed it! I never heard anyone do it like you did.”

Paulina said, “I love the fact that this is the song from the film. I love how you did it very masculine.” Simon was amazed and told Jeff, “It was absolutely fantastic. From the minute you grabbed that microphone. You killed it! You are a really decent guy and you deserve a break.”

His mentor, Kelly said, “I’m lucky that I got a chance to hear it today. But I can’t wait to download it from iTunes. I am going to enjoy that today, tomorrow…”


CARLITO OLIVERO (Boys – Paulina) – TOP 6
Just Showed Up!

X Factor USA Carlito Olivero

Carlito Olivero – X FACTOR Big Band Week.

Last week Carlito was in the bottom two. He said it felt like everyone hates him. His parents, he said, is his biggest inspiration. He’s dedicating his performance to them. Paulina chose a Latin song and had him learn it in Spanish and in English. He performed Ricky Martin’s “La Copa De La Vida” and “Maria”.

Kelly was impressed, “It finally looked like you were having fun. You were not in your head this week. You were not over-thinking this week. You really let yourself free.” She asked him if that felt good. He said “yes.”

Demi expressed that Carlito has found his niche, “That was amazing. Probably my favorite performance that you’ve performed on this show. You have a real place in the market. You were such a star. Paulina nailed it. You need to stick to this. This is what you do best.”

Simon didn’t beat around the bush with Carlito and said, “Weeks after dodgy performances, suddenly you turned up and told us who you are. Who you should be. No one else is doing that in the competition right now. You were so comfortable up there. It takes guts to come back from where you were last week and come back fighting.”

His coach Paulina said, “I love how you are delivering. I love the advice that Simon gave me last week. I love you!”


Singing, Dancing Fly!

X Factor USA Josh Levi

Josh Levi – X FACTOR Big Band Week.

Last week Kelly told Josh to experience more freedom on the stage. He said he wishes that his Grandmother was with him. Josh said it would be the first Thanksgiving without her and he is dedicating his performance to her. His Grandmother visited him and Josh said his performance will be two hundred percent better with her there.

Josh performed “Treasure” by Bruno Mars. Josh showed much energy as his danced and leaped all over the stage. Kelly said “When I say you let us into your world this week and it was so wonderful! I feel like you just animated. We witnessed a star. You have so much charisma. We’ve been waiting for it Josh.”

Demi said “That is the cutest thing ever – second to you putting that hat on that girl.” Demi then told Paulina, “I feel like you’ve done such a great job with him Paulina.”

Simon was very happy with Josh, “I don’t know if you were drinking tons of energy drinks. You were like a singing dancing fly. Every thing that you could jump on, you did. As Simon said he had a “slight criticism”, the audience started to boo, and Paulina yelled at him saying “No…no”. Simon continued, “You have to be careful that the choreography doesn’t date you. You want to be a current pop star. What you don’t want to do is get too theatrical.”

Paulina didn’t want to hear Simon’s constructive criticism and tried to stop him. She said to Josh, “You deliver everything. You do this effortless. The way you sing. The way you smile!”


RESTLESS ROAD (Groups – Simon) –  TOP 6
Looking Like Stars!

X Factor USA - Restless Road

Restless Road – X FACTOR Big Band Week.

Last week they got criticisms that they were not harmonizing enough from the girl mentors. Simon said it’s much tougher being in a band than being a solo artists. They are all dedicating their performance to Uncle Bill who died in a plane crash.

They sang “Life is a Highway” by Rascal Flatts. Kelly responded to their performance, “You guys have really worked hard this week and it showed. You were more cohesive. Everyone just really came together for this performance.”

Demi had no negative comments for the Country trio this week. She said, “You guys look really well. You guys look like stars up there. This is probably my favorite performance from you.”

Paulina said, “You guys, I love you guy. That relationship that you are developing off-stage, we can feel it on-stage. I feel you -that unit as a group. There’s nothing more sexier than a country song with great music.”

After Simon was able to over-talk Paulina’s comments on his mentoring, he said, “Great song choice. They did choose the song. I was worried about it early on. You made a country song work with a big band.”


RION PAIGE – (Girls – Demi) – TOP 6
Put Her Diva Hat On!

X Factor USA Rion Paige

Rion Paige – X FACTOR Big Band Week.

Last week her performance went really well and blew everyone away. She said her Mother encourages her to strive for her dreams. She is dedicating her song to her Mom. Rion said having a live band and choreography this week is going to be challenging.

Rion sang “Swingin” by LeAnn Rimes. She sang the song in a country/big band style. After her performance, Kelly said, “I’d like to say Rion Paige just put her diva hat on and worked the stage like a serious pro. Your vocal was…you were moving and you still kept the vocals together.”

Paulina addressed Rion as, “Blondie, I love you so much! That joy of happiness and life. I’m so excited for this moment and for you!”

Simon asked her is she chose this song. Rion said she did and she begged for it, then she got it. Simon said, “Thank God you did because it was the perfect song to do for big band. You are as cute as a cupcake. Most importantly, this is what I like to see in a competition – someone who can adapt to different styles. It’s your best performance.”

Her coach Demi said, “I think it was your best performance.” Simon said “Because she chose the song.” He was making reference to a prior week when he said he’d like for Rion to chose her own song. Demi warned Simon that he has “a lot to look out for.” and “This girl is going to kill your category.” Demi told Rion that she’s thankful for her.


ALEX AND SIERRA (Simon – Groups) – TOP 6
Shut-up The Witches of Eastwick!

X Factor USA Alex and Sierra

Alex and Sierra – X FACTOR Big Band Week.

The were the last of Simon’s Group category to perform on Monday night. Simon introduced them as “The absolutely fantastic Alex and Sierra!”

They dedicated their song to each other. They sang “I Knew You Were Trouble” by Taylor Swift. Sierra wore a long pink gown, and Alex complimented her by wearing a tuxedo and styled, tamed hair.

Kelly told Sierra, “I heard you say that he’s better off without you. You are a perfect ten. I wasn’t crazy about this version of this song. But ya’ll sound great together. All your charisma Sierra, you shine.”

Demi said, ” you said you didn’t know if people would love it or hate it. I at first hated it. But you guys made me like it. It’s so different from the original song. You guys nailed it!”

Paulina exclaimed, “I love that type of trouble. You make it so likeable. You make me feel in love as soon as I see you guys. There’s no one like you in the market.”

Their mentor Simon said, “This was a song these guys wanted to do. Doing what you did was clever and it was cool. He told Sierra what she just did was shut up the Witches of Eastwick (Demi, Paulina, and Kelly). That was a great, great performance!”


The Secret Weapon!

X Factor USA Lillie McCloud

Lillie McCloud – X FACTOR Big Band Week.

Last week Simon told her he felt like she arrived! She dedicated her performance to her fiance Terry. She said before she met Terry, she was physically and mentally abused.

Lillie sang “Summer Time” by Louis Armstrong & Ella Fitzgerald. Demi reacted, “Oh my God. You’ve been hiding that range this entire time. Kelly, Amazing job. I am so blown away. This is the best you’ve ever done.”

Paulina said, “Each week I’m just so excited to see you. You always deliver. That beautiful voice. That figure!”

Simon brought some truth to the critiques, “I wanted it happen. I wanted for you to just get off whatever you were standing on and just let go. It was too contained and too thought out. It’s frustrating because I wish I had mentored you on that song.”

Lillie reacted to Simon’s comments, “If I’m too theatrical or too…It’s confusing so I sang the song how I felt the song.”

Kelly tole Simon to “shut-up!” Kelly told Mario that she doesn’t feel anything about Simon’s comment that she should be mentoring Lillie better.”


ELLONA SANTIAGO (Girls – Demi) – TOP 6
Game Changer!

X Factor USA Ellona Santiago

Ellona Santiago with her niece – X FACTOR Big Band Week.

“You’re like a dancing, singing puppet” is what Simon told Ellona last week. She’s dedicating her song to her sister whom she said has been like a second Mom. Her sister, who is fighting cancer, made a surprise visit to Ellona. She said she is continuing to fight and told Ellona to do the same thing.

Ellona performed “Mamma Knows Best” by Jessie J. Kelly said, “That was your best performance since you’ve been here.” Paulina said, “I’m a big fan of yours and I love that you are in command. I believe you are a super star,” and told her she is not a Muppet.

Simon said “I didn’t say Muppet. I said puppet. That is a game changer. I hope you are going to be here. I hope you loose the dancing because you are an incredible singer. You may have a chance after that performance of winning the show.” Simon sent his love out to her sister.

Demi told Ellona, “I couldn’t be more proud of you. It was amazing with all the dancers. I’m really thankful for you. You did an incredible job.” Demi addressed Simon’s comment and said, “I saw something way before that performance that you could win this competition.”



The Top 8 performance was mentored by Michael Buble. They sang “Cry Me a River” which was originally written for Ella Fitzgerald to sing in the 1920s-set film, “Pete Kelly’s Blues” (released 1955), but was dropped. Jeff Gutt said besides Frank Sinatra, Michale Buble is the best they’ve ever had. I’m sure he meant that short of Frank Sinatra, Michael Buble is the next best thing.

Buble told the Top 8 that “it’s hugely important that you shine and stand out. It’s a competition.” After their performance, the mentor all commented on it. Yes, The mentors rip them a little bit for a performance that should have been for fun!

Kelly said, “This is amazing- I was wondering why Restless Road wasn’t giving any harmony.” Then she got back at Simon by saying, “If I was your mentor, I would make sure you would have harmonized. I feel like everybody else except Alex and Sierra blended in.”

Demi said, “Ellona you did incredible. Josh, you did a great job and Carlito.” She pointed Lillie out as one of the people that she felt should have given more and should be worried of elimination. Kelly said she only had one line.

The highlight for Paulina, she said was Josh and Carlito (her own artists). “I have to say Ellona did amazing. I’m expecting a little more from Jeff for the opening.”

Simon thought the whole thing was a joke – “You can’t judge people Mario on three lines. Somebody here tonight has had and outstanding night and that’s Ellona. I love making shows in America, because Americans have great vocals.”


THE X FACTOR THE RESULTS – Thanksgiving Thursday Night!

The X Factor USA, Thanksgiving

THE X FACTOR USA Thanksgiving day table.

Thursday’s Thanksgiving X Factor USA live show opened with the contestants having a Thanksgiving feast together with family members. The Top 8 opened the show with a performance. By the end of the night, the final 8 will become the Top 6.


Each Mentor stood next to their artists. Host Mario Lopez announced that Lillie McCloud was the first act leaving the X Factor USA competition. Lillie said “I’m good, I’m good” and that God knows. She was surprised, yet grateful for competing on the X Factor.

Demi Lovato performed “Neon Lights” on the X Factor stage. Her performance was in partial black lighting to display the title of her song. Her lipstick was glowing under the special lighting.


The first act that was saved to go through to the Top 6 was Carlito Olivero, followed by Ellona Santiago, then the third act announced was Alex & Sierra. Also coming back to next week’s live shows is Simon’s second and final act Restless Road. The last act to make it through was Jeff Gutt.


The remaining acts, bottom three were: Josh Levi and Rion Paige! They are two of the youngest acts in the competition this season as well as the two of the most talented. Not sure what happened with the voting this week. Maybe fans were too busy leaving town or shopping for their Thanksgiving meals?

X Factor USA, Mario Lopez

X FACTOR USA host Mario Lopez with daughter.

Mario came back from commercial break holding his daughter Franchesca who wished viewers a happy Thanksgiving. Then Michael Buble took to the stage to perform.

Rion Paige performed “Pretty Please” for her survival song to gain the mentors votes to come back next week. After Paulina announced “Carlito Olivera” for Josh Levi’s entrance to the stage to sing for his survival on the show, Josh sang Bruno Mars’ song “I Should Have Brought You Flowers”.

Rion said even though she loves Josh, but is willing to give a fair fight. Josh said he gives everything in his heart on the stage and gave everything that was in him when he came back for a second shot in the competition.

Demi said she hates having to eliminate someone on Thanksgiving but the act she voted to send home was Josh Levi.
Paulina had to vote as well. She said her act is Josh, but love Rion who “has been on top of everyone else.” She voted for Josh to stay.
Kelly who was an impartial judge said it is wonderful to see such young artists who know what that want to be and that each act has grown each week. She told Josh that he needs to remember what it feel like to be in the bottom if he stays. She voted to send home Rion.

Simon had the deciding vote if he Rion would go home. If he voted for Josh, it would be deadlock. Simon told them, “You both proved that even though you are young, you are both ready for the music business. I don’t want you to feel like it’s the end of the world for whoever goes home. It is the beginning of a career. ” Simon voted for Josh which deadlocked the vote, then the public’s votes were calculated to see who had the lowest amount of votes. The results were Josh Levi was sent home. Josh’s reaction was that He trusts God and “everything happens for a reason.”


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