Tonight, during day one of The X Factor Season 3 finale, each of the final three contestants sang for their survival. Over the course of the December 18 show, Alex & Sierra, Jeff Gutt, and Carlito Olivero each performed three songs. It meant three last chances to impress the judges and three last chances to falter. Some of the performances were stellar, others slightly lacking.
Now it’s time for America to vote and pick the winner of The X Factor 2013. At the top of the hour, we were pretty sure Alex & Sierra had this in the bag. Now, at the end of the night, we’re not entirely convinced. “I think tonight, this could be one of the closest finals we’ve ever had,” judge Simon Cowell mused.
“I was in the bottom two twice,” Carlito told us at the start of the show, “but I’m a fighter.” Paulina Rubio’s last remaining team member fought hard, but will it be enough to get him the win? Look, there’s no doubt this man has plenty of appeal. His sexy Latin smoulder. The black leather. When he sings in Spanish, our knees get weak. But at the end of the day, his level of talent isn’t quite at the same level as his competition.
“You’re not the best singer, Carlito, but that’s not necessarily a problem,” Simon tells him. Carlito has passion. He knows how to take a song and make it his own. We get you, Simon. We do. But at the end of the day, shouldn’t the winner of The X Factor be the one who is the best singer? We sort of thought that was the point.
Going into tonight’s show, lovebirds Alex & Sierra were widely considered to be the frontrunners. The cute college students have given strong performances all season long. After their initial performance of Ed Sheeran’s “Give Me Love,” the judges couldn’t stop singing their praises. “Any label will take y’all right now,” Kelly Rowland tells them. “They’d be crazy not to.”
Then came their group performance with celebrity guest Leona Lewis to her hit, “Bleeding Love,” and to be honest, it fell a little flat. Sierra’s unique voice and strong stage presence were overshadowed by the British star. The usually near-flawless couple just wasn’t at the top of their game. Thankfully, they ended it on a high note with their performance of A Great Big World’s “Say Something,” where a noticeably emotional Sierra was in tears by the end.
“You never cease to not blow me away. You always blow me away, and this was no different,” Demi Lovato told them. She congratulated the couple for ending on a high note. Their mentor, Simon, tells the duo that he thinks the “genuinely deserve to win this.”
Keeping Alex & Sierra from being shoe-ins for the title is Jeff Gutt, who blew the judges away tonight with three strong performances. The single father from Detroit has a powerful story of overcoming obstacles during a long struggle, something his bright-eyed college counterparts don’t bring to the table. Jeff started off with Aerosmith’s “Dream On,” where he hit all the crazy high falsetto notes and put on a great performance. “You took it to a whole new level,” Demi told him. “I think you did a really fantastic job, and they [the audience] love you.”
His performance of “Iris” with Goo Goo Dolls’ John Rzeznik was pretty freaking epic, too. He slayed it. Then came the final performance: a solo turn at Radiohead’s “Creep,” also stellar. “It was incredible,” Demi told him. We agree. Jeff brought his “A” game tonight, while Alex & Sierra (who have probably been the most consistently good all season) faltered ever so slightly. As Demi pointed out, it’s going to be a tough decision picking the winner.
Who are you voting for? Are you convinced that America’s sweethearts should win, or do you think that the obstacle-crushing single dad deserves a shot at the crown? Head below to the comments and tell us your thoughts.