The X Factor has a brand new strategy to single out contestants for its final 16 and man, is it brutal. The Four Chair Challenge made its debut tonight (October 2) as judge Kelly Rowland picked her top four from a pool of ten contestants after quite a bit of yes-ing and no-ing followed by major shakeups. So who made the cut for Season 3’s Over 25 category?
Lillie’s been a favorite since her moving audition with CeCe Winans’s “Alabaster Box” and she came to play tonight. Dressed in a cheetah print ball gown, Lillie belted out the classic “A House Is Not a Home,” inspiring a standing ovation from the audience and rave reviews from the judges.
The 54-year-old grandmother was an obvious choice for Kelly; not so easy was deciding who to kick out from the already claimed chairs. Eventually, the former Destiny’s Child singer opted to remove retired football player Lorie Moore to the shock of many in the audience.
The 35-year-old James Kenney may have left his plunger back at home but the apartment manager from Portland, Oregon, still had the pipes needed to advance to the Top 16. Singing Bill Withers’s timeless “Lean On Me,” James made the judges swoon just like they did during his audition of “Summertime.” His performance also marked the end of the road for fellow contestant Jeffrey Brinkman.
Despite being sick, Rachel Potter was able to impress Kelly and her fellow judges enough to claim one of those coveted seats. The chances of Rachel sticking around, however, didn’t seem great after her so-so performance of Beyoncé's "Irreplaceable" (a brave choice what with Kelly’s history with Bey). Still, something about the 29-year-old from Nashville, Tennessee, has Kelly believing in her. Perhaps it was her astounding rendition of Queen’s “Somebody To Love” during auditions.
Jeffrey Adam Gutt
The first round of the Four Chair Challenge seemed to inspire all kinds of soulful tunes from the contestants, with Jeffrey Adam Gutt singing the famous hymn, “Amazing Grace.” The 37-year-old single dad from Detroit impressed early on with his memorable audition of Radiohead’s “Creep.” With such a variety in song choices, we can hardly wait to see what Jeff sings next.