Saturday, December 21, 2013

X Factor 3 Wrap-Up: 20 Best Performances

And it finally happened! I didn't think it was possible, but Alex & Sierra completely owned the competition! Their performances proved why most of them will NEVER be the winner of X Factor USA: they were all week by week schooled by Alex & Sierra! Really. Nobody can touch them. They were so far ahead of the others, they weren't even visible in their rearview mirror. I've never seen something this lopsided to be honest.

But enough of that. So, other than Alex & Sierra, who else made the list?

20. Your Song
Rion Paige
Top 10

Rion is turning out to be one of the most frustrating contestants for being annoyingly inconsistent. She's been terrible the past few weeks prior to this week, but her version of Your Song, though had flaws, was pretty lovely. I thought she sounded beautiful during the verses, her pitch were mostly on point, and it was just a restrained vocal performance. The last few bars were a little strange though, but I digress. 

19. Wake Me Up
Restless Road
Top 6

I didn't understand the need for the background singers - especially since there's three of them already to support each other's vocals - but this has to be their best performance to date. I had serious doubts, but they pulled it off. They sounded great on their solos and somehow, I almost didn't mind them having NO harmonies whatsoever. 

18. This Woman's Work
Lillie McCloud
Top 10

So, Lillie won me over again this week. I felt like she did connect with the song impressively, her vocals were strong, it had enough vocal dynamics to be compelling, and she looked really nice for her age. This wasn't a total showstopper, but enough to be on the list.

17. My Girl
Khaya Cohen
Top 13

Simon nailed it. She actually sounded like Amy Winehouse, it's almost creepy. I thought the song choice was perfect, her smoky tone added character to her vocals, and she infused just the right amount of vibrato to give it texture. Plus, to make this song sound incredibly modern just from her vocals was pretty impressive. She needed to work on her diction though.

16. Demons
Jeff Gutt
Top 4

Who's brilliant idea was it for Jeff to stand on a slanted floor? Haha. Jeff hit a couple of rough notes through the middle of his performance, but I honestly didn't mind. The song choice surprisingly suited his voice incredibly well, and this made me envision the kind of record he'd release after the show. This was pretty good.

15. Wanted
Restless Road
Top 4

The best Restless Road performance! Sure, it doesn't say much, but how they managed to pull off this one without the gimmicks and less than usual back track was refreshing. Maybe I'm grading them on a curve, but I digress. Colton opened the number with great tone and pitch, and Andrew actually had his little nice moment. Zach's tone was a bit jarring, but the fact that he tried to put harmony alongside Andrew was a big improvement.


14. I Heard It Through The Grapevine
Alex & Sierra
Top 13

This was the second week in a row that Alex & Sierra topped my list - not that its hard for them not do. There's no contest. They just slayed possibly one of the most overdone songs in music history and gave an incredibly appealing arrangement to the song. Tight vocals. Fantastic harmonies. Outstanding arrangement.

13. If I Were A Boy
Ellona Santiago
Top 6

While I wasn't really a fan of the song choice - a bit overdone for my taste - Ellona probably delivered a stunning vocal performance. I thought her vocal dynamics were great, the way she navigated the melody during the verses sounded beautiful, and how she powered her voice through during the bridge was impressive. I agree with Kelly, she should explore her softer tone more because it's just lovely.

12. I Knew You Were Trouble
Alex & Sierra
Top 8

At first, the arrangement sounded strange - took me a while to figure out what they were singing - but when I got to listen to it again, I thought it was brilliant. I liked how they turned this Taylor Swift ditty to a big band song and their vocals were actually good, especially their tight harmonies. Oh, and Sierra's solo especially towards the end was pretty solid. Good job. 

11. Mama Knows Best
Ellona Santiago
Top 8

Minus the fact that she lost control a little bit of her vocals towards the end, everything was absolutely terrific! The attitude she brought to the song was fierce, her vocals during the first half was great, and it was just a great all around performance by Ellona. Somehow, I also liked that she seemed a little manic in parts. Haha.

10. Creep
Jeff Gutt
Finale

This was a brilliant move from him during the Finale. The song choice was far back that I almost forgot he performed this sometime this season, and the whole staging was almost epic. I thought his vocals sounded fantastic, his falsetto was outstanding, and there's power to his voice that was riveting. I thought the arrangement was also good as it build up quite nicely.

09. Give Me Love
Alex & Sierra
Finale

They performed Give Me Love already when the show messed up everyone's voting numbers during Top 12 week, but somehow, Alex & Sierra managed to do a much better and more intense delivery of the song. The bridge towards the end was pretty compelling, their vocals were stunning - especially Sierra's gorgeous tone - and their harmonies were solid. I'm in love.

08. Sweet Dreams
Josh Levi
Top 10

Very interesting arrangement. I didn't think I'd like it, but Josh sold the arrangement and the whole performance like crazy. I thought his voice sounded solid with a good grasp on his pitch, the dancing was spot on, and he just puts on a great show. He was slowly turning out to be a real contender after this performance. 

07. Hallelujah
Jeff Gutt
Top 4

As much as I wanted to hate this - the song choice was unbelievably overdone and it's Jeff's go-to song since last season - but Jeff killed it! His tone on this song was pure magic, his vocals soared to great effect, and the slight rock edge to the arrangement was a brilliant move. So yes, despite being yet an addition to the long list of people who covered this song, Jeff's version was probably one of the better ones.

06. Blurred Lines
Alex & Sierra
Top 16

AMAZING! The arrangement was brilliant, their harmonies were fantastic, the chemistry was palpable, and yes, their individual vocals were pretty good. I'd totally buy an Alex & Sierra record. 

05. Straight Up
Josh Levi
Top 12

Not sure about the song choice at first, but Josh killed it! He made the song sound current with a bit of R&B and pop inflections in the arrangement, his vocals were fantastic, and there's a freshness to his stage presence that some compensated for some of the flaws in his performance. This actually reminded me of Chris Brown before all the mess that happened to him. Very nice.

04. Best Song Ever
Alex & Sierra
Top 10

To be honest, I was iffy about the song choice as there's nothing you can do to make this sound meaningful especially with this duo's style. This isn't a song that you can stripped down - you just have to take it for what it is. But overtime, I fell in love with their version. I thought Alex sounded great, the harmonies were solid as usual, and the arrangement was actually pretty genius. I think they're magic together.

03. Say My Name
Alex & Sierra
Top 6

This song choice went out of nowhere, and I was more than thrilled, I peed. Haha. This was probably one of their finest moments. Their solos were outstanding, their harmonies was tighter than Sierra's pants, and shockingly, Sierra's vocals sounded strong on this with enough sass and attitude and great phrasing.

02. Say Something
Alex & Sierra
Top 6

Say Something was, without a doubt, one of the most memorable performances this season of the X Factor. This performance was magical. True, it wasn't any different from the original, but who cares? They sounded magnificent, their chemistry was overwhelming, how they both played instruments was genius, and everything else was brilliant.

01. Gravity
Alex & Sierra
Top 4

Just when I thought there's NO WAY they can top Say Something, Alex & Sierra busted out a stupendous version of Sara Bareille's Gravity. This was so outstanding, it had me bawling at the end of their performance - and yes, I NEVER do that. Their musical chemistry was unbelievable, their voices sounded fantastic, their phrasing was impeccable, and just their connection to the song was powerful. The arrangement with just the piano was brilliant, how Alex transitioned to his falsetto and then back to the grit of his voice was terrific, and Sierra's glory note and that beautiful tone ending the whole performance. I could on and on and on and on, but I don't think I have enough adjectives to further prove how much I loved this version.

2 comments:

Julio Cesar Modesto said...

hahahaha I think it´s the first time somebody, specially the winner top the first 4 spot in your list I think.... it´s no that impresive for this crap of a season that turns out good at the very end, but they are amazing... and I missed Carlito in this list lol

jasam morgan said...

Good list! Would have left out all of Restless Road though!

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