The X Factor USA 2012 continued November 7 on FOX as the top 13 finalists tackled iconic songs from a variety of films and flicks. Although Young Adults group member CeCe Frey, who was nearly eliminated on November 1, entered determined to make “Eye of the Tiger” her comeback tune after her week one offering received a lukewarm response, things didn’t go quite as well as she’d hoped.
Her version of Rocky‘s “Eye of the Tiger” was, to be blunt, something of an overproduced mess. CeCe has what’s quite possibly the strongest set of pipes in the entire competition, yet for two weeks running, she hasn’t made them the centerpiece of her performances. Demi Lovato routinely defends her contestants’ productions by calling them hip and fresh, but the sad reality is that at least in CeCe’s case, the theatrics overpower her beautiful voice. The smoke and mirrors effect may help when a performer is vocally weak, but CeCe’s voice can–and should–stand alone.
The mentors responded with a mixture of praise and heavy criticism. LA Reid said “the ending was really strong,” and liked the song, energy and production value, but added “the sum total of it all just didn’t blow me away.” Britney Spears, who hasn’t had much to say throughout the season, called her “a little rebel out there.” And then the mood in the room changed when it was Simon Cowell’s turn to speak. The Brit wasn’t happy at all, noting “anything recognizable about you from the beginning has been thrown away and this song choice was just horrible.” He encouraged her to be more original and to make her own song decisions rather than letting Demi pick. Demi shrugged off Simon’s harsh words, assuring CeCe that she thought she’d “transformed into someone” her protege wants to be.
So will Demi’s theatrics spell big trouble for CeCe Frey during tonight’s elimination show? Probably. Most of the performances were excellent, so hers was most definitely a weak link. But it’s all up to America, and anything can happen when America votes. To see who fails to advance to the top 12, watch The X Factor USA 2012 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on FOX.