After Mario and Khloe welcome us back from inside the audience talking about how close the competition is, there's a performance from Pitbull that threatens to stretch into a whole set, with lots of half-dressed dancers and yelling and smirking from the man himself. But fortunately, what sounds like a second song mercifully cuts off early. Mario says something in Spanish without subtitles, so I assume it's absolutely filthy.
The fourth judge montage is a collection of Demi fucking with Simon, including a moment I don't remember when she spit a mouthful of mints or something into his hand. Of course the clip coincides with Simon's latest bathroom break.
Then One Direction sings "Kiss You," with an '80s videogame-themed production design. Remember how '80s video games all had big red lips in the middle of them like this stage does? What was that about? Anyway, they're not my thing, but I enjoyed them a lot more than I ever did Emblem3. In fact, I think I got through that whole song without wanting to punch any of them, which is more than I can say for their Pepsi commercial (which, to be fair, makes me want to punch Drew Brees even harder). Mario ushers them out "in front of these big lips here" to ask them to draw on their own experience on the U.K.'s version of this show to tell us what the finalists are feeling right now. As if we haven't heard it enough from the finalists themselves tonight. And, you know, for the last three months.
We come back to Khloe in the audience, trapped between a faction of Carly fans and a faction of Tate fans. Presumably the Fifth Harmony fans have already left. That explains the half-dozen empty seats I saw earlier.
Now it's time for the duet by the top two because there's nothing awkward about a thirteen-year-old girl singing a ballad with a guy who probably has a kid her age. Fortunately they're doing the safe, anodyne "The Climb" instead of something like "You Don't Bring Me Flowers" or "Afternoon Delight." Which also explains why they're singing on stairs. At least it's the wrong key for both of them. This time she's the one making it count, getting all emotional while Tate bops along stiffly. Mario asks L.A. for advice to other artists who are over 25, who L.A. hated, early on, and says Tate's a lesson about not giving up on your dreams. Britney makes a brief comment about how proud she is of Carly. She's already working an additional hour this week, so I don't know why she's still even here.