X Factor
Top Finalists Perform

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M. Giant: B- | Grade It Now!
The Importance of Being Earnest

Demi introduces CeCe, who's singing to her sister Kelsey, "Who I believe is my guardian angel." She explains that Kelsey was born with cerebral palsy, then died on Christmas Eve when she was seven and CeCe was a baby. In a meeting with Demi in which she tells the story, CeCe's eyes leak actual tears for the first time ever on this show. Holy crap, is she actually human? Even if she's merely overcome with emotion at how this story is going to kick the ass of everyone else's, in a week when the most votes go to the most tragic tale rather than the best singer, it's still a breakthrough. And then, as if to prove the theory that tears trump tone this week, her performance of "Wind Beneath My Wings" is her worst yet -- including her first one, when she barely made it to Boot Camp. In fact, she's unable to finish the last line, which sadly is the best line of her performance. L.A. compliments her emotion, because what else are you going to say without looking like a jerk (fortunately that doesn't bother me)? Britney says "it's really, really hard to critique someone after pouring their heart out like that," which means, "You're too upset right now for me to tell you how much you sucked." Simon agrees that it was heartbreaking, and he's surprised she could get through the song at all. And Demi isn't even able to look at her through her complimentary feedback. Khloe and Mario join CeCe onstage and try to make her cry a little more, pointing out her family in the audience -- they finally made it! -- and talking about her sister being with her. Mario even touches this newest tear on her face, I guess to make sure it's real. No, you fool!

But after the ads, Mario still has all his fingers, so that's a relief. Khloe sits on Simon's lap, claiming Ryan Seacrest told her it gets him excited. Oh, good, everyone's favorite thing about the Seacrest/Cowell banter is migrating over to this show, viz the gay panic jokes. Hot damn. Simon laughs and blushes too hard to do anything but introduce Fifth Harmony. Whose gratitude is all for God. Well, that's someone they can all agree on, I guess. What, were they all going to be grateful to Dinah Jane's grandfather? I don't think so. So then they sing "I'll Stand By You" by the Pretenders, a song about unconditional love for someone going through a personal struggle...to God. Do they know something we don't? For some reason Simon has a gospel choir backing them up, undermining the harmonies that are probably their greatest strength. L.A. again says that it's tough to critique under these circumstances, but his critique is that it was "great." Britney says it was beautiful and bravo. Demi says she likes watching them, even though she didn't love the song choice. Simon loved it all, of course, individually, group-ally, song choice-ally, and how they've "worked incredibly hard over the next few weeks." Clearly Simon knows something we don't.

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