X Factor
Top Finalists Perform

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Pulling the Plug

The pre-credits sequence is all about how everyone is fighting for a spot in next week's semifinals. I'm not in the competition and thus my opinion is of limited value, but shouldn't they maybe sing for it instead?

Post-credits, Mario and Khloe come out, and Khloe announces that Mario got married over the weekend. This show is the only way I ever would have known that. Mario shyly accepts the congratulations and gets back to his three hours of weekly work setting up tonight's show. Enter the judges which, as always, occurs amid so much pomp and fanfare that nobody would notice if the building next door were being bombed. Khloe announces that everyone in the top six will be singing two songs each, the first being unplugged and the second being a "Pepsi Challenge" number, which will of course have all the plugs the internet could possibly imagine. We're reminded of how Carly edged out just a few more votes than Tate on last week's leaderboard, and then Khloe chats with the judges (Simon congratulating Mario on his wedding and Khloe on how she's cute tonight, even though she looks like someone drizzled sugar glaze over her head), and then we're on to Demi's introduction of her one remaining Young Adult, CeCe Frey. Getting her over with early, that's good.

In the intro reel, we see that CeCe felt like last week was her best performance yet, and she appreciated being number five in the vote, her highest ranking yet. Still third from the bottom, though. Prepping for this week, CeCe cops to her "vocal issues in the past," and we see her struggling through rehearsals of a Lady Gaga song. L.A. volunteers in an interview that CeCe should have gone home a long time ago and he's not the only one who feels that way. Right here, L.A.

For her performance, she's going the always-classy route of sitting on the piano while singing "Edge of Glory". She does okay through the first verse, but comes apart a bit on the pre-chorus and thereafter, presumably because she ran out of rehearsal time. She was right about one thing: you make one vocal mistake in this setting, everyone hears it. And we get to hear all of hers. L.A. admits that he's starting to become a fan, but Britney disagrees. Simon gives her credit for getting this far, but that she isn't worth the five million dollars. He thinks it was a good vocal, but not great. Demi disagrees that this was one of CeCe's best performances yet (which isn't actually disagreeing with Simon, technically), and CeCe says something into her dead mic before offering this response to the judges: "I'm still here." Point well taken.

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