X Factor
Top Finalists Perform

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Pulling the Plug

Simon lords it over everyone how he still has two acts, and he starts to introduce Emblem3, but Demi interrupts him with how predictable it's going to be. In their intro reel, they shop for skateboards (of course) and talk about how the acoustic number will give them a chance to show their true selves. So I assume shirts will come off as well, then? During rehearsals, Simon tells someone they need a lot of vocal work. Nice of him to notice it at this late date. Tonight, they're on stools doing Bruno Mars's "Just the Way You Are," with the blond one...not playing an acoustic guitar, exactly, most of the time, but at least holding it. Fortunately someone else is playing another one somewhere. And Simon's right again: they do need some vocal work. The chicks dig it, though, of course.

L.A. declares it "pretty good," but has to wait for the screams to subside before he concludes, "At least one of Simon's groups can sing harmony." Most of the people in the room have to take a minute to register the burn he just delivered. Britney says it was their best in a few weeks. Demi says it was great, not their best, but as much as she used to love them, now they're like "a downgraded version of the Jonas Brothers five years ago." And she would know. Simon tells Demi that's "incredibly dumb," which is ballsy in this room that he knows will have his back. Guess what? They do.

X Factor app pitch from Mario from the control room. I think he does this before the show, so maybe he works more than three hours a week after all. Down on the stage, Khloe introduces Carly Rose Sonenclar, who had another big night last week, beating Tate by just a tenth of a percent. Britney tells Carly that she's picked "As Long As You Love Me" by Justin Bieber, which Carly, unlike Britney, is smart enough to know isn't exactly an acoustic hit. But they're going with it anyway. Carly sings it looking a little uncomfortable, backed by only a guitarist and drummer who seems to be thumping his seat rather than any actual drums all the way through to the second verse. I wonder how many years he was at Julliard? Carly, of course, sounds great as always.

L.A. compliments her on her restraint, and says it was one of his favorites from her. Demi says she sang it better than Justin Bieber and compares her to JoJo. "This is why I love working in this country," Simon says, adding that he's seeing a star emerge and making the audience freak out. He also appreciates that she's cool rather than annoying, unlike a lot of other singers her age (remember Beatrice Miller?). Britney compliments her on making every song her own. Which is generous of her, because it's not like Britney has much of a hand in what's going on after the song is chosen.

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