Only six remain in the running for that huge $5 million contract. Who will be this season’s Melanie Amaro? Hopefully none of them, because I’m sure they want to sell downloads. ZING. Speaking of which, the Season 1 singer will be performing on the results show to drop her new single, “Long Distance“.

For the first time this season, the X Factor contestants were required to perform two tracks. The first being an unplugged one and the second chosen by the public via the Pepsi Challenge. From song choice to stage production to outfits, X Factor fans had a say. Surprisingly, all performed solidly tonight. No real trainwrecks.

The night proved so successful, Simon announced that next week was going to be another week where viewers picked the songs. Truth be told, even the judges admitted the public did better with song selections than themselves. Check out this week’s performances below and see if you agree Cowell’s thoughts.

X Factor Season 2 Top 8 Performance Videos

CeCe Frey

Song: “Edge of Glory” by Lady Gaga
Song: “Part of Me” by Katy Perry

Like LA Reid said, CeCe should’ve gone home a long time ago. Even she admitted that her big production numbers help camouflage her iffy vocals. To her credit, her unplugged performance was her best vocally to date. But as Britney astutely put it, it was good, but at this point of the competition it needs to be great. Did Spears hire a new writer this week ;)

For her second performance, Frey went trampy and campy. While it was a lot of fun and I admire her for giving it her all, it’s certainly time to go. If she isn’t the first one eliminated tomorrow, I’ll be shocked. Side note: loved the big curly hair with colored clip-ins. She looked like the lovechild of Christina Aguilera & Katy Perry.

Emblem3

Song: “Just The Way Your Are” by Bruno Mars
Song: “Forever Young”

Personally, I loved the first performance way more than the second. The judges, on the other hand, had a differing opinion. The more I watch them, the more convinced I think the brothers should break off and form a duo. Tank top guy is coming off more douchey each episode and has by far the weakest voice. During one of his solos, his vocal styling went from 90s boy band to Emo angst. The only pro about him are those sexy broad shoulders.

Side note: How awesome was Demi Lovato calling them a “downgraded version of the Jonas Bros.” Brit’s reaction to that dig was hilarious. I love the fact Lovato compared them to one of her ex-boyfriends- Joe Jonas. Is that her subtle way of saying she’s over her crush with the Emblem3 frontman? Did he do her wrong?

Carly Rose Sonenclar

Song: “As Long As You Love Me” by Justin Bieber
Song: “If I Were A Boy” by Beyoncé

Regular readers of my X Factor recaps are aware that I haven’t been supremely wowed by Carly Rose. Yes, she kills it most of the time but I always feel a bit cold. Tonight, it was a game-changer. I thought her unplugged cover of Justin Bieber’s single was PHENOMENAL. For the first time I saw artistry and didn’t feel like she was competing in a talent show. Sonenclar continued her hot streak and even gave me goosies for her Beyonce cover.

That said, is she worthy of the $5 million contract. Will she actually sell records? PS: I totally called the JoJo comparison before Lovato said it. She sounded exactly like JoJo on her “In The Dark” track. Listen to it, if you’re not convinced with Demi and my assessment.

Fifth Harmony

Song: “Set Fire to the Rain” by Adele
Song: “Give Your Heart a Break” by Demi Lovato

LA Reid definitely has it in for Fifth Harmony. For that matter, Brit and Demi weren’t loving them either on their first performance. While it wasn’t perfect, I thought their Adele unplugged was pretty good. Camilla and Ally were sensational during their solos. I definitely heard harmonies. That said, I don’t understand why they need four backup singers when you have five very capable voices in the group.

Coming into their Pepsi Challenge number, I was worried for them. With less-than-stellar critiques, they needed to kill it. Not only did they deliver, but they murdered Demi’s song… in a good way. This is the direction they need to go with. Each girl brought it and I loved the old school graffiti backgrounds. Normani’s pantsuit was EVERYTHING. These girls have the potential of being the next big girl group. No doubt.

Diamond White

Song: “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World” by James Brown
Song: “Diamonds” by Rihanna

Nic and Matt, who were over, were instantly impressed by Diamond’s “It’s A Man’ Man’s Man’s World.” This is the best she’s sounded. A little screechy at moments (Simon also agreed), but overall a solid outing. With that being said, it wasn’t nearly as show-stopping as Joshua Ledet (American Idol) or Juliet Simms‘ (The Voice) covers. Don’t you agree?

For her second performance, White descended on the stage in a diamond-shaped apparatus. To put this in perspective, Diamond was in a ‘diamond‘ singing “Diamonds“. That’s a whole lot of bling. Sadly for her though, her performance didn’t shine like a diamond. The judges (besides Brit) weren’t over-the-moon with it. I thought it was one of her better ones, but I think it’s too little, too late.

Tate Stevens

Song: “Livin’ On a Prayer” by Bon Jovi
Song: “If Tomorrow Never Comes” by Garth Brooks

He should really consider changing his name to Tate Jovi or Bon Stevens. Dude has a hard-on for the “Living On A Prayer” group. That or Reid gets royalties every time the show covers the New Jersey group. I agree with Demi that I missed the money note. Tate opted to go down an octave instead of going for the glory note. Clearly, that’s not within his vocal wheelhouse.

His second performance was more in line with what artist he is. While I thought it was fine, I’m sure fans of Garth Brooks would say he didn’t do it justice. I can’t really compare since I’m not super familiar with that country single. Tate is safe, but I think he’ll drop from second place.

Elimination Predictions

As mentioned earlier, if CeCe isn’t outta there first, I’m calling a recount. VoteForTheWorst.com support or not, she needs to go. The sing-off, I predict will be between Diamond White and Fifth Harmony. I really hope Demi and LA keep the girl group, not letting their feelings towards Simon affect their decision.

What did you think of tonight’s performances? Which two acts do you think will be eliminated? Who’s going to win Season 2 of The X Factor? Sound off below.

X Factor Season 2: Who Are Your Favorite Act(s)?

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The X Factor Season 2 Gallery

To check out all high-res pics from this season, head over to our X Factor Season 2 gallery.