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'The X Factor' Recap: The Guys Face The Four-Chair Challenge

Andrew Payne Andrew Payne
October 10th, 2013 10:08am EDT
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Contestant Al Calderon performs at the FOUR CHAIR CHALLENGE on THE X FACTOR

Just when The Four-Chair Challenge seemed completely pointless, here comes Paulina The Executioner to give it some teeth.

Thus far, the first four singers vying for a seat seemed totally useless. Why would you send one of the first four home? They can always be eliminated later. It's a completely pointless exercise.

And then Paulina became useful.

In two quick eliminations while chairs were still empty, suddenly there was some unpredictability to this show again. The dullness of the opening quarter of the challenge was eliminated and guano-crazy Paulina suddenly had a bit of 'Always Sunny's' Charlie in her: Wild Card!

Here's the rundown of her scatterbrained choices from last night:

Al Calderon Sang: "Call Me Maybe" by Carly Rae Jepsen

Kelly Said: I want you to be here, to be honest.

Demi Said: You had a great energy while you were up there. At times it seemed like too much.

Simon Said: You're not the best singer in this competition, but what you do have is great charisma and fantastic energy.

Paulina Said: Do you have what it takes to be a solo artist?

The Verdict:

Al decides a weird hybrid Dub-Step/Goth Industrial version of this song that couldn't have sounded weirder. Especially as the melody remained exactly the same as the original record, just sung arhythmically slowed down.

At least his vocals were worse with more bad notes than good and one of the most unintentionally funny voice-cracking reaching for a high note you'll see outside of a bad audition.

Grade: D-

Result: GONE

Isaiah Alston Sang: "The Greatest Love of All" by Whitney Houston

Kelly Said: I remember you just killing, but today we didn't enjoy the sweeter parts of your voice.

Demi Said: I don't think you're ready for this competition.

Simon Said: The last two words were good.

Paulina Said: Are you special enough for this competiton?

The Verdict:

This started out as a very good children's performance. He handled the material okay, looked like Kevin Durant after a playoff game, yet couldn't make you forget that he was a kid.

Then it got much worse as the flat notes came out, the pitchy moments were in abundance and he limped home like Russell Westbrook in his most recent playoff game.

This kid definitely ain't the future.

Grade: C-

Result: GONE

Isaac Tauaefa Sang: "Bubbly" by Colbie Caillat

Kelly Said: I thought your performance was a bit karaoke.

Simon Said: Instead of delivering something substantial like a three-course meal, you delivered a lollipop.

Paulina Said: You have a great voice, but I agree with my people here.

The Verdict:

The "Larry Crowne" of 'X Factor' performances in that it was meant to make the audience and the judges feel nothing. Just an ordinary song from an ordinary singer. No veering into any dangerous octaves, nothing that would challenge him vocally, just a humdrum sing-a-long that was forgotten the instant it was over.

Except for that one moment where he did try to challenge himself and hit a squeaker that problem had producers wondering if a mouse had stuck onto the sound board.

At least the audience booed him lustily. Ouch.

Grade: D+

Result: GONE

Carlos Guevara Sang: "Ain't No Sunshine" by Bill Withers

Kelly Said: I like how you allowed yourself to be lost.

Simon Said: I like the tone of your voice, but there are times when you lose complete control over it which could be a problem.

Paulina Said: You have something unique, Carlos.

The Verdict:

Quick advice to everybody vying for a spot on one of these shows. Sing Bill Withers. Sing a lot of Bill Withers. Never stop singing Bill Withers. His melodies are simple, his words allow you to emote and his songs have like fifteen lyrics in them so you don't have to remember anything.

Carlos ran that full playbook here to perfection singing the refrain and "I Know, I Know..." and not much else as he mined some real soul from this classic tune and never lost connection from it the whole way.

(Psst...He also has Tourette Syndrome. Don't tell anyone. I think he wants to keep it quiet)

Grade: B

Result: SAFE

Stone Martin Sang: "Torn" by Natalie Imbruglia

Kelly Said: I saw you stick a run in there. It was cute.

Demi Said: You just went out there and you killed it.

Simon Said: You're very robotic, but you need a little bit of swag.

Paulina Said: Do you have ingredients like the male Taylor Swift? (What?)

The Verdict:

Stone is easily the most insufferable 14-year-old on the planet. Not only is he obsessed with One Direction, but he also likes to brag about how he has a girlfriend every month and now that he's a "pop star" he can't focus on the ladies anymore.

Unfortunately, the kid isn't a half-bad singer for a half-pint. He may have done the pet peeve gender-change on this one (though I imagine he was Uta Hagen-ing in Harry Styles to capture his emotions), but the vocal was actually pretty solid and the performance at least half-realized.

Hey. We have our villain now. At least we would have had Paula the Executioner not sent him home.

Grade: C+

Result: GONE

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Photo Credits: Michael Becker / FOX