An absolute shocker of a night on 'The X-Factor' as two favorites went home and a couple of would-be castoffs skated through unharmed.
Last night, girl group Sweet Suspense and country siren Rachel Potter left the show after a really confounding audience vote. Truth be told, I pre-write my power rankings every week based on the previous show and I had Rachel at 2nd and Sweet Suspense at 4 before they both bottomed out this week.
It's a really crazy result, especially considering clear castoff candidates like Carlito and Lillie not even having to sing a save-me song. After Carlos Guevara predictably went home Wednesday, suddenly nothing makes sense on this show and it's pretty exciting.
Even more surprising than the result was the decision to do a Lou Reed tribute to lead off the show. Songs about heroin from hipster classic rock gods aren't standard fare for this show, but the arrangement was fantastic and the contestants filled it with great vocals.
And yes, they're "allowed" to sing Lou Reed songs. He's not some divine untouchable of rock. He's a musician like any other and it's not a problem that 'The X-Factor' paid tribute to him, so come off your high horse. It was very well done and completely appropriate. Just surprising.
Speaking of surprises, let's try to make sense of what happened last night with this week's power rankings.
1 (Rank Last Week: 1) - Restless Road
As long as Restless Road doesn't deliver an absolute dud one week, nothing's going to knock them off their track to victory on this show. It's a lock.
2 (8) - Rion Page
With Rachel out of the competition, Rion is now all alone as the only country chick in this competition. With her voice and ability to pick the right song, she's a real threat to restless road.
3 (9) - Khaya Cohen
Speaking of improvement, Khaya's gone from the spunky girl with the cool tone to a mini Adele on this show who commands the stage. Talent won out the first season of 'X-Factor' - could it do it again? Bottom three-ing would tell you otherwise, but that's probably just a blip on what should be a long tenure on this show.
4 (12) - Josh Levi
One week removed from saying he has no shot, and suddenly Levi looks like he has a chance to win. Youngsters like him inevitably falter as a result of inexperience at some point, but he actually looks like he has a little star factor in him, and enough to make a long run on the show.
5 (5) - Jeff Gutt
Eventually Jeff is going to get boring. That's just what happens with solid rock singers like him. They come out every week, give a good-but-not-great performance, and eventually pick the wrong song that sends them home a little too soon. That's Jeff's fate. Count on it.
6 (4) - Tim Olmstad
I was a believer in Tim at first, but now I just see him as a high school talent show singer who doesn't have the charisma or versatility to really handle a show like this. He won't last too long.
7 (6) - Alex and Sierra
Even Simon hated them last week. I think the momentum is turning against this hipster duo. Not a moment too soon.
8 (7) - Carlito Olivero
From star to nearly gone on one week. It's remarkable that Carlito stuck around after last week. It's starting to look like it will be a miracle if he makes the top half.
9 (10) - Ellona Santiago
People seem to keep thinking she can sing, but that's not going to last. Girls who can't dominate with their voices just don't have a shot at actually winning this thing - even if she sticks around for a little while.
10 (11) - Lillie McCloud
Sticking around after leading off the show last week actually bodes very well for Lillie as it shows at least a few people are paying attention to her and she's making something of an impact with voters. That's not going to last, however, as she's just not right for a competition where people are texting and tweeting and Shazaaming their votes. Maybe if she did 'Dancing with the Stars'.