The second round of live shows, and the first incorporating audience voting, for X Factor USA took place on November 7, 2012. This recap focuses on the best peformances of the night.
1. Carly Rose Sonenclar - "It Will Rain"
Mentor Britney Spears was exactly right that last week she put too much on stage with Carly Rose Sonenclar. This week things were pared down for a performance of Bruno Mars' hit "It Will Rain." The wide ranging colors in her voice were highlighted to stunning effect. Carly Rose Sonenclar instantly rose to the top of this season's contenders for the X Factor title.
2. Lyric 145 - "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious"
The hip hop trio Lyric 145 are the most original act in this season of X Factor. This week the song choice of "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" from Mary Poppins is credited to Lyric Da Queen while the colorful blend of song and rap echoes the British pop music scene that gave us mentor Simon Cowell. This performance was supremely entertaining.
3. Fifth Harmony - "A Thousand Years"
This week the third name for the girl group composed by the X Factor mentors was revealed. Lylas gave way to 1432 and now it seems Fifth Harmony will be their permanent name. The name seems appropriate after hearing the gorgeous harmonies here. The song choice of Christina Perri's Twilight hit "A Thousand Years" seems lacking a bit in inspiration, but the performance overcame any song weaknesses.
4. Tate Stevens - "Wanted: Dead Or Alive"
L.A. Reid seems to have struggled a bit in finding the best path for his over 25 contestants. However, with the country rock of Bon Jovi's classic "Wanted: Dead Or Alive," he found a sweet spot for Tate Stevens. To my eyes and ears this is the first time Tate Stevens has looked and sounded like a true contender.
5. Diamond White - "I Have Nothing"
This season needed an uptick in drama, so this week previously eliminated Diamond White is welcomed back into the competition after the mentors conferred and decided she should not have gone home. Her performance of Whitney Houston's classic "I Have Nothing" was solid and demonstrated Diamond White does belong at least in the mid-range of this year's contestants. She likely will not go home any time soon.
6. Who Will Go Home?
In discussing who deserves to go home, the choice of the Goo Goo Dolls' "Iris" as the song for 13 year old Beatrice William was astonishingly wrong-headed. It led to the worst performance of the night and should earn a ticket home. However, Arin Ray's solid but forgettable performance to lead off the night may result in his exit from the competition.