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X Factor USA Season 2 - Live Shows Recap November 7, 2012

The Top Five

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In the fifth round of live shows performances it seemed that a number of acts stepped up their game, and only a few were left behind.

1. Paige Thomas - "Never Gonna Give You Up"

Paige Thomas - "Never Gonna Give You Up"
Courtesy Fox Television

In the week during which Alicia Keys' latest album is battling for a #1 debut on the charts, Paige Thomas brought some echoes of her style to the stage in her best performance yet of the competition. Ric Astley's hit "Never Gonna Give You Up" was a risk and a surprising choice, but the slowed down R&B arrangement worked perfectly. Paige Thomas looked and sounded like a star.

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2. Tate Stevens - "Somebody Like You"

Tate Stevens - "Somebody Like You"
Courtesy Fox Television

Switching to uptempo country for Tate Stevens this week was a stroke of genius on the part of mentor L.A. Reid. He covered Keith Urban's #1 country smash from a decade ago, "Somebody Like You." With this performance Tate Stevens demonstrated an ability to reach out to pop fans who are open to country crossovers. He demonstrated that he has star power and is a strong bet to make it all the way to the show's finale.

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3. Carly Rose Sonenclar - "Rolling In the Deep"

Carly Rose Sonenclar - "Rolling In the Deep"
Courtesy Fox Television

Choosing Adele's signature hit "Rolling In the Deep" presented a major challenge for the amazingly talented 13 year old Carly Rose Sonenclar. The result was not her best performance, but she tackled the song well in a sad, bluesy interpretation of the words. Carly Rose Sonenclar demonstrated she can sing most anything well. She is still the contestant to beat this year.

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4. CeCe Frey - "Lady Marmalade"

CeCe Frey - "Lady Marmalade"
Courtesy Fox Television

With everyone betting that she is one of the next to leave, CeCe Frey pulled out her most arresting performance of the season. It would be very easy for LaBelle's classic "Lady Marmalade" to swallow up a singer and leave them lost among the bombast and stage setting. However, CeCe Frey was up to the task and demonstrated she does bring a different style to the competition that stands out from others. Will she survive? It's very difficult to tell.

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5. Emblem3 - "I'm a Believer"

Emblem3 - "I'm a Believer"
Courtesy Fox Television

Simon Cowell is obviously in love with his boy trio Emblem3. However, they never seem to quite rise to the hype that he creates around them. Tonight's performance was probably solid enough to keep them in the competition, and it was wrapped in American flag waving and fireworks to pander to the US audience. However, so far Emblem3 are no match for the best in the competition.

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6. Who Will Go Home?

CeCe Frey edged her way into another week of the competition by defeating Beatrice Miller in a sing off last week. This week her performance was much better, and, based on quality, should keep her in the competition. However, the viewers might vote her out. Last night's show led off with two of the weakest performances. Diamond White did not seem up to tackling Whitney Houston effectively, and Vino Alan's performance fell flat. Any of these three could be going home this week.

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