Lyric 145 performs live on 'The X Factor' on Fox. (Ray Mickshaw/ Fox )
In a twist Wednesday night that would have seemed far more shocking if the show hadn't pulled a similar stunt with Melanie Amaro last season, "The X Factor" brought back contestant Diamond White, who had been eliminated from Britney Spears' Teens team last week.
"We watched the show back and the final 12 we are very happy with," Simon Cowell announced at the top of the show, "but we believe we made a mistake with one act," adding that White had been asked to rejoin the show and become lucky No. 13.
Welcome back, Diamond.
White joined the other contestants to tackle songs from movies.
Arin Ray performed "American Boy," by Estelle featuring Kanye West, amid sparkling lights and swaggering dancers but still managed to hold focus with his hip-shaking moves and solid vocals. "Arin, first of all, what happened to you from last year to this year?" L.A. Reid told the "X Factor" returnee, who competed as part of a group last year. "Because you're a different person than you were the first time I met you." Reid thought Ray had finally found his vocal identity. Demi Lovato thought he looked "smooth" and "like a star." Cowell complimented Spears' mentoring. And Spears thought Ray "owned it."
Beatrice Miller (mostly) overcame vocal issues to sing "Iris" by the Goo Goo Dolls – sounding a little like a three-pack-a-day 13-year-old. The issues may have hindered her range, but Reid didn't seem to notice, telling Miller the tone of her voice "sounds like a hit record … just sensational." Lovato liked the way Miller poured her soul into the song, and Cowell declared Miller to be "unbelievable," though he did note the vocal glitches. Spears, however, is Miller's biggest fan, telling her she had the "best personality out of anybody in this whole competition."
Carly Rose Sonenclar moved on from the cheesy girlish costuming and concept Spears had heaped on her last week to show her vocal maturity and power with Bruno Mars' "It Will Rain." "That was really heartfelt," Reid told her. "It was honest -- I loved it, and I love you." Lovato thought the performance was "night and day" compared with last week's and said Sonenclar was really "in her element." Cowell said it sounded like a hit song and Sonenclar had "real guts," adding, "I've got a feeling with you, Carly, we're watching a star in the making." Spears again rolled out the big compliments, telling her mentee, "You should have closed the show, because nobody can follow that."
Diamond White stepped out in a snappy white ladytux and sang Whitney Houston's "I Have Nothing," hoping to prove the judges' were right to bring her back. It may not have been her best performance (she was a little stiff), but Reid, noting that the song choice was "ambitious," thought White "brought it home." Lovato felt the performance "tugged at her heart." Cowell declared that "dreams can come true," thought the whole thing was great, and said he was so glad White was back in the competition. Spears said White "definitely channeled Whitney and she would be very proud."
CeCe Frey brought back her leopard spots (or whatever animal they're supposed to evoke) for her amateurish, frequently off-key and breathless take on Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger," during which she very deliberately took a moment to show off the revealingly sheer bodysuit she wore under a red satiny jacket. (Was she supposed to look like a circus ringmaster or some kind of military dictator?) Reid reluctantly admitted he hadn't been blown away by the performance. Spears thought she was a "little rebel" who "brought fire," but Cowell said that anything he'd liked about Frey to start with (whatever that was) had been "thrown away" and that the song choice was "just horrible." "Cece, you are being taken into a direction you shouldn't be going into," Cowell said, slamming mentor Lovato without mentioning her directly, and saying Frey should be making her own song choices. After Cowell's critique, Frey looked furious. (Maybe don't stand so close, Mario Lopez.) Eye of the tiger, indeed.
Jennel Garcia, who is pretty much unrecognizable compared with the soft-and-sweet-on-the-outside, sexy-on-the-inside small-town girl we met in auditions, sang a leathery "I Love Rock and Roll." Reid more-or-less rightly called it a "Joan Jett parody" lacking in originality and inventiveness. Spears, on the other hand, thought it was "hot, hot, hot." Cowell again piled on Garcia's mentor, telling her he hated what Lovato had done to her look and that she wasn't challenging her musically, either. "You are better than this," he told Garcia. "You really are." "That's why I'm her mentor, and you're not," snapped Lovato, maintaining that the young women in the audience had loved Garcia's performance.