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"The X Factor" Recap: The Top 12 Finalists Are Revealed

Nino Munoz/FOXOn Tuesday night’s edition of The X Factor, judges Simon Cowell, Demi Lovato, Kelly Rowland and Paulina Rubio revealed the top 12 finalists who will advance to next week’s live rounds where they will perform for America’s vote. After each category performed, the judges deliberated and one act from each category was eliminated.

The night began with Demi’s girls:

Ellona Santiago performed a lively version of Britney Spears’ “Till the World Ends,” complete with choreography.  Kelly declared Ellona “on fire” and Paulina agreed, saying she loved the performance “from beginning to end.” Simon weighed in by saying Ellona was “in it to win it.” Demi herself was “proud” of the singer.

Danie Geimer followed with a stripped-down version of Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball.” Kelly thought the singer brought the energy, but felt her performance was disappointing. Simon acknowledged Danie had the voice, but lacked the “X Factor.” Demi thought Danie’s energy level “went down a lot” from her last performance.

Rion Paige was up next with a powerful version of her mentor Demi Lovato’s hit “Skyscraper.” Paulina loved the power in her performance, calling it “amazing.” Simon was shocked to find out Rion picked the song and not Demi. Upon hearing that, he complimented Rion for a “brilliant decision.”

Khaya Cohen chose the Duffy song, “Mercy,” strutting across the stage with a group of backup singers standing behind her on stage. Kelly called Khaya one of her “favorite” singers, but didn’t want to see her move so much on stage because it made her look “a little bit uncomfortable.” Simon thought Khaya had the most commercial voice of anyone in the competition, but wondered if people would like her. He urged her to “loosen up.” Demi agreed.

Demi announced the winners in her girls category were Ellona Santiago, Rion Paige and Khaya Cohen. Danie Geimer was eliminated.

Paulina’s boys were the next group of contestants to battle for a chance to move on:

The youngest contestant in Paulina’s group, Josh Levi, sang Rihanna’s “Only Girl,” moving around the stage with a group of dancers. Demi thought Josh was a great performer, but felt his vocal performance was disappointing. Simon agreed, giving it a “six out of ten.”

Carlos Guevara performed a laid-back version of Swedish House Mafia’s “Don’t You Worry Child.” Kelly said she “adored him” and “loved his spirit.” Simon felt there was “real emotion” that was lacking in his earlier performances and he “completely bought it.” Demi said she found Carlos “likeable” and loved the tone of his voice. Paulina complimented Carlos on his courage and his constant improvement.

Carlito Olivera was next up or the boys, singing “Maria Maria" by Santana and earning a “wow” from Demi. Simon, who runs a record label, said Carlito was the act on the show he would sign, adding the performance was “fantastic.” Paulina wholeheartedly agreed with Simon.

Tim Olstad was the final singer for Paulina’s boys, singing Donna Lewis’ “I Love You Always Forever.” Kelly commented that Tim had a “killer voice.” Simon criticized the song choice, saying it felt like going from a “party to a funeral.” Demi agreed.

Paula’s final three boys are Carlito Olivera, Carlos Guevara and Tim Olstad. Josh Levi was sent home.

Next up was Kelly’s over 25 singers:

Lillie McCloud led off with Percy Sledge’s “When a Man Loves a Woman,” drawing cheers from the crowd and prompting Paulina to call the singer “amazing” and “one of the winners of the competition.” Simon thought Lillie was a great singer, but needed to “lose the theatrics,” which made her sound “a little dated.” Kelly disagreed, calling Lillie “incredible” and “the best vocalist here.”

Jeff Gutt was up next, singing Pink’s “Try.” Demi thought he brought something to the show that no one else in the competition had. Simon called it “bloody brilliant.”

Rachel Potter sat on a stool backed onstage by a guitarist as she sang Lee Ann Womack’s “I Hope You Dance.” Paulina thought Rachel had a beautiful tone. Simon, who was not impressed with Rachel's earlier performances, thought she did a great job on the song. Kelly applauded Rachel for all the hard work she put into the song.”

James Kenney sang “Red” by Daniel Merriweather. Paulina thought the performance was “amazing” and noted that she liked him since the beginning. Kelly agreed, but said she was grateful for all the great talent in this year’s competition.

The acts advancing in Kelly’s over 25 category are Rachel Potter, Jeff Gutt and Lillie McCloud. James Kenney was eliminated from the competition.

Finally, it was Simon’s groups:

Roxxy Montana led it off for the band's with a version of Lorde’s “Royals” that was reminiscent of Kelly’s old group, Destiny’s Child. Kelly said she wasn’t expecting what she saw and heard. Minus a few harmony glitches, she enjoyed the performance. Paulina felt the group was “coming out of its shell” and “growing up.” Simon thought they came a long way and he was “very proud” of them.

The trio Sweet Suspense sang a lively, flashy version of Icona Pop’s “I Love It.” Demi was left almost speechless by the performance, but finally declared “You guys are absolute stars…amazing.”  Simon’s response was simply, “Girls, that’s what I call a pop group.” Simon said the performance "was magic.”

Alex and Sierra were next with an acoustic version of Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines.” Paula loved the performance, comparing the duo to Sonny and Cher. Kelly wished it was “a little sexier.” Simon called Kelly's comment “rubbish,” and said the group's performance was “original and unique.”

Restless Road, the last act of the night, performed a countrified version of Katy Perry’s “Roar.” It wowed both the audience and judges. Paulina thought they had chemistry and loved the song choice. Kelly also loved the trio, saying, she was “totally buying every Restless Road record.” Simon said they had great talent and great chemistry, but most of all they worked their butts off.

The three groups advancing are Restless Road, Alex and Sierra and Sweet Suspense. Roxxy Montana was eliminated from the competition.

The X Factor continues on Fox Thursday at 8:00 p.m. Eastern time with an all-new “Meet the Top 12” episode.  If there is a game seven of the World Series, the episode will be pre-empted.  On the Wednesday, November 6 installment of The X Factor, the top 12 finalists will perform Motown songs for the judges and America’s votes. The results will be revealed on Thursday, November 7.

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