'The X Factor' Top 3 finalists battle it out for the win, Alex & Sierra move the judges to tears
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 12/19/2013
The X Factor's Top 3 third-season acts took the stage and performed one last time for home viewer votes, and duo Alex & Sierra seemed to have the edge during Wednesday night's show on Fox.
For the first round of solo performances, Carlito Olivero, a 24-year-old from Chicago, IL, performed an English and Spanish fusion of "Impossible" by Shontelle. He represents Paulina Rubio's "Boys" category.
"You always leave your heart on the stage and you always share your heart with us and that's half of what it takes to have 'the X factor,'" said Kelly Rowland.
"I am blown away by that performance," Demi Lovato noted. "You're still in your head, you need to let go... but the good news is, this was a very passionate performance and it gave me the chills. I believe you can win this."
"This is the kind of contestant I love working with -- somebody who, when they're at the bottom, you pick yourself up, no complaining. You're not the best singer, Carlito, but that's not necessarily a problem. Because what you give, you make up for it," Simon Cowell explained.
"We need support for Carlito tonight, and you deserve that!" Paulina added.
Alex & Sierra -- a boyfriend/girlfriend duo featuring Alex Kinsey, a 22-year-old from New Smyrna Beach, FL, and Sierra Deaton, a 22-year-old from Orlando, FL -- took the stage with Ed Sheeran's "Give Me Love." They are mentored by Simon in the "Groups" category.
"You guys have evolved vocally... It's just amazing to me. Ya'll sound even better now and that's what this whole journey is about. Any label will take ya'll right now. They'd be crazy not to. I'd sign ya'll right now!" Kelly said.
"I'm so absolutely blown away. I listen to your live recordings on my iPod, I really do. I'm genuinely a fan and I'm connected with you guys. Sierra, you've come so far," Demi explained.
"The world needs this -- that love that you have [for each other]. You guys have grown so much in this competition. You have that 'x factor' guys," Paulina added.
"It's genuinely been an honor working with you two. I genuinely mean that," Simon explained. "You are exactly the same on-screen as you are off-screen. I always dreamt with a show like this that I would find an American star who could represent this country all over the world afterwards, and I do genuinely believe we've found that with you two."
Kelly's "Over 25s" artist Jeff Gutt, a 37-year-old from Detroit, MI, wowed the judges with a rendition of Aerosmith's "Dream On."
"Jeff, that was really, really great. You took it to a whole new level... I think you did a really fantastic job and [the crowd] loves you," Demi said.
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"You're big and I really admire you after that performance," Paulina said.
"Jeff, for me, this is the very, very first time where I've actually believed that you believe you can win the show. Everything just felt authentic... I think you are the real thing... I can't imagine a record company not signing you after that performance," Simon explained.
"I have one word for you Gutt, amazing," Kelly noted.
Round 2 of last night's competition featured each Top 3 act performing with a famous musician or singer. Carlito sang with Prince Royce, Jeff rocked out with Goo Goo Dolls frontman John Rzeznik, and Alex & Sierra were joined by Leona Lewis.
The finalists closed the night with one more round of solo performances. While Jeff and Carlito were told they did an excellent job, Alex & Sierra moved the judges to tears and clearly stood out from the pack.
"Wow Carlito, I'm really proud of you. You have come such a long way. I felt like it was a really nice performance tonight," Kelly said.
"I know how badly you want this. You can see it in your eyes. You're kind of literally on fire, and I think this was a really great performance. I think you've been the underdog in this competition, and I think America should vote for you," Demi noted.
"Wow, Carlito, you have earned my respect, America's respect... It's the first time when I believed you have a future in the music industry. You've been a pleasure to work with," Simon explained.
"You came here with a dream, and this is the dream -- the finals are here. I think you have the appreciation, the passion to give it all and that's why I admire you so much, Carlito. You deserve this recording deal," Paulina said.
Alex & Sierra performed "Say Something" by A Great Big World and Christina Aguilera. Alex was on guitar while Sierra played the piano.
"You deserve this moment. You guys have worked so hard to get here, so congratulations on, once again, another great performance," Kelly said in tears.
"You never cease to not blow me away -- if that makes any sense. You always blow me away and this was no different. I'm so glad you ended this on a high note because you guys could win this competition. You're going to go far," a teary-eyed Demi explained.
"The talent you have [passes] any border... The fact you [Sierra] play the piano, and you [Alex] play the guitar, you guys are the perfect artist," Paulina said.
"You are exactly what a talent show in America needs. You are current. I think you're going to have a successful career. But based on what you've achieved throughout the competition, I genuinely believe that you deserve to win this and I hope America picks up the phone to support you," Simon said.
Jeff ended the night with his new and improved version of Radiohead's "Creep."
"Jeff that was amazing... I actually had a moment when I was like, 'Wow, this feels like a stadium performance.' It was incredible. I think you have what it takes!... [America] should vote for you," Demi said.
"I enjoyed this performance. I think there's nothing missing. You're the perfect artist... you are yourself and you are unique," Paulina noted.
"You sang [the song] brilliantly tonight. I'm really happy that millions of people have gotten to see and hear you. You've had a fantastic night. You're a great contender," Simon explained.
"The past couple weeks have been my heart's joy and I just want you to take this win home for that little beautiful boy, [your son] Talon, whose life you could change. This contract could change your life, and America, I need you to get behind Jeff," Kelly begged. "Vote for this incredible star we're looking at right before our eyes."