All things entertaining in Westchester, Rockland and the Hudson Valley
BloggersChris Serico Kirthana Ramisetti Georgette Yacoub Kristin Taveira Anne Machalinski Estelle Lander
'X Factor': Carly Rose Sonenclar advances to finals
Carly Rose Sonenclar made the cut and will perform in "The X Factor" finale next week. The Mamaroneck teen, who covered Elton John's "Your Song" and John Lennon's "Imagine" in Wednesday night's performance episode, is one of three finalists up for the top prize, a $5 million recording contract.
A fan (and judge) favorite throughout the singing competition, Carly Rose will face off next Wednesday against country crooner Tate Stevens and pop group Fifth Harmony. The other group that Simon Cowell mentored into the semi-finals, Emblem3, was eliminated from the competition Thursday night.
On Wednesday, the acts each performed two songs: one of their choosing, and one with the advice of their "X Factor" mentors.
Carly Rose Sonenclar
| Carly Rose on Bruno Mars, One Direction
| Reality stars from the Hudson Valley
MORE: Carly Rose Sonenclar to headline NYC concert | Q&A with Carly Rose Sonenclar | Carly Rose: Complete coverage
For her own selection, Carly Rose picked Elton John's "Your Song." Wearing a black hat, sleeveless top and gold denim, the 13-year-old showcased stunning vocal control in her performance, nuance and control, especially in the low-alto range that often trips up top pop stars.
The judges — Britney Spears, L.A. Reid, Demi Lovato and Cowell — offered mostly positive feedback.
Reid called "Your Song" a risky and difficult song choice, but credited Sonenclar for her performance, adding, "You did things with that song I've never heard done before."
Lovato labeled the pick "predictable," because she perceived Sonenclar as relying too heavily on ballads. "But with that being said, I think this is my favorite song that you've ever performed, because the R&B side to your voice is so magical," she told Sonenclar.
Spears, who also serves as Carly Rose's "X Factor" mentor, was more effusive. "I feel you've blossomed into a huge superstar already, right before my eyes," she said. "I'm so proud to be your mentor."
In a recorded segment that ran before her first performance, Sonenclar said the Elton John song "reminds me that my dad gave me my love for music."
Her father also thought of the song fondly. "From when Carly was very, very small, whenever I would play music, I would see her eyes just light up," Bob Sonenclar said. "And 'Your Song' is one of the first songs that I ever played for her."
For the teen's second performance, Spears suggested an even riskier song in John Lennon's iconic "Imagine," and raised the stakes by asking Sonenclar to play the piano while singing. She didn't miss a note on the piano, where she began and ended the song, and belted some big notes on the traditionally subdued song while fashioning an elegant red dress.
Again, Sonenclar earned raves from three of the judges and criticism from Cowell.
Cowell said he found the part-time piano playing and belted notes distracting. "I actually would have kept you at the piano," he said, questioning the decision to have her walk in front of the piano during the middle of the song. "When you hit those big notes, it was great, but I'm not sure that song needs those big notes. I just didn't like the arrangement, if I'm going to be honest with you. I thought it was over-complicated. I'm sorry."
Spears defended her protégée. "I have to disagree," Spears said. "It is time for you to go beyond this stage and compete with the biggest stars in the world."
Now that Carly Rose has made the finale, she'll perform Wednesday and the winner will be named on Thursday, Dec. 20. Do you think that despite receiving some criticism this week that she can win the whole thing? Vote in Newsday Westchester's poll, and if you missed her performance of "Your Song," you can watch it below.