Carly Rose Sonenclar - "How Do I Live" feat. LeAnn Rimes
Khloe Kardashian promised big surprises prior to the second round of performances. We got them in the form of special duets between each rookie and an established act. Carly Rose drew LeAnn Rimes, who it should be noted burst on the scene with the album "Blue" in July 1996, when she was also aged 13. Unfortunately, Rimes didn't do her partner much justice, and vice versa. Was it the wrong song choice? Maybe. Just a fleeting moment of mediocrity? Perhaps. Really, I just don't think they clicked. And speaking of not clicking....
Tate Stevens - "Pontoon" feat. Little Big Town
Tate Stevens plus country superstars should equal major success; I think it's in something like every textbook ever. But in pairing with Little Big Town, Stevens had to hit the notes normally reserved for the group's two female leads, and that just didn't happen much on the chorus. On the plus side, he sounded great on the verses, and LBT was on top of its game, so the performance was altogether OK. But hey, Reid declared country music to be the new love of his life following the song, so there's that.
Fifth Harmony - "Give Your Heart a Break" feat. Demi Lovato
The surprise was spoiled in the split second Demi Lovato made a move to get up from her chair before the commercial break. Fifth Harmony dueted with the "X Factor" judge on one of her biggest hits, mixing exceptionally well together on the chorus to the point that it was tough to discern Demi's voice from the group. Following a standing ovation from the judges, Simon Cowell called the performance "pop perfection." Yeah, that could be the bias talking, but I'm inclined to agree.
Carly Rose Sonenclar - "Hallelujah"
Honestly, it's kind of amazing she didn't sing this song sooner. Sonenclar ended her night with the Leonard Cohen song that everybody and their brother has attempted. The difference is that, unlike most or perhaps all of your brothers, she made it work. She capped off a powerhouse vocal with a note toward the song's end that could have won her the competition, soaring toward the rafters over a backing choir. It's what folks have come to expect from Carly Rose, though that didn't make it any less majestic.
Tate Stevens - "Tomorrow"
Stevens excels when he's doing country music that's decidedly mundane -- that is, not too flashy, gimmick-less and highlighting his persona as the guy who could live down the road in your rural town. Chris Young's "Tomorrow" showcased his standing as a country vocalist that can match many current artist blow-for-blow. Frankly, I think it's what we can expect from Stevens post-"X Factor," whether he wins or not. It's simply what he exudes.
Fifth Harmony - "Let it Be"
Fifth Harmony meshed well with Demi Lovato on its previous effort, but on the final number of the night, the girls' voices flowed with each other, sounding more like a bona fide group than they ever have. All this happened while all girls were able to stand out as vocalists for their time in the spotlight, albeit brief at times, before returning to the general harmony. Fifth Harmony's gospel take on the Beatles staple wasn't, say, pop perfection like its predecessor, but a few tweaks here and there could make it a truly inspiring number. It's tough to take "Let it Be" over Carly's "Hallelujah," but the girls didn't disappoint.
Who were your favorites of the night? Who's going to win the whole thing? Do you want those cupcakes Carly Rose Sonenclar can apparently expect at home? Sound off in the comments and join us tomorrow for the crowning of the winner.