The final eight "X Factor" contestants tackled No. 1 songs, the theme for Wednesday night's competition, and many of the finalists didn't play it safe with their song choices.
But, for most who took the risk in their song choice, it paid off in this double elimination round.
Britney Spears' Teens
Diamond White was the first to take the stage on Wednesday, singing Whitney Houston's "I Wanna Dance With Somebody." L.A. Reid said the teen always seems to "start slow" and then "get there." Demi Lovato said, "It's amazing to see you walk onstage and have fun during a song." Simon Cowell told White that her performance was great and that she is currently "gunning for No. 1."
Carly Rose Soneclar sang Adele's "Rolling in the Deep." Cowell said, "I thought the first half of the song was good, I thought the second half of the song was sensational." Her mentor Britney Spears told the teen, "I think that we knew this was gonna be a challenge, but we're really wanting to take a risk at this point so we can take it to the next level in this competition, and that's what we did."
Demi Lovato's Young Adults
Paige Thomas sang Rick Astley's "Never Going to Give You Up" with a group of backup dancers, despite her coach's advice to keep it simple. The risk paid off for Thomas, Reid called it her "best performance" so far. You found your voice, you found your movement," said Reid. Cowell said, "This is the first time you have looked like a legitimate pop star."
CeCe Frey sang Patti Labelle's "Lady Marmalade." Reid and Spears commended Frey for fighting as hard as she could after she was put in the bottom two last week, but Cowell told the singer "You gave me too much. There was way too much going on. Too distracting....My advice tonight is pack a suitcase."
L.A. Reid's Over 25's
Vino Alan's song was switched last minute to "You've Lost That Loving Feeling" by his mentor. Reid said he would take "full responsibility" if Alan couldn't pull it off. Spears, Lovato and Cowell agreed that his performance didn't do much for them. Cowell said he felt like the song just wasn't the right choice, but Reid stuck by his singer, " I don't expect the other judges to support you because you're a threat to the other competition."
Tate Stevens sang Keith Urban's "Somebody Like You" while playing the guitar. Spears told Stevens, "I'm sure we'll be seeing you accept a country music award some day, you're brilliant." Reid said the singer is "likable" and "lovable."
Simon Cowell's Groups
Fifth Harmony sang Kelly Clarkson's "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)." Spears said, "I thought the song really worked for the group." Cowell said his group gave a "fantastic performance" and that it was the first time he could see them "in the charts."
Emblem3 sang the Monkees "Daydream Believer" and most of the judges loved the performance. Lovato called their performance "predictable," but Reid said, "If I were the chairman of a major record label, which I am, and if you were a new band looking to break into the business, which you are, I would sign you. ... You have the X Factor."