photo: Michael Becker/Fox
Since then, Simon Cowell has tried his hardest to repeat that success on this side of the pond. Last year, on "The X Factor USA" Season 2, he aggressively pushed surfer teen trio Emblem3, aka the California One Direction. They stalled in fourth place. This season, he formed Restless Road, aka the Country One Direction. And on this Thursday's "X Factor" results show, Restless Road met the same fate as Emblem3, placing fourth behind Alex & Sierra, Jeff Gutt, and (somewhat shockingly) season-long underdog Carlito Olivero — thus missing the finale by one week.
Apparently Simon cannot make "X Factor" boy-band lightning strike twice. He will just have to take comfort in the fact that One Direction will be pimped out for the jillionth time on next week's Season 3 finale, and that his other act, boy-girl duo Alex & Sierra, are still in the running. (And Simon may be in a really good mood next week, since, if there's any justice, Alex & Sierra will be this season's champs.)
"I'm really disappointed, guys, but it's not the end," Simon told Restless Road on Thursday. "You've been an absolute pleasure to work with." Will Simon continue to work with Restless Road? He did sign Emblem3, after all, so it's possible. We shall see.
So now we are down to the final three, and they've already started campaigning for the win, as they all gave new performances on Thursday's results show. Alex & Sierra's cover of Passenger's "Let Her Go" was lovely (though not as lovely as Cole Vosbury's breakout version on "The Voice" this year), and Carlito's rendition of Elvis Crespo's "Suavemente" was actually one of his best performances yet.
But Jeff's song choice was the most inspired: "Open Arms," by Journey. Come on, who doesn't love Journey? Maybe Jeff should have saved that one for next week, when the voting lines reopen.
Anyway, do come back next week for "The X Factor's" big two-night finale, to see which of these three will take the title. See you then!
- Simon Cowell