What does it mean to be No. 1? For athletes, it could mean being the fastest runner; for scientists, it could mean having the brightest idea — and in the case of many reality singing competitions, it could mean being talented enough to sing at the level of the greats. Last night, The X Factor made sure to put this theory to the test by asking the Top 8 contestants to perform songs that have hit No. 1 on the billboard charts throughout the years — courtesy of some of the greatest artists in music history. (Rock, please meet Hard Place)
So while many of you are still riding your Boy Meets World reunion high (as you very well should be), these remaining acts have been hard at work trying to replicate a legendary singer’s work of art. No pressure, though!
Find out who came out on top and who's in danger of singing their swan song below!
Diamond White (Teens — Team Britney Spears): Diamond started the night off by singing Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance with Somebody.” So far in this competition, Diamond has been at her strongest, vocally, with ballads, but she opted to go with an upbeat tempo this week and just have some fun on stage. Like always, her vocals were decent and she definitely seemed a lot more confident than she has in previous weeks. However, in my opinion, it felt like something you’d hear more in a karaoke bar than in an actual singing competition. Her voice just seems stronger with more serious songs that center more on vocals and less on theatrics… at least for the time being. L.A. gave her an A for effort, but a B for execution. Demi, of course, loved it because it’s Britney’s act and therefore should only be met with praise. Surprisingly, Simon also found the performance impressive and really couldn’t praise her enough. So hey, what do I know?
Vino Alan (Over 25s — Team L.A. Reid): Vino chose to sing “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling” by the Righteous Brothers, which unfortunately led to less than righteous results. It’s not that he isn’t a decent singer because he certainly is. It’s just that he performs the same kind of songs week after week. There’s no risk involved and it’s leading to very little reward, at least from a listener’s perspective. He’s good… but not $5 million worthy. And the judges seemed to agree. Britney and Demi said he needs to freshen up his routine and do something a little different for a change. Simon remarked that he didn’t like the song choice and thought the performance, as a whole, just didn’t work. Agreed!
Paige Thomas (Young Adults — Team Demi Lovato): Paige opted to go against the grain (and against her mentor’s advice) this week and performed a mash-up combo of Tina Turner’s “Private Dancer” and Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up.” Normally, I wouldn’t expect two songs such as these could go together in any way, shape, or form. Paige, however, seems to make it work, which goes to show why we should never judge a book by its cover… or in this case, song title. After all, you wouldn’t think such a deep voice could come out of Astley’s small frame, but it totally works — and the same goes for Paige’s performance. It’s a unique, bold choice, and something completely different from what she’s been doing recently. (But on a side note, is it cheating that she got to pick two No. 1 hit songs instead of just one? Who’s in charge of the rules with these things?) Anyway, the risk certainly seemed to pay off tenfold. L.A. called it her best performance by far, while Simon said she looked and sounded like a true pop star. He also remarked that Paige should be making a lot more decisions about her performances from now on. (That jab was meant for you, Demi.)
Fifth Harmony (Groups — Team Simon Cowell): Before their performance began, we learned (courtesy of the reel package) that one of the girls in the group, Ally, lost her grandfather this past week, leaving the group pretty emotionally drained. So in honor of this unfortunate tragedy, the girls appropriately chose to sing “Stronger” by Kelly Clarkson. It’s moving and powerful with equally strong vocals for all five of them. At the end, they all gathered around Ally in a huge group hug, which was absolutely sweet and adorable. The only thing that needed a little work was their dance moves. They stood in one place the entire time, even though it was an upbeat song and kinda requires some movement. Other than that, it was great. L.A., however, proved that he is truly heartless by saying that he was expecting something groundbreaking and it just… wasn’t. Terrible. Everyone else loved it, though Demi agreed that they need to move around more during upbeat tempos, claiming that they looked a little awkward just standing there.
Carly Rose Sonenclar (Teens — Team Britney Spears): It’s official, this girl can literally sing any song in the world. The 13-year-old contestant dared to attempt something that even the bravest adult singers cower away from: an Adele song. Carly busted out a beautiful rendition of the British songstress’s No. 1 hit song, “Rolling in the Deep,” leaving both the audience and the judges sufficiently wowed. Seriously, how is this girl able to sing about love and heartbreak so well? She’s too young to be dating let alone knowing the pains of breakups! Simply incredible. Everyone else might as well go home right now. When you conquer an Adele song, you deserve a $5 million recording contract. L.A. said it wasn’t her best performance in the competition (which is completely false), but he countered by saying that even her second best is better than everybody else’s first best (which is completely true). There’s no doubt in my mind that this week is going to find Miss Carly Rose rolling in some serious votes.
Tate Stevens (Over 25s — Team L.A. Reid): Next up, Tate opted to tackle Keith Urban’s “Somebody Like You.” And even though his country crooner approach could be seen as highly predictable, that didn’t stop his performance from being just as enjoyable as ever. You can’t help but like this guy and his vocals make him a very solid contender for the title. I don’t even really like country music, per se, but I’ve enjoyed every single one of Tate’s performances. His stage energy is infectious and left the crowd in a fit of girlish screams. Britney said she’s sure we’ll see him accept a Country Music Award someday, while Demi praised his unyielding love for his wife (whom he dedicates every song to). Simon told him that he’s incredibly likeable, but that he shouldn’t try to dance on stage anymore because it "just didn’t work." Mean, old Simon… that guy could probably punch a teddy bear in the face and be okay with it. (But that’s why we love him, right?)
CeCe Frey (Young Adults — Team Demi Lovato): CeCe may be hanging on to this show by a thread, but I’ll give her this — she’s definitely going down swinging. Her performance of "Lady Marmalade" was impressive — those theatrics! Yes, the spectacle was both fun and entertaining to watch. However, an over-the-top performance may not be the best way to win the public’s heart and votes (we’re not that easy to impress). She’s definitely got some singing talent, but I’ve just never found her that likeable, which can play a huge part in a competition like this. L.A. referred to the routine as a “circus” and in true Simon-fashion, his advice was straight to the point: pack a suitcase. Looks like poor CeCe may be going home this week.
Emblem3 (Groups — Team Simon Cowell): Emblem3 closed out the night’s competition by singing the Monkees classic, “I’m a Believer,” which of course sent a majority of the female audience into a fit of hysterics. Their harmonizing was great and even gave Fifth Harmony a run for their money. L.A. said that if he were a chairman of a record company (which he is), then he’d definitely sign them. So rest easy, ladies — even if these guys don’t win the competition (and they probably won’t with singing sensations like Carly Rose still around), you can rest assured that you’ll still be able to cover your bedroom walls with posters of them in the near future. One way or another, these guys are getting signed — no doubt about it.
So what did you think of Wednesday night’s round of performances? Who proved to be No. 1 and who is in danger of being shown the door? Sound off in the comments below and be sure to tune in for Thursday night’s results show to find out which two contestants will be eliminated. And just in case you missed it, Britney Spears debuted her new music video of “Scream and Shout” with will.i.am. Check out the video below and see what you think. It’s Britney, bitch!
Follow Kelly on Twitter @KellyBean0415
[Photo credit: Ray Mickshaw/FOX]
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None of this weekend's four wide openings cut short Barbershop's first place reign, leaving it atop the chart with $13.3 million.
The Banger Sisters opened with a bang in second place with $10.3 million.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding was a fat third with $10 million and a $124 million cume heading for $150 million.
Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever >and The Four Feathers opened in a fourth place tie with a featherweight $7.1 million each.
Trapped, the weekend's other wide opening, placed tenth with a subdued $3.2 million.
Even with no huge openings, key films soared 41.5 percent over last year -- $75 million versus $53 million. The comparison is misleading, however, since ticket sales a year earlier were depressed in the wake of 9/11.
THE TOP TEN
MGM's PG-13 rated urban appeal comedy Barbershop held on to the top spot in its second week with a solid ESTIMATED $13.3 million (-36%) at 1,894 theaters (+289 theaters; $7,022 per theater). Its cume is approximately $38.9 million.
Directed by Tim Story, it stars Ice Cube, Anthony Anderson, Sean Patrick Thomas, Eve and Cedric The Entertainer.
Barbershop's average per theater was the highest for any film playing in wide release this weekend.
Focusing on the low budget Barbershop's good hold, a competing studio marketing president said the picture is clearly attracting mainstream moviegoers as well as its urban core audience. "What that says to me," he observed, "is that it's crossing over to young males -- not African-Americans, but just young males. You can't hold like that without that."
Fox Searchlight Pictures' R rated low budget comedy The Banger Sisters opened in second place to a sexy ESTIMATED $10.3 million at 2,736 theaters ($3,763 per theater).
Written and directed by Bob Dolman, it stars Goldie Hawn, Susan Sarandon and Geoffrey Rush.
"We're very, very pleased," Fox Searchlight distribution president Stephen Gilula said Sunday morning.
"Essentially, we more than grossed our production budget on opening weekend. For a film that's had a pretty narrow but very targeted audience to end up number two for the weekend, we're just thrilled."
Banger's launch, Gilula added, "is also a record for Searchlight. It's the biggest opening in Searchlight history. (The previous biggest) was a week ago with the $8 million for One Hour Photo. So two weeks in a row we set and broke our own records."
Asked if Searchlight will go any wider with Banger, Gilula replied, "I think we're as wide as we need to be. In fact, that's wider than we had intended. But the demand for the film was so high after we screened it for exhibitors that we went up to 2,700 (plus theaters).
"Originally, we thought we'd be in 2,300 to 2,500. But partly because (there are so) few films in the marketplace toward the end of the summer we had a lot of demand, so we went up that high. So we won't be adding theaters."
IFC Films' release of Gold Circle Films and HBO's PG rated romantic comedy blockbuster My Big Fat Greek Wedding was a close third, down one peg in its 23rd week with a still enviable ESTIMATED $10.01 million (-7%) at 1,853 theaters (+89 theaters; $4,501 per theater). Its cume is approximately $124.3 million, heading for $160 million in domestic theaters.
Wedding should break the $140.5 million record set by Artisan Entertainment's The Blair Witch Project as the domestic box office's biggest grossing independent film ever.
Directed by Joel Zwick, it stars Nia Vardalos and John Corbett.
Franchise Films' R rated action thriller Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever arrived via Warner Bros. in a fourth place tie with a soft ESTIMATED $7.11 million at 2,705 theaters ($2,628 per theater).
Ballistic, whose roots are in a popular video game, reportedly had a production budget of about $70 million.
Directed by Kaos and produced by Elie Samaha, Chris Lee and Kaos, it stars Antonio Banderas and Lucy Liu.
Paramount and Miramax's PG-13 rated very expensive romantic epic The Four Feathers opened in a tie for fourth place with an uneventful ESTIMATED $7.1 million at 1,912 theaters ($3,713 per theater).
Directed by Shekhar Kapur, it stars Heath Ledger, Wes Bentley and Kate Hudson.
"It's disappointing, but I just got the exit polls and it played pretty well," Paramount distribution president Wayne Lewellen said Sunday morning. "The top two boxes are 74 percent excellent and very good and 22 percent are good. So it's all positive. There is virtually no fair or poor."
The exits indicate, Lewellen added, the audience opening weekend was "roughly 50-50 male-female. The audience was a little over 70 percent over-25, so it's definitely an older audience. Women scored it higher than men in their definite recommends. Any time you've got a film that appeals to an older audience, it's tough to get them out there quickly."
Paramount will add about 300 more theaters in smaller markets to Feathers' run this week as a second wave that it hopes will benefit from favorable word of mouth spreading.
Fox Searchlight Pictures' R rated low budget thriller One Hour Photo slid three clicks to sixth place in its fifth week, still in the picture with an okay ESTIMATED $4.73 million (-41%) at 1,332 theaters (+120 theaters; $3,547 per theater). Its cume is approximately $21.8 million.
Written and directed by Mark Romanek, it stars Robin Williams.
"One Hour Photo had a fabulous fifth week," Fox Searchlight's Stephen Gilula said. "This is just terrific. With four new movies coming into the marketplace in our fifth week, it's an excellent hold. In particular, for the screen average to be holding this high in the fifth week is terrific. We think we're going to get to $30 million or better for this film, which is tremendous. This (had a budget) of around $12 million, so this is a tremendous success for us.
"If it gets to $30 million, it (will become) the second biggest film in the U.S. for Searchlight since The Full Monty, so we're thrilled with that. Full Monty did $45 million."
Gilula also pointed out that Searchlight has The Good Girl in the marketplace, which has a cume of $12.8 million in its seventh week. "What's interesting is that on the three films (Banger, Photo and Girl) we had a total of 4,600 theaters across the country playing our movies this weekend, which is also a Searchlight record."
Buena Vista/Touchstone's PG-13 rated supernatural thriller blockbuster Signs, which was sixth last weekend, tied for seventh place in its eighth week with a calm ESTIMATED $3.5 million (-34%) at 2,338 theaters (-713 theaters; $1,497 per theater). Its cume is approximately $218.0 million, heading for $225 million.
Directed by M. Night Shyamalan, it stars Mel Gibson.
Revolution Studios and Columbia's low budget PG-13 teen comedy Stealing Harvard, which was fifth last week, tied for seventh place in its second week with a slow ESTIMATED $3.5 million (-42%) at 2,366 theaters (theater count unchanged; $1,479 per theater). Its cume is approximately $10.8 million.
Directed by Bruce McCulloch, it stars Tom Green and Jason Lee.
20th Century Fox's PG-13 thriller Swimfan, which was fourth last week, was a very close ninth in its third week with an ESTIMATED $3.45 million (-43%) at 2,573 theaters (-287 theaters; $1,341 per theater). Its cume is approximately $24.4 million.
Directed by John Polson, it stars Jesse Bradford, Erika Christensen and Shiri Appleby.
Rounding out the Top Ten was the opening of Senator Entertainment's R rated child kidnapping thriller Trapped via Columbia with a not so thrilling ESTIMATED $3.2 million at 2,227 theaters ($1,437 per theater).
Directed by Luis Mandoki, it stars Charlize Theron, Courtney Love, Stuart Townsend and Kevin Bacon.
"This was a domestic pick up. It was a film financed by Senator and we acquired domestic (rights) for a little less than $10 million," Sony Pictures Entertainment worldwide marketing & distribution president Jeff Blake said Sunday morning.
"So while we're certainly disappointed in the results, it's certainly not a high exposure picture for us."
This weekend also saw the arrival of Buena Vista/ Disney's PG rated animated feature Spirited Away to a high spirited ESTIMATED $0.45 million at 26 theaters ($17,313 per theater).
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki, it was the Golden Bear best picture winner at the Berlin International Film Festival. Spirited is the all-time top grossing film at the Japanese box office.
Lions Gate Films' R rated kinky romance Secretary opened to a slap happy ESTIMATED $0.19 million at 11 theaters ($17,273 per theater).
Directed by Steven Shainberg, it stars James Spader and Maggie Gyllenhaal.
"We open an additional 10 markets next week with more expansions on Oct. 4 and 11 coming up," Lions Gate president Tom Ortenberg said Sunday morning.
"I think it went great. We had sell-outs on both coasts. Our grosses were only held down by the number of seats. There seems to be great demand for it. The movie seems really well positioned. It got really well reviewed and people seem to be talking about it. So we're thrilled."
Focus Features' R rated French comedic whodunit 8 Women arrived to a glamorous ESTIMATED $87,000 at 7 theaters ($10,926 per theater).
Directed by Francois Ozon, it stars Catherine Deneuve, Isabelle Huppert, Emmanuelle Beart, Fanny Ardant, Virginie Ledoyen, Danielle Darrieux, Ludivine Sagnier and Firmine Richard.
There were no national sneak previews this weekend.
On the expansion front this weekend United Artists' R rated dark comedy Igby Goes Down widened in its second week with an upbeat ESTIMATED $0.84 million at 102 theaters (+92 theaters; $8,212 per theater). Its cume is approximately $1.3 million.
Written and directed by Burr Steers, it stars Kieran Culkin, Claire Danes, Jeff Goldblum, Jared Harris, Amanda Peet, Ryan Phillippe, Bill Pullman and Susan Sarandon.
Paramount Classics' PG rated German romantic comedy Mostly Martha went wider in its sixth week with a dull ESTIMATED $0.3 million (-12%) at 131 theaters (+30 theaters; $2,555 per theater). Its cume is approximately $2.2 million.
Written and directed by Sandra Nettelbeck, it stars Martina Gedeck.
Key films -- those grossing more than $500,000 -- took in approximately $75.05 million for the weekend, up about 41.54 percent from last year when in the wake of 9/11 they totaled a depressed $53.02 million.
Key films were down about 3.47 percent from the previous weekend this year when they totaled $77.74 million.
Last year, Paramount's second week of Hardball was first with $8.06 million at 2,210 theaters ($3,646 per theater); and Dimension's opening week of The Others was second with $5.08 million at 2,801 theaters ($1,815 per theater). The top two films one year ago grossed $13.2 million. This year, the top two films grossed an ESTIMATED $23.6 million.