The X Factor USA 2012 said good-bye to two more acts during the December 6 results show, a move which trimmed the field from 6 to just 4 in preparation for next week's semifinals. So which two hopefuls saw their $5 million dreams come to an end? And which of the survivors ranked number one following the viewer vote?
Mario Lopez and Khloe Kardashian-Odom opened the hour by greeting mentors Simon Cowell, Britney Spears, LA Reid and Demi Lovato. The intro led into a review of the December 5 performance show, which featured two offerings by each hopeful: an unplugged tune and the fan-designed Pepsi Challenge routine.
But in the interest of dragging out the big reveal for as long as possible, the first musical guest performed. Season one winner Melanie Amaro returned to the stage to sing her new single, "Long Distance". She began her performance perched atop a teeny tiny platform center stage, high up in the air, and to her credit, she didn't flinch. It was a catchy song and she looked great in a black dress and at home on stage. Afterward, curiously sans the accent she suddenly developed toward the end of last season, Melanie said she "gets stopped in the street every day" and "it feels great" to be recognized.
After what was essentially an extended advertisement for Sony headphones that featured the top six, Mario and Khloe called the acts and their mentors to the stage to find out who'd be the first to go home. After the requisite dramatic pause, CeCe Frey, the last of Demi's Young Adults, was named as the low vote-getter. She said she was "very proud" of what she'd done and hoped she'd taught everyone at home to "love who you are". A CeCefied Demi tearfully said she was proud of her and the two hugged.
Following a break, Mario and Khloe revealed that Emblem3, Carly Rose Sonenclar and Tate Stevens had advanced to the semifinals. Left to battle it out for the last spot were Diamond White and Fifth Harmony. The always optimistic Diamond said she was focused on "killing it" and that she felt "amazing right now". First time battler Lauren Jauregui promised to "bring it the best that we can" as fellow bandmate Camila Cabello awkwardly struggled to step out from behind her girl group sister-friends, who inadvertently formed a wall to trap her in the back.
But before the sing-off, Ke$ha hit the stage with her single "Come On". She shook, gyrated, writhed on the floor and then showed off her strange glowing hands, all while singing a fairly decent song.
After complaining over his act being asked for perform first, SimonÂ—thanks in part to Demi's urgingÂ—introduced Fifth Harmony. The girlsÂ—Camila, Lauren, Ally Brooke, Normani Hamilton and Dinah Jane HansenÂ—did an admirable job with Mariah Carey's "Anytime You Need a Friend". Simon applauded happily and the girls hugged. Seconds later, Britney introduced Diamond as "the girl who sings like an angel". Her understated version of Lee Ann Womack's "I Hope You Dance" was good in places, and not so good in others, and Brit watched with tears in her eyes.
Fifth Harmony joined Diamond on stage for the final verdict. Simon congratulated both for their performances before saving Fifth Harmony, noting that "the competition would miss this group in the finals". Britney surprised no one by sending Fifth Harmony packing with no explanation. LA echoed Simon's congratulations and hedged momentarily before sending Diamond home. The now entirely impartial Demi praised all of them for coming "so far" in the competition and assured all of them that they'd have lasting careers. But inevitably, she opted to send Diamond packing, a decision which eliminated her from contention.
A seemingly unflappable Diamond pointed out that international sensation Cher Lloyd finished fifth on the UK version of the show, and then she promised to return to sing one of her hit songs one day. Brit pointed out that she's "so young" and opined that "the world is yours".
Before the lights dimmed, Mario and Khloe had one other reveal: the week's voter leader board. Simon's groups finished back to back, with Fifth Harmony in fourth and Emblem3 third. Carly Rose fell to second, while Tate took the top spot. Tate called it "amazing" and thanked voters for "picking up the phone and doing your thing". He also thanked the mentors for their help and encouragement. LA was "really, really happy", but noted that they still have lots of work to do.
The X Factor USA 2012 resumes next Wednesday on FOX with more from the top four.