'X Factor' Top 6 Recap: Unplugged and Pepsi Challenged

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We could already feel that strategy was playing a huge part last week on FOX’s The X Factor. This week, the Top 6 are feeling the pressure with the semifinals next week.

Co-Host Mario Lopez flashed his wedding ring from Saturday’s ceremony and got right back to work. The performers are doing one unplugged performance and one performance chosen by the fans in the Pepsi challenge.

Last week’s elimination of Vino Alan – who went from a solid No. 3 for three weeks and then found himself eliminated – has definitely made things very serious.

Who will rise to the challenge and who will falter? Let’s get on to the performances.

CeCe Frey: First up with her unplugged song, “Edge Of Glory” by Lady Gaga, CeCe will have to prove she has the vocal talent to justify her current fifth place position. She looks beautiful with her hair in a side bun. Plus, I’m no expert, but her voice sounds solid and this song choice is pretty right on for the predicament she finds herself in every week. But, how will the judges see it?

She finally won over L.A. Reid. Britney Spears, not so much. Simon Cowell says he doesn’t think she’s worth a $5 million contract. Demi Lovatosticks up for her player and gives props to her fans’ votes.

For her Pepsi Challenge song, CeCe sings Katy Perry’s “Part Of Me.” The leopard spots are back and she’s serving up big vocals. Are they always the best vocals? No. L.A. did not love it, calling it karaoke. Britney disagreed and said she found it entertaining. Simon liked her defiance during the performance.

Emblem3: After Demi interrupted Simon's introduction, calling their song “predictable,” the boys hit the stage. And look at this. They’ve got a guitar onstage for Bruno Mars’ “Just The Way You Are” – the guys have been begging to have an instrument on-stage. I’ve said before that I think these guys get a pass on vocals in exchange for their energy and stage presence. But, this one really gives us a chance to hear them. And I'm pretty OK with the vocals.

L.A. felt they gave a good performance and then took the chance to give a jab to Simon by saying at least one of his groups can do harmony -- a jab at Fifth Harmony, of course. Demi hits hard and calls it a “downgraded version of the Jonas Brothers.” Wow.

The guys complained about the Pepsi Challenge choice earlier this week when I spoke with them -- "Forever Young" (as One Direction performed it). L.A. felt they nailed the song. Britney called the performance “superstar.” Demi continued on her anti-Emblem3 stance by saying she thought they didn’t use the stage as well as they should. In their defense, Simon called her criticism "silly."

Carly Rose Sonenclar: Seeming a bit nervous about singing an acoustic version of “As Long As You Love Me” by Justin Bieber, Britney things it’s a good risk for her. I usually don’t put anything past Carly – she can really perform anything in her own style. I’m not convinced by this one, though. It felt a bit disjointed, she seemed unattached from the content. But, L.A. thought it was her best. Demi felt she sang it better than Justin. And Simon celebrated America, yes, all of America, for having talent like Carly.

The viewers chose Beyonce’s “If I Were A Boy” for Carly’s second song. Of course, she delivered it in a huge way. L.A. felt she never lets him down. Demi called it a “phenomenal vocal,” though she’d like to see her venture into an upbeat song. Carrying on their feud, Simon suggested that Carly not listen to a word Demi said.

Fifth Harmony: After an earlier jab from L.A., the girls have a chance to demonstrate their harmony with this unplugged performance of Adele’s“Set Fire To The Rain.” L.A. starts off by picking on their harmonies and their backup singers. Britney doesn’t see what makes them different from other groups. Demi feels the group has a couple standouts that should probably go solo. Ouch.

Then -- possibly, in a jab to Simon -- America chose Demi’s “Give Your Heart A Break.” It was an entertaining enough performance with one of the girls really belting. L.A. finally acknowledged that they had some harmony. And Britney thought they made Demi proud. And they did! She actually gave Simon props – though the viewers really gave him this win.

Diamond White: Currently in last place, Diamond is under the microscope and everyone knows it. She’s clearly throwing everything she has into this performance of "It’s A Man’s World" – a song she did during auditions. But, can she excite her fans to vote for her with it?

We’ve seen voters have been a bit relaxed this season about voting for their favorites. Her last place position last week may light a fire under them. Was this performance enough? L.A. thought she brought showbiz to the performance. Demi agreed. Simon thought some vocals were screechy and maybe they should have gone with something they’ve never heard her sing before.

For the Pepsi Challenge, Diamond gets, well, Rihanna’s “Diamonds.” No one said that the viewers were especially creative. Diamond’s delivery is kind of on the angry side and a bit off putting to me.. L.A. didn’t like her rendition. Demi, who knows the song’s writer, felt she did a good job. Simon thought she did well, but didn’t sound as if he thought it was enough in this very competitive field.

Tate Stevens: Currently No. 2 after getting dethroned by Carly, it’s interesting to see what Tate does to recapture America’s attention. He’s doing Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ On A Prayer.” Will that excite his country fan base? Yes. Will that get him the mainstream vote to beat Carly? I don’t think so. Demi didn’t think there was anything special about this. Simon felt the song was wrong for him and urged him to have more say on material.

For his second performance, Tate is right at home with Garth Brooks’ “If Tomorrow Never Comes.” He’s all in on this one, but again I’m not sure it’s going to get the non-country audience voting. And at this point, he needs to attract them to move past Carly. Demi felt a bit sleepy during the performance. So, it’s not her thing. Simon welcomed him back to the competition and thought it was nice to see him back in his wheelhouse.

Which acts get your vote? Did Carly and Diamond prove they shouldn't go home this week? Sound off below.

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