“You have to think that country music is still one of the biggest selling music genres going,” Stevens told reporters after the show. “[Country music fans] still go to concerts. They still go buy real CDs. They still go the store and get the little plastic discs. So, I definitely think that country music is ready [to win The X Factor].
Stevens is definitely the frontrunner going into Wednesday’s performances. He has dominated the top spot in the rankings every week since live performances began – save one week when he slipped to the No. 2 spot and gave Carly Rose Sonenclarthe spot.
So, what has kept the Belton, Mo. resident on top? Judge and executive producer Simon Cowellgives some credit to his mentor, L.A. Reid.
“Where [L.A.] was smart was that he let Tate make a lot of his own decisions,” Cowell explained. “He sounded authentic. And again tonight, a lot of people in his position would have chosen better known songs, bit more schmaltzy and done a cover version, but he chose authentic country songs and he stayed true to his roots, which I think is going to do him awful lot of good long term. I could see this guy selling a lot of records.”
And while Cowell gives his fellow judge the credit for letting Stevens be “authentic,” Reid actually said that didn’t come without learning some lessons first.
“Because I didn’t have a background in country music, I always made decisions that were a little more pop-leaning for him. And I may have gotten him in trouble early on,” Reid admitted. “But once I started to understand that the more country, the better, we sort of hit our stride. I’m really proud of him.”
Stevens sang three songs on Wednesday that would surely make country music fans proud of him too. But, does he think he did enough to take the title back home to Belton?
“Today has been the craziest day, obviously this has been the biggest day, so right now I’m just kind of trying to take it in,” the 37-year-old contender said. “Hopefully, I did enough to win. We’ll see.”
The X Factor finale results show airs Thursday at 8PM on FOX.
Can country music fans take the win this season?
No changes are to be made to this player