The Four-Chair Challenge got off to an interesting start on The X Factor. The new format in which the mentors must decide whether to keep or eliminate each of the 10 finalists until only four remain proved to be a bit awkward, unless you like watching an entire audience actively cheer for someone to go home.

Things get even worse in the second episode as we see one female singer desperately try to get a chair (which she has no chance of getting) in the most uncomfortable and embarrassing thing I’ve seen on TV in a long time. By the end, even her own family is begging for it to come to an end.

Tonight Demi Lovato picks the final four Girls. We saw four singers last night: the great Khaya Cohen, the solid Ashly Williams and Jamie Pineda, and the subpar Bree Randall. Now the other six perform for a spot in the X Factor season 3 live shows.

Simone Torres

We start with this wonderfully nerdy and quirky girl whose deep soul shined during the auditions. She does a weird up-tempo version of “A Change Is Gonna Come” that I’m not a fan of, but her voice is strong and incredible. Simon Cowell agrees that the arrangement of the song was awful. She needs a good mentor, so that’s on Demi.

Demi says “Yes” and Simone gets a chair
. It’s Demi’s first switch, and this one is easy. Bree gets switched out. Yeah, she never should’ve been given a chair in the first place, so this is the awkward and uncomfortable part that Simon loves because people’s pain is his favorite food.

Danie Geimer

She’s basically Modern Family’s Alex Dunphy, a sweet 15-year-old whose back-up plan is being a neurosurgeon. Good, because the world doesn’t need any more of those, we need teen pop stars.

Damn, the Girls category is stacked this season. Can we get five or six Girls and eliminated some of the Over 25s? Danie kills it on “Georgia on My Mind” and the judges all love her voice and her humility.

Demi says “Yes” and Danie gets a chair
. Well, that’s six singers in a row Demi has given a chair to. I hope Simon is more willing to say “No.” Simone gets switched out. Wow. The audience was clamoring for Ashly to go. You have to feel badly for Simone, who got a chair, then immediately got kicked out of it.

Rylie Brown

She did child pageants, which equals two and a half strikes against her in my book. She’s a country singer, but it’s not all that great and for some reason she closes her eyes for most of the performance. Simon thinks her stage mom manufactured this whole routine and it wasn’t believable while the other judges think she just isn’t vocally ready for this competition. Demi says “No” and Rylie is eliminated.

Primrose Martin

This Vegas girl has a cool name and her dad is in Kool and the Gang. Wait, The X Factor is actually giving us insight into a contestant’s connection to the music industry? How unusual.

This nonsense is almost as bad as Allison Davis, a disaster of epic proportions. When she asks the audience to clap along, they start booing. Simon calls it “beyond awful,” and that’s being kind. Primrose starts singing again to get the judges on her side, and it’s so embarrassing and sad and pathetic that even her family thinks she should stop.

Demi says “No” and Primrose is eliminated. This is so uncomfortable and not fun to watch at all. This is what happens when you go straight from the auditions to the Four-Chair Challenge. This is why they need to go back to having boot camp or something else so the 218 acts who made it past the auditions could prove that they were more than just a one-time wonder before putting them in front of another audience.

Rion Paige

Next up is the inspiring 13-year-old phenom who already has her name etched into one of the four chairs before she opens her mouth. But once she does, it’s mesmerizing, such a powerful, confident, controlled, beautiful country tone. Why do we have to waste our time for the next two and a half months? Can’t we just declare Rion the winner right now?

I don’t know why the show even bothers to ask Demi or why she slow rolls and tries to create some tension. Demi says “Yes” and Rion gets a chair. This is a slightly tough call for the switch. Ashly gets switched out. Meh, I’m fine with that. The audience boos, but they get over it pretty quickly.

Ellona Santiago

She’s the girl who was in InTENsity back in season 1, so she’s hoping to make it to the live shows for a second time. She sings Zedd’s “Clarity” and brilliantly strips away most of the instrumentation so that her voice is the star. It’s fantastic and very current. This is the kind of performance that you need to give on these shows.

The judges love her and Simon thinks she needs to be in the competition, but Demi thinks Ellona is missing something special and she likes her current roster. Demi is torn while Simon prods her to save Ellona.

Demi says “Yes” and Ellona gets a chair
.  The audience is absolutely no help as they seem to boo all for switch options. Jamie gets switched out. Yeah, that was obvious, because there’s only room for one Latina.

The Final Four Chairs for the Girls: Rion Paige, Khaya Cohen, Ellona Santiago and Danie Geimer

Even though Demi said “Yes” to eight of her singers, just like Kelly Rowland did, I still think she did better (because of the Rachel Potter mistake). I actually think she ended up with the best four girls, though I suppose you could make an argument that Simone Torres should be switched with Danie Geimer. But she definitely ended up with four of the best Girls, and there’s a lot more depth to this group than the Over 25s. Not that it matters, because Rion Paige will destroy them all.

Next week on The X Factor: Simon Cowell gets to take pleasure in causing misery for the Groups and Paulina Rubio picks the top Boys in the conclusion of the Four-Chair Challenge. Spoiler Alert: I’ve seen part of the Boys competition, and if you love Paulina, you may not want to read what I’m going to write.

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(Image courtesy of FOX)

John Kubicek

Senior Writer, BuddyTV

John watches nearly every show on TV, but he specializes in sci-fi/fantasy like The Vampire DiariesSupernatural and True Blood. However, he can also be found writing about everything from Survivor and Glee to One Tree Hill and Smallville.