Primrose Martin, a full-time student from Las Vegas, hit the stage with confidence to spare for her spirited performance of “Blame It on the Boogie,” but the judges found the performance off-putting.
“There’s something about you that comes off as too confident,” Lovato told the 20-year-old. “It kind of just rubs me the wrong way.”
Simon Cowell was also unimpressed. “That was actually beyond awful,” he said. “Seriously, seriously dreadful.”
Also getting negative feedback was former beauty pageant contestant Rylie Brown, whose performance of “Angels” failed to wow the judges.
“I feel like that was not the right song choice,” Kelly Rowland said, adding, “I’m not sure you’re ready for this competition.” Cowell was especially harsh, telling the 16-year-old, “It feels like everything you did tonight was chosen by your mother. I don’t know what you were trying to do I didn’t buy it.”
Demi agreed that the performance was “very pageant-y” and told Rylie,”I’m sending you home.”
While cocky and confident singers had a rough go during Thursday’s show, the judges seemed to love the more reserved contestants.
Danielle “Danny” Geimer, a self-described loner and bookworm, wowed the judges with her rendition of “Georgia on My Mind” – a memorable performance from the 15-year-old who says she’s practically invisible at her school.
“You just sang your face off, mama!” Rowland raved, while Lovato was “absolutely blown away” by her talent and beauty.
But Cowell summed up her performance best, saying, “You’ve come around at a time when you’ve got so many overconfident pop stars and you’re very humble, you’re very shy and I hope you never change – I don’t think you will.”
The California native easily made it into the final four.
Then there was Rion Paige the inspiring singer from Jacksonville, Fla., who has arthrogryposis multiplex congenita, a disorder that causes a curving of the joints in her wrists.
The judges were impressed with her heartfelt performance of “I Won’t Let Go” and Cowell said, “When you’ve got it, you’ve got it, right? I think we’re scratching the surface here – I really like your voice.”
Lovato loved the 13-year-old’s mature voice and put her through to the final four, replacing early favorite Ashly Williams.
And last but not least, there was Ellona Santiago, a soft-spoken 17-year-old from Lorenzo, Calif., who was born in the Philippines. She sang “Gravity” by Zedd and blew the judges away. “Man, you are a beast – I mean that in the nicest way possible,” Rowland told her, while Cowell raved that she delivered “probably one of the best vocals we’ve heard in this category.”
The crowd weighed-in loudly as Lovato wavered over putting Santiago through to the finals, but she eventually did, replacing Jamie Pineda.
In the end, four girls were left standing: Danielle Geimer, Khaya Cohen, Ellona Santiago and Rion Paige.
The X Factor returns on Wednesday with Paulina Rubio and the boys and Cowell and the groups.