The wild-card contestant took on Paula Abdul's hit in an '80s-themed night
The X Factor was all about big hair and even bigger results Wednesday night.
Carlos Guevara was the first Top 13 contestant to be eliminated as the show kicked off by announcing results after last week’s technical glitch nullified the voting.
Then it was back to the ’80s, as the contestants took on songs from the era of Madonna‘s fingerless-gloved heyday.
Lillie McCloud, 54, who kicked off the night with Chaka Khan’s “Ain’t Nobody,” impressed judges by making the song current and prompted Simon Cowell to ask, “You’re a naughty little thing, aren’t you?”
Carlito Olivero, 24, sang “Rhythm Is Gonna Get You,” a lackluster performance that had Demi Lovato paying more attention to the background dancers and prompting Cowell to predict, “I think you’re gonna go home.”
Rion Paige, 13, sang Pat Benatar’s “We Belong,” which came out 16 years before she was born, and impressed judges with her country twist on the song.
The girl group Sweet Suspense’s performance of “Mickey” by Toni Basil was ravaged by the judges save for mentor Cowell, who declared it “the best of the night” and called Paulina Rubio, Kelly Rowland and Lovato “witches” for their harsh critique.
Tim Olstad, 24, who met Modern Family‘s Sarah Hyland after she contacted him to express her admiration, sang “Against All Odds,” which was met with harsh criticism from the judges, including Lovato, who said the singer had “a wonderful voice but no X factor.”
Khaya Cohen, 16, sang a stripped-down version of Madonna’s “Borderline” that earned a standing ovation from mentor Lovato and praise from Cowell, who said, “I think we’ve discovered someone really, really special.”
The country group Restless Road turned “Footloose” into a boot-scootin’ romp, which earned good reviews and props from Cowell, who said, “I’ve got a real good feeling about you.”
Country crooner Rachel Potter, 29, who redeemed herself with last Thursday’s impromptu performance, sang Heart’s “Alone,” which also earned raves. “I think you have the potential to win this whole competition,” Lovato said, while Rowland threw shade Cowell’s way, saying, “Nobody in your category can hit those notes.”
Ellona Santiago, 17, sang Whitney Houston’s hit “I Wanna Dance with Somebody,” earning mostly strong reviews, although Cowell called the first part “mad.”
“You have just arrived,” roared Rowland, while Cowell called Levi “a future star.”
Single dad Jeff Gutt, 37, sang “(I Just) Died in Your Arms,” which earned strong reviews, although Cowell urged the rocker to sing a song “outside your comfort zone” so that he doesn’t come across as Spinal Tap.
Boyfriend-girlfriend duo Alex & Sierra ended the show by putting their own twist on Robert Palmer’s “Addicted to Love” that earned mixed reviews.
Lovato called it “uncomfortable and pitchy,” and even mentor Cowell admitted the performance “wasn’t as good as it should have been.”
Thursday’s results show, which will feature a double elimination, airs at 8 p.m. ET on Fox.