The second season of The X Factor is down to the final four acts, all vying for the top prize, a $5 million recording contract.
Judge Simon Cowell, who has been the mentor of the Group category, has two of the four: Emblem3, a trio of guys from Huntington Beach, Calif.; and Fifth Harmony, a girl group Cowell created at the start of the show.
Judge Britney Spears has one Teen act left: pint-sized powerhouse Carly Rose Sonenclar.
And judge L.A. Reid has one Over 25 act left: country crooner Tate Stevens.
Demi Lovato, who was the judge/mentor of the Young Adult group and who hasn't been afraid to take on Cowell whenever she felt like it, has seen all of her acts exit the show. So we turned to her for an impartial assessment of the singers who are still standing.
His story: He's 37, from Raymore, Mo., and his real name is Stephen Eatinger. Fans love that he's married to his high school sweetheart.
Biggest strength? "Not only is he really talented as a country artist, a lot of the people watching the show and voting are people that are older. It's America," says Lovato. "Everybody loves a good country artist who really embraces what we're all about."
Biggest weakness? "Sometimes he can get a little dull, a little boring. I've seen him perform really well. It's a matter of turning it on and off."
Chances of being signed to a recording contract anyway? "It's a done deal. He definitely will get signed."
One thing he needs to do to win it all? "Just to not get comfortable with his performances. He is one of the best things on the show, but at the same time everything counts. One bad performance can send you home."
Her story: The 13-year-old singing powerhouse was born in New York City and lives in Mamaroneck, NY. Person she seems closest to in the world is her older brother, Russell.
Biggest strength? "Her biggest strength is her voice," says Lovato. "She's like this freak of nature."
Biggest weakness? "A part of me feels like she's really serious all the time and she always sings these slow songs. I love watching someone that's going to get my energy up. And she's incredible, yes, but it's definitely hard watching her sometimes. I think she's pretty emotional for 13 and I don't know how much she wants to be here. I don't see the drive I see in some of the other contestants' eyes." Lovato says she would "like to see her act like she's having fun."
Chances of being signed to a recording contract anyway? "I think that probably the Disney/Nickelodeon world will try to snatch her up. I think that's obviously a given. Same with Diamond (White, who was sent packing last week). They have careers ahead of them, so they shouldn't worry."
One thing she needs to do to win it all? "With Carly, she's going to have to decide if she's taking the serious route or maybe go the more fun route. Sometimes it's hard to be singing about love at a very young age. Maybe she'll just have to wait until she's older to give it a shot."
Their story: Drew Chadwick, 20; Keaton Stromberg, 16, and his brother, Wesley Stromberg, 18, grew up in Sequim, Wash. They've been singing since they were in diapers.
Biggest strength? "Their biggest strength is their charm," says Lovato. "They're very, very charming boys. They're very cute. They've got the whole surfer boy thing going on. There's a lot of boy bands, yes, but there aren't any that I feel have really, really strong vocals and a unique quality to them."
Biggest weakness? "The thing is, they're not doing what we saw in this very first audition. It was an original song of theirs that I got stuck in my head. Now it's a little uncomfortable because they've become so manufactured. It looked like they were having so much fun. If Simon takes away their originality, it won't work."
Chances of being signed to a recording contract anyway? "They'll be fine after this, whether they win or not. It's guaranteed, the top four will go on."
One thing this act needs to do to win it all? "Staying true to yourself is the biggest advice I can offer to those guys. It's really easy to get taken down a path that you think is best for yourself when you have a lot of people telling you what it is."
Their story: Dinah Jane Hansen (15, Santa Ana, Calif.), Lauren Jauregui (16, Miami), Ally Brooke (19, San Antonio), Normani Hamilton (16, Houston) and Camila Cabello (15, Miami) came together at the end of the X Factor boot camp to form the group that was initially called Lylas and then renamed to 1432 before settling on Fifth Harmony.
Biggest strength? "I am still very skeptical about them," says Lovato. "There's something about them that doesn't always click when you look at them on stage. They're probably really close and great friends. But professionally they should have been smaller or some of the girls should have gone solo. I don't look at them and say they're going to be the next Spice Girls or they have what Destiny's Child child had."
Biggest weakness? "Sometimes visually it gets thrown off because the stylists don't always have it look right. Being a performer, you have to get everything right. If you're doing a girl group you don't have to have them matching, but when you have one tall one wearing jeans and the rest of them wearing dresses, it looks awkward. They have to be able to nail that and figure out their chemistry. Some of them are lacking in the vocal department."
Chances of being signed to a recording contract anyway? "They're really cute girls. I think the tween market will love them. They'll have a good career. It will be interesting to see how far they can take the girl group thing before going solo."
One thing this act needs to do to win it all? "If they did, I'd be really surprised."
Who will win? Without hesitation, Lovato says, "Tate Stevens!"
oh @ her wrong opinions on 5h & e3..........also, carly will win.