Tonight’s X-Factor began with Khloe congratulating Mario on getting married…cool. Then they announced how the show would go: Each act was singing two songs: The first an acoustic, stripped down version of a song, and one chosen by the fans in their ridiculous lesser-brand cola plug contest.

First to sing was the last Young Adult, Cece Frey. Demi’s only contestant is the one I thought was least likely to stick around, but I think she managed to hook America with her personality turn around and her particular sob story. (P.S. L.A. agreed with me.) For her “unplugged” song, Cece sang Lady Gaga’s “Edge of Glory,” and I thought it was good to see her without all of the smoke and mirrors (and dancers, and back-up vocals) that usually accompany her. L.A. said, “You know what you’ve proven? That sometimes, we get it wrong. Because I’m starting to become a fan.” Britney disagreed, saying, “I think at this point in the competition it should be great. That was just good for me.” Simon followed up, saying, “I don’t think you’re worth the five million dollar recording contract. It was a bit too cabaret for me.” Demi, of course, said, ” I disagree: I think that was one of your best vocal performances.” She and Cece both thanked the fans for voting.

Next up were the boys of Emblem3, who finally showed they were more than pretty faces by having one of their own play the acoustic guitar. They sang “Just the Way You Are,” by Bruno Mars. Their voices individually didn’t sound that good, which I feel like has been an issue the last few weeks. They harmonized well, though. L.A. said, “The thing I’m most impressed by is that at least one of Simon’s groups can sing harmony,” taking a dig at Fifth Harmony. Britney said, “I think hands down this has been your best performance in the competition.” Demi ripped them a new one, saying, “I used to really love you guys. To me, it’s a downgraded version of the Jonas Brothers five years ago.” Simon insulted her, then said, “I thought you did amazing tonight.”

Britney introduced the fabulous queen of the competition, her mentee Carly Rose Sonenclar. She sang Justin Beiber’s “As Long As You Love Me,” which everyone (including me) but Brit thought was a strange choice. Of course, if anyone could do it, it was Carly. And as usual, she slaughtered it, proving that she can sing absolutely anything. L.A. said, “The one thing that I’ve always been concerned about was how you could handle yourself as a recording artist. You actually showed some restraint. That was your best, for my taste.” Demi said, “You sang it better than Justin did.” Simon said, “This is why I love working in this country: You find people like you. I’m seeing a star emerge.” Britney said, “The most impressive thing about you is that each week you continue to make each song your own.”

Simon’s other group, Fifth Harmony, had a tough week: They lost one of their members temporarily, and the lead part went to a different girl than usual. They took the stage to sing an Adele’s, “Set Fire to the Rain.” As usual, each of their voices individually sounded lovely, but they failed to live up to their name. L.A. backed me up, saying, “I STILL didn’t hear any harmony. They should have called you ‘Fifth Unison.'” Britney said, “I thought it was a nice rendition, but I’m just trying to figure out what separates you from the other girl groups.” Demi said, “I feel like there’s a couple of you who should just be solo artists.” Simon shot back, saying, “I think they deserve a shot in the semifinal next week.”

The last place act from last week was Diamond White, Britney’s other Teen. She sang “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World,” which has been sung by the likes of James Brown and Etta James. I think the song and the performance as a whole definitely showcased her voice very well. L.A. said, “You brought attitude. You brought show biz. And you also sang your butt off.” Demi said, “I think you pulled it off.” Simon said, “I kinda wish you’d chosen a different song. But I liked it.” Britney said, “You not only nailed it; you destroyed it.”

Finally, Tate Stevens is facing the possibility of not having a job to come home to if he doesn’t win, putting him in a more dire position than anyone else left in the competition. He sang Bon Jovi’s “Living on a Prayer,” which to me felt risky, because he’s such a country guy, and that’s really where he sounds best. And I was right: Not that he didn’t sound good, but it wasn’t what he should have sang. Britney echoed by thoughts, “I feel like you’re getting away from what you do best.” Demi said, “I’m a fan of you. I truly believe that I’ll be buying your album one day. I just feel like this performance was a little boring.” Simon said, “You doing that song on unplugged week is like taking a goldfish for a walk: You can’t. Not a great song choice.” L.A. disagreed of course, saying “I, of course, love the song choice. I think you did a great job. I stand behind you.”

The second hour were performances by each act with elements chosen by the fans. Cece, again, went first, singing “Part of Me” by Katy Perry. She had back-up dancers, tons of bright lights, and some wild style…so basically, it was the polar opposite of her first performance of the night. It seemed more “Cece” than the last, but that meant I didn’t like it as much. L.A. said, “Not liking it. If there was ever a karaoke performance, that was it.” Britney went the other way, saying, “I felt like it was very entertaining. You always look like you’re having fun.” Simon said, “I liked the way that you were quite defiant. If you do go, I’m going to miss you.” Demi cut him off, saying, “If the princess of pop is sitting here saying you did a good job, I think you did a good job.”

I guess they were sticking with the same order, because Emblem3 went next, singing “Forever Young,” by Alphaville. I thought it sounded seriously karaoke-esque, and pretty boring, but L.A. said, “Tonight you nailed it.” Britney said, “I thought it was a superstar performance.” Demi said, “I just want to see you command the stage more. But this was much better than the first performance.” Simon said, “Emblem3 have landed.”

Time for another performance from the leader of the competition, Carly Rose. She sang Beyonce’s “If I Were A Boy,” and I almost had tears in my eyes. Seriously, this girl only gets better as the competition goes on. L.A. said, “As a judge and as a mentor, every time you step on the stage I get very, very nervous. As a fan, I get very excited, because you never let me down.” Demi said, “That’s a phenomenal vocal. I think it’s getting to predictable, but your vocals are amazing.” Simon argued with Demi a bunch, then said, “You have had a phenomenal night tonight.” Britney summed it all up, saying, “I think you are the definition of the x-factor. It was stunning.”

The girls of Fifth Harmony were assigned Demi’s own “Give Your Heart a Break,” which I thought was a good choice for them. They sounded appropriately pop, and had minimal distractions. L.A. said, “Unbelievable, I actually heard harmony. And it was really good! For me, that was your very best performance.” Britney said, “A friend of mine does this song very good, and so did you.” Demi said, “I think this song should have been your song. You sounded so beautiful on it. I felt like you were a girl group: It was energetic, it was fun.” Simon said, “This is what we’ve been trying to do. It’s all about girl power. The show would not be the same without you.”

Apparently America thinks they’re cute, because they voted for Diamond White to sing Rihanna’s latest single, “Diamonds.” Right off the bat, it sounded like she was just trying to mimic the artist’s strange vocals on the track. L.A. said, “I really like you, I really like that song…unfortunately I didn’t like your rendition of it.” Demi disagreed, saying, “I’m very critical of this song because one of my good friends wrote it, and I feel like you definitely did it justice. You looked like a star on stage.” Simon said, “I thought the second half of the song was better than the first. Overall, I think you’ve had a good night.” Britney said, “I feel like the song was made for you. You were just spectacular.”

The show ended with Tate Stevens, who sang “Tomorrow Never Comes” by Garth Brooks. I smiled the second I heard the first note: The song was just so perfect for him and his voice. Seriously, you can’t help but want the best for this talented and lovable family man. Britney said, “Now that felt like a Tate Stevens performance. That was brilliant.” Demi said, “I think that you have a bright future, I really do.” Simon said, “Well welcome back to the competition. This is what you should be singing. I’m really happy that you’ve come this far. I think we’re going to be seeing you next week, 100%.” L.A. said, “You are back. That was great.”

Tune in tomorrow to find out the results, and to see live performances from last years’ winner Melanie Amaro and pop superstar Ke$ha!