The X Factor: Finalists Sing for Votes One Last Time
12/19/2012 AT 10:40 PM EST
The X Factor's season 2 finale got underway Wednesday night with the finalists performing three songs each – including a duet with a music superstar.
Britney Spears's contestant, Carly Rose Sonenclar, has been a favorite, trading the No. 1 spot with her fellow finalist, L.A. Reid's country singer Tate Stevens, through out the competition.
Carly first reprised "Feeling Good," and sang it better than the first time she performed it during her audition, according to judge Simon Cowell. "It's shocking how bright your star is," Spears said. She performed her duet with Leann Rimes, singing the country star's hit, "How Do I Live." Her final performance – of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" – had the judges gushing. "You looked like an angel," Demi Lovato said. "You sang like a ridiculously talented angel."
Tate, the competition's only country singer, first performed "Anything Goes" by Randy Houser. "I'm still obsessed with you," Demi said. Added Simon, "You are made in America. You are authentic." For his duet, he sang Little Big Town's cheeky party anthem, "Pontoon." And for his final performance in the competition, Tate sang Chris Young's "Tomorrow." "In a year's time," Simon said, "We're going to be hearing about your record sales."
"I'm almost crying because I realize it's the last time I'm going to see you perform on that stage," Demi said.
Simon's remaining act, girl group Fifth Harmony, may have had their best night yet in the competition, beginning with "Anything Can Happen." L.A. called it "magical," adding that they're "the one to beat." Britney said the colorful performance was "spectacular, girly and fun." Their duet, with The X Factor's own Demi Lovato, of "Give Your Heart a Break" was a highlight of the night.
"These girls are so easy to work with," the judge said. "They're so down to earth, so sweet and I love you guys. This was so much fun."
Their last song, "Let It Be" by the Beatles, proved how much the five members have "blossomed as a group," Britney said. Admitting his bias, their mentor Simon said, based on their performances on Wednesday, the girls of Fifth Harmony "deserve to win the competition."
Do you agree? Or is Tate or Carly your choice for the big prize? Tell us in the comments below.
The winner will be revealed Thursday in a two-hour show that will include a performance by One Direction.