Week 8 on “The X Factor USA” saw the top final 12 acts singing 80s songs for America’s votes. Three acts were eliminated but five of the ten other hopefuls showed promise and chances to win as they impressed the judges on Episode 15, Nov. 13, 2013.

Familiar names came out as among the top 5 performances on week 8 since the “X Factor USA” premiered on September 11, 2013. From Alex and Sierra, Lillie McCloud, Josh Levi, Rion Page and Ellona Santiago - - they dominated the Fox reality singing competition in terms of the quality of their voice and what the judges think of their overall performances.

Alex & Sierra - “Addicted To Love” by Robert Palmer
The hopefuls under Simon Cowell’s group acts have captured the hearts of America for being one of the very few contestants who come to the show as a couple. Their strengths however, also come from their dynamics as artists and how they are able to connect to each other through their music.

All the judges loved their rendition of “Addicted to Love” by Robert Palmer, except their mentor, Simon Cowell.

Kelly Rowland said she always loves to see them together, noting feeling uncomfortable to see them apart at the beginning of the song. Paulina Rubio stressed how she likes the “bohemian” and 70s sound of the couple. Demi Lovato agreed with Kelly who said that she was looking for the dynamics of the two in one page, suggesting the stage could have been designed in ways that could have brought them closer.

The Latina singer also took note that Sierra appeared uncomfortable with her high-heeled shoes.

Only the couple’s mentor, Simon who didn’t like the performance.

Careful of what he was about to say, Simon paused before giving it straight to Alex and Sierra.

“How do I say this, I’m your mentor,” Simon said as he paused with his head down, “this wasn’t as good as it should be.”

The introductory video showed Simon saying the arrangement of the song was totally changed for Alex and Sierra. When asked by Mario Lopez what exactly did the couple do wrong, Simon reiterated, they lost the melody from the beginning and it affected the whole arrangement.

The couple accepted Simon’s remarks and Alex vowed to make their mentor proud again on Episode 17.

Josh Levi - “Straight Up” by Paula Abdul
The 14-year old student from West Hollywood, CA. owned the night as he made a stellar performance of Paula Abdul’s “Straight U.” The judges loved everything he did on Nov 13 performance night of TXFU Top 12 acts.

A look at the video showed Levi performing like a professional artist. He played with his voice, which sounded strong in a combination of jazz and rhythm and blues genres. But what really impressed the judges is his soft, yet defined body movements which gave the audience a glimpse of what he can do with his feet.

The fans know he can dance but he was not overdoing it that could have led him get lost in the performance - - the mistake made by Carlito Olivero when he performed “Rhythm’s Gonna Get You,” by Gloria Stefan.

The wildcard contestant earned praise from judges.

Kelly Rowland said, “I think you young man has just arrived. You gotta live more outside yourself.”

Demi Lovato found Levi “amazing.”

“Right now I don’t know how you were eliminated,” Demi said, before adding, “You are amazing.”

Simon Cowell thought the crooner’s performance was “sensational.”

He said, “This is proving the point that one thing we are listening to karaoke singers and the next thing we are listening to a star. You were sensational.”

It was Paulina Rubio who noticed not only his song but also his dance skills.

Paulina noted, “Josh what a great job, you delivered every single note, you danced fantastic.”

Rion Paige - “We Belong” by Pat Benatar
It was an intense performance for Rion Page. While America had doubted how a 13-year old contestant can pull off a song from the 80s, Page has proven that she can sing just any song assigned to her.

A look at the video showed Page performing with “intense emotion” which did not escape the judges, particularly Paulina Rubio. The Latina singer described Page as a “firecracker” and noted how she “felt the music,” during her performance.

Kelly Rowland said that Page came out rough at the beginning of the song but noted the young hopeful “soared” by the end of the 80s hit song.

Simon Cowell said he admired how Page always gives 110% when she comes on stage.

Demi, Page’s mentor, said she’s proud of Page, adding that the youngest TXFU contestant even gave a lot of input on the arrangement of the song.

Other contestants who impressed the judges on Week 4 of live performances included Lillie McCloud with her rendition of “Ain’t Nobody” by Chaka Kahn. Simon Cowell find her naughty as the hopeful from Kelly Rowland’s Over 25s act confessed to having eye contact with the soon-to-be-dad.

Ellona Santiago also came out on top with her energetic performance of “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” by Whitney Houston. The judges loved her performance but Simon Cowell advised her to focus on less choreography and more on singing.

Who do you think made the best performance for the week?

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Alex and Sierra: Group act

Josh Levi: Boys act

Rion Page: Girls Act

Credit: YouTube/The X Factor USA