October 31 proved a night to remember on The X Factor USA 2012, as the final 16 hopefuls performed live for the very first time. Although some of the acts earned heaps of praise from mentors Demi Lovato, Britney Spears, Simon Cowell and LA Reid, others--including 1432, the manufactured all-girl group formerly known as LYLAS--didn't fare quite as well.
During their pre-performance segment, the group, comprised of former solo artists Ally Brooke, Camila Cabello, Normani Kordei, Dinah Jane Hansen and Lauren Jauregui, expressed their appreciation for mentor Simon's help, calling it "awesome". Simon's main nugget of advice was "you've got to believe it's your song". So how did they do?
To the apparently untrained ear, they were awesome when they hit the stage. Their rendition of the poppy, playful Taylor Swift hit "We are Never Ever Getting Back Together" was sassy and on-point. Their voices work together so well and they harmonize so beautifully that it's hard to imagine them being eliminated any time soon.
But the judges saw things differently as they offered up some of the evening's harshest criticism. LA Reid didn't like the group's new name --which as Simon said was necessitated by "boring reasons"-- and called the song choice "very karaoke". He was even more blunt when it came to laying the blame where he found it due: "Your mentor really failed you". Britney Spears left her comments at "your energy just drew us in". Demi Lovato opined "I know you guys have potential... tonight there was only one person that shined... it didn't click for me". She then told them to practice more. In one of the broadcast's more awkward moments, show host Khloe Kardashian pressed Demi to name the girl in question. She initially refused, but eventually pointed to Camila. Simon shrugged off his fellow mentors' criticisms, telling the girls "you are fantastic" and "there is work to do. Yes it was more of a pop song... [but] you're going to prove what great vocalists you are". He assured LA that "the public is going to love this group".
And the public should love them, because they're absolutely fantastic. Perhaps the tough words from Demi and LA stemmed from jealousy over their extraordinary talent, but hopefully America will pay them no mind once the voting begins on November 7.
Will 1432 survive to sing again? Watch The X Factor USA 2012 elimination show tonight at 8 PM ET/PT on FOX and to see which eight acts sing for their lives, and which four will make it to next week's round of the competition.