The X Factor USA continued Halloween night with the first live performances of the 2012 edition. The top 16 finalists were charged with interpreting the theme Made in America, and one of the best numbers of the evening belonged to virtual shrinking violet Jennel Garcia, who shattered her shell with a powerful rendition of "Home Sweet Home."
During the lead-in to her live routine, small town girl Jennel called making the live shows "awesome." Despite possessing amazing vocal talent, Young Adults mentor Demi Lovato told her that she'd need to "step it up" in order to compete with some of the other big personalities in the competition, including the outspoken CeCe Frey. To help Jennel feel "like a rock star," Demi arranged for a makeover and Jennel, eager to please her mentor, happily complied.
When Jennel finally took to the stage to perform, she looked like a mini-Demi with thick, dark bangs. She worked the tune like a natural and sang it well. The entire production was full of heart and passion, and she came across looking like a star in the making.
The mentors were all impressed with the effort. Over 25s mentor LA Reid said he was "completely surprised" by the quality of the performance and added "you just convinced me that you could win." Teens mentor Britney Spears said the same thing she said to most of the acts during the top 16 show: "You completely rocked it out" and "it was really amazing." Groups mentor Simon Cowell said she'd effectively "defined the theme Made in America" and that he loved her. He did, however, take exception with her appearance, and accused Demi of trying to turn Jennel into her mini me. Demi gushed, "I think you look like a rock star" and "I'm so unbelievably proud of you. I feel like crying."
Will Jennel Garcia advance safely to the next round? Watch The X Factor USA elimination show tonight at 8 p.m. on FOX to find out which four acts will say goodbye to the competition.