Just a week after turning in a performance that probably should've sent her home, The X Factor USA finalist Paige Thomas took control of her own destiny on November 28. But did the young mom's decision to go against mentor Demi Lovato's original plans help or hurt her chances of walking away the big $5 million champion?
Paige called her shaky Thanksgiving week performance "emotional" but left it behind, and hoped to reach the number one spot by "giving a signature performance and being more me". She worried about Demi's vision of her as an artist, and said that moving forward, she wants to dance and to move. Demi pointed out that the big productions in the past have been poorly received by voters, and thought she'd fare better without the "crazy dresses and the dancers". But Paige stuck to her guns, and Demi thought it was a mistake, but promised to support her protege's personal vision. LA Reid agreed with Demi, noting that she needs "a great musical moment" and not a huge stage show.
The result of the discussion was a markedly more relaxed, comfortable Paige and a smaller, less overwhelming stage show. Dressed casually in ripped jeans and a black leather jacket, she faced the audience alone to croon Rick Astley's 80s hit "Never Gonna Give You Up". She shook and gyrated a lot and clearly enjoyed herself, and seemed even happier after a small troop of backup dancers joined in. Best of all, the vocal performance was one of her better efforts and represented a huge improvement over last week's near-debacle.
LA called it "by far your very best performance yet" and praised her for seeming "at home". Britney Spears said the number represented "a legitimate risk" but "I think it worked". Simon Cowell said "this is the first time you have looked and sounded like a legitimate pop star". He thought it "sounded like you making a record" and encouraged her to make more of her own decisions moving forward. Demi said she was proud of Paige and called their collaborative effort "awesome".
Will Paige Thomas survive the November 29 double elimination? Watch The X Factor USA 2012 tonight on FOX and find out.