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Carly Rose Sonenclar: How she'll win (or lose) 'X Factor'
Tonight on Fox's "The X Factor," Carly Rose Sonenclar of Mamaroneck will face off for the final time against country singer Tate Stevens and girl group FIfth Harmony before viewer votes determine who wins the show's $5 million record contract.
If it were solely about talent, the prize should go to Sonenclar, who's been the most consistent performer all season — more dynamic than Stevens, more nuanced (and in tune) than Fifth Harmony. But as many reality-TV show fans know, other factors creep into the equation, often rendering on-stage performances moot.
Let's take a look at how each of the final three acts can take home the title between now and Thursday night's results show. Prediction percentages are based on my experience watching reality-TV shows and gut feelings.
Carly Rose Sonenclar
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Tate Stevens could win if: Country music fans favor style over substance. To Stevens' credit, he seems like a nice guy, carries a tune just fine and will have a career whether or not he wins the grand prize. But there's little special about his performances.
Tate Stevens could lose if: Girl power wins out. Singing competitions, for better or worse, are often in the hands of tween audiences who obsess over every last note and nuance from beginning to end. Yes, Fifth Harmony and Sonenclar could split the vote in this very demographic, but there's also the very real possibility that so many young, female voters weigh in that Stevens places third.
Tate Stevens' chances of winning: 49 percent. If he doesn't misfire, he's the most likely winner. It might take an above-average Sonenclar performance and a significant Stevens mistake to result in another outcome.
Fifth Harmony could win if: They sing more like they did last week on Ellie Goulding's "Anything Could Happen" — arguably their best performance on the show. That song set them apart from Emblem3, a generic boy band that was outclassed last week by the other three acts. As a result, Fifth Harmony advanced and Emblem3 was eliminated.
Fifth Harmony could lose if: Stevens and Sonenclar don't get lost on the way to the stage Wednesday night. As cool as the bilingual version of "Impossible" was, there were some serious pitch issues throughout Fifth Harmony's version of it. Simply put, they're not nearly as sturdy or reliable as Stevens and Sonenclar.
Fifth Harmony's chances of winning: 3 percent. It's just not happening, unless fans of Stevens and Sonenclar get lazy with their voting. When voting tallies have been announced this season, Fifth Harmony has never finished in the top two. The only acts to finish first or second those weeks? Stevens and Sonenclar, in that or the opposite order, depending on the week.
Carly Rose Sonenclar could win if: She delivers her best performances of the season on Wednesday night's show and/or if Stevens falters. She's got the goods: Talent, likability and sheer star power. Yes, sometimes she hits a high note with a little too much oomph, and it falls flat, but that's something that can be fixed with enough time and training. Remember, she's 13. Most hitmakers don't have her talent in their 20s, 30s or 40s. And since Sonenclar was the last announced act to advance to the finals, expect her fans to wear out their fingers texting and calling in their votes this time around.
Carly Rose Sonenclar could lose if: It's just one of those weeks when Stevens' fan base is more dedicated than Sonenclar's. They've flip-flopped at the top of the leader board all season. It could go either way.
Carly Rose Sonenclar's chances of winning: 48 percent. I think she'd have had an easier time winning if Emblem3 advanced, just so she wouldn't have any female competition. But if she crushes her performances Wednesday night, and Stevens is average or below average, it's her competition to lose, no matter who she's up against.
Who do you think will win the second season of "The X Factor"? Vote in Newsday Westchester's poll, and explain your answer in the comments section.
How will Carly Rose Sonenclar fare on the X Factor finale?