Thursday night's X Factor saw the dismissal of two of the Top 12 acts: Jennel Garcia, from Demi Lovato's Young Adult subset, and Lyric 145, from Simon Cowell's Groups. And both say it was their coach's song choice that caused them to be eliminated on Divas Night.
Hip-hop trio Lyric 145 was forced to change its selection at the last minute due to legal and technical reasons, according to frontwoman Lyric Da Queen. The group had originally prepared an unspecified "a legendary diva's song" that incorporated its own lyrics.
"It arguably was going to be our best performance yet," Lyric Da Queen told reporters on a conference call Friday.
But the three found out Tuesday night, less than 24 hours before Wednesday's live performance show, that they had to scrap their idea — even though, according to Lyric, they had worked out many of the problems that had cropped up. "The next day, we had to learn a brand new song within a couple of hours," Lyric Da Queen said. "I'm actually proud of us for executing the performance the way we did, being that we had so little time."
At Cowell's urging, they opted to perform a mashup of Katy Perry's "E.T." and Queen's "We Will Rock You." The other three judges, Lovato, L.A. Reid and Britney Spears, criticized the selection because it did not showcase the group's hip-hop side.
"We were fighting really, really hard to convince our mentor to let us do the song that we were comfortable with, but Simon had a gut feeling that the other song was stronger," Lyric Da Queen said. "And unfortunately, it wasn't, and we just had to roll with the punches. We went out there and executed it the best we could."
The group still has "a lot of love and respect for Simon," she was quick to add.
"He was very apologetic about the situation, because ... we went along with his idea and it kind of backfired on us," Lyric Da Queen said. "Simon's never worked with a hip-hop group before, so I just respect him for taking on the challenge and still believing in us and seeing some potential in us. I cannot be mad at him."
Garcia, meanwhile, found herself in a similar situation when her coach, Lovato, told her she would be performing Tina Turner's "Proud Mary."
"I was completely against it," Garcia revealed Friday. "We had another song prepared and I was really fighting for that one. But unfortunately, she chose 'Proud Mary' and she thought that that could get me to the top of the voting chart. But it went the complete opposite direction."
To make matters worse for Lovato, Garcia's counterpart in the bottom two was Paige Thomas — meaning the first-time coach was forced to choose to send one of her own protégés home. Lovato voted to keep Garcia safe. (Cowell was the deciding vote to eliminate her.)
"The fact that she chose me helped me get through this," Garcia said Friday, noting that Lovato was "really upset about the whole thing."
Like Lyric 145, however, Garcia said she had nothing but respect for her coach. "I'm not mad at her for it. It's true — she's human and she's going to make mistakes and she is new at the mentoring thing. And at the end of the day, she chose me out of the bottom two, and that's all I could ask for from her. She didn't know that it would have been a mistake. If she knew that, she would have let me do the song that I wanted to do and we could have seen what would have happened from there."
What do you think? Are the contestants or their coaches to blame?